The saint sees that we are all hooked into the same level of infinite intelligence, creativity, and love. God and your soul are in perfect communication. The message breaks down for reasons we have been detailing at length: ego needs, distortions of perception, lack of self-worth, and all kinds of traumas and wounds that defeat our best intentions.
If lumped together, these impurities are called avidya in the Indian tradition, a Sanskrit word that breaks down into two components, the root word for “not” and the root word for “knowing.”
By not knowing who we are, by not knowing what God is, by not knowing how to connect with the soul, we fall into sin and ignorance. In everyday usage, avidya is sometimes called both sin and ignorance, but these pejorative terms hide the essence of the truth, which is all that such obstacles exist in consciousness and can be cleared away.
What’s the one thing you can do today to grow in spirit? Stop defining yourself. Don’t accept any thought that begins “I am this or that.” You are not this or that. You are beyond definition, and therefore any attempt to say “I am X” is wrong. You are in passage. You are in the process of redefining yourself every day. Aid that process, and you cannot help but leap forward on the path.
If you take a clear look at yourself, you will find that your mind is more like a swarm of bees than like an arrow shooting straight for the goal. A swarm of bees can travel from point A to point B, just like an arrow, but it does so in a vague, swirling, fuzzy way.
Thus we hold in our minds all kinds of shifting attitudes, many of which contradict each other. Our love is bound up with hatred, our trust with suspicion, our altruism with selfishness. Because this is so, the only clear path to God is a path of constant self-awareness. You must see through your own mask if you want to take it off.
Adapted from How To Know God, by Deepak Chopra (Harmony Books, 2000).