IMAGE OF THE WEEK
We are grateful to Rupali Bhuva for offering this hand-made painting for this reading.
The reality of actual contact with oneself is, at the same time, actual contact with our environment. It is a very interesting aspect of our nature that to heal the split between body and mind is, at the same time, to heal the split between oneself and one's surroundings, or in between oneself and other people. Life is, to some extent, imaginary or illusory-- for everyone. We all regard life through the filter of our past experience and our templates, our early learning of the world. We all color our circumstances with our hopes and fears. We also imagine a barrier between ourselves and our environment. We imagine a separation between a world out there and the consciousness (in here) that perceives the world.
As we come into greater contact with ourselves and the world, these filters and projections begin to dissolve. We find that there is no separation between ourselves as subject and what we perceive as object. All of our experience, both internal and external, registers at once in the same single, unified expanse of consciousness. This direct, immediate contact with life feels like it is happening, right now, it feels real; it feels complete; there is no part of ourselves that is left out of the experience of the present moment.
The reality that the Hindu prayer ['lead me from illusion to reality'] pleads for is not the world most people perceive of separate, solid material objects. The sobriety of spiritual practice is a stripping down, not to matter, but to something much more mysterious, to the unified luminous transparency pervading everything. We cannot get to this dimension by avoiding the material world. We need to accept and penetrate through the world of separate solid objects, and to inhabit fully our own separate physical body in order to experience ourselves and our environment as the single expanse of fundamental consciousness.
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