01/10/2013 11:37 am ET Updated Mar 12, 2013

Watching TV Can Help You Realize Your Eternal Self

Can we come to know our eternal self by watching TV? To know your eternal aspect, you want to get to the point where you are conscious of yourself as a point of awareness. Watch yourself in the act of being aware this very moment. Identify with this source of awareness as it uses your senses and your mind. As your identity becomes more and more grounded in being awareness itself, free of any content, you will come to know yourself as a window into eternity, a mirror reflecting the compassion of being. That is our eternal destiny; that is who we are even now. Is it possible TV can be a meditation tool to help us realize this?

You will find a common thread in many meditation instructions telling you not to try to stop your thoughts, but instead to just let them come and go. Most likely, you've heard a version of these instructions before. It's where you are encouraged to develop a state of awareness, often beginning with counting your breaths in and out, then following your breath, and later developing a general state of awareness in the moment. The instructions usually include a comment on how to handle your thoughts. It will be something like, "Allow the thoughts to come and go. We are not trying to stop them. If you find yourself engaged in one of your thoughts, simply let it go and return to..." -- here they mention whatever type of meditation you were doing, like following your breath.

The reason and wisdom behind these instructions is that they will give you a chance to experience yourself as the one watching the thoughts. The watcher is your eternal aspect. Giving yourself a conscious moment of being aware of being awareness lets you experience the you that continues after you finish this lifetime -- your eternal self.

Why not make this task of not becoming engaged in our thoughts easier by watching something really boring on TV? Let's face it, our personal thoughts are engaging, and they are supposed to be. They are about our life. One of my favorite sayings from the recovery movement is, "I may not be much, but I'm all I think about." Isn't that the truth. So instead of trying to not engage with your own personal thoughts, start with something easier, like a boring TV show. The next time you are semi-hypnotized in front of the TV, start following a modified version of those common meditation instructions we just looked at: "Allow the TV show images and sounds to come and go. We are not trying to follow it. If you find yourself engaged in the show, simply let it go and be aware of yourself as awareness."

That's the key -- be aware of your awareness. Awareness: It's you! You are the awareness watching the show. Everything else is content that comes and goes -- whether it is your thoughts, desires, fears, plans, or a boring TV show. You are the awareness experiencing it all. Awareness is the common thread through all your experiences. It is who you are.

It is important to keep this meditation practice -- as you would any practice -- in perspective and balance. The goal of meditation is not to become permanently disengaged from our thoughts and our life. It is not to stay in the state of being conscious of being awareness. Instead, we are here to have a wonderful, full human life, deeply engaged and mindful of all the details of our loves, challenges, dreams, noises, smells, and colors.

We practice this meditation in a balanced way to help us enter more fully into the experience of our life and to get out of our heads once in awhile. The meditation practice of knowing yourself as awareness will help us stop identifying 100 percent with the TV show we are all writing and directing inside our head. You know, the one we spend most of our life watching. It is our personal, internal soap-opera experience of life. "I am this. I am that. I believe this. I like that. I don't want this. I am afraid of that. They did this to me. I'll do that to them." And on and on it goes -- me, me, me, mine, mine, mine.

A meditation practice leading to the understanding of our eternal self as awareness gives us just enough separation from our internal soap-opera production for us to be a little more loving, less fearful and controlling, more aware of the needs, hopes and dreams of another. It allows us to live in a more healthy, happy, loving, productive way -- engaged not obsessed, able to let it go when we have done what we can. I love TV as much as the next person -- both the one inside my head and the one outside. Still, it's good to be able to turn off both TVs sometimes and rest as eternal awareness -- content-free bliss.

Perhaps, like me, you were expecting your true self to be so much more than awareness, but our expectations will cause us to miss the truth of who we are. You are the thinker of your thoughts, the seer seeing with your eyes. You are awareness. Are you disappointed? The good news is the very ground of being is blissful love, and as awareness we become whatever we are aware of. Being awareness when the ground of being is blissful love gives you an eternity of knowing, becoming, and being this very love. Awareness becomes what it is aware of. Here is the source of the mystics baffling speech and poetry, mixing up flesh and spirit, mud and perfection, never sure where heaven ends and the earth begins.

When, for a moment or two, you are free from self-identifying with any content (personality, body/mind complex, etc.) and you have a brief momentary experience of just being awareness, you will never think of awareness as ordinary ever again. When your awareness is not preoccupied with content (ideas, thoughts, reactions, feelings, etc.) and your self-identification is grounded in being awareness, you are ready for the realization of the compassionate bliss of being itself. As empty awareness, free of any identifying content, you are a window into eternity, a mirror reflecting the compassion of being. That is our eternal destiny. That is who we are even now.

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