What does it mean to be ‘in the world, but not of the world?

विश्वं दर्पणदृश्यमाननगरीतुल्यं निजान्तर्गतं
पश्यन्नात्मनि मायया बहिरिवोद्भूतं यथा निद्रया 
यः साक्षात्कुरुते प्रबोधसमये स्वात्मानमेवाद्वयं
तस्मै श्रीगुरुमूर्तये नम इदं श्रीदक्षिणामूर्तये ॥१॥ – दक्षिणामूर्ति स्तोत्रम्

Dakshinamurthy Stotram by Adi Sankaracarya

Translation- The Entire World is Like a City Seen within a Mirror, the Seeing happening within One’s Own Being,
It is a Witnessing happening within the Atman, (the Witnessing) of the Externally Projected World; Projected by the Power of Maya; As if a Dream in Sleep,
One Experiences this Directly (this Play of Maya) during Spiritual Awakening within the Non-Dual Expanse of One’s Own Atman,
Salutations to Him, the Personification of Our Inner Guru Who Awakens This Knowledge through His Profound Silence; Salutation to Sri Dakshinamurthy.

Till the soul is identifying with it’s role play in the world, it cannot experience permanent joy as it is bound to references, identifications and definitions.  How can a changing world, bringing you unchanging joy?  Everything of the world is perceived in duality as it causes pleasure on one side and pain on the other. One has to rise above both through detachment to see it in its natural state.

 “If you feel lost, disappointed, hesitant, or weak, return to yourself, to who you are, here and now and when you get there, you will discover yourself, like a lotus flower in full bloom, even in a muddy pond, beautiful and strong.”
― Masaru Emoto, Secret Life of Water

The world is likened to a muddy pond that is fertile and offers bountiful nutrition to the lotus. But it is dirty too and can soil and drag the lotus into it,  if the lotus turns towards it.  One needs to turn away from the world and look towards the Sun, the higher powerful, enlightened self while honouring the nurturing of the world too through the roots that are embedded in the pond.  Everything of the world is designed to take you closer to your true self. Don’t identity with it. Don’t get affected by it. Just allow it to awaken something inside you by dislodging some darkness of ignorance.

For this

See the present moment as complete. Don’t label it as good or bad. It just Is.

See the past as complete. It is a story of your life. It is the best path chosen for you to awaken.

See the future also as complete. It will come as a present and you will rise up to handle it well.

Turn inwards by releasing controls.. The senses are tools for interaction. Don’t allow them to take charge of your life and make you experience the world.


Just as frequent washing of the ore reveals the gold, your inner unchanging self has to come forth. Look at the world like a film that is revealing your true character.  Don’t look at the incidents. Look at what they permanently revealed a higher truth about you. Look at where it made you rest. That resting point is your ISNESS or true beingness. A time will come when you will realise that controlling how the movie of your life plays out is also not in your hands. What Is, Just Is.  Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be)

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