“When you have reached enlightenment, ignorance will delude you no longer. In the light of that knowledge you will see the entire creation within your own Atman and in me.” – Bhagavad Gita 4:35
Enlightenment is a part of everyone’s destiny. We each are called to this state at some point through our many incarnations. The process of our soul’s evolution involves a purification of our distorted perceptions that sees ourselves as separate, suffering entities. As we come to fully experience that our essence and everything within and around us is one with unlimited consciousness, we realize our true, divine nature. One who truly understands and lives within this reality loves all things equally and sees all things equally, because to him, all is undivided consciousness, not separate from himself, or anything that is.
Often through a break of our ego’s grip due to the weight of our own suffering, we awaken to a life beyond the pain of limited sense of a divided “me”. We realize that there is more to life than wanting for oneself. We experience deeper truths that lie beyond our limited personal perceptions and question the nature of the mind and the authority of our ego.
As we place less power in our ego, we go through subtler stages of purification of the mind. We feel more interconnected with soul essence and life as a whole. We understand that the insatiable, heavy wanting that our ego feeds upon only creates suffering for ourselves and the world. We open to a lighter way of being, free from the weight of our wanting.
As the ego disappears, we no longer i-dentify through a separate sense of “me”. Even the i-dea of such an i-dentity no longer exists. There is no more lens through which to relate to the perception of a divided, external world. We reside in a permanent state of oneness with infinite consciousness and feel a unity with all that is. We are effortlessly arising in each moment within an intelligent whole of which we are an integral part.
Having had moments of this unity experience, I can only share these glimmers of insight. But my guru, Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, Amma, speaks of this state with first hand experience:
“As the realization that everything is pervaded with Divine Consciousness dawns within you, you also see that every human being, everything in creation, is already Divine. The only difference is that you know that you and they are one with Divinity, but they do not. It is only a question of uncovering the truth.”
Our state of unity with the One already exists, but for the most part we do not see it because we are so busy believing the thoughts in our mind that are fed to us through our limited senses. We are habituated, even addicted to i-dentifying with our mind and to believing that our ego is in control. It is as though we are so focused on one tiny speck of cloud, thinking that it is the entire world, that we miss the vastness of the sky and the infinite expanse of the universe.
As we explore our thoughts, we see that they only exist because of the energy we give them. Most of what we think is created by our ego so we feel in control and important. But all thoughts are passing. They continue until we bump up against a moment of grace and notice, even for a split second, that what we think is fixed or solid after all. Then, a whole new world of positive possibilities opens.
When we look at the trajectory of our lives and take stock of our past, we can see that our thoughts are in fact not all that reliable. We may think with certainty that we will or will not get a job promotion and get ourselves worked up with excitement or foreboding. When we get what we want, we are happy. When we don’t, we are sad. Our minds are like weathervanes turning in the wind of our ever-changing thoughts.
What is beyond our ego and the thoughts that give it power? If we remain open, we see that between our thoughts is a space, just like the pause that exists between each inhalation and exhalation. In it lies possibility. Yogis have taught this wisdom for millennia through meditation and breathing practices, in which the aspirant learns to observe the space between.
The transformation we experience in the process of enlightenment is the dissolving of the ego and the opening to the field of possibility that lies as a substratum beyond it. We discover that consciousness is all there is, and has been present for us all along. All passing thoughts that convince us otherwise are distractions from this one eternal truth.
Parvati Devi is the editor-in-chief of Parvati Magazine. In addition to being an internationally acclaimed Canadian singer, songwriter, producer and performer, she is a yoga teacher and holistic educator. Having studied yoga and meditation since 1987, Parvati developed her own yoga teaching style called YEMTM Yoga as Energy Medicine. Her music, including upcoming singles “I Am Light” and “Yoga in the Nightclub”, brings forward a conscious energy into the pop mainstream. Her book “Confessions of a Former Yoga Junkie” is a road map to a revolutionary life makeover for sincere spiritual seekers.