Near as spirit may be, centuries of cultural prejudice have made it necessary to rediscover our intuitive, direct knowledge of it. Many disciplines and techniques can be employed here, particularly meditation.
I have concentrated on the expansion of consciousness that is available through love, motivated by the tragic absence of love we see all around us. Yet the road to the Self is not closed on any side –the transcendent is “nearer than breath, than heartbeat” – and fortunately a multitude of teachings exist to put our feet on the path.
In the end the path does not actually ascend anywhere in time or space. The self is still the self, the ego is still the ego, the senses are still the senses. How can you go anywhere to capture what is already so close to you? The mystery is that this “pathless path,” as the masters refer to it, causes immense transformation.
There is a world of difference between those who live in love and those who only touch upon it fitfully. Perhaps the greatest difference is this quality called ecstasy, which is the actual feeling of breathing God’s breath and beating with His heart.
I do not want to betray the intimacy of ecstasy; it is the most private of love affairs. Being becomes your beloved, and the merging of yourself with another person follows with complete ease and naturalness. If one had to lay down some kind of pattern for how ecstasy is attained, it would be extremely general.
We take faith from those living masters who have reached the goal. They stand apart from us, yet they are clothed in the same flesh and bones; they move, act, breathe, and live as the rest of us do. Only secretly, in their realized souls, do they know with utter certainty that, like the two birds in the tree, they are Self while we are self.
Adapted from The Path to Love, by Deepak Chopra (Three Rivers Press, 1997).