While doing inner work, which has become my constant joy, this week I realized more than before the power of the right tools. Properly applied, my inner work makes progress through challenges which are felt as distress, to a place of peace and oneness.
I only ever feel distress when my thoughts/emotions react with repulsion towards some stimulus. Graphed, the distress or unease might appear as jagged lines.
Gifted with the special challenges of being on the autism spectrum and having misophonia, my lines have often been spiked with peaks and valleys, experienced as edginess. Over the years, automatic defense mechanisms layered my experience, shielding and isolating me from the 'other.' Yet integration not isolation is my ideal, meaning this journey like many journeys came with a quest.
In legend, most questers have some tool as aid, such as a staff, a wand, a map at least. For my quest there is the inner light, and it's been a faithful companion. Other tools help the separated self of me stay in connection, however feeble at times, with the ever-present light.
They are 'inner work' tools, making them in my eyes superior to anything that could create dependence.
It is always too soon to say, as something else could be just around the corner, yet tools developed over the past year have proven more effective than any of the countless methods and techniques I've tested before.
This line of tools began in May, 2019 with the start of a more regular qigong practice, which led to my developing my own sets, and further developing meditations, and finally (though who is to say the end?) a breathing mantra.
On the search for the perfect mantra, I tested many traditional ones and found they all fell short. I felt no progressive benefit from Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, Om mani padme hum, or Hare Krishna, for example. Of course the ones that work for me might or not for someone else, as it is a personal process and journey. What does work for me are these:
I Am that I Am.
It Is what It Is.
We are One Being.
I Am That.
Volumes have been written, but none are really needed, on the ins and outs, the ups and downs, the why so's and how to's of such mantras.
It is so simple. I feel repulsion towards a bit of news, something I see, or hear, or think, and straightaway counter it with the mantra that feels right.
But not with unfelt words do I counter, as that would have no effect. I am hit with hard news, my emotions anguish, and I hit it back with a strong wave of 'It Is what It Is'. Not in resignation or from laziness is the mantra invoked, but to calm the jagged lines. I actually 'see' with my mind's eye the wave sent out, calming the unrest, and feel the settling effect which comes with an integrated sense of oneness. Of course, the challenges never end, so that there is progression, advancement, betterment, evolution.
Something happens that repulses me, but before judgment or criticism of the other can get a grip, I counter, sometimes on a strong out-breath, with 'I Am That.' Sometimes the out-breath and visualization are so strong, they envelop the planet. I feel the oneness of me and 'That', until there is no other, and nothing outside myself, as We are One Being. For me, 'I Am That' came from the integrated within, but there are whole teachings on it in the separated world.
Besides being full of hoax and fraud, the internet offers some resources, and dedicated individuals have made possible the entire 'I Am That' book as a downloadable PDF file, and the entire narrative of it as a YouTube audiobook. I won't be mining those resources, however, since after hearing the 'master' answer a question with, 'because that is what my guru said,' my interest dwindled to nothing. Whereas the mantra is golden, the teachings are missing something, in my non-judgemental eyes.
We all have access to the same Supreme Guru, the True Self of all that is, and that is the only voice I can follow without giving away my power. Still, for some, these resources may have value as stepping stones. There is no hierarchy. We are one.
See also Medicine of One.
I AM THAT
Dialogues of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
That in whom reside all beings and who resides in all beings, who is the giver of grace to all, the Supreme Soul of the universe, the limitless being — I am that. ~ Amritbindu Upanishad
That which permeates all, which nothing transcends and which, like the universal space around us, fills everything completely from within and without, that Supreme non-dual Brahman — that thou art. ~ Sankaracharya
The seeker is he who is in search of himself.
Give up all questions except one: ‘Who am I?’ After all, the only fact you are sure of is that you are. The ‘I am’ is certain. The ‘I am this’ is not. Struggle to find out what you are in reality.
To know what you are, you must first investigate and know what you are not.
Discover all that you are not -- body, feelings thoughts, time, space, this or that -- nothing, concrete or abstract, which you perceive can be you. The very act of perceiving shows that you are not what you perceive.
The clearer you understand on the level of mind you can be described in negative terms only, the quicker will you come to the end of your search and realise that you are the limitless being. ~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
The advice from Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, while possibly perfectly aligned for most, may not apply in all points to everyone, as we humans are on such individual journeys. When I know 'I Am that I Am', and 'I Am' excludes nothing and is everything, there is nothing that I am not. I can only experience this while accepting fully that 'I Am' everything at once, without distinction. Full acceptance, when it is authentic, seems a more direct approach than delineating all that 'I' am not.