Someone is looking for a nice job, someone else is looking for love, another is looking for a spiritual experience, still another for political power. All of us are searching, for one thing or another. We are desperately running after things. It is as if life has made us a promise and now we are demanding that it be fulfilled.
What is it? What do we want from life? Someone has a Bachelor’s degree, someone a Masters, someone has a Ph.D., another has a JD and another one has a medical degree. Someone is just a high school graduate and another doesn’t even have that. But everyone is desperately running after things, money, relationships, property and what not. Surely all of these billions of people are not stupid. Everyone has at least some vague, perhaps sub-conscious, idea that things, money, property will not make us contented. We all understand that very well. Yet we keep running after these things like crazy.
What is it?
It is a memory. A memory of a moment from the past when life was perfect. We did not have any demands from life. We had everything we needed. We were on top of the world. Over the millenia, some wise men have appeared amongst us and told us that poverty and wealth are not about how much money you have in your bank account or how many debts you owe. These are not about your financial net worth. No, poverty and wealth correspond to whether you want to take something from the world or whether you already have more than enough and you want to give something to the world.
If you want something from the world, then you are poor, no matter how much money and wealth you have acquired. You are still a beggar. But if you do not want anything from the world and you want to share something you have with the world, then you are truly a rich man, a wealthy person, like Jesus, like Buddha, like Lao Tzu, like Mohammad, like Krishna, like Kabir, like Rumi, like Nanak and a few others like them.
In every person’s life there have been moments when we have not wanted anything else from life than what we already have. In my own case, it was probably the early 1970s. We used to live in Lahore, Pakistan, in a nice, friendly neighbourhood. Kids used to gather in the street every evening to play games. I was probably around 3 or 4 yrs old. I remember one afternoon when I was comfortably lying under one of the chairs of our dining table. A boxing match was going on on our black and white TV. If I remember correctly, it involved Mohammad Ali, the great boxing world champion of those times. Everyone, my parents and siblings, was busy with their own lives, watching TV or eating something or doing whatever. And I was lying under that chair playing with my toys, too blissful to pay attention to anything else except vaguely and sub-consciously recording the on-goings in my surroundings. I have a poor memory, but that moment comes back to me again and again so clearly.
And now whenever I think about life and what we are all searching for, I feel that we are all searching for moments like that, when we had no problems, no desires, no struggles in life, no worries, when everything was taken care of, when our days were our own, when there were people who loved and nurtured us without our asking and without giving anything in return, when life was like a sweet, unending dream. I call this the Core Moments. Different individuals may have Core Moments coming at different stages of their life. But a majority of people experience them early in their lives. Some, like me, could have experienced it in the childhood. Others could have experienced it in their mother’s womb.
Regardless of when we experience it, these Core Moments are the highest point of our life. They represent our best self, the best we have ever been. All of us, consciously or sub-consciously, remember having experienced these Core Moments. We want to go back to being our best self. And all of our life, we are always looking back to these moments and trying to re-create them, trying to re-live the magic of these moments.
Unfortunately, as we grow up, the magic disappears and we experience the rise of the ego. Every human being develops an ego in the process of growing up. What is this ego? This ego is a set of information. It consists of two parts: firstly, the hereditary information which comes from our parents and we are born with it. It is present in each of the billions of cells in our body; secondly, the acquired information, i.e., information coming from our experiences as we grow up. This includes information about our body, our senses, our mind and our brain, information about our family, our society, our city and country, information about our religion, morality and ethics and all other information which we acquire in life. As we grow up, the ego grows up and very soon it takes over the control of the individual’s life. Every aspect of the individual’s life is controlled by this ego.
The only purpose of life is to reproduce itself. So each individual goes through the process of maturation and reproduction and protecting the young ones till they grow up, i.e., parenting. What is left behind after this process of reproduction and parenting is the domain of the ego. Human beings might be the smartest animals on the planet, but they are also perhaps the only specie that misunderstands the purpose of life. They develop a false identity and then protect this false identity till they die, thinking that that is the sole aim of life. But at the same time, they hunger all their life for the Core Moments. Problem is that when they had experienced the Core Moments, they did not have the ego. The Core Moments are not even possible to experience when there is the ego. The two are mutually exclusive. Either one can experience Core Moments or one can experience the ego, but never both at the same time.
I don’t know if Jesus existed or not; there is very little evidence that historians can come up with to prove that he existed. But we can see all the amazing literature that has come up under his name, stories about him, quotations ascribed to him. And all that for me is what I call Jesus and when I refer to Jesus, I refer to all those sources of wisdom that sprung up under the same name.
This Jesus, more than any other teacher, mystic or school of spiritual thought, understood these Core Moments and man’s experience of such moments in early childhood. That is why he said that to achieve oneness with God, to experience God (what he called the Kingdom of Heaven), one will have to become a child again, one will have to be born again, one will have to regain a child’s innocence. He understood that the Core Moments and their magic, their blissfulness, can only be experience by someone with a mind like a child’s mind, i.e., a mind which is not under the control of the ego.
And I am trying to say the same thing in this post. We are all looking for our childhood experience of the Core Moments. This experience will only be possible when we have given up the garb of the ego, when we have taken off the robe of the ego, the robe of this personality we have become, this false identity we have acquired. This will have to be given up and then can we be available to experience the Core Moments once again.
All of us are running after the same experience. We hunger for the same magic from our childhoods. But we adopt separate routes to achieve it. Most of us think that this experience can come through acquisition of money or property or power or prestige or relationships or so-called love or fame and fortune.
No, none of this will help. Core Moments do not come through these things. Core Moments come when these things are not and we are still satisfied, we still do not want anything, we still have everything and we still are blissful.
My experience is that Core Moments do not happen by acquisition from outside, but by letting go from the inside.
Lets take a few moments every day and try to remember the Core Moments in our lives and what they felt like. Lets roll back the years one by one till we come across the moment which created the magic and the bliss which keeps us going to this day. We were richer and wealthier back then than we have ever been.
Lets peek inside and take a look.