Eugene Imai,"Finding Your Deeper Self "
The following is part of a speech given by Sensei Eugene Imai, the Director of Shumei America in Pasadena California and contains a spoken meditation. We suggest that after reading the spoken instructions that you try the meditation on your own.
Good morning everyone.
Today, I would like to talk about an important subject which I have been working on. It is myself. For you, it is yourself.
In the past, when I was asked who I am, I would say: “My name is Eugene Imai, the National Director of Shumei America, husband to my wife Jane and father of two daughters, Akemi and Aki.” I might say, I am a shy, diligent, kind, honest, and humble man. Or I could say, “I am a tall, skinny, Japanese man with glasses and grey hair. I approach things with an analytical mind. I try to be inclusive and environmentally sensitive as well.” There are so many ways to describe myself. Which one is more important than the others? Who am I, really?
Through my previous health problem, I realized that my body is not mine. It is a sacred vehicle given to me to carry on my mission in this life; it is loaned to me by my Creator. So my body is not the main part of myself. How about my emotions or intellect? They mold my personality and I like them most of time. But they usually are very noisy. I like to think a lot, but many times I cannot stop thinking and get exhausted. I want to stop thinking, but the more I try to stop thinking, the more thinking I do. Many of the things I feel or think about are not actually happening in real life, but are only occurring in my mind. So my emotions and intellect are not the main part of myself.
So what is the main part of myself? Let’s read Meishusama’s teaching called ‘Guardian Spirits’: “Men and women are the children of God, and God is enshrined them. This means essentially that humans are charged with a mission by God and, when born into this world, are given a part of God’s Spirit. This is their divine spirit.”
So this divine spirit is the core part of myself !! Buddhists call it “the no-self” because it is formless and impersonal. Hindus call it “Atman,” the higher Self, because it is wiser and more aware than our ordinary mind. Christians and Jews call it “our eternal spirit” because it transcends our brief lives here on earth. Some people call it “Consciousness”.
Although our divine spirit is quite simple, it is difficult to perceive because our thoughts, desires, and emotions are always taking control over us. Our divine spirit is the core of our awareness. It is that which is aware of our thoughts and sensations. However, our divine spirit cannot be viewed as an object of perception, just as our eyes cannot directly see themselves (except indirectly with the use of a mirror).
I would like to hear from anyone here about how you are able to successfully connect with your divine self. Please see me during lunchtime about this.
Meishusama shared his wisdom on this subject in this teaching called “Subjectivity and Objectivity:”
There are many people in the world who tend to view things quite subjectively… [This] is extremely dangerous, for it is a process whereby you believe that your own thoughts and opinions alone are correct, and not only do you stick unwaveringly to them, but you measure other people against this yardstick. And so, of course, things do not go smoothly, for not only do you make others suffer, but you suffer yourself.
It is, therefore, very necessary to stand back and look at yourself from the outside… This will prevent a fair number of mistakes from occurring.
So I invite you to practice looking at yourself from the outside. Please close your eyes.
Please forget your busy schedule. Put aside any anger you may have toward anyone. Let go of your worries and concerns. Instead, please listen to me in a calm relaxed manner.
Take a deep breath—inhale slowly…. now exhale slowly. Now imagine you are in the middle of beautiful green field. There is nice warm sunlight pouring over you and all of nature around you. You can feel a nice gentle breeze and smell a lovely fragrance.
Now try going deeper. Just as you can effortlessly see everything around you, try sitting far enough back inside of yourself that you can now see all your thoughts and emotions as if they are external object passing before you. Thoughts about tomorrow and thoughts about yesterday pass before you. Don’t get caught up in them, but just allow them to pass before you, like a mountain stream flowing by.
Notice how you are not these thoughts, emotions, and sensations, but are the silent witness of them. All of these experiences are in front of you. They are objects of perception. You, however, are the perceiving subject. The thoughts are closer in, the emotions are a little further back, and physical sensations are way out there. Behind it all is you—the real you.
Now continue to go deeper, so deep that you realize this is where you have always been. You have always been this peaceful observer. At each stage of your life you have experienced different thoughts, emotions, and objects pass before you, but you have always been the unchanging conscious perceiver of all of them.
Now you are in the center of your consciousness, which is your divine spirit. You are behind everything, just watching. This is your true home. You are a brilliant, shining, loving being. You are the inner Light. Stay with this feeling for a little while and let it sink in. No need to rush back.
Welcome back. Do you think you can remain aware of this deeper part of yourself while moving about in the world? Try doing so every now and then and see what happens. You might discover something profound.
Thank you for joining me in this inner journey.