How do you perceive yourself? Do you see yourself as a sequence of chemical reactions occurring in a flesh and blood body, separate from everyone and everything and therefore living to get what you want when you want it? Or, do you see your essence or soul as part of Universal Consciousness, the source of totality? Your belief that you are a separate individual is a misconception of reality that will cause you endless suffering and will prevent you from satisfying the yearning for unity that exists deep within you. Buddha said the cause of suffering is ignorance. On the cross Jesus said, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34 When you live within your conditioned mind or ego, you filter all sense data through your beliefs so your reality is clouded. You live an illusion created by the beliefs of your mind. But reality doesn’t depend upon your beliefs. Your essence can be experienced independent of your beliefs if you go within in meditation. In Zen there is an old saying that one must not mistake the finger pointing at the moon (your beliefs, assumptions and opinions) for the moon (actual experiences.) It all begins with knowing who you are. When you turn inward and discover you are awareness, the consciousness of existence itself, your perception changes. This is not another idea you create in your mind but an experience called awakening. After this your self-centered identification begins to dissolve. You let go of long held beliefs. Adyashanti said, “Until we start to see these false perceptions for what they really are, consciousness will be imprisoned within the dream state.” Beliefs don’t cut it! Experiences do! Once you have experienced oneness you seek to live with integrity and unity in light of the Truth you experience.