One of the most important thing in our life should be knowing ourselves. Our first and foremost task would therefore be to find an answer to the most elementary question in life: Who am I?
In order to be able to answer that question, first we have to find what we need deep in ourselves, to find the things that give us lasting satisfaction. We cannot find these things in the outside world, we must look for them inside ourselves. We have to look inward, so we must stop the constant rush, so characteristic of our present, harassed life. We stop, we must tune to our inner energies.
We are, however, prevented from performing that task succesfully by some deep, unconscious patterns of Mind. These patterns are rooted so deeply in our personality, that most often we are not even aware of their existence. Our entire life should be one joyful dance, but instead, deeply conditioned behaviour patterns fill our life with stress, anxiety and grief.
The Nature of the Conditioned Patterns of Mind
These conditioned mental patterns are realized as various systems of beliefs and patterns of thoughts in our lives. These patterns of thoughts and beliefs are not created by ourselves. They have been handed down to us by our parents, our community and the society in which we grow up, and we have also borrowed some from the media. We very often accept these ready-made mental patterns and beliefs uncritically, without any thinking; what is more, we identify with these patterns that will, in this way, be incorporated into our personalities.
That is how our different convictions have been created over the years, that is how we have created a system of values and beliefs for ourselves, and we now organize our entire life based upon those systems. Those conditioned mental patterns serve as a background to the events that are happening to us day by day. The majority of our worries, desires, pleasures and motivations are derived from those mental patterns and all these, in turn, further reinforce those patterns.
A characteristic feature of these conditioned mind patterns–no matter how different they might be in different cultures–is that they reproduce themselves. They therefore produce human replicas that meet the expectations and norms of the society they are born into. They adjust to, and keep the rules of their respective society, and they become effective members of that society. They think, behave and feel as expected from good citizens. In the meanhwile, they preserve the illusion of free choice, since the conditioned mind patterns are, to a certain extent, flexible. Then we identify with the conditioned mind patterns and begin to believe that we know the answer to the question regarding our identity, our goals in life.
The Internal Development
From the aspect of our internal development, however, the amount of spiritual knowledge gathered, the spiritual development methods acquired, and the sophisticated spiritual events we have had in our life are all unimportant. The internal development can only be the result of consciousness. Our internal development therefore does not only depend on our life experience; it depends much more on our ability to divert our attention from the outside world to our internal world. Are we able to turn away from the patterns of Mind, programmed by our Egos, and is there a deep desire to know the true answer to the question ”Who am I?”
From the aspect of our internal development the–often chaotic–world of our Mind and emotions is not our real internal world. Our attention should not be directed to the analysis and comprehension of these; instead, we need to concentrate on becoming conscious of our existence, to find the center of our Self behind our external life and personal history. That is our real internal world.
In the course of our spiritual world we become conscious of, and alert to that internal center, to that internal world. Once that has been accomplished, our life is placed on entirely new foundations. The Mind stops functioning the way it used to and, together with that, our sense of identifying with the Mind and suffering vanishes.
The spiritual Ego, our separate little self disappears, and we are permeated by a permanent, light presence. The personality is gone, and what remains is silence and presence, as the real essence of our existence. From that time on, that will serve as the real foundation for our internal development.
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