We've all had them. They may have happened to you as a child; or possibly it was later on, when you became a solid, responsible adult.
I'm referring to those moments when all that you commonly know about yourself dissolves into some larger and less defined viewpoint; when, for whatever reason, a curious warm realization seems to overtake your mind and gentle its movements. Maybe it's simply a moment when you feel touched by a child taking your hand.
Maybe it happened while you were watching water dance over rocks, and for a brief time you were dancing with it. Or maybe it happened when you weren't looking.
No matter what triggers it, experiencing such a moment of realization is like stumbling across a rare painting in your attic. You have no idea where it came from; but it came to you anyway. It's exhilarating. And priceless.
In this world, the normal assumption is that we are rewarded for hard work; and indeed, in this world, we are. Hustle, sweat, keep your nose to the grindstone -- and rewards shall follow.
Yet on the spiritual path I have observed that often there is little relationship between moments of Self Realization and prior industry. It may be, in fact, that when our industry has a strong element of striving attached to it, it leads nowhere. Or maybe it does lead somewhere, but the results unfold according to some unseen and obscure calendar, whose contents remain a mystery to us.
You have all read warnings from teachers who advise us to "let go" in our seeking; to be ready but not overeager; to stay hungry, but resist the impulse to grasp.
Easy to say! Hard to do. And yet, we can almost taste the good sense in that advice. What we think is beyond us remains beyond us because the conviction itself holds it back.
Clearly, to remain loose and willing and unknowing is a much better approach for opening up to further dimensions. If we can proceed on the path with the assumption that what wants to happen will happen, there is far more room for Realization to enter our mindspace and settle in.
At least, that's what I've noticed in my own travels toward the Self. Whenever the tone of my prayer is grasping, nothing happens. On the other hand, when my posture is relaxed and reasonably free of cupidity, something unexpected seems to arise from the ground of Being and make its way into my consciousness.
It's like watching a puppy play, isn't it? If you have absolutely no judgment or fear about what your pet will do to your furniture; if you have yielded to the delight of watching it run and leap and chase and kiss and roll and scratch and bark and squirm and wag and pant and cuddle -- the experience will make you steam with new life.
And that's more or less how we must learn to move into awakening. We go faithfully into the silence, perhaps ask a question or two, and listen with a ready but undemanding ear. Then we go about our business and watch life tumble out the way It wants to tumble out.
To do this, you have to have be willing to walk towards self realization on a carpet of faith; that is, you have to assume that the Divine Self, like your puppy, is a force composed of goodwill, a warm heart and a boundless appetite for happiness.
You may not be assuming that, so check it out if you aren't seeing enough leapings and squealings in your spiritual adventure.
Because no puppy anywhere, however fetching, can top feeling the hand of God lightly tapping on your shoulder.