Personal Growth

Resting in the Self

sai-maddali-cOUtDKBKD2g-unsplash.jpg

“As a lamp in a windless place does not flicker so is the disciplined mind of the yogi practicing concentration on the Self. Supreme bliss comes to the yogi whose mind is completely tranquil and whose passions are quieted, who is free from stain and has become one with Brahman.”

—Bhagavad Gita

Resting in the self. The individual self fully awake within its true self. Nothing to know, only to be. Nowhere to go, nothing to do, just being. This is the ultimate goal of our spiritual journey.

As the wave rises up to experience the world of limitations, only to finally merge again with the ocean, so our small, limited self journeys for eons through every imaginable experience until it dissolves back into the ocean of pure consciousness. The mystic Osho described it, “Stopping the world is the whole art of meditation. And to live in the moment is to live in eternity. To taste the moment with no idea, with no mind, is to taste immortality.”

Resting in the self is waking up from what we are not into the state we call unity consciousness, where the memory of wholeness returns. Here there is no you, them, this, or that; there is only one, without separation at any level. A state of pure joy, pure bliss. The Ashtavakra Gita says, “Thoughts such as I am this or I am not this become faint for the yogi who has become silent, knowing all as the Self.”

Our True Self

The good news is that we are all already the unbounded self. This is who we really are. We have glimpses of it when, for a moment, we step out of the world of limitations. Perhaps we watch a beautiful sunset and for an instant merge into the experience, or we meet our baby or grandbaby for the first time and our heart explodes in joy.

Sadly, the bad news is that we’ve forgotten our self and live our lives as the limited self. We forget because we allow ourselves to be distracted, becoming attached to the material world with all its chaos, confusion, doubts, and fears. Our true self becomes hidden under layers of conditioning.

This is illustrated by a true story of a temple in Thailand where for years people worshipped what they thought was a clay statue of the Buddha. One day, by mere chance, one of the workers who was cleaning the statue discovered that beneath inches of tightly packed clay, the statue was actually solid gold. Centuries before, to protect it from looters and invaders, the Buddhists had covered the Golden Buddha with clay. None of those who knew its true form survived the invasion and onslaught. Hence, all worshippers thereafter assumed the image was one of clay, until the day, hundreds of years later, the pure gold core was discovered. Our spiritual journey is not about learning anything new. It’s just a matter of cleaning and polishing what’s already there—to rediscover our true essential nature without the distortion of the mind. We are gold, not clay.

Resting in the self is the state that the Vedas refer to as in the world but not of the world. At this level, you still function in the localized world, but you recognize that you have both an individual and a universal body. Everything you experience is the self in different disguises. The whole universe is your body, and everything in it is your projection. You realize that not only are you the role player in the midst of all the roles, but all the other roles are you too.

Here, knowledge becomes knowingness, the knower, process of knowing and known become as one. The Vedas tell us that without knowledge of the self, nothing can be truly known. We may say, “I see the flower,” but if we don’t know who the “I” is, how can we know the flower?

Our Desires Instantly Manifest

When you know your self, your mind becomes harmonized with the cosmic mind, leading to the experience known as Ritambhara Pragya, and spontaneous fulfillment of desire. As we are the universe, all our desires instantly manifest.

Let’s use ice cream as an example. If the average person wants some ice cream, he or she can drive to the store and buy some. The desire was fulfilled but it took a certain amount of effort. A more evolved person might have the same desire, and a friend shows up at the door with some ice cream. The desire fulfilled with much less effort. However, the instant the person resting in the self has the faintest thought of ice cream, he or she has the total sensory experience of eating ice cream. No need to go anywhere, it’s not fattening, in fact, to be correct, this person would be the ice cream!

When we are resting in the self, the divine perfectly manifest through us at every second. We radiate divine illumination. This is liberation in a physical body. All karma is nullified, we shine in our own glory, free from the cycle of birth and death. We can see without eyes, hear without ears, and by mere intention everything comes into being. We have expanded beyond the constricted ego and transcended “What’s in it for me?” to dwell in, “How can I be of service?”

How to Connect to Your Self

Is it possible for anyone to achieve this state? Most certainly. Remember, you are infinite possibilities. Resting in the Self is just that, resting. When you allow the mind to settle down, this is where you are heading. In fact, you go there every night during deep sleep, you’re just not aware of it. Awareness is the key. When you’re fully aware, you’re in the present moment and that’s where you connect to Self.

As we’ve already learned, most of the time we’re distracted, our thoughts taking us into the future or the past. Using the breath is a very underrated tool. Your breath can never be in the future or the past, it’s always in the now. During the day, pause now and then and simply observe your breathing. Be in the moment and connect with your self. Having a regular, silent meditation practice, with a personal mantra, such as Primordial Sound Meditation, is perhaps the most powerful way to journey from activity to silence. The thinking process settles down until we transcend thought completely. We expand into the infinite silence and literally bump into our true self.

When we return to activity, we start to bring the memory of self back into our everyday lives. We reawaken to who we really are. Our journey back home begins. The magic returns, with meaningful synchronicity, joy, peace, harmony, and growing abundance. We break free from limitations, until with effortless ease, we once again rest in the self.

Find inner peace 24/7. Download the Chopra App for personalized well-being guidance you can access whenever you need it.