Delusion or Realization — You Choose!

By Mangala Allen

I have lived my life in a world of delusion. What I thought was real is not. The only reality is that God lives within me as me; and God lives within you as you. When we meet, it is Shiva meeting Shiva in a moment of recognition when it is real, but non-recognition when it is delusion.

Delusion is full of expectations and desires. How I should be, how you should be, how life should unfold. When the external world doesn’t fulfill these expectations and desires, nothing ever seems good enough. I’ve proved that trying to control or change the world to meet my expectations is journey fraught with struggle and disappointment.

When I am in denial, I say or think, “Oh, this can’t be right.” Or, “This just can’t be happening.” It’s like I have blinders on, with very limited vision. I don’t allow myself to experience what is really happening. I employ whatever escape mechanism I can, to keep me from facing the reality of my experience. I have proved that this never works. The lesson I’ve avoided always comes back – until I honor it by looking it square in the face.

My teacher, Swami Nirmalananda, wrote about this in A Yogi in the Real World:

“You must cultivate the ability to stay open to everything that happens. Accept it as it is, and be who you are. Only then can you help. Only then can you serve. This is the only way you can fulfill your life’s purpose.”

This article was written as we were reeling from the events of 9/11/2001. It is as relevant today as it was then. It stems from this eternal truth,

“Nothing exists that is not Shiva.” – Swami Muktananda.

If it is happening it is the infinite unfolding of Consciousness. My experience of it is propelling me toward the enlightenment I seek. By looking away, I lose my journey. I get confused, not knowing who I am. I forget and get lost. When I am lost, I cannot help myself or anyone else.

I have received many gifts from my teacher, practices that open me to experience my own Divinity. The most effective of these is meditation; yoga’s other practices prepare me for this inward exploration. Each time I go inside, I allow more of my Self to permeate my being. I am able to recognize my Self in myself, and see that very same Self all around me.

Cultivating my ability to stay open to everything that happens frees me from my limitations. It frees me from fear as I open to new experiences in the infinite realm of possibility. Accepting things as they are, lets me assess clearly the ways I can serve. Recognizing and being who I am, supports me as I act without expectation. I simply am who I am, doing what I can, in service to all. This is when I am most alive!

As a human being, I am privy to experiences I could not have in any other form. Each day I am able to live these experiences with a vibrancy I never could have imagined before. It is through study with Swami Nirmalananda that I have come to know how unique, yet all encompassing, this human experience is. I choose Divine Realization.

OM svaroopa svasvabhava namo namah

To your Inherent Divinity again and again I bow.