When everything seems to be a challenge and life is hard, it is often difficult to maintain a sense of gratitude and faith. At times being happy feels impossible and ridiculously difficult to maintain. There is a Buddhist mantra about seeking enlightenment that goes: “dig deep and strike water, dive deep and find pearls.” When I first heard that statement years ago, I initially thought, “What the heck does that mean?” Years later I have a better understanding of what it means and how to apply it to daily life, especially when it feels like the rats are winning the rat race.
When we say, “dig deep”, that means find a belief system that you resonate with and go deep. This might be a religion or a philosophy. It means study, read, pray, meditate and immerse yourself in its teachings and wisdom. It is helpful if you can find a teacher with integrity who can explain the more mystical aspects of the philosophy or religion, because the more you dig down into the foundations of the teachings, the more questions will come up. Oftentimes the biggest “aha” moments are found when you have solved a mystery, or come to an understanding of a teaching that is beyond those who do not apply themselves to the teaching. An example would be the concept of “all perception is projection”. Until we realize that we only see what we want to see, and usually a very subjective version of the truth, it is very difficult to grasp what life really is all about. Many times we are stressed and struggling to understand why events happen in our life when the truth is that we are causing the stress. Events happen whether we understand them or not. When we can experience an event and accept that we created it to learn something about our self, then the struggle disappears. Our minds are powerful imagination machines, and we can imagine something fun and exciting or we can imagine something horrible and frightening. So if we are experiencing stress and struggle, what are we projecting onto reality to create a holographic nightmare? When we can answer that question, then life becomes relatively simple.
When we say “strike water”, we mean that we start to understand that there is more to life than what we think and feel. By that I mean that we start to understand that we are the creator of our reality and our minds are playing a large part of what we are experiencing. Many people have no idea how powerful we really are when we control our minds and our thoughts. Most people are at the mercy of their minds and thoughts, often victims of their minds that are allowed to run rampant through negativity and pain. When we think we are victims, we will be victimized. When we start to understand that we can control our mind and our thoughts, then life starts to flow in the direction we want. The “water” is the realization that we can control our thoughts and our mind. We can use meditation, affirmations, positive thinking, mantras, satsang and worship to ease our troubled thoughts and begin to connect with our higher consciousness and the divine.
When we say “dive deep”, this is another metaphor for the concept that we digging deep into our subconscious to find the source of our thoughts, our demons, our beliefs and our pain. Water often times symbolizes our subconscious mind as we can’t see what is under the surface unless we are still and let our minds be still. We have to simply be, and let the contents of our subconscious mind settle to the bottom so that they can be seen from above. As we dive deeper and deeper into our subconscious mind, we will discover who we are and how we perceive ourselves to be. We will discover the traumas and injuries which caused us pain and suffering and realize that they are only memories and no longer real. Nothing is real in our subconscious; we just think it is. So we have to let these nightmares and dramas settle to the bottom so they may be removed.
Finally, as we clear away the debris and muck at the bottom of our subconscious, we will begin to find the pearls of wisdom that were there all along. These include the highest teachings of the eastern philosophies and religions, that we are the creator that we have been searching for. We are not the doer, until we discover that we are. We are responsible for our own happiness. we can’t give that responsibility to anyone else. Finally, we are immortal spirits that take form over and over again and the biggest illusion of all is death.