The Search for Buried Treasure


 It's an age-old truth that what's worth finding is hard to find. What’s easy to get in contrast - what’s readily available - is probably not worth much, if anything. 

 The easily gotten stuff is always cheap grace of some kind, offered up by a slick, snake-oil salesman.

 I think of the discovery of an 'inner life' as comparable to the search for buried treasure. Thus to search in this way, with deep longing and determination, is worth the long trek required and the hard digging with hoes and shovels. 

 So, if it is your desire to find that priceless treasure within, which all the sages and seers have always said, resides as an inexhaustible plentitude at the core of your being, it is worth setting up a meditation corner in your home, spending much time there in contemplation, chanting and meditation. 

 Otherwise, you can go on living with your burner on low heat and become, ten years from now, just as you are now, as perhaps some kind of luke warm creature, merely surviving or getting by, without any great discoveries to report.

 But it’s worth every effort to direct one’s attention to the cultivation of a full and dynamic inner life.

 And it’s worth it as well, to brave the inner purging that is part and parcel of the journey, for as the Beatitudes say, only the pure in heart - the inwardly purged and cleansed - will see God. 

 I am thus making reference here to the search for the buried treasure of our own deeper and subtler life within, that life within that so many say they would like to experience but who, alas, rarely turn up the heat enough to find.

 Now, the life within I’m making reference to has been described as a sacred placespace, or dimension within us. 

 From that dimension within, there springs a holy longing for the eternal. It is a place of infinite possibilities. 

 And deep within, there is even more than a holy yearning. There is as well  a profound stillness. There is in our own deep heart, a delicious mix of longing and stillness. 

 Even to catch a glimpse of that treasure chest of yearning and stillness is to feel a level of aliveness beyond one's wildest imaginings.  

 And that sacred treasure within is closer to us than we are to ourselves. That life within, the mystics say, is a Divine Eye that is forever pointing to the Ultimate.  

 If, for even a moment, we coordinate our attention with this 'eye of the soul,' we will begin to enter an incomparable level of empowerment.

 Failing that, we go on living in an unfocused way, and miss the bliss - miss the joy.  

 Foolishly, the tendency is to bury this eye of the soul by pursuits of all kinds that may have no long term benefit. 

 Nevertheless, every now and then, when we sit quietly and meditate, we may find ourselves gradually disarmed and unguarded. Then grace erupts and breaks through.

 We may be surprised to find that through even a few minutes of silence and attentiveness that we have gained access to this sacred sanctuary of the soul.     

 In such an inspired state, we feel the scales falling from our eyes. Our hearts open and soften and the entire trajectory of our lives begins to change.

 It is the sense of this 'life within' that motivated the life and poetry of the great Indian poet, Rabindranath Tagore, whose writings have filled me with a sense of wonder for many years. 

 Tagore used to sing his inspired poetry and his father would ask him to repeat over and again certain lines. One of these was: “The eye cannot see Thee, for Thou art the pupil in the eye. The heart cannot know Thee, for Thou art its inmost secret.” 

 These are words of wonder! The poet is saying that he cannot see God as some kind of external entity, because he does not exist outside of God.

 Since he is in the reality of God already, it is not possible to behold God as some sort of outside object.

 Rather, the poet's experience is that God, in whom he dwells, is in the pupil of his eye. 

 His realization is that God is seeing through his physical eye. God is enabling his seeing and likewise, enabling his understanding. The poet/singer is one with That which is seeing through him.   

 The ultimate, God, is what he calls the heart’s 'inmost secret.’ Which is yet another way of describing the sacred treasure inside of us.

 We cannot see Him or know Him as some kind of object that can be studied, for He is That within that enables seeing and knowing! 

 So if what someone asks: “Where is God? Where is God located?” The answer isn't that God is to be found at some specific place in the corner of a galaxy somewhere. The answer rather is that He is the One who is prompting your deepest questions and greatest yearnings!  

 God exists in our desire to know. He is in our holy longings. He is that One within who enables us to live, breathe, think, ask questions, and well, the list could go on and on. 

 It is therefore said that in the enlightened state of being, one lives in a constant awareness of that Life of life living in and through us. 

 Anyone living in such a blessed state would not exchange that level of experience for anything else in the world. Like Tagore, she would celebrate the breakthrough realization: “God is the sight of our sight.”  

 Now, even though Tagore lived almost continuously in this inspired state of awareness, he nevertheless became aware that he had even further to go upon meeting the sage, Sri Aurobindo, in Pondicherry, in May of 1928. After spending time with Sri Aurobindo, Tagore was so moved that he remained silent for the entire day afterwards. 

 He later wrote an article about the encounter: “At the very first sight of him I realized that he had been seeking for the soul and had gained it, and through this long process of realization had accumulated within him a silent power of inspiration. His face was radiant with inner light."

 In Sri Aurobindo, Tagore met someone who had fully developed the 'life within' to the point that the Divine energy had penetrated and drenched his entire being. Long experience of "that silent power of inspiration" caused the sage’s face to shine with Divine light.”  

 For myself, I would like to abide more continuously in such a radiant state of being.

 I got an incomparable taste of it a number of years ago and thankfully have not yet recovered! I sat several yards from the meditation master, Gurumayi, at her Ashram in New York state in April of 1995.

 It is one of the few dates I always remember. Within minutes of seeing Gurumayi, I entered a rapturous fullness of experience that I had not thought possible to attain in this life. It was an inner experience that felt like the fulfillment of the best dreams I had ever had. It was a grand home coming.

 My realization was: “So this is what the Siddha Yogis have been talking about when they describe a 'Kundalini awakening.' (the awakening of spiritual energy)

 I felt myself to be completely lost and immersed in the Divine, but also felt, paradoxically, that I'd never been more myself. 

 This sense of feeling in union, and yet distinctive, is the paradox of this level of deep experience. There is a sense of total oneness with God while simultaneously feeling distinctive and utterly clear in one's thinking. 

 The experience of union therefore does not nullify personhood. Christ, for example, was utterly distinctive, but testified that it was his constant experience that He and his Father were one. That sense of oneness with the Father did not obliterate His identity, but sharpened it. 

 Thus it can be said that we are never more ourselves than when we are fully 'lost' in unity with God.

 One might wish therefore to pray to be totally lost in this way, for to be so thoroughly lost, is actually to be found on the deepest possible level!

 Those far from God in contrast become, as the sages and seers have always warned, less and less themselves over time, until finally unrecognizeable.  

 One starts out, in a way, as like a Hobbit, but ends up a Gollam. One starts off with the potential to be a man, but after years of resisting God, one disintegrates into the state of an 'un-man.’ 

 All that finally remains of such a one, at war with God and himself for many years, may be but one last pathetic whimper.

 So, union with God elevates and distinguishes us. Separation from God has a diminishing, blurring effect.  

 I began my saying that the search for buried treasure, which is symbolic of the life within, is worth every effort you can make. I bless those whose longing and determination is to focus their lives in this way.