“Not everyone who has a body is an individual.”

An individual is an ocean; a vast, unimaginable ocean of life. An individual is aliveness; he is not what you see. A person is simply what he is.  You are simply what you are. There is a tremendous difference between the person that you see in the mirror and the person that you see within yourself. The person that you see in the mirror is just a form, a play of light and darkness. What you see there is a texture and a shape—that is it. What is not visible in the mirror is the aliveness through which even that contemplation is happening.

The thought that enters your mind and says, I am, is an individual. In that sense, not everyone who has a body is an individual. But everybody who has asked this question, everybody who has contemplated on the thought, I am, is an individual. Hence, an individual does not take birth through the body. It is the body that takes birth through the body. An individual takes birth with this question, with this realization, and with this understanding.

Spirituality is a very human problem. It is not an existential problem. There are insects crawling around, and there are birds singing. Look at the vibrancy of aliveness all around you. There is no disturbance, there is no questioning, there is no seeking, and there is no trouble. They are all just going about their lives. You can even say that they are blissful, because bliss is a state of non-disturbance. The insects and the birds are simply being in the moment.

A bird flying in the sky has no religion, no name. It does not know where it has come from and it does not know where it is going. It does not have a philosophy, it does not have an ideology, it does not believe in heaven and hell, and it is not interested in redemption. Yet, look at the life that is gracing that bird. It is free in the vastness of the sky, utterly free, absolutely free. If a human being can experience that one single moment of freedom, then he will be changed forever. If he can be a bird in the sky for even one moment, then his troubles end. Even for a single moment if you can be absolutely free, utterly free, then you will know the tremendous value of individuality and you will know the tremendous force called an individual.

As of now, an individual is suffering. He is suffering his own knowledge, reasoning, questioning, and ideology. In a way, it is bound to happen though because an individual takes birth as an idea. You will have to understand: An individual is a beautiful quality that takes birth through a desire, which is an action. An individual is always born into a collective system, or a family. Grammatically, an individual is an adjective who takes birth through a desire, which is a verb, into a collective noun. So, an individual is nothing but an adjective trapped in a collective noun.

An individual is born into a family, but what is family to him? He does not understand family because all he knows is how to recognize another individual. He can see his father, his mother, and his brothers and sisters, but he cannot understand the idea of a family. It just seems elusive. Still, he tries to fit in; look at the trouble. An individual is trying to fit into a collective ideology, but it doesn’t make any sense to him.

An individual has to move from one collective ideology—his family, to another—the school. There, he learns certain things and abides by the rules of the school, but again his individuality is troubled. He begins to ask, What am I doing here? What is my purpose? Why am I in this school? From school, an individual moves into work, and even at work he is a part of a collective ideology, because organizations always have a common purpose that everybody is working towards.

So, an individual is automatically given all of these collective ideologies. He is given a country, he is given a religion, he is given a family, and he is given a place to work. Thus, throughout his life he remains confused about the most important thing: Who is he? That question leads an individual to spirituality. In fact, just ask yourself, Who am I? That question itself will make you spiritual.

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