By Russell Razzaque
I have been waiting a long time, for my teacher, and now she is finally coming. She is due, if all goes well, to arrive at our home in September of this year, and we are tremendously excited to meet her. Even before she opens her mouth, I know that she will be wiser than me. I know that she will be more knowing than me of the deeper mysteries and realities of life and I know all of this despite the fact that she doesn’t even know how to talk. In fact, it is precisely because she does not know how to talk, that I know the daughter I am expecting will be steeped in wisdom.
Before language, there is no you and me. There is no here and there. And there is no swirl of thoughts taking us away from the experience of the present moment. In fact, there are no thoughts at all. Just experience. It is this pure experience that is the key to discovering our true nature. Unfiltered, unanalysed reality gives us the pure sense of just being. And when we are just being, the very notion that there is such an entity as I – the ego – that lives in a particular time and place, that is separate from the outside world does not exist.
Of course, it takes adults many days, weeks, months and even years of practice before we can touch this space of unbridled oneness again. We meditate or use mantras or practice yoga to glimpse again that which we once tasted when we were infants. Because somewhere deep down inside the memory still resides.
It is the world of language that takes us away from the world as it truly is. For language shapes the world. It moulds and sculpts it into something that the words and numbers we use can comprehend. It is like wearing blinkers that are painted the same colour as the sky so we become convinced that we are seeing everything when in fact we are missing half the picture.
Every now and then, however, people can have a breakthrough. And it often takes the shape of what we tend to call a break down. Our thinking minds go into hyper drive and all the language we have at our disposal spirals into a tornado of despair, or confusion or ecstasy, but the more we get sucked into it, the more we realise that there is a reality beyond it. Being gripped and shaken about by the realm of the spoken word makes us realise just how tenuous and unreal it is, because we get to see it up close, and we realise it’s an imposter.
The ancient book, the Tao Te Ching starts by saying, ‘The Tao that can be named is not the real Tao’. The writer saw through the words. There is a depth to existence that no words can touch.
Adults often make the mistake of believing that a child comes into their lives to be raised and taught by the parents, but the reality is the other way round. We all yearn to be children again, not just because we want to play hop scotch or do handstands again, but because we want to know who we are again. We do not come into this world lost or confused. We are taught to become lost and confused. Returning to our true nature is about unlearning. Shedding the layers of words, ideas, adjectives and judgement we walk round with every moment of every day until there is nothing left to speak of. It is in this space of pure nothingness where everything really exists. It is the place of infinite potential. The more manifestation there is, the less potential there is. That is why, in our human world, it is the baby – that which is only just manifest before our eyes – who is closest to our pure state. It is why angels in churches are sculpted as babies. Being with them is being closer to our true nature. Knowing them is knowing our true nature, cherishing them is cherishing our true nature.
I cannot wait for my teacher to arrive.
About the Author: Dr Russell Razzaque is a London-based psychiatrist with sixteen years’ experience in adult mental health. He has worked for a number of national and international organizations during his career including the University of Cambridge, the UK Home Office and the Ministry of Justice, and he currently works in acute mental health services in the NHS in east London. He is also a published author in human psychology with several books on the subject, and he writes columns for a number of publications including Psychology Today, The Independent, The Guardian and USA Today.
Breaking Down is Waking UpAvailable from Watkins Publishing
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