The foundation of our awareness spiritual practice is the uncovering of your perfection and beauty. Life is not about becoming a more loving person, but coming to know and express the love you already are. It is not a matter of becoming a more compassionate person, but living a life reflective of the fact you are compassion. Bliss doesn't just reside within you, it is you.
How is this possible? The deeper truth is when we are reduced to our essence we are simply a point of awareness. When we are conscious of having a human body and we are using the senses of the human body, it is our self as a point of awareness that is seeing with human eyes, hearing with human ears.
When we return to our essence of being a point of awareness we perceive directly all that is. This direct perception finds a universe not composed of objects. It is not a universe of space and time, but a universe of personal, intimate, blissful, compassionate love. It is this very love we search for in our world of people, places and things. We know this love. Our memory of it is not conscious, but its pull is strong in each of us, manifesting in various ways, such as loneliness or restlessness, as well as loyalty and affection. Finding this love once again draws us on the very deepest level. It is what we hope to find in family and friends, God and lover. Each voice, song or touch is measured by this ancient longing.
It is fulfilled by our returning to be only a point of pure awareness. As a point of pure awareness we know and become whatever we are aware of. No longer having content or boundaries of our own to obscure our vision, we perceive directly. In doing so we find ourselves in a universe composed entirely of intimately personal, blissful, compassionate love. As pure awareness we become exactly what we have perceived directly -- intimately personal, blissful, compassionate love.
The practice of these meditations will help prepare us once again for this direct realization of the love we long for, and paradoxically, the love we already are. Since we lost our true selves in space and time as a self composed of body and mind, then our exercises need to get to the root of these. The root of time is the present moment. The root of the self is the awareness reflected in the experience of "I am." This series of meditations will support the realization of our original beauty by directing our attention to these roots -- the lived experience of being awareness in the present moment. You know this experience already. It is when you simply say, "I am," adding nothing more to your identity, staying in the present moment. Here is the place we wait for realization. Let's practice returning there together with the assistance of these meditations.
Your Original Face, Your Open Heart
When do the stones of the pyramid become sacred,
Or your lips the very lips of God?
When does silence become wisdom,
Or waiting become prayer?
Mix darkness with silence,
Surrender with desire.
Then return to the moment,
Just before awareness gives birth to thought.
There, find yourself waiting,
Your original face, your open heart.
On Doing the Meditations Safely and Effectively
When we do the meditations in this book we will shift our focus from the content of what we are sensing to our self as the silent awareness engaged in the act of sensing. We will take the stance of the witness in each meditation. Since we are turning our attention inward be sure to do these meditations only when it is possible to do them safely. Never do these meditations while driving or performing any task demanding attention, focus or a response on your part of any sort. Only do these meditations when you can give them your full and complete attention.
Spend time with these meditations. Be sure to stop reading and give yourself a chance to try to do each meditation step. For example, if you are asked to visualize something, then stop reading for a moment, close your eyes, and try to visualize it. It is in the doing of the exercises that growth and change occur.
Just like any physical exercise demands repetition if you are to achieve results, it is no different with these "I am" meditations. Also, just as physical exercise programs work best when there is variety, enjoyment and companionship, do the same here. Vary which meditations you use, have fun with them and if possible find at least one other person to do these meditations with you.
For all the meditations, stay relaxed, breathing in and out easily and smoothly. Take a break after each one and then try again when you feel ready.
"I am" Meditation 1: Using The Moment as a Mirror
We can use the present moment as a mirror to see who we really are. It is a snapshot of our self caught in the act of living. By observing our self in the act of perception we can examine who we actually are in this very moment of life. What is happening? Who is experiencing it? By taking this witness stance and consciously observing the present moment of sensory experience we can catch a glimpse of who we are. It gives us a moment of life we can analyze, focusing on what we are sensing and who is doing the sensing.
Let's begin to find out who we are by focusing our attention on our self in the very act of being in the present moment. Go to a place where you can see objects that are emotionally neutral for you. We do not want anything that is emotionally charged or especially engaging. For example, looking at a chair is most likely emotionally neutral, whereas looking at a wall of family photos is emotionally more engaging.
Look around you and find an object to look at for a few seconds. Did the act of seeing make any sound? Stay with this step for a few moments. When you are ready shift your awareness to yourself in the act of looking. Be aware of yourself as the one looking. Again, listen for any sound caused by looking. Silence. The act of seeing is a silent process.
Let's play with this a little more. Open and close your eyes a few times. Each time close them for a few seconds, just enough time to be aware of the fact that you are not seeing the world in front of you anymore. Then open your eyes and begin seeing the world again. While you do this listen for any sound associated with the starting and the stopping of the seeing process. Did you notice any noise as each act of looking begins and ends? None at all. Everything about looking is a perfectly silent process.
Let's try one more simple exercise. Slowly scan the view before you. Watch the scene changing. Perhaps there is even some movement in your field of vision -- a bird flying, a car driving by. Now keep your attention also on yourself engaged in the act of scanning the world around you. Observe yourself as consciousness engaged in the act of seeing.
What are you like? Can you get a sense of the stillness and silence you are? Begin to feel the simplicity of yourself. There is so much to hold your interest in your field of vision as you look out at the world around you, but what of you? What is your experience of yourself as you do the seeing? Can you begin to know and experience yourself as a still and simple silent point of awareness?