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Bruce Davis, Ph.D. Headshot

The Heart of Awareness

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We see the heart of awareness when we hold a newborn child. As we look into their eyes, their being, their inner self seems to extend forever. We see the heart of awareness in the innocence of all children before worldliness begins to cloud it over. This innocence used to last until 7, 9, even 11 or 13 years of age. But in the modern world with so many mental demands, children are losing this innocence and inner peace at an earlier and earlier age. People in all walks of life who enjoy meditating every day enjoy sitting in the heart of awareness. We see the heart of awareness on the faces of the bride and groom on a wedding day. In these moments, love has defeated all obstacles. Sometimes you see the heart of awareness at a race when the winner or someone who merely finished has realized their body has caught up with the perfection of their soul. The heart of awareness can be in the joy of helping a stranger. We see the heart of awareness in older people as they describe what is important in life. The heart of awareness is in the bright orange-and-blue sky at sunrise, and is often experienced in spectacular nature.

The heart of awareness, however, is not necessarily tied to an event. The river of our awareness can be flowing in its own natural beauty, naturally joyful. How many of us have awakened in joy for no reason at all. Life is joy.

As modern psychology and spirituality mature, there is a new understanding of awareness and joy. There is a vital connection and path together. Once unveiled, uncluttered, unfiltered, there is a brilliant heart of awareness in each of us. When our awareness is not crowded with the details and demands of modern life, within our natural awareness is a great lightness of being. When the river of our awareness is not full of the debris of life, when cleansed of all the busyness, awareness is naturally white, pure, and peaceful. The heart of our awareness is vast, expansive beyond our normal self, reaching out forever. The heart of awareness is our no self with no boundaries, no limits, eternity knocking.

The question is how do we cleanse our inner world so we can enjoy the heart of awareness? What has modern psychology and spirituality found that frees us from our obsessive thoughts, memories, difficult feelings that are floating like yesterday's trash in the beauty of our inner river? How do we release the heaviness to have the love, to live fully in the heart of our awareness now?

Joy is the great cleanser of awareness. Any and every activity that brings us to our heart naturally clears away some of the clutter, tossing aside old feelings, renewing our awareness in the process. Humor, laughter, dance, music, truth, listening deeply, all activities that embrace the heart are activities that free awareness. We are freeing the heaviness that is weighing us down, preventing the natural flow of our lives. Spiritual practices like generosity, forgiveness, compassion, and service release our awareness to its true nature. Spiritual practices restore our awareness of our greater self, embracing the larger life we all share together.

Silence, retreat, and meditation are the main ingredients many are discovering to find and live in the heart of awareness. Silence naturally washes the noise within us. We find inner stillness that is at the center of our heart. When our awareness is centered inside, there is a well of peace. Retreat gives our awareness space from the world running over the pure place inside. Retreat from the demands upon us, and we find something other than our concerns. We find room inside, lots of room. Inner resources of gentleness, acceptance, and humility are waiting. Heartfulness meditation is a journey to our innermost being, directly into the heart. Here is an expansiveness, a freedom.

The first key to heartfulness meditation is offering everything we are carrying in our heart, i.e., the challenges, desires, and worries that hold us down. Offering is lessening the load, weakening the attachment the world has gripping our being. The second key to heartfulness and most important is the practice of receiving deeply in our heart. We are absorbing the essence, the light of the heart of our awareness. Within each of us, there is this inner reservoir of simple being, which is also our well of trust, peace, innocence, goodness. All religions talk about the treasure of the heart, God inside of us. Heartfulness meditation is opening the treasure and holding it in the hands of our awareness. Spiritual practice is offering and receiving. We are offering the obstacles that keep our awareness from the beauty inside. Slowly, surely we are receiving our source, the heart of our awareness.

Most therapy, most meditation -- unless they include the richness of our heart -- does not get us there. We do not find the heart of our awareness. There is no way around joy. We either embrace it, receive it, or we don't. Life is too precious to live separate from this part of us. It is time to let go, rest, and receive. This is a true spiritual practice. Silence, retreat, heartfulness and our awareness instead of bouncing from here to there, finds a true place inside to anchor. A new identity, a true self grows. The heart of our awareness is our inner abundance of sweet understanding.

We invite you to explore the heart inside of our heart with us at Silent Stay near Napa, California and Assisi, Italy.

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