Climb every mountain, ford every stream. Follow every rainbow, ’till you find your dream
– Rodgers & Hammerstein, 1959
As a five-year old, I was so inspired by the song “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” from The Sound of Music. Every time I heard it, for years and years, I knew was going to do it: search high and low to find my dream! It was out there, I was sure, somewhere. I was confident college would help me find it. When that didn’t work, I thought for sure I’d find it by moving to California. I lived in a paradise of palm trees, ocean waves and tropical flowers. I literally climbed mountains and forded streams. I was happy, but only sometimes. I was blissful, occasionally. But it simply wasn’t enough. I felt empty most of the time. Worse, I didn’t know why.
Then I found the answer in yoga. I had been trying to find meaning and happiness by looking outside. The yogic sages explain the path is one of inner exploration and discovery. The outer things — whether career or where you live or a relationship — are unreliable sources. A fellow yogi shared that raising her son gave her the most joy she’d ever had. And then, she said, “He grew up.” Children grow up, relationships end, careers change.
When you turn your attention inside with yoga, especially with meditation, you discover a reliable and inexhaustible fountain of joy. You don’t merely experience the joy, you discover you are the source of the joy, the source of happiness, the Divine Source of everything that exists:
chidaananda-roopah shivo’ham shivo’ham. – Adi Shankaracharya, 788-820 CE
My true form is the bliss of consciousness; I am Shiva. I am Shiva. – Translated by Swami Nirmalananda
You are Shiva, the One Divine Reality, the Source of all while being beyond all. In the same way physicists describe this universe as made of energy, yogis describe this universe as made of Divine Energy. That Divinity is Shiva, which is being all, thus being you. You don’t have to earn. attain or grow into your Shiva-ness. Divinity is intrinsic to who you are, like sunlight is bright and sand is gritty. You can’t take the light or heat out of the sunlight, and you can’t take the grittiness out of the sand. You can’t take the Divinity out of you.
So how come you don’t know you are Shiva? Your inner knowing is hidden from you. Shiva hid it. Technically, Shiva hid Shiva’s own Shiva-ness from Shiva in order to experience being not-Shiva, thus being you. Shiva becomes the individual, who feels small, separate and alone. Yet your Divinity is not completely obscured. It’s like it’s hidden behind a curtain that’s not completely opaque; you can see through it sometimes. You have moments when you know there’s more, moments you know you are more. Those moments are so blissful that you want to experience them more of the time. How about all the time?
Yoga promises that you will know the “More” that you already are, and you will live in that Self-knowingness all the time. While Shiva created your not-knowing, Shiva also created a way for you to know again. Knowing who you are is the purpose of human life. What is concealed can be revealed.
Many paths aim to these heights. Svaroopa® Vidya Meditation is one of them: revealing your Divinity to you is the specialty of this tradition. The process is through an inner awakening, an initiation called Shaktipat. When your inherent Divinity is revealed to you inside, then, when you open your eyes, you can see that same Divinity in everyone and everything that exists. Everything is Divine, because Divinity is what everything is made of.
Once you know your own Divinity, where will you go? Anywhere you choose. What will you do? Anything you choose. This is not about you leaving the world. There’s no need to end up facing a wall in a cave in the high Himalayas. You can do what you do, with the people you do it with, where you are now. This path does not negate the choices you’ve made. It embraces them. The difference is that you will bring the whole of yourself to everything you do. You’ll act from fullness, not emptiness and need. You’ll shine the Light of Consciousness into your relationships, your home, your job and other activities. You get to sculpt your life in whatever way you choose. So climb mountains, if you want to. Ford streams. Follow rainbows. Find your dream. And, to know your own Divinity, get Shaktipat. It opens the door to your own Self.