Tonight I walked along the beach for thirty minutes and watched the sunset. As it does every night, the sun changes its mood during the ten minutes before sunset. Instead of projecting its energy outward, it begins to turn inward, and as it changes so do I.
By placing my attention on the sun we are able to connect with one another. We begin a conversation that has no words. At first the conversation is intermittent as my mind gradually quiets down. Then as the sun begins to disappear behind the ocean we connect more deeply. I express my gratitude and it expresses its love. My heart opens and the mind becomes quiescent. There is only this moment in which I am with my long-time friend. It says goodbye with a flash of green light. And suddenly the world is different. Everything has transformed from yang to yin.
I have done many things wrong in life. But in this one area I have done well. What better thing is there to do than to watch the sunset on the ocean in California?
Two Levels of Detachment
While walking from the ocean to the car, I stepped back to watch the world. I seemed to exist within the body as I observed the external world. Then simply by turning my attention to the formless reality, the sense of “I” temporarily vanished and there was only the one that exists everywhere and within everything.
Many times I have read spiritual books that emphasize the importance of detachment. And yet I have not found a discussion about these two levels of detachment.
When a person is controlled by the ego and the thinking mind they become entranced by their thoughts. They appear one after the other in an endless chain.
If a person is fortunate enough to learn how to break free from the mind’s control, they can perceive the formless unity. It has always been there, waiting for you. But while a person can perceive the formless they still regard it as separate from themselves. It seems to exist out there, beyond the physical body. And everything within the body is you. Though the mind is quiet the ego remains.
If a person is even more fortunate, they eventually learn how to step beyond the limitations of separateness. The ego temporarily vanishes and all that is left is the one.
The infinite is not limited by our perceptions of it. It includes all qualities. You may perceive it as the Paramatman light, or universal love, or Shiva, or Jesus. Each is the infinite. And turning your attention to any of them will free you from the illusion of separateness.