Stand Upon the Self


Picture poster of Swami Vivekananda, Vedanta Society Disciple of Sri Ramakrishna

Swami Vivekananda, Vedanta Society
Disciple of Sri Ramakrishna

After every happiness comes misery; they may be far apart or near. The more advanced the soul, the more quickly does one follow the other. What we want is neither happiness nor misery. Both make us forget our true nature; both are chains—one iron, one gold. Behind both is the Atman, who knows neither happiness nor misery. These are states and states must ever change; but the nature of the Soul is bliss, peace—unchanging. We have not to get it; we have it. Only wash away the dross and see it.

Stand upon the Self; then only can you truly love the world. Take a very, very high stand. Knowing our universal nature, we must look with perfect calmness upon all the panorama of the world. It is but baby’s play, and we know that, so cannot be disturbed by it. If the mind is pleased with praise, it will be displeased with blame. All pleasures of the senses or even of the mind are evanescent, but within ourselves is the one true unrelated pleasure, dependent upon nothing. It is perfectly free. It is bliss. The more our bliss is within, the more spiritual we are. The pleasure of the Self is what the world calls religion.

The internal universe, the real, is infinitely greater than the external, which is only a shadowy projection of the true one. This world is neither true nor untrue, it is the shadow of truth. “Imagination is the gilded shadow of truth,” says the poet.

We enter into creation, and then for us it becomes living. Things are dead in themselves; only we give them life and then, like fools, we turn around and are afraid of them or run after them. But be not like certain fisherwomen, who, caught in a storm on their way home from market, took refuge in the house of a florist. They were lodged for the night in a room next to the garden, where the air was full of the fragrance of flowers. In vain did they try to rest, until one of their number suggested that they wet their fish baskets and place them near their heads. Then they all fell into a sound sleep.

The world is our fish basket We must not depend upon it for enjoyment Those who do are the tamasikas, or the bound. Then there are the rajasikas, or the egotistical, who talk always about “I,” “I.” They do good work sometimes and may become spiritual. But the highest are the sattvikas, the introspective, those who live only in the Self. These three qualities—tamas, rajas, and sattva—are in everyone, and different ones predominate at different times.

Creation is not a “making” of something, it is the struggle to regain equilibrium—as when bits of cork, thrown to the bottom of a pail of water, rise to the top, singly or in clusters. Life is and must be accompanied by evil. A little evil is the source of life. The little wickedness that is in the world is very good, for when the balance is regained the world will end, because sameness and destruction are one. As long as the world exists, good and evil exist with it; but when we can transcend this world, we get rid of both good and evil and have bliss.

There is no possibility of ever having pleasure without pain, good without evil. For life itself is just lost equilibrium. What we want is freedom—not life, nor pleasure, nor good. Creation is infinite, without beginning and without end, the ever-moving ripples on an infinite lake. There are, however, unreached depths in this lake, where equilibrium has been regained; but the ripples on the surface are always there; the struggle to regain the balance is eternal. Life and death are only different names for the same fact, the two sides of one coin. Both are maya, the inexplicable state of striving at one time to live, and a moment later having to die. Beyond this is our true nature, the Atman. What we call God is really only the Self, from which we have separated ourselves and which we worship as outside us; but it is our true Self, all the time, the one and only God.

— Swami Vivekananda —
Inspired Talks, June 25, 1895

Remebering Oneness


About Marc of Contemplative Pathways

Marc teaches contemplative meditation in the context of contemporary mysticism. His understanding of the mystical life is rooted in close to 40 years of study, practice, unfoldment, realization and experience, in the course of which he has received the gifts of spiritual discernment and transmission. His teaching work meaningfully shifts consciousness in a student through the process and alchemy of mystical transformation.   Marc facilitates the mystical teachings under the style of Contemplative Pathways. He enables others to embark on the spiritual journey by learning and understanding the Truth teaching and by living its principles. He has been conducting classes and meditation meetings in the San Francisco Bay Area for over fifteen years in a classroom, lecture, workshop, online meeting, or group practice setting.   His methodology of instruction is divinely inspired and firmly rooted in pure authentic mysticism. His approach to the mystical life is essentially nondenominational, nonsectarian, culturally interfaith, spiritually transreligious, and definitively unitive and nondualistic. His other contributions to worldwide spiritual awakening and the global contemplative movement include spiritual mentoring and spiritual healing practice.   Within the context of the great shift in consciousness now occurring all over the planet, Marc’s work presently focuses on individual and collective spiritual transformation and healing. He promotes the practice of contemplation or meditation as the vehicle for transcendence and ascension to the higher dimensions of mystical consciousness.   Marc is firmly committed to the vision of a global spiritual awakening and the divine promise of humanity’s mystical illumination.  
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