A friend was walking past Nasrudin’s house one night and happened to see Nasrudin on his hand and knees looking frantically in the dirt under the street light in his front yard. The friend asked Nasrudin what he was doing. Nasrudin said he was looking for the keys to his house.
So the friend began to help in the search.
After a while, the friend asked Nasrudin exactly when do you think you lost them. Nasrudin replied absently “I was near the bushes over there next to my house” and continued his frantic search.
His friend was puzzled.
“Then why are we looking here instead of over near the house?
Nasrudin said impatiently “Because there is a street light out here. It’s very dark over there near the house”.
Like all Nasrudin teaching stories, they are humorous doorways into the wisdom we need to help us awaken our consciousness from the illusions that lull us to sleep and keep us unaware of true reality.
When we search for true spiritual transformation and authentic spiritual growth inside the beliefs and rituals of religion, or look for happiness in the things of the world, it means we are behaving like Nasrudin, we are choosing to look where there seems to be a lot of light.
Unfortunately, happiness and authentic spiritual growth require courage….the courage to look into the shadows and darkness that dwells inside our own psyche…..the courage to become self-aware.
Only through self-awareness will we discover what we are searching for.
Spiritual transformation, authentic spiritual growth, and true happiness are nourished and fed “only” through the roots of self-awareness. Without the insights and wisdom that come from self awareness, our happiness and our spirituality will remain withered and stunted.
When we are willing to become more self-aware of the thoughts and feelings of our internal world, and of the karma energy we are projecting onto the outer world, we will begin to see who we “really” are……not the person we like to “think” we are or the person we’d “like” to be.
Self-awareness allows us to actually see the thoughts and behaviors that need to change, or be dropped, so we can become more aligned with our spiritual ideals and spiritually transform ourselves into a happy, more authentic, compassionate being. Authentic spiritual growth is born from the effort and determination to become self-aware.
Over time, assuming we are willing to continue this spiritual practice of paying attention without self-judgment, we will begin to see “why and how” we learned to think, feel, and behave the way we did for so many years.
Self-awareness also allows us to see how our thoughts and feelings come and go. As a result, we begin to see more clearly that we are not our thoughts and feelings, we are simply “having” thoughts and feelings.
Who we “are”, the part that doesn’t change from moment to moment, is simply our pure observing consciousness….that transcendent, eternal, indescribable sense of “I am”.
Looking into the darkness of our psyche allows us to see both realities….the transient part of us that changes from moment to moment, and the transcendent part of us that is radically eternal and unchanging.
Self-awareness is a spiritual practice that lets us consciously unhook from the ego stuff that is continually changing and creating the conflict and pain we experience in life, so we can connect with the deeper transcendent “observer” part of us that defines our true nature.
Connecting with our true “self” is a spiritual transformation possible only when we have the courage to become truly self-aware….to look into the terrifying shadows and darkness within.
When we gather up that courage, we will see an equally frightened primitive ego of our unconscious inner-child looking up at us.
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