There is a light. A light that shines within. You can call it the light of consciousness. It is the light by which we can see, hear, smell, taste, touch and think. When we close our eyes and imagine something, it is also illumined by this inner light. When we imagine only darkness but are still thinking, this ‘light’ is that which ‘illumines’ our thoughts as well as the darkness. We know both light and dark because of it. It also illumines our dreams as well as our waking life.
Have you ever noticed this light, this inner light? Have you ever noticed how, peculiarly, it never changes? It is the one constant: your thoughts and opinions have no doubt changed over time; your body has grown and altered over years past; your emotions most probably fluctuate throughout the day. But the light by which you are conscious/aware of these remains the same.
Imagine yourself as a young child. Do you remember what it was like to be you back then? Try to picture a specific memory in your mind. Do you, like me, have a sense that you were basically the same person then as you are now? If so, what is it now that is the same as then? As I said, your thoughts,body and feelings have all changed over time, but something remains the same, unchanged. What is that unchanged essence? This is the inner presence-light that cannot be put into words but is always there.
That light can also be felt as a presence. Actually, it cannot be felt as anything, rather through it feeling occurs and presence is felt. For though it perceives, it cannot be perceived. For though it illumines, it cannot be illuminated/seen (just like how electricity which illumines a light bulb cannot be seen). But it is undeniably present (Please note that putting this into words makes something that is as simple as our own being seem overly complex. If you stick to your own direct experience, you will see how simple it all is).
From the point of view of your own direct experience of living, this illuminating-presence is the essence of what you are. No matter what happens to you, it is unscathed, unchanged, unharmed, unmodified.
‘Blades do not pierce it, fire does not burn it, waters do not wet it, and the wind does not parch it’
Bhagavad Gita 2.23
If you believe your thoughts and take yourself to be a limited body-mind entity, this aware-presence can be felt as something external looking down at you – it can be felt as God’s ever-present gaze lovingly embracing you.
‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’
If however you remain silent, as thoughts subside this sense of identification can fall away and you can see that this presence is actually the essence of what you already are. We can see that our true-nature is awareness-consciousness-spirit.
‘The eye with which I see God is the same eye with which God sees me.’
Know that spirit or light within cannot be described or pinned down. It is everywhere, as light is everywhere, but it is no particular thing. Any object you can see/feel/perceive is not that spirit-light. It cannot be experienced, as it is that which allows experience to occur – it transcends experience. And while it is no particular thing and no particular experience, without it no things would be experienced. In this sense all things are dependent on it.
‘They can’t say, ‘Here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ You see, the kingdom of God is within you.’
This is the divine essence that resides in each and every one of us. See, if you believe in God but do not have a feel for this inner spirit-light, then your god is simply a projection of your mind/thought. If however you feel this inner light, then what need have you for belief? Divine spirit is already here lighting up and animating your life. Instead learn to trust it, have faith in it – it is not a projection, but a sense of eternal unchanging presence that is always there patiently waiting, patiently supporting you. Pay attention to it throughout the day, allow it to seep into your being, engulf you and wash you clean.
‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him,and he will make straight your paths.’
Lean on Spirit, the innermost essence of you, and see what happens. Allow God to reveal herself to you. Like falling asleep, this is not something you can do, but something you have to allow to happen.
‘Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear.’
Bhagavad Gita 18.66
Ultimately God is beyond all concepts and labels, even concepts of consciousness or inner light. All concepts of the ultimate dissolve in that Unnameable Reality.