There are billions of people living on this planet earth, and probably trillions more living in other regions of the universe or in other universes. There are millions and millions of differing opinions, ideas, experiences, and so forth. Is there anything that is common to everyone, irrespective of their personal experience or different ideas?
Some people hypothesize that there is no common basis of understanding or experience, and that basically everything is made up according to ones own like or dislikes. They say that everything is a matter of personal preference. Some people say the Truth is just what we make it up to be, and that just as “beauty is in the eyes of the beholder” so also is truth in the eyes of the beholder.
This form of thinking is rooted in individuality, and is not uncommon in a culture that bases itself on the ideal of ‘rugged individualism’. Each of us is, after all, unique and ‘one of a kind’. One who contemplates deeply on this uniqueness of the self, comes to realize that there is a world of difference between being ‘unique’ and being ‘individualistic’. A unique person is truly one of a kind, whereas an individualistic person is quite common and ordinary. Individuality is the quality of ego, whereas uniqueness is an inherent quality of the soul-self, the pure consciousness.
Ego is the false identification of the conscious self with the mind and body. The soul-self, or pure consciousness, is consciousness devoid of ego expression. When we are really not in our ego, we experience directly the beauty of life, and that experience is always unique, it is always ever-new, and it is not possible to copy that experience in the memory or find a substitute for it. On the other hand, when we are in our ego we intuitively know that our experience is limited, and the mind and ego then react by attempting to cover up our lack. Ego reacts by asserting itself and claims dominion over the mind, which it uses to manufacture images to prop itself up. Ego-individualistic-self-confidence is a very poor substitute for the soul confidence (aatam-vishwas) inherent in the state of pure awareness (aatam-stiti). In fact, it is no substitute at all, because there is no substitute for the state of imageless awareness, the state of pure consciousness.
By its very nature, ego does not let us experience the universality of Truth, because to do so would negate the existence of ego. But of course, ego wants to believe it knows everything, so it creates its own ‘Truth’, because to know the Truth makes the ego feel important and powerful, even though the truth it knows is not the Truth at all but only its own images. This is why ego holds onto its images, including its images of universality.
There are many, many religious preachers, pundits, prophets, and profiteers but very, very few real teachers and tellers of Truth. No one can really tell you the Truth unless you are ready to hear it, which means no one can teach you the Truth unless you are ready to learn it. Emotional maturity and the desire to learn are both prerequisites.
We become emotionally mature when we begin to realize that the whole world does not revolve around us. The less self-involved we are, the more fit we become for self-realization. Every insight we have into the real nature of our being increases our desire to learn more. The time comes when our desire for Self Knowledge out weighs all other desires. Eventually we are ready to hear the Truth from the lips of a True Teacher.
The Truth-teacher is a facilitator and not a dictator. He or she simply facilitates the truth-seeker in the search for Truth. A true Guide will guide you to look within your own self and discover by direct perception your own True Self.
It is not possible to see clearly if our perception is clouded by our misconceptions, images, and false knowledge. As long as we are holding onto our ego we will remain confused and unhappy. We need to drop our ego by letting go of our images and begin with a clean slate. As the Zen meditation says, “We need to empty the picture filled with mud and water, so that the fresh water can be poured into it.” We need to empty our mind of all our preconceived notions of Truth in order to learn the Truth from within. When we drop our ego and images we become simple, humble, human beings, who are eager and earnest to get to the bottom of the matter and experience the Truth directly.
Everyone who has had a taste of divine bliss, a taste of Truth, knows without any doubt that is absolutely real and far beyond the realm of mind, intellect, and ego. Everyone who has had an insight into the Nature of Truth, knows unequivocally that this Truth is Universal and has nothing at all to do with individuality, morbidity, mortality, and immorality.
People who are individualistic, people who are depressed and morbid, people who are dying everyday in selfishness, and people who are living immoral, fiendish, degrading lives do not know the real meaning of this beautiful human life. They remain asleep in Ignorance and continue to suffer in the duality of their nightmares and fantasies until they awaken to the ‘still small voice within’, the whisper of their own soul beckoning them to return home to their True Self, to reclaim their inheritance of Supreme Ecstasy and Divine Love.
Truth is not in the eyes of the beholder but in the eyes of the True Beloved. When we look into the eyes of the true Love of our Life (that is, when we have the perception of the vision of Eternity), we forget our own small self and experience directly the Supreme, Divine, Universal Truth.