Photo by Kinga Cichewicz on Unsplash.

Someone asked me the question: “I feel selfish and troubled all the time. Why is it so hard to feel peaceful all the time if it’s my true nature?” Well, that question cannot be answered with words but can be realized. How? By knowing the Knower, being the Be-er. Now, you know you are troubled. See? Who is asking this question? The one who is troubled or the one who is aware that they know they are troubled? If it is the one who is troubled, that means you have become identified with your troubled mind. Then, even if I want to point out your true nature, it will all get mixed up in the trouble and become another trouble!

Why? Because the mind is not ready to understand the answer. Do you understand my point? That is why I say that when we are troubled or worried due to our selfishness we know, “Well, I am selfish, that is why I‘m troubled.” We should find the way out of the selfishness and this misidentification. You know: “I am selfish. I am troubled.” If you can let go of the “selfish” and “troubled” and remain as just the “I am,” then you will discover the inner peace once again.

Once you realize this, you will know, “Oh, I was never troubled; my mind was troubled and I forgot that I am not my mind but that I am.” Yes, and what is that “I am?” That is the peace in you, the God in you, the tranquility and joy within you. It’s something like a person who is dreaming and in their dream they become entangled. In the dream, they see their legs are being tied up with some rope and they try to kick off the rope. And, if the dream is a little intense, they will begin kicking the bed, is it not so? You see, when they dream, it expresses in the physical body also and they do the physical movements according to the dream. Have you seen that?

Imagine you see somebody who is having a dream like that, kicking the bed, and you say to them, “You are only sleeping, you are only dreaming; really nothing happened to you, so relax.” Will they keep quiet? They are still dreaming. They won’t understand you. If you really want them to stop the kicking you have to wake them up.

When you wake them up they will say, “Oh thank goodness you woke me up! I was having a terrible dream.” They will begin to laugh at their own dream, which felt so real at the time. Similarly, as long as you are in the dream-like illusion that you are selfish and troubled, you can’t just wake up from that. You need someone to point out the truth of the “I Am.” That’s why my Gurudev, Swami Sivananda, used to command: “Arise, awake!” So, one has to be awakened to the Truth. Until we are awake, we won’t even be able to see that we are asleep and dreaming that we are limited, we are troubled, we are this, we are that.

This recognition is what you call enlightenment—like when the sun comes up and the light awakens you from your dream. But even when the light comes and our shutters are closed the room remains dark. The light should come into the room. For that to happen, you have to open the shutters—open your eyes to the Truth. Once you are awake, you will just laugh at the whole phenomena that caused you to identify with your body and mind. You will realize it’s all a big dream! You will recognize, “Oh dear, I thought this is who I am. Now I see! There is only one Truth and I am that! I am Truth-Consciousness-Bliss.”

Everything in this whole creation is that same essence as well. And, all the names and forms are all just for fun. That is what we call the “Divine Leela,” the play of God. When you realize this, you will be able to enjoy the ever-changing world because you will have realized the Truth of the never-changing One that is who you and everything essentially are. So, remember: live in the essence and then you can enjoy the nonsense!

By Sri Swami Satchidananda