Most parents will be quite familiar with the question that serves as the title of this article. The question (or variations thereof: “Soon? Much farther?”) often arises from our children during long car trips. To the children, the destination just seems so dang far away. The same mindset often lurks within us during our journey-less journey toward knowing recognition of true Self. In The Perennial Philosophy, by Aldous Huxley, he expressed this very clearly:
This ‘experience,’ which is a state of emotional excitement–an excitement which may be mild and enduring or brief and epileptically violent, which is sometimes exultant in tone and sometimes despairing, which expresses itself here in song and dance, there in uncontrollable weeping. But emotional excitement, whatever its cause and whatever its nature, must be died to by anyone who aspires to live to divine Reality. ‘Excitement’ about God (the highest form of this kind of excitement) is incompatible with ‘experience’ as immediate awareness of God by a pure heart which has mortified even its most exalted emotions.”
The point that Aldous Huxley made so eloquently is about the experience of awakening to our essential nature and how that relates to the person. To fully awaken is to live from the perspective of true Self; as opposed to the perspective of the illusory conceptual self that we refer to by name and form. As with so many points related to spirituality, a paradox applies: If we (as a person) are incredibly jubilant about having experienced recognition “of” the pinnacle of our essential nature, we have still not arrived. We are yet not there (liberated) until we’re presently living “as” true Self, and fully aware of What–not who–we actually are. From that perspective, such just is what it is. The situation is also described through the following quote from St. John of the Cross:
"The fly that touches honey cannot use its wings; so the soul that clings to spiritual sweetness ruins its freedom and hinders contemplation."
The toggle switch between awareness of That which we actually are and who we think we are is incredibly sensitive. When we are knowingly unaware, it can be triggered abruptly by habits that belong to the body-mind. We can be reminded of the difference by contemplating a few questions: “In awareness of the inherent fullness of our true nature, who is it that could possibly be feeling lonely?” “In this dream called life, who is it that could feel guilty of acts labeled bad or rejoice in those labeled good?” As we stabilize in recognition of our essential nature, we may be surprised to realize that–yet again–we have descended a rung or two on the ladder toward personhood. When such occurs, it’s often wise to become still, take a few slow breaths, and regain our center. In time, the egoic voice that’s habitually asking whether we have arrived yet will lose energy and fall silent. And that’s good news.
Dare to dream (and care for one another).
With heartfelt regards,
Copyright © – 2023 – R. Arthur Russell
P.S. Please share this article if you enjoyed it. If you’d like to view my latest book (This Taste of Flesh and Bones–released September 8, 2020), press here. My YouTube videos may be found through this link. May the content of either or both help you along your spiritual journey. 🙏🏻🧡
3 thoughts on “Are We “There” Yet?”
I like the way you wrapped this piece up, Art! “In time, the egoic voice that’s habitually asking whether we have arrived yet will lose energy and fall silent.” Thank you! 😉
I’m glad that you liked it, Victoria. Thank you for taking the time to comment! 🙂
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You’ve integrated excellent quotes, Art, and your explanation of them makes them more meaningful. Engaging post!