(Includes revised "I Am Awareness Exercises", Part 5)
Reflection: Mother's Day is one of our most spiritual of holidays. The Dalai Lama remembers his mom this way. "I am now 71 years old [but] I feel, still, deep in my mind, my first experience, my mother's care. I can still feel it. . .That immediately gives me inner peace, inner calmness. . . (Transcript: Michael Scott, Vancouver Sun Interview with the Dalai Lama, Sept 7, 2006) He goes on to link the experience of a mother's love with our sense of the value of each person. In a later talk in Frankfurt, he links our experience of a mothers' love with our capacity to be compassionate.
The experience or image of a mother nursing her infant is a window into the purpose and meaning of each of our lives, both man and woman. When seen clearly, without the clutter of worry and wanting, without the attachment to stone and air, space and time, the world becomes a playground for the expression of compassion. Anything more than that is theft and deceit, deception and illusion. When we are brought to the point of being only awareness - be it by chanting or nursing, praying or loving - then the compassionate nature of Being is revealed. Often a mother's love is our first experience of the true nature of Being, later lost in the noise of personality, in the distractions of fear and desire.
So let's continue with our exercises designed to reduce our attachments to personality and culture. The exercises leave us more open to the experience of Being as blissful, compassionate awareness. They also leave us more grateful for the reflection of this compassion and bliss often known and seen in a mother's love for her child. Happy Mother's Day!
Revised "I Am Awareness Exercises", Part 5
Note: The following exercises can be done together throughout your day as a comprehensive practice or you can pick and choose what exercises will work best for you. Perhaps the Active Meditation or the Service exercise works best for you. Or maybe it is the Silence exercise. The Meditation and Inquiry exercises are best done together.
Intention: I will know myself as a point of awareness able to generate thoughts.
Meditation: In this meditation we will shift our focus away from the content of our thoughts and move it to creation of thoughts and to ourselves as the thought creator. Once again, as in the previous meditation, become conscious of the location of yourself in the area of the frontal lobe, just behind the center of your high forehead.
Next, while maintaining your focus in this area, think to yourself some simple "I" phrases. For example, close your eyes and think, "I am a person." First there was no thought and then a thought occurred. Who created it? You did, so look for yourself. You must have been there. Watch closely for yourself, the thinker. Try to see who actually generates these thoughts.
Try a few more thoughts. Watch as they come into being out of nowhere and look for yourself, the originator of the thought.
Inquiry: And what can you say about this thinker in your brain, this thought generator? The thinker never appears, but the thoughts do. Someone is generating them. We could just say it is you, but that doesn't tell us much. What attributes do you have as the thinker? Awareness. Is there anything else you can say about yourself?
Active Meditation: As you come to know yourself more and more as a point of awareness in a universe of compassion beyond your personality, practice extending this to each person you meet. When you are with someone remain conscious of the fact that they too are a point of awareness. Remind yourself that they too will only be happy to the extent they are able to express this compassion through their personality, their choices, and their actions. Also, remind yourself that many of their actions and beliefs are expressions of a personality formed well before they had any conscious choice in the matter. They, like us, are often their own worst enemy.
To the extent you can maintain this recollected state, you will have a better chance of not falling into your own personality stew of desire and fear and instead respond with compassion when others actions are less than loving and charitable. You will be better able to respond with compassion when you see they are destroying their own happiness and fulfillment with their actions.
Silence: Let's continue with our silence exercise. Our identity is grounded in being a body and mind so our attention is focused on and attached to the mind's thoughts and the body's condition. Our reflections and exercises are designed to change the ground of our identity to being a point of awareness. Our silence exercises both support this process and are supported by this process. The more we are grounded in awareness the less we are attached to the stream of thoughts we call our mind, making it easier to sit in silence. Also, as we sit in silence we begin to experience our self without the inner chatter we call our mind. This gives us a lived experience more like being a point of awareness rather than our normal experience of being a mind where inner dialogue is the norm.
Our method is simple, but takes practice and time devoted to it. Sit quietly and be aware of your breathing. As thoughts come, simply let them go. If they are persistent, remind yourself, "I am loved, safe, and all is well. My mind and body can relax for a few moments. I am a point of awareness." Then simply lets the thoughts go and return to watching your breathing. Relax. You are loved, safe and all is well.
Remember, avoid excessive strain or effort. You are not creating, but discovering your original perfection as a point of silent awareness.
Service: Practice extending yourself (moderately, prudently, maintaining your balance between self care and care for others ) in acts of generosity, kindness, and helpfulness, but with a very important difference of focus. With each act, instead of focusing on what you have done for them, perhaps expecting gratitude and thanks, instead remind yourself, "I am doing this for my own deepest fulfillment and happiness." Try this out. You are going to find this adds a whole new level of peace and serenity to your acts of service.
These outward acts of service will be both expressions of love and compassion, accurately expressing the nature of your true self. They will also be points of meditation, leading you within to your deepest self - a point of awareness in a universe of personal, compassionate bliss.
Intention Renewal: Allow the intention of this meditation to continue. I will know myself as a point of awareness able to generate thoughts.