"That Which Is"
My teacher Sharon Gannon, one of the co-founders of the Jivamukti Yoga method, has written a book called Magic is a Shift in Perception: A Memoir of Sorts (Poems 1972-2019). Please enjoy this poem from it:
What is given
It is inevitable
For things to go
We all know
Is that which
And cannot be taken
Or given away
About this poem, Sharon says, "All things are temporary and pass away eventually. Anything that can be given or taken is impermanent. What remains is never a tangible thing that can be given or taken away."
The July Jivamukti Focus-of-the-Month is prefaced by a very old mantra that comes to us from the Upanishads, which were composed in Sanskrit between 800 and 400 BCE:
Oṁ asato mā sad-gamaya
tamaso mā jyotir gamaya
mṛtyor mā amṛtaṁ gamaya
In translation this mantra means: OM. Lead me from the unreal to the real, from darkness to light, from death to immortality.
In this mantra, the practitioner asks for guidance in shifting from identification with that which is temporary and impermanent (that which can be given or taken away) to identification with that
which is eternal and unchanging. We ask to be guided toward the light of insight, wisdom, and understanding, and away from the darkness of ignorance of who we truly are. We ask to overcome fear of death and impermanence so as to rest in our true nature.
When we stop identifying with who we THINK we are and start identifying with who we TRULY are, a shift happens. We begin to connect with our basic goodness, our inherent warmth, compassion, and friendliness, our soul. When we let go of attachments
to that which is impermanent--ourselves included---"What remains," Sharon says, "Is that which Is."
We might consider the sacred sound of OM as a way to think about "that which Is". Of OM, Sharon's guru Shri Brahmananda Sarasvati says, "This music, this primal energy, is the cause of the cycle of manifestation or evolution, progression or maintenance, and perfection or involution of the sense-perceived universe." OM is the universal vibration or current from which all in the manifest world comes to be and to which it all eventually returns.