Immanence is the presence of the divine within all things. Individually, immanence is presence, but a kind of inherent presence that subsumes time and space. Namaste is an immanent interjection meaning the divine within me recognizes and honors the divine within you.
In seeking a more balanced spiritual life, we must proactively and authentically engage with each other and with the world. Practicing Namaste is practicing social immanence. In this article we will break down and analyze Karen Ravn’s quote to see how these four acts of immanence might help us grow more spiritually robust lives.
1. Only as high as you reach can you grow
“The greater danger with most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that our aim is too low and we reach it.” – Michelangelo
If you would be immanent, be a paradigm crusher. Flatten all boxes you’re forced to think inside of. Transform all rigid boundaries into transparent horizons. Dare to reach higher than you did before. Adventure lies on the other side of your comfort zone. Stretch it. Be elastic. Like Socrates said, “Let him who would move the world, first move himself.” The more you reach for the unknown, the broader your comfort zone becomes.
The broader your comfort zone becomes, the more of the world you encompass. The more of the world you encompass, the more your fears are transformed into courage. And courage is all you need. It’s better to shoot for a difficult target and miss, than to perpetually hit easy targets and stagnate, because even when you’re missing you’re still growing. And growth is the essence of the journey being the thing. Allow the journey to be the thing and adventure and immanence will surely be yours.
“One must be willing to stand alone – in the unknown, with no reference to authority or the past or any of one’s conditioning. One must stand where no one has stood before in complete nakedness, innocence, and humility.” –Adyashanti
Imagine you’re at a crossroads. There are two signs. The one pointing to the right reads: Comfort, security, certainty, and the end of knowledge (blue pill). And the one pointing to the left reads: Discomfort, insecurity, uncertainty, and the pursuit of knowledge (red pill). Which one do you choose?
This is the ultimate crux of the examined life: if pursued wisely, there is no end to the discomfort and uncertainty. The more you seek, the more cognitive dissonance is experienced, and the more previous knowledge becomes uncouth. The only certainty is perpetual uncertainty. But there is a joy in discovery that trumps the bliss of ignorance. Indeed, there’s a ecstasy in new knowledge that utterly eclipses the pleasures of comfort and security.
So if you would be immanent, I beseech you, choose the uncomfortable path of perpetual knowledge over the comfortable path of stagnant knowledge. It’s worth any amount of discomfort. And with enough practice, wrestling with your doubt, cognitive dissonance, and insecurity will become an art form and a state of peaceful immanence will be yours.
3. Only as deep as you look can you see
“A little bit of agitation gives resource to souls and what makes the species prosper isn’t peace, but freedom.” – Machiavelli
Undeceive yourself. Break the illusion. Recondition the precondition. Don’t settle for the spoon feeding of advertisements and corporate controlled media. Question them instead. Demand to be slapped with the truth rather than kissed with lies. Look deeper than you dared before.
The deeper you look the more you will see. The more you see, the more you’ll see how everything is connected, and the more you’ll care. Sure, there are scary things in the Desert of the Real, but so what. There’s truth there. There is freedom there. And there can be no immanence without freedom and truth.
But there is also no evolution without the questioning of what’s deemed true. Stir up all comfortable roosts, especially your own. Ruffle all serious feathers. Reform all stagnant forms. Disturb the peace, especially when it masks war.
Shakeup the status quo with your courage to question it. Keep looking, deeper and deeper. Be Alice, “curiouser and curiouser” in Wonderland. Be Neo, transcending the Matrix. Be Dante, eclipsing hell. Do as Walt Whitman suggested: “Re-examine all that you have been told… dismiss that which insults your soul.”
4. Only as much as you dream can you be
“I want to know if you are willing to live, day by day, with the consequence of love and the bitter unwanted passion of your sure defeat. I have read, in that fierce embrace, even the gods speak of God.” –David Whyte
Dare to dream beyond yourself. Even if the dream seems unreachable, dream it anyway. It is through the striving of your dreams that immanence becomes unique to your soul signature. Striving for your dreams is allowing the journey to be the thing. Indeed, the journey is the thing not just because it sharpens our souls and strengthens our hearts, but also because we are not perfect creatures.
We will fail. You will fail, over and over again. And that’s okay. That’s part of your journey. You must dream anyway. You must strive for your goals despite any and all setbacks, even if, and maybe even especially if, others are telling you to do otherwise. You don’t achieve authenticity by acting out the conditioned reflexes of your culture; you achieve it by undergoing a process of self-discovery that requires a psychosocial death, a letting go of the comfortable and the familiar.
You reach it by passionately delving into the Abyss; replete with its orgies of pain, its orneriness of angst, and the certain defeat of your expectations. Only then can you gain the capacity to rebirth yourself and rise up like a Phoenix from the ashes. And it’s in the rising up, again and again, where the essence of immanence reveals itself.