Friday, May 4, 2018

Only One Pilgrim

There's a very nice story in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. A man has reached his later years in life and decided that it was time to relinquish his belongings and become a sanyasi. So, he went to his two wives and told them that he was leaving and that he intended to split his wealth between the two of them.

When he told one of his wives, Maitreyi, she surprised him by asking if gaining this wealth would allow her to go beyond death. In fact, would obtaining all the wealth in the world allow her to accomplish that?

Of course not, Yajnavalka responded. Money can not buy immortality.

Then why are you offering me your wealth, Maitreyi asked? I'd rather that you tell me the way to immortality.

How exciting would this be for one of us reading this? You go to your significant other and offer them money or something material, expecting a smile to take over their eyes as they dream aloud of what they might do with it or what they might be able to buy. And they surprise you by asking you, instead, to tell them the Truth about life and the way beyond death. Wow. What a partner to have!

Anyhow, Yajnavalka goes on to point out to Maitreyi that a wife loves her husband, not for who or what he is, but for the Self within him. That self that gives him life; that self that is who he really is. Likewise, a husband loves his wife, not for who she is, but for the Self that lives within her.

The same is said for our love of our children. People's love for all the other people in society. Animals. The universe. Everything. True love comes about not because of anything particular about the apparent other in our relationships, but because Love in us recognizes itself in that apparent other.

But, through meditation and a constant study of ourselves, we can come to see that we are not who we think we are. We are that ever-present, eternal awareness that gives life to you, me, and everything else. That eternal awareness dissolves our sense of separateness as our perceived mutual consciousness becomes clear.

When you see that one consciousness that manifests through everybody, your mistaken sense of a separate physical identity drops off. Dissolves into nothing. As Yanjavalka tells Maitreyi, once you see this, you know you have never been born and will never die.

As I walk the Camino over the next month, I hope to see that awareness in the eyes of everyone I meet. I hope to see that in Truth, there is only one pilgrim walking the Way of Saint James, even though it seems to manifest as many, many separate people.

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