This week, the “OMwork” as they like to say, is to write about how and when I come in contact with my Atman. At first glance, one might think “Atman, what’s that? Is that short for attractive man? If so, where’s the man at?” Well, that’s not exactly what Atman is. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Atman is neither male nor female, person nor thing, rather the energy and space between, it is the eternal witness. Atman translates to “ The divine spark within”, and I’m about to get deep (with a side of sarcasm) and talk about how I connect with the divine spark within me.
One way I come in contact with my Atman/ higher self, is when I do things that light me up, and bring me joy. Since the month prior to embarking on an extreme spiritual journey, I have noticed that the activities and people that made me feel like Squidward around Spongebob, have been leaving my experience, and have been replaced by that which sparks the divine within. I also connect with my Atman daily through physical experiences such as meditation, runs in nature, yoga, and so forth.
Though meditation can connect me with my Atman in a positive way at times, its been more of a sob fest or pity party lately. I’ve realized I’ve got to wipe the dirt off the diamond before I can put a ring on it. Connecting on the deepest level with my Atman, means it’s not going to be all rainbows, butterflies, and fairy dust. (Lets replace butterflies with unicorns or puppies because butterflies are kind of creepy looking up close.) Working through old resistance and detaching from the ego in a healthy way, will help me come in contact with my Atman on a deeper level, and enable my Atman to express itself through my physical body more fully.
On that note, it actually bothers me that I’m writing statements such as “…enable my Atman to express itself” I’m making it sound as though my Atman is something separate from me when that couldn’t be farther from the truth. I am Atman and everything else is an illusion of the mind. I’ll save this for another day because this is going to turn in to a novel if I don’t steer this ship around quick. Actually, I take that back, I’m not turning the ship around, we’re about to sail like Captain Jack Sparrow.
In yogi language, or as others say, Sanskrit, the word “maya” is the concept that the world in which we live is an illusion made up of individual and collective judgments. Identifying too much with maya hinders Atman’s ability to express itself fully through me. It’s like when I thought my happiness relied on that guy to like me, or to win a ton of money. (I’m not saying not having either of those things aren’t irking me slightly still) Identifying too much with maya, this illusion called reality, makes one believe that their happiness is in maya, meaning outside of their true self. When looking at maya for satisfaction instead of my Atman, resistance is built, building a thicker wall between me and my higher self, where true happiness and satisfaction is culminated.
All we are and ever will be is Atman. All the rest is temporary and illusive. My mind, thoughts, and body, are simply the vehicle my Atman uses to navigate through life. Getting caught up in maya is like forgetting to put enough gas in your vehicle, or oil in the engine, and leaving empty water bottles and gum wrappers in the back seat. Some people get so caught up in maya, that they slam on the gas peddle, frustrated they’re not going where they want to, all the while they’ve forgotten to start the car. If we don’t learn to tap in to and listen to our Atman, and do what we love, we’ll never be able to be guided to our desired destination.
When I write and my words begin to flow like an Eminem freestyle, when I get on stage and sing like a little white Whitney Houston, or when my friend and I laugh out loud at inappropriate times because of the hilarious memes we send to each other at work, or even simply appreciating the beauty of the Riviera from my window, nothing but that moment and the joy I feel is on my mind. That is my Atman experiencing life through this body and mind that I have identified as mine. That is lila.
No, lila is not related to the yellow Telly Tubby. Lila means “the divine play” which is to say maya is where we lila. I may not be phrasing that correctly because I know sanskrit as well as I know how to cook Indian Tikka Masala (For the record, I had to look up indian dishes on google because I’m the antithesis of Betty Crocker) Anyways, I am essentially the actor, director, and producer, of the show called my reality. If I connect to my higher self in a way my Atman shines through me, I can create a five star romantic comedy. If I do things or stay in situations that hinder my joy and ability to connect with my higher self because I identify so much with my ego mind and maya, I will produce a box office bomb, and I can’t blame the audience for a bad show.
Though I may have steered this ship a little off course, one can’t deny that it lead us to some treasures, or at the very least, this was an avenue for my Atman to lila through maya. Hopefully I kind of sort of answered the “omwork” appropriately. Though if anyone were to judge me, it probably wouldn’t be very yogi like anyways, right?