I thought it would be nice to read along through some scriptures and discuss the passages. I have a translation of the Upanishads done by Eknath Easwaran, a teacher whom I deeply trust and love. In this book there is an introduction before each translation with some insight from Easwaran.
The fourth verse of the Easwaran translation is…
The Self is one. Ever still, the Self is
swifter than thought, swifter than the senses.
Though motionless, he outruns all pursuit.
Without the Self, never could life exist.
I think one of the interesting things about this verse is the balance of contradictions. “Still” but also “swift”; “motionless” but also “outruns.” To me this illustrates how the Self encompasses all things.
It also shows how we can be acting and moving in the world, but our core is still at peace.
I wonder what pursuits the Self is outrunning. Perhaps that means that our own pursuit of enlightenment needs to be relaxed. In other words, I’ve noticed that in both dating and trying to get pregnant, there is a surprising theme. Pursuing it rarely works. When you work hard to get it, it only gets further away. In both cases, I’ve seen so many stories of people who had to release their intense desire for these things and put faith into the universe. The harder you try to force it, the farther away it gets. Maybe the Self is the same way. The tighter you try to hang onto it, the more it slips through your fingers. In the same way that I had to chill and release my desire for marriage before there was space in my life for it to happen, I think I also need to relax into my desire to understand my unity with God.
“The Self is one.” Nothing needs to be done. Nothing needs to be forced. It just is.
This past week I practiced seeing everyone around me as family.
It’s a really powerful exercise and I highly recommend it. I didn’t remember it all the time, but when I did, I felt an immediate flood of positive feelings. Particularly when people do things that annoy or upset you, if you think of that person as a sister or a brother, it’s easier to forgive and relax about it.
We go rollerskating on Fridays and the little kids there can be very irritating. They haven’t yet developed a good sense of spacial relations, so they will make ridiculous decisions about what direction to go and cause you to crash or nearly crash. I did feel my blood pressure going up, but at those times that I remembered to think of these children as little sisters and brothers, I felt affection and my annoyance was tinged with a chuckle.
This week I am going to make sure that I’m spending at least a few minutes every day with my home altar.
What is your goal this week?