My esoteric inquiries have taken me into India to take a look at Kashmir Shaivism, a branch of Hinduism that arose from Kashmir. This tradition is “non-dualist,” which refers to the idea that everything is fashioned from a single source. When I say everything, I mean anything you can imagine whether it is animated or not. All of reality is created from a single, undifferentiated fabric. That includes physical objects, like the computer you are looking at right now, as well as consciousness, that mysterious sense we each have of being alive.
In that last sentence, I use the word mysterious because there is no agreement in scientific communities that says consciousness arises from our physical brains, or that consciousness is outside our physical form and influences our brains. It’s still a mystery. Maybe someday it won’t be, but today it is.
Back to Kashmir Shaivism…, the experience of enlightenment or liberation in this tradition is one of self-recognition. This is because if everything is one, it is the great essence that is recognizing itself that causes liberation. This self-recognition occurs whenever we participate in a creative act, like performing theater, dance, or poetry. It also occurs when we seek to better ourselves; for example, in therapy or goal-setting (or, might I suggest, when we do strategic planning!).
Whether or not you go for this I think it is a great metaphor, this idea that liberation comes when we recognize ourselves as being more than we normally take ourselves to be. Have you ever had someone explicitly appreciate you and suddenly you are transported to a new awareness of yourself? It’s like you are remembering some talent or attribute you have that is admirable, and you subsequently feel good about who you are. In this instance, it’s a re-membering, a putting together again of your self-image.
What might you re-member about yourself right now that will help you in the week ahead?
“The best vision is insight.” – Malcolm Forbes