Excellence Reporter: Amoda, what is the meaning of life?
Amoda Maa: There’s a precious pearl inside each of us. It’s so easy to ignore in the pursuit of more profitable acquisitions in life, such as finding the perfect partner or rising to the top of our profession or accumulating wealth or contributing something of value to the world. It’s so tempting to toss aside when attention is taken up with more important matters, such as paying the monthly bills or taking care of a family or tending to an illness or saving the planet.
All of these endeavors are an inevitable part of human life, and many are worthy pursuits when fueled by an inner passion. But mostly we mistake these pursuits with the meaning of life: we invest meaning in what we do or what we have and then define ourselves from this investment ( “ah, this is who I am .. because I feel good/excited/joyful/satisfied when it’s going my way and so my life is meaningful” or “oh, this is who I am … because I feel bad/depressed/stressed when it’s not going my way and so my life is meaningless”). Life – and who we are in relationship to life – is meaningful only to the extent that we impose meaning onto it. In reality, life is empty of meaning: it simply is. We too are empty when we stop seeking to find our identity from what we do or what we have. But this emptiness is not meaningless, at least not in the way the mind interprets meaninglessness (usually as depression, lack of joy, pointlessness and so on).
If we stop the endless chasing to be someone meaningful or to have a meaningful life, if we take the time to stand still and fall into a space within our ourselves that is deeper than any search for meaning, we can cultivate a pearl that is precious beyond belief. In a strange way, this is where true meaning lies: not in the mind and its need to find meaningfulness in the things it experiences or acquires, nor in the mind and its belief in meaninglessness when it doesn’t find what it’s looking for … but right here in the unknowing, ungrasping, innermost quietest being-ness. It’s a gloriously empty space, unfettered by imagination or fantasy or the quest for meaning.
How do we fall into this space where mind cannot go? How do we find this precious pearl? It’s a cultivation, an art form.
Firstly, we can cultivate goodness by deep listening to the tenderest truth inside ourselves. Underneath the cover-up of “should’s” and “shouldn’ts”, underneath the need to be good enough or loved enough or worthy enough, underneath the need to live a meaningful life, we discover the bare truth. The bare truth is the truth of how we feel, the truth of what we know, the truth of who we are. And more importantly, underneath all that is the bare truth of our existence, unembellished by what your experience means about life or about “me” and “my life”.
My existence is good, my existence is God. It does not need qualification or verification, it simply is. And what is, is always good, is always God. In God, there is no argument with reality, no conflict, no war. There is just being in love with what is. It’s the deepest acceptance, the most intimate love affair. When we listen intimately to the bare fact of our existence, we overflow with vital aliveness unadulterated by who we think we are or who we think we should be, unencumbered by the tide of our emotions or the frenzy of our thoughts. There is just this naked aliveness, as naked as the sky itself, as vital as the beat of our hearts.
Secondly, we can cultivate wildness by giving allegiance to this goodness, to this God-ness. We can give allegiance to the tenderest most innermost truth that lives deep inside, a truth that is deeper than the narrative in our minds and more intimate than the matrix of the world. By listening deeply to the wildness of our real selves, we discover who we were before we were trained by our parents to conform to who they wanted us to be, before we were brainwashed by the rules of society that squeezed us into conformity, and before we were tyrannized by the voices in our heads telling us to be better, be cleverer, be richer, be more special. Before all this, we were – and still are – unutterably unique: each of us is a unique expression of the infinite.
Knowing the truth of our original wildness is not rebellion, it’s not defiance or disobedience nor is it rage against the machine. Wildness is our true nature, before it was tamed and put behind the bars of ego. Wildness is our inner authority. It’s not the willfulness of ego, but the willingness to sacrifice all inherited beliefs and rules, to burn in the fire of untamable truth, to take a risk and stand in our true sovereignty.
Goodness and wildness forge true intelligence. All else is a sham, all else is a shambles. The invitation that arises out of our depths when we listen is to step outside of the matrix and cultivate the pearl. Only this is precious. Only this is invulnerable. Only this is eternal.
~Amoda Maa is a spiritual teacher, offering meetings and retreats to support and deepen the living of an awakened life. In 2002, in the depths of existential aloneness, she experienced a profound awakening in which there was a liberation of self from the knot of ego and an ongoing unfoldment into inner silence. After a long period of integration, in which all seeking and all methods stopped, she started to speak in public, initially at small gatherings in the UK. Her teachings are free of any ideology and are not affiliated with any lineage or tradition. While she is often referred to as a ‘nondual teacher,’ she prefers to emphasize the full embracement of the human experience as a path to liberation. Today, she lives in the US and her teachings are followed by a growing number of seekers world-wide.
She has been a speaker at the Conference for Nondual Wisdom and Psychology at the California Institute of Integral Studies, a regular speaker at the Science and Nonduality Conference in California, a guest teacher at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Wellness in Massachusetts, a guest teacher at Wisdom’s Goldenrod Center for Philosophic Studies in New York, as well as a guest on numerous radio and podcast shows (including Buddha at the Gas Pump). Her work has been featured in a number of magazines (including Watkins Mind Body Spirit Magazine and Conscious Lifestyle Magazine), and she is the author of four books (How to Find God in Everything, Change Your Life Change Your World, Radical Awakening, and Embodied Enlightenment) with translations in 5 languages.
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