• by Emily Wirtz • Paramahansa Yogananda used to talk about how a wave is the same as the ocean, but it is not the whole ocean, just as we are each a wave of creation in the eternal ocean of Spirit. The ocean can exist without the waves, but the waves cannot exist without the ocean. There’s a still, deep part of the ocean, which is the substance of our very existence in this ocean of Spirit. You can call it whatever you want: God, Source, or any other name.
What happens for me is the thought that I’m separate from other people. I’m thinking I’m separate from those trees over there and I’m separate from other people. We forget that we are all connected and come from the same Source. And, as human beings, we get to choose whether to listen to the voice of Spirit, the voice of our soul, or to listen to the ego voice that thinks we’re separate from each other.
When I went to college, it was about seven hours from home. I didn’t know anyone there, and had the sense that I was going to try to get life figured out. I wanted to find out who I really was, what I wanted to do, and to expand my horizons.
I took lots of different classes, some philosophy and religion courses, and there were a lot of ideas going around in my head. But I noticed that none of the things I read or learned about were helping me figure out what to think about my future.
I didn’t find the answer right away. In fact, I didn’t find the answer in college, although I really enjoyed all the ideas I learned about. It wasn’t until many years later when I learned to meditate that I discovered that there’s a space beyond thought. This helped me to feel that there’s something greater than the thoughts we’re thinking, symbolized in that image of the wave and the ocean.
So if my mind is the wave, calculating things and examining how the past went and how the future might go, and doing it’s best to be helpful, the most satisfying thing to me is knowing that there’s something beyond that, knowing that this ocean of Spirit is my very nature, is all of our very nature.
Where is that ocean of Spirit? What is that ocean of Spirit? Who am I beyond the personality that I know? It’s only as far away as our breath, and an open heart, and a practice of being present so that awareness can fill us.
Now when I walk around, I still think of the past, I still think of the future, I still think of ideas, I still make judgements about myself or other people. But now I know there’s more to life than that. I can turn to my breath, and to the present moment. To open up to an awareness of Spirit, to learn from direct experience with that Presence, is a practice. Keep practicing it and over time it will develop, and help you immensely.
There’s a beautiful word that’s used a lot. It’s an ancient word: Namaste. It roughly translates to: “The Divine in me bows to the Divine in you.” It’s a remembering that our substance is that divine Source, and remembering that who we’re interacting with is that source also.
If we’re walking around in nature, the substance of nature is divine also. Even when we’re in something that we consider “manmade” like our cars, there’s nothing that isn’t made up of that Source, made up of God. So as we go through our days, may we each remember that idea in our hearts: the Divine in us recognizing the Divine outside of us, and in each other. Namaste!