Lesson 1: The Real Issue
We are now moving from preparation to engagement, using Sri Aurobindo’s “Savitri” as our guide. Starting now, I will refer to Sri Aurobindo simply as SA.
Have you noticed so many times when you’re upset, you know that the reason you say you’re upset is not really the reason? Have you noticed the “special” suffering you carry around with you that nothing outside of you can heal? Have you ever felt even for a second the separation not only from others but from yourself and from the world, like being stranded on an island? I’ll be more specific: have you ever observed the meaninglessness of life as you have lived it?
Existence precedes experience. Before you ever knew pain or joy or suffering or orgasm or fear or victory, you existed. Before you ever experienced cold or warm or thirst or contentment or hate or love or prejudice or justice, you existed. Before you were able to see, taste, hear, touch or smell, you existed. You had to exist before you could experience anything.
“Why camest thou to this dumb deathbound earth,
This ignorant life beneath indifferent skies
Tied like a sacrifice on the alter of Time,O spirit, O immortal energy,
If ’twas to nurse grief in a helpless heart
Or with hard tearless eyes await thy doom?
Arise, O soul, and vanquish Time and Death.”
SA spells out the issue when he states about each of us:
“To wrestle with the Shadow she had come
And must confront the riddle of man’s birth
And life’s brief struggle in dumb Matter’s night.
Whether to bear with Ignorance and death
Or hew the ways of Immortality…
To win or lose the godlike game for man,
Was her soul’s issue thrown with Destiny’s dice.
She must disrupt, dislodge by her soul’s force
Her past, a block on the immortal’s road,
Make a razed ground and shape anew her fate.”
It is time for you to plow up some dirt and shape anew your fate. But is it possible that there could be another destiny for your life and body other than struggling its way through time with the yoke of life on its shoulders only to end in the unannounced moment of death? Is your will truly powerful enough to cancel out the past and restore your “vanished” form? What is your “vanished” form to which SA refers? Why are you oblivious to the fixed patterns of your life? Why do you not know the “motive and plot” of your life and what you are here for? How do you start “anew” your fate and destiny? Why would your true Self of limitless power have created this little self whose world centers around ignorance and death? What is the real issue?
The world is an effect. The world is not the cause. Your life (effect) is the outcome of you (cause) and no one else. You are the cause and it turns out that the real issue begins with the issue of existence. The question of existence lies at position of cause. It is the starting gate in your physical experience. Existence precedes experience.
“What now we see is a shadow of what must come.
The earth’s uplook to a remote Unknown
Is a preface only of the epic climb
Of human soul from its flat earthly state
To the discovery of a greater self
And the far gleam of an eternal Light.
The world is a beginning and a base
Where Life and Mind erect their structured dreams;
An unborn Power must build reality
A deathbound littleness is not all we are:”
The significance of your existence has already determined your destiny: that your unlimited potential and destiny is something that already exists inside of you as being part of who you are in the same way that the DNA of a tiny acorn contains the blueprint of the giant oak. You can take million different classes (experiences) but you don’t get to choose the curriculum. The curriculum is set. The curriculum is your existence becoming what it is intended to become. How you get there is up to you.
You were born whole and complete, lacking nothing and the significance of your existence is to experience that wholeness. In fact, you are more than just whole and complete. YOU ARE THAT. But you are but “…a shadow of what must come.” So, what is your Shadow with whom you must wrestle? It is the unconscious choice of pretending that you are NOT THAT in order to experience that you ARE THAT. God lies within, not without.
Let me make it easy for you. Let’s say you are married. Every night you come home from work and tell your partner that you love them…but you don’t do anything about it…but you tell them. You get busy, you do chores, you exercise, you watch TV, you do a million things but show them that you love them. Your partner knows that you love them. But they don’t want the KNOWING…they want the DOING. And if you don’t do it, they will leave you…even though they know that you love them. Existence is the same thing. It seeks the experience that it knows that it is. It knows that you ARE THAT. But you don’t. And when it cannot experience that Self which it knows its Self to be, it will substitute a false self, a “deathbound littleness” as its yoke to one day force the realization of who it is out in the open. In order to experience what something is, you have to experience what it is not.
You are a flaming warrior who has come into existence to force open the doors of ignorance and unconsciousness that has kept you bound lifetime after lifetime after lifetime. You are endowed by your very existence to possess the will and power to lift the burdens of your life and experience your Self for who you really are.
“A flaming warrior from the eternal peaks
Empowered to force the door denied and closed
Smote from death’s visage its dumb absolute
And burst the bounds of consciousness and Time.”
The riddle of existence is a process of amnesia in which you deliberately forget to know why you are here. Your experiences are designed to cause that understanding to be known. This is the purpose of your unconscious Shadow: to lead you to a conscious existence. The real issue is that YOU ARE THAT…and you don’t know that. The real issue is that God is within you, not outside of you.
Your experiences have been the carefully selected events in your life that you chose and drew to yourself in order to reveal the nature of your existence. They are neither accidental nor unintentional. But you are not your experiences! They are the very tools of your awakening, the very yellow brick road that will lead the way Home for you to at last reveal and confirm what you have secretly known your whole life. YOU ARE THAT. Your very existence confirms it. You must “…disrupt, dislodge…” the past by your soul’s force, raise the ground of your present life and shape anew your fate. You are by your very existence living proof that you are THAT…or you could not be here in the first place.
The version of reality that you have is simply a psychosomatic version of reality that came about as a result of your experiences, all the while believing that you are your experiences. This is your Shadow, your own personal darkness. The Shadow’s purpose is to help you bring about your life as you would have it be, to not only know but experience heaven on earth…because that is what you are. You are here to bring about the divine on this planet. Your existence confirms it. And you don’t know that. This is the real issue.
To change the world, you must change yourself and this is where the real issue is.
“Whether to bear with Ignorance and death
Or hew the ways of Immortality,
To win or lose the godlike game for man,
Was her soul’s issue thrown with Destiny’s dice.”
“Why camest thou to this dumb deathbound earth?” If you thought you had problems before, you ain’t seen nothing yet.
Welcome to the land of the living.
1. Existence precedes experience.
2. Your existence is the curriculum. Your experiences are the classes you take.
3. The curriculum is the same for all human beings. Your classes are unique for you.
4. Your existence defines you. Your experiences do not. They’re just experiences.
5. Your experiences exist within a field of duality in which the way that you learn what something is by experiencing what it is not. Ex. Before a person becomes what they are capable of being, they first become what they are not. Said another way, in order to learn the value of love, you will experience rejection or abandonment or loneliness.
6. Your existence comes with an internal “roadmap,” providing you with all the tools you need to live the life of your choice in the same way that an acorn contains the DNA of the giant oak.
7. The life you are living is but a shadow of your true power.
8. Why did you come here, why do you exist? You came to wrestle with the shadow in order to realize and experience your divine nature.