Man's Search for Infinity
“The secret of success is not who you are but how deep you are.” Yogi Bhajan
The search for the infinite – why? Helpless puppet in the theater of life and faced with the impermanence of his life, his loved ones and his belongings, man has sought to root himself in a deeper reality in order to feel a sense of control over his fate. With all his might and will power, he has tried to conquer nature but only temporarily succeeded. Even if apparently successful in his endeavors, the higher he reached, the greater he fell. Galaxies, empires, countries, armies, corporation, dynasties, fortunes, families and individuals are all continually rising and falling from grace. Even when his goals were met after long struggles, the pleasures he derived were short lived and he had to go on to discover more distant frontiers in search of permanent happiness. He created the concept of God, in his limited mind, as a pointer towards all that he could not grasp. New lands, arts, sciences, drugs, religions and philosophies one after another failed to permanently satisfy his conscience. Death was always there, waiting around the corner. His contented state of mind could not be maintained by external means or achievements.
Contemplating this, the wisest of men deduced that in the material, emotional and intellectual worlds, pain and pleasure cannot be separated and that no one has ever been permanently satisfied in these realities.
Motivated by this stark reality, the wise men throughout the ages have embarked on the search for the infinite and the knowledge that gives the final liberation. Instead of pursuing happiness by external pursuits, these men abandoned the typical material aims and strived to know themselves through internal pursuits. They turned their senses inward, making the object of study the observer himself (the creator) rather than the external world (the manifestation). Although typically destitute, these prophets, mystics, saints and sages unearthed thoughts of formidable power, which spread around the world and survived thousands of years, a task unmatched by even the most successful power-based hierarchies, armies or corporations.
In comparison, the common man, attached to results and achievements, also turns inwards when looking to solve life’s problems, to research, to create, to write, to gather strength or to accomplish but for him, the quest stops once his material goal is reached and his mind turns back towards the external world. For him, the attraction of the external manifestation of life is too strong and he cannot continue his quest to infinity.
The current state of mind of man – divided and un-whole
In this age of materialism, man identifies himself by differentiating himself from the environment “outside” him. From his perspective, he is made up of a body, feelings and thoughts that comprise his sense of separated and limited identity (ego). The ego is a shield; it blocks the man from giving as well as receiving. When he gains, the world around him loses and when he loses, the world around him gains. Although he knows that the body, the feelings and the thoughts are impermanent, he is identified with them. For the material man, the whole of life is built on this unstable and temporary structure. He has to achieve faster and faster just to avoid facing this illusion.
He is like a leaf trying to live separate from the tree it depends on or a wave trying to exist outside of the substratum of water it is made of. Seeing the world through this filter of separated identity, many ills await him. At the level of the body, he tries to gather as much as he can on “his side of the fence”, he seeks pleasures of the body as an end in itself rather than a means to a higher goal. He eats for pleasure rather than to enable himself to reach higher peaks with his total being. His misused body falls ill as it is overtaxed with foods it cannot digest and does not need. When his wealth is even beyond what he can spend in a lifetime, he continues to work insane hours for ludicrous amounts of money and yet he does not have the time to enjoy it. Sex, power and fame are other false gods he runs after due to this false perception of who he is. At the level of feelings, he numbs himself to his own feelings so as not to feel pain. This habit of seeking only pleasure (and rejecting pain) disconnects him from his own intuition and power. He sees the world as he wishes it to be rather than how it actually is. He is disconnected from those around him whom he hurts unknowingly and out of his own fear. He is also disconnected from his environment, which he destroys without qualm not realizing that he depends on it. He does not know what he wants out of life. At the level of the intellect, he is overloaded with external knowledge through the media and education. His thoughts become weak, circular, out of control and they lose the power to be magnetic to attract what he desires. He runs “out of luck”.
Even his religion is now at the service of his ego. With blind faith in man-made false realities and superstitiously attached to names, forms, relics, places, people and rituals, he prays and tries to conquer through external achievement rather than conquering his inner-self through the self-discovery process that his own cherished Prophets went through. This misunderstanding at a religious/philosophical level undoubtedly manifests at a political level where he fights unending destructive wars. Such a life based on identification with the ego and the betrayal of his higher self (which is accessed through feeling), leads to self-destruction. No outside force is needed to destroy the egotistical man or the “evil empire” as it will destroy itself as its internal self-cherishing forces grasp from each other internally. He does not have the highest intelligence (of giving out of his infinite un-manifest wealth). This internally triggered selfdestruction is nature’s self defense mechanism against selfishness and divisiveness.
The limited ego trying to grasp infinity is madness in the same way as trying to fit the ocean in a cup is. Desire and false identification with our limited body, feelings and thoughts are what limit mind. Trying to make the ego larger through money, sex, power, fame, religious identification, etc… instead of having it become pure so that it can channel infinity is the failed way of the material man. The search for infinity; is it possible and how?
“At some point, the body and mind together become fundamentally aware and convinced that the energy by which the body is pervaded is the same as that which illuminates the world and maintains alive all beings.” Joseph Campbell
A ray of light shines on and on until it hits a surface on which it reflects. In the same way, human consciousness that is not reflected/limited by ego identification and its related desires, shines on to infinity. The mind is prepared for the experience of infinity through the process of meditation. Meditation is the backbone of the mystical experience, which is the basis of all religions.
How one lives is critical in preparing one to meditate. Our state of mind during meditation is highly affected by our everyday life. Living a life in which we injure others requires that we disconnect from our feelings so that we can injure them without feeling pain ourselves. Our actions become habits, our habits become our character and our character becomes our destiny. This perceived and self-inflicted separation due to our disconnection from our feelings now becomes an obstacle in the connection and wholeness that is required for meditation. The mind will not be able to project due to this limitation it has created to avoid pain. For the awareness to grow one would have to re-experience the pain one has caused. This happens naturally in the early “detoxification” / purgatory stages of meditation. Following the typical ethical injunctions (for example non-injury, truthfulness, non-stealing..) becomes critical if one is to experience infinity and all its powers.
Meditation is a technique during which awareness is turned away from the external world and inwards towards our own sensory field. The sensory field is a very effective seed for meditation. One can use sports, dancing, work, relationships or any other seed for meditation as long as it is used to initiate the inward self-discovery process. Meditation is experienced through sensation rather than thought, memory or imagination. Initially, it is best practiced under the guidance of a teacher. Meditation is a process of pure witnessing rather than doing. In the beginning stages, a part of our mind is used to witness thoughts, feelings and senses without any preference or judgment to anything positive or negative. The attitude is that none of what we witness/see is us, but rather ours. We are the consciousness, which is aware of all that is seen. As thoughts, feelings and sensory experiences come and go, one continues watching without any reaction, judgment or preference. Thoughts are not created willfully but thoughts are watched. The only permanent reality is the witness. Particular attention is given to allow negative feelings and sensations so that they are completely accepted and felt. This slowly allows for suppressed feelings and thoughts to be released. This is the universal and archetypical “facing inner demons” aspect of the mystical journey that the hero goes through on his quest to self-discovery. If one feels nothing at all, that is still a sensation to be witnessed. Another common difficulty that one faces initially during meditation is that one feels frustrated that nothing is happening and that precious time is wasted. He projects into the future rather than remaining in the present. The feeling of frustration itself is to be witnessed without reaction if ego is to be conquered. If one feels no negative feelings during meditation, he is suppressing them (and detaching from the heart which is the gateway to his being, higher self and true power). In time, the body becomes relaxed, the feelings connected and alive, and the thoughts magnetic, clear and creative. At a later stage, the intensity of thoughts, feelings and senses decreases so that for example anger that used to take 10 minutes to dissipate now dissipates in a few seconds. At an even later stage, when ones unconscious is purged, one starts experiencing longer and longer moments of no-thought and clear awareness. These moments are unconditionally blissful, intense in consciousness and with infinite creative potential. A deep peace, which is not dependant on external conditions, is experienced. This process and these experiences cannot be comprehended logically or described by the mind but every human can experience them, as they are our most basic potent state. Initially, the mind is used to know the mind but eventually, the mind becomes an external object of awareness. Infinity is not something to be achieved with our will power but it is rather something to be realized through surrendering to what is. When it comes to eternal truth, less is more.
In meditation, powerful states that are not limited by desires, senses, feelings, thoughts, time or space are generated and infinity is experienced. In meditation, one’s body, mind and intellect become integrated. With this mind, one experiences that thoughts, feelings and senses are impermanent and that he is the consciousness, which is all knowing, unconditionally blissful, eternal and infinite. He has completely melted into the “well of souls”. All knowledge and power is available to him. The common man unfortunately tempted by the early boons of his self discovery process takes these powers and turns back into the external world looking for the impermanent pleasures of fame, power, sex and money etc… before reaching the final and permanent awakening that this process brings about.
The perfected man – a channel for the infinite
Aware of the infinite “wealth” in his depth, the perfected man is not attached to the results (mental, emotional or sensory) of his actions as he is self-satisfied and confident in his true abundant Self. By not being attached to the results of his actions (in the future), his awareness remains on creating value (in the present) which he can do with full attention. His thoughts are magnetic. Instead of running after things, things run after him. In business and society, he creates value for others and he naturally gets his share. He does not look for power or fame but would rather support others in achieving it. He is powerful as he uses his equipment of mind, body intellect for the growth of all those around him and nature flows through him. He is confident as he is not deluding himself to believe in the permanence of the ego and knows his true Self which is consciousness is indestructible and the infinitely creative source of life. He leads a natural (family or monastic) life. Through his own feelings, he is emotionally in touch with those around him and his environment. He cherishes and gives to them without a feeling of sacrifice. His intellect is a channel for the collective thought of the masses and he expresses what others can’t yet perceive directly thus becoming a leader in society.
The quest for infinity is not a necessity for the common man, but it is the only source of power behind the man who is looking to lead a truly successful life, one of expression of his full divine potential.
Feel! This will take you through the gateway to infinity.
Know (yourself)! This will effortlessly manifest your deepest wishes!
Realize the infinite in this very life!
Peace, Love and Light.