The Self As The Heart of All Things...
A colleague teaching psychoanalysis and mysticism at NYU shared on our listserv the following quote, so I thought I'd pass it on for inspiration on an ages-old topic:
The Upanishads are also called Vedanta because they come at the end of the Vedas and contain the essence of their teachings. The word ‘Upanishad’… means ‘to sit close’ or draw close to the teacher or guru, and equally can be taken to mean to ‘go close’ to the teaching itself.
There is only one Power—
And it is That which is in the hearts of all…
It is the Self in the heart of all things
Which is the eternal amidst the ephemeral,
Consciousness within conscious…
There, in that Self,
The sun cannot shine,
Nor the moon or stars.
The light of lightening cannot reach It,
Much less a conflagration on Earth.
Yet by Its presence all these are lit
And light shines forth…
It is the eternal tree of creation
Reaching with Its roots up to the sky
And with Its branches down to the earth.
Its roots remain resplendent and immortal
And in Its branches the worlds come to rest.
There is nothing beyond That.
Let the five sense
And the mind they serve become still.
Let awareness itself
Cease all activity and become watchful.
Then you will have begun your journey…
Remain present only to that Presence,
Knowing that It is what is…
One hundred and one rivers
Flow from the heart in all directions…
One will take you upward beyond yourself…
That Inner Being is there
Present in the hearts of all.
Bring all that you are before That:
Draw it out as you would
A shaft from the center of a reed…
(Excerpted from the Katha Upanishad, translated by Swami Ambikananda Saraswati, Penguin, 2001)