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Bob Lingvall

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Discovering the Self in Silent Awareness

Posted: 10/12/10 05:37 PM ET

Reflection

In our last blog, "Uncovering Your Beauty: The Foundation of Awareness Spiritual Practice," we came to know our self as a still and silent awareness. If this is true, then why do we often think of ourselves as anything but stillness and silence, unable to be quiet even for a moment? It is because we identify our self with our mind, grounding our identity in the stream of thoughts it produces, especially the web of thoughts coalescing around the concept of "I." To the extent we identify with this "I" creation of the mind, we are attached to the activities of our mind -- its thoughts, dreams, feelings, reflections, fears, and memories. We create our drama where we love and suffer, experience loss and gain, live and die, but is this an accurate reflection of who we are or simply a mental fiction?

Mindfulness of being awareness is a way to find the truth of who we are. It gives us some space to look into the reality of our "I" more objectively. We can ask the question, "Who and where is this 'I' we reference so easily in our everyday speech and thoughts?" As we place our attention on our awareness we experience ourselves as stillness and silence. Over time the ground of our identity shifts. The self of the mind remains as a functional entity, but its grip on our identity is loosened. Now our personality quirks, obsessions and attachments can more easily fall away, allowing our original face to be revealed. Peace now returns more often; moments of compassion are less rare, silence and stillness blossom.

So let's continue with our meditations, looking for the actual reality of the thinker of our thoughts springing out from a point of awareness - still and silent.

Meditation

Once again look around you and find an object to look at for a few seconds. Now shift your awareness to your eyes. Imagine them for a moment -- their color, their shape. Next, leave your imagination and return to looking with your eyes. Place your attention on yourself actually doing the looking. Notice that you are behind your eyes looking out at the world around you.

As the witnessing presence, observe yourself being this point of awareness looking out at the world. Allow your eyes to move from one object to another, while you also focus on the one looking, making no sound, watching from behind your eyes. Continue to keep your focus and attention on yourself as the awareness doing the seeing.

Stay with the seeing process for a while, keeping your attention on yourself as you are doing the seeing. Notice the stillness and silence of the process and the simplicity of yourself as the one seeing. That is you -- silent, still awareness.

This can be tricky since it is not something we ordinarily do. Most likely it is a new experience, so give yourself time to get comfortable with it.

Inquiry

What can you say about yourself, the one you experienced looking out at the world from behind your eyes? What are you actually like? Can you begin to know yourself as still, silent awareness? How would you now describe yourself? Is your self-concept changing at all?