The Path Of Return
By Garuda Ishaya
All true spiritual pursuits are a return to an experience some of us have yearned for for years. This longing can be like a distant echo in the back of our minds, or for some, it is a haunting feeling that there is more to life than the one they may be living.
The desire to return to this natural experience may have become so prominent that no other desire in life comes close to fulfilling this path of return. Whatever the stage of development we may find ourselves on, this path of return is for everyone and anyone. In truth, every one of us is already on the path, the important question is whether this desire is conscious or not.
I spent most of my life searching for an experience I can only describe as Divine. An experience where the Sacred is paramount and where no suffering could exist. An experience where fulfilment and joy were intrinsic in the experience. I looked high and low for an experience I had remembered since early childhood.
Remembering Our Highest Desire
I believe the desire to return to our pure and natural state exists within everyone, and when we are clear and conscious enough in our intention the methods to fulfil it reveal themselves in our life.
The path of return is a remembering, a recognition of a state that is our natural Self. This Self has never gone anywhere at any time, yet it is overlooked by virtually everyone in the world. This overlooking of our true self is said to be called ignorance, as we are not aware of the underlying Reality of Life, which is the Self. Can we ever be without our Self? Can we ever, even for a second not be our Self? Is there any experience we can have in Life whereby our Self is not present?
What Is “The Self”?
The Self I am writing about is a Self that exists beyond the body, mind and emotions, beyond even the personality. This Self is forever Silent, Present, Pure and Clear. It exists in this pristine condition regardless of belief, culture, societal norms or geographical location.
However, if it’s so natural, then why do we forget? I forgot simply because there was no support or recognition of this state in my parents, environment or my culture. When I was growing up, no one talked about the happiness of resting in our true Self, and living a life of fulfilment. I think most of us have a similar experience.
It reminds me of the old saying, ‘the blind, following the blind’. Of course, no one is to blame for this; ignorance has become so ingrained worldwide that virtually everyone is playing a game of forgetfulness.
The good news is that it only takes one glimpse, one direct experience to get the ball rolling, and then, like a great domino effect, our life begins to transform from the inside out. One remembrance of the vast, one recognition of the eternal, and things start unravelling in our life to lead us to fulfilment. This is not a question of belief but the natural unfoldment of the Universe.
This natural unfoldment returns our attention to the one thing that never changes in our life. The one universal constant that has always been present. We have been told and educated by most that we must look in the external world of objects: house, career, relationships, status, etc, to gain our sustenance and our happiness. Although these things are undoubtedly a part of life, they can never bring eternal Joy to us, simply because the source of our being is within.
The remedy to this situation is to train our attention to gently discover the silence within.
Moving Beyond The Limitations Of The Mind
In effect, this is the path of return. The path is a movement from the limitations of the mind, which are our thoughts and feelings, which are always limited compared to the direct experience of eternal, back to the silence. The distance traversed is so small in reality that it can be instant.
The path of return is more like a light switch that we can switch on, this light illuminates everything and this light is the wonderful light of our awareness.
What I discovered quite early on my path was although I knew it was natural, I found it hard to ‘move’ my attention onto the unchanging, eternal Self. I needed a method, a practical tool that I could use to help me move beyond my mind and to rest in the source.
Even though our natural experience is Divine, it is so mixed in with the contents of one’s mind with its opinions, doubts and ideas that initially, it can be very tricky to discern the Truth from our limited conditioning. It’s like mud mixed with water. The method is to separate the mud from the crystal clear water so we can directly see where to rest our attention. It’s either the water or the mud. It is either the silence or the mind.
Some of us traverse the entire world to find this ‘special something’ when illumination is closer than one thinks. I carry myself wherever I go; all my beliefs, ideas, and opinions are carried by me in my mind, and the identification creates a false sense of self.
The true Self lies eternally underlying everything, permeating everything and this reality needs to be recognised and lived. This is the path of return and I am forever grateful for the techniques that enable me to walk my path and the guidance to live this reality more and more through the wisdom of my Teacher.