On the one hand we have a sense of who we are based on our thoughts, the names we have been given and the words others have said about us. On the other hand we have a much larger notion of self, a sense that something more. We may have an intuitive understanding that we are more than the totality of descriptive language used to define our character.
Engagement in an introspective spiritual practice can open the doors to a greater awareness of this deeper subjectivity, as we dedicate ourselves to discovering our depths.
The Inner Nature has always held an important place within our hearts and minds of mystics, yogis, and Sages. Those who inquire into their Inner Nature discover the eternal, infinite, limitless joy.
The Upanishads speak of the our inner nature as Atman: “the pure, undifferentiated self-shining consciousness, timeless, space-less, and unthinkable”.
Christ said: “behold, the kingdom of God is within you.” In Christianity this sacred otherness within is the key to a blessed life. Christ said “What shall it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul.”
In Buddhism, the process of meditation leads the spiritual seeker within. A Japanese Buddhist poet by the name of Dogen says: “To study the Buddha Way is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be actualized by myriad things. When actualized by myriad things, your body and mind as well as the bodies and minds of others drop away.”
The Poet Ralph Waldo Emerson said: “What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us. And when we bring what is within us out into the world, miracles happen.”
It is not only spiritual folks, who understand this truth. Walt Whitman proclaimed “I sing the body that is electric! I celebrate the Self yet to be unveiled!” and Napoleon Hill advised “Cherish your visions and your dreams as they are the children of your soul, the blueprints of your ultimate achievements”.
Some tribal cultures experience that which lies within as an internal source of wisdom and guidance for the tribal community. In these communities, those who show a propensity toward communication with the essence of things are seen as guides and healers for others. For the Siberian shamans, the spirit is capable of taking journeys in both the macrocosm and the microcosm. The shaman goes inward to know and heal the outer world.
Alchemists spoke of little man within, a homunculus. This little man inside was the agent behind the individuals actions, the see-er behind sight, the internal master. This little man within was a wonderful metaphor that enable representations of the internal self and its process of growth.
This deeper subjectivity within each individual is that which peers through my eyes, speaks through my mouth, loves through my heart. It is both me and that which is grater than me. It is here, in there Inner Self that we begin our journey toward enlightenment.