The Eye of the Paradox Om Tat Sat
I have a Casio Digital Diary SF-4300 system that is programmed to ring an alarm everyday at 11:11 A.M. and display "Om tat sat" on the screen. The time 11:11 reminds me that: All is one. The very ancient Sanskrit phrase "Om tat sat" has been translated in many ways, such as "Thou are that" and "I am that."

"Sat" stands for truth, being, or reality.

"Tat" stand for "that."

"Om" is said to be the sacred syllable. The seed sound that is the source of all other sounds. Some say "Om" or "Aum" is the primal sound of the universe -- there at the moment of creation. Someone called it the "dial tone of the universe."

This ancient phrase suggests that we attend to our sense of "I am" or "self-existence." It's that simple, yet profoundly difficult because of all that distracts us from the sense of existence from moment to moment.

I end many of my letters to friends and loved ones with "Om Tat Sat" to remind myself and them of the truth of existence. You are that; I am that. In this reflection, it starts to become clear that we are one. My thatness and your thatness, may not be very different at all. It's amazing! Take a moment, now, to realize that. Om tat sat.

To remain with one's sense of existence requires dropping away normal care and worry to the extent that one becomes empty of the usual mental contents: gossip, greed, doubts, desires, and aversions. There arrives the simple joy of existence. It is as if that condition was always there, but had been covered up by all these other negative emotional and mental states.

I exist, I am -- this is the first miracle. All else follows this. Once we have learned to take the existence position in life, it is indeed remarkable that people become so identified with all kinds of limitations as if they are the absolute definers of whole human existence. Am I an American? Am I a Russian? Am I a dishwasher? Am I a philosophy teacher? Am I a writer? Am I Portuguese? Am I a Mason? Certainly, we can apply a million limiting conditions to being. But somehow, deep inside, we know these conditions are like sets of clothes that can be put on and taken off again. But existence or being cannot be put on or taken off. We, however, forget and remember being, again and again.

Sri Nisargadatta Majaraj put it this way:

My Guru [teacher] ordered me to attend to the sense of 'I am' and to give attention to nothing else. I just obeyed. I did not follow any particular course of breathing or meditation or study of scriptures. Whatever happened, I would turn away my attention from it and remain with the sense of 'I am'. It may look too simple, even crude. My only reason for doing it was that my Guru told me so. Yet it worked! Obedience is a powerful solvent of all desires and fears. Just turn away from all that occupies the mind: do whatever work you have to complete but distrust new obligations; keep empty, keep available, resist not what comes uninvited. In the end you reach a state of non-grasping, of joyful non- attachment, of inner ease and freedom indescribable, yet wonderfully real. *

The payoff for reminding ourselves that we are human is very real. This is what is ultimately sought through career, family, war, money, lust, romance, and thousands of other daily actions. Marketing experts tell us that they are not really selling cars and houses, but the good life.

I do not say that we can stop activity. There will always remain work to do and play to enjoy, and lose ends to tie up. All these actions, however, become unified and whole within a sense of meaningful human existence. I only say remember the root of being: Om tat sat. At least once a day, say, around 11:11 A.M.

* I AM THAT: Conversations with Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, Part II. Bombay: Chetana Pvt. Ltd. 1973. Page 130.

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