A Visitation


I had an experience recently that was a classic case of rolling back the years. I find it interesting that the experience has a different meaning for me today than if I’d had it 10 years ago. For the first time in ages Swami Sri Sathya Sai Baba appeared to me in a dream. As expected, it was like being in the presence of a doting mother and best friend. Swami let me touch his face, and we had this moment where we were just in each others’ presence before the egoic mind brought me back to the land of objective reality.

Swami always used to say that if he comes to us in a dream, it is not a dream but a visitation.  He also used to constantly remind us that he was not the body, and did not encourage devotees to follow him as a physical being, or look on his form as an object of worship.  Nonetheless, it was very difficult not to; especially if you had the grace (as I did) to witness Swami’s amazing smile first hand and experience his awesome presence.  A few years ago I would have relished a visitation from the loving “God man” and would have felt so lucky and privileged that he’d blessed me in such a way.  Even though my recent visitation was an unexpected and wonderful experience; received with equal relish, I interpret the meaning differently. Back then, Swami the physical being would have been visiting me; I would not have seen his form as a symbol of the one eternal Self.  Yes it’s true, that I would have known this, but confronted with Swami’s beautiful form, all thoughts of the formless would have flown away.

With regard to my recent experience, I enjoyed immensely basking in the presence and having my personal darshan of Swami’s form. But today, I understand what it represents and my interpretation of the visitation is that “The Higher Power” used a method that I would be able to relate to, to let me know that my little individual, egoic self has not been forgotten about.  That for however long I have left in this body, and for whatever work I have left to perform, I am not alone; the loving bliss of eternal spirit will always be enfolding me.

Who Is It That Suffers?


I have mentioned in previous posts that I have chosen not to comment on the current situation regarding the pandemic, which has affected so many people around the world. I’ve always felt that there are enough armchair experts out there, without me chipping in as well.

But, with the amount of suffering that is going on, I feel inspired to write this post, not necessarily just about the current world-wide situation, but about suffering in general.

Like many, I have learned that going through difficult experiences has a habit of forcing us to look within ourselves for strength and inspiration, as opposed to looking to the external world; which quite often is the source of our troubles. It is also true to say that as a species, we evolve via our experiences, and being as our true nature is consciousness, this is only natural as consciousness is in a constant state of flux and evolution. I personally, feel very positive about what is happening in the world; I feel that the end product will be something quite amazing. Let us not forget that we have this wonderful thing called relativity and that the world moves in cycles. After every fall there is a rise and every painful experience ultimately leads to a pleasurable one, and vice versa.

Once again, I’m going to refer to the teachings of Ramana Maharshi to demonstrate the whole point of this article, as I feel his simple philosophy holds the key to whether we as humans live a life of peace or pain. The Maharshi would always address questions from devotees and visitors to his ashram in accordance with their ability to understand, so from this respect, it would be impossible to say that the following is the exact answer that would have been given to everyone who asked the question. But quite often, if anyone asked him why they suffer so much or why there is so much suffering in the world, he would say, “who is it that suffers?”

He would tell them to ask the question, “who am I?” The only answer being, “the One eternal Self.” He would remind them of this; their true nature, and say something like, “if you are and always have been the Self, which exists as it is with no knowledge of suffering, who then is it that suffers?” The answer to that question is that it is only the ego that suffers because of our habit of falsely identifying with the body as the reality.

No one is saying that it’s an easy ride; far from it. But having the understanding that we are ultimately just “the witness” to what is happening and not a participant helps a great deal. Finally, I refer you to my previous blog post “Be Still.” I find that simply being still is a very effective way of getting through each day. There is most definitely something happening, but we need to look within ourselves to find out what that is. I find that it is only during moments of stillness that the Self reveals its secrets.