Initially, most adults are in that place of “what I want.” New Age approaches may amplify that, such as goal-setting our desires.
Alas, so often we’ve learned to resist what we don’t want and grasp at what we do, sometimes engaging in a perpetual battle with life. This doesn’t support fulfilment but perpetuates what we don’t want.
We may play the role of the victor or the victim, but in either case, that’s about controlling life rather than being with what is here.
Some get into a concept of needing to fix themselves, perpetually taking self-help workshops. They see themselves as fundamentally broken. Some even talk of fractured souls.
There is nothing wrong with planning, goal-setting, and learning good self-care and healing. But what’s driving that? A move to fulfilment? Or a need to control? Or a sense of being broken?
Some choose a neo-advaita approach that denies the world as an illusion. But is that the actual experience or is it just another form of spiritual bypassing? ie: using spiritual techniques to resist and avoid what is here.
As Shankara observed, when tamas guna (inertia) is dominant in our physiology, we see the world as real. When rajas (transformation) becomes dominant, we see the world as illusion. Then when sattva (purity) becomes dominant, we see the world as Lila, the divine play. These are not concepts but qualities that change how we perceive the world. When we upgrade, the world upgrades.
The deeper truth is that the world is not real in and of itself but is real in the sense of it being flowing consciousness. Recognizing the actual reality often unfolds in the above stages. Thus, world as unreal is a stage, not a fundamental reality.
Shankara framed it like this:
“Brahman is real
the world is not real [the half truth]
Brahman is the world”
As we soften our identification with the personal ‘me’ and do some healing, our resistance and grasping becomes more conscious. We can ease up and begin to accept life as it is. We become OK with what is.
As we work with life instead of against it, life shifts to support us in return. Problems come with solutions and past consequences resolve more smoothly. We move into sync with nature.
This does not mean we have no desires, but they lighten up. We stop wanting what isn’t in our best interests. Our desires also sync with nature.
When the heart opens, we step into life’s deeper flows and go beyond being OK with what is. We come to love life and recognize that whatever arises, we know it is for the greater good. Framed another way, we come to trust life and know from experience that everything will be fine, whatever the surface appearance. We let go and surrender to its flows.
We come to love what is (mostly).
This creates a vastly deeper intimacy with life and nature. In time, we progressively deepen into more and more fundamental layers of reality. This increases our appreciation of ‘what is’ in ways that cannot be described. Oneness dawns.