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Our Natural Center

by Patrick Drysdale

We have to realize that we have our original center in God and that without Him, we couldn't exist. Somewhere along the way, though, we made a terrible mistake and displaced this divine center with a sense of a separate me and acted from that standpoint instead of our original one, thereby obscuring God as our natural center.

The purpose of our life is to undermine this unnatural center and reestablish contact with the divine. We don't really live until we understand that Truth is the missing piece from our humanity and everyone on earth is seeking it but doesn't know it. Spirituality has been so suppressed that its negative side has surfaced as the most outrageous addictions and preoccupations: making money, love affairs, the job, drugs, alcoholism, gambling, racing, anything that produces an intense sensation is accepted as a substitute but they'll never satisfy. The spirit wants union with Truth, not shallow amusements.

It's important to remember that recovering this natural center doesn't obliterate our humanity. It completes it. The path to it, though, is not an additive process, as most people believe, but rather a shedding one. It's a progressive death to everything that makes up the personal self. I think it's imperative to view this unified center in the context of man's overall development and see it as the normal state in which God intended us to live. Further development in humans is entirely spiritual and achieving our full potential means returning to our original unity with God, our natural center. This should be our first goal in life.

Living with a sense of a separate self is the adolescent stage is the spiritual life but the majority of human beings don't get any further than this level of development because neither organized religion nor society provides the environment for going beyond it. Most people get stuck here and never have the opportunity to break out of themselves. Those who have are seen as misfits and ridiculed if they talk about life with a personal sense of self.

Nobody seems to consider that not being able to outgrow the sense of a separate self is just as pathetic as not being able to outgrow children's clothes. A forty year old who still wears juvenile clothes is deplorable but exactly corresponds to an adult living with an egotistical self. A person who fails to trade in his adolescent clothes for spiritually mature ones has made a decision to stand apart from the call to inwardly develop and will mechanically repeat his egotistical lifestyle to the very last.

It's as if something in us wishes to stay a child, resist the call to spiritual maturity, and remain unconscious of our natural center but I've found that being at an immature level isn't the real problem. The major obstacle is that everyone at this level believes that he's already reached his highest level of development. Conventional psychology can't come to the rescue because it hasn't evolved to the point where it considers the psychology of the whole person and can see the ego as the juvenile phase of the total human experience. Living with a sense of a separate self is a phase we have to pass through but the problem is that most people get stuck in it and never leave. The real issue is not that people have an ego but that they're not outgrowing it.

It's my experience that, at a certain point, the personal self stops expanding and an inexorable inner process enforces its contraction. This is God calling us home and His way of inviting us to devote serious attention to the inner life. I've observed that people who should have let their sense of a separate self die long ago but insisted on keeping them alive become hypochondriacs, rigid dogmatists, and either applauders of the past or eternal juveniles. In my opinion, these traits are all pathetic substitutes for the spiritually mature personality but inevitable consequences of resisting God's urge to become whole and inwardly develop.

Living with a sense of a separate self is not our natural state but the problem is that it's the only self we know while living with it, so if someone tries to tell us of a life without a personal me in it, they're labeled as escapists and considered psychologically unsound. I'm firmly convinced, however, that the really dangerous people aren't the nonbelievers in the egoless life but the swarm of petty thinkers who have already decided that union with the divine is just an emotional fantasy.

Experience shows that the reality of this attainment is more within our reach than we realize but since we can't conceive of a life without a separate self while living with it, we insist that such a state without a sense of a personal me in it doesn't exist. It does.

I've always felt that if learning about something couldn't bring about any inner change or didn't give me any insight into myself, then it was a waste of time. I saw that knowing the validity of spiritual truths can only be accomplished by living them, not just reading or talking about them, and that with practice they reach down from the mind to become an experiential reality. For this reason, anyone who hasn't had any inner experiences finds statements like that of living without a feeling of a separate self unverifiable and hard to accept but inner knowing is the very heart of this issue. Real spirituality consists of experiencing these truths instead of just believing in them.

People hold on to this unnatural sense of a personal me only because it's the only self they presently know. After all, if you stopped being yourself, who would you be? Try it and find out.

Drop all identifications and self-images you have of who you think you are and then see what's left. I think if people stopped running and faced their own imaginary mental existence, they would see the absurdity of their so-called personal concern and 99.9% of all their worries would fall away right there. The problem is that they're terrified of living without themselves. I think that everyone should know that living without himself is not only possible in this life but that it's the normal state in which Truth intended us to live.

Disidentifying with everything you think is you plays a crucial role in undermining the unnatural personal center. Breaking your identification from thoughts and false self-images is like learning a new behavior, a new way of living without a sense of separateness in your life. There's an inner emptiness you'll have to learn to adjust to, one that's both a quietness and conscious awareness of your existence, a stillness that's Truth itself. This is your natural center.

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About The Author

Patrick is an author and lecturer of transpersonal psychology and inner development. His books include "Journey Into Wholeness", "Diamonds Along The Path", and "Path To No Ego".




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