(Includes revised "I Am Awareness Exercises", Part 3)
There is a way to prepare for self-realization that fits the season of spring. The world around us blossoms and sings. It calls to us, "Watch! Listen! Be with us!" It is a time of new, a time of birth and more birth. Let your springtime practice be mindfulness of sensory awareness. Come into the present moment.
Here we are far from the stuff selves are made of, far from those memories we string together to create our identities. Since there are no memories in a present moment focused on sensory awareness no selves will be found either .
Yes, let mindfulness be your spring practice. Prepare for self-realization by embracing these moments of springtime. Your realization of being pure awareness flows naturally from focusing on awareness of the beloved's touch found in sparrow song and flower, in friend and happiness. Welcome to a new life. Its bliss is deeper than our winters and its love greater than our embraces. And it is you. All of this is no more than mirror, your sweet reflection - springtime.
Below are some exercises to help you with your spring preparation, in particular the active meditation, the silence exercise and the service exercise. Enjoy.
Revised "I Am Awareness Exercises", Part 3
I will know myself to be a point of silent, conscious awareness using a brain and body to sense and navigate the world around me.
In this meditation we will turn our attention to the inside of our head and to our brain. Here is the location of the idea we refer to when we say "I." Let's look for it and see its reality.
Become conscious of the location of yourself behind your eyes looking out at the world around you. See yourself inside your head looking out through your eyes. We did this in the previous meditation. If doing this is a problem please go back to our previous meditation and give yourself some more practice on understanding and doing this. Now let's continue. Stay focused on being inside your head behind your eyes. Now instead of looking out through your eyes, shift your focus and look at the back of your eyes. See the light streaming in from the outside. Stay here a moment looking from the inside of your head at the back of your eye balls. Now turn your attention to the inside surface of your head. See the walls of your head. Notice the ridges in the bone. See the curve of the head from the inside. The light streaming in through your eye sockets is filling the inside of your head with light. Now focus on your brain. Notice how it fills the inside of your head. See the gray folds and grooves of your brain. Visualize your brain is covered in a clear cerebral fluid filling the area between the surface of your brain and the inside of your skull.
Next turn you attention to yourself as a point of silent awareness in the middle of your head. Reside here as the perceiver, the witness of all you are sensing. This is you, a point of silent awareness looking out through your eyes, listening with your ears, using a brain and body to sense and navigate the world around you. Be here as long as you are comfortable. When you find yourself losing this focus gently renew your intention by visualizing yourself being a point of silent awareness in the center of your head.
Inquiry: Now let me pose some questions to you. Where was the self you refer to when saying "I"? There was awareness. But what else did you find? Only the gray folds and grooves of the brain bathed in clear, water-like cerebral fluid. What did you experience? Being a point of awareness.
Let's try some standard phrases and see how they sound now. "You hurt me by saying that!" Who was hurt? "I demand respect." Who is demanding respect? "I am not good enough." Who is not good enough? The brain cells? The neurons within your brain? The electro-chemical reactions between the neurons? Where is this self we refer to when we say, "I"? What is its reality?
In our meditation we found our self to be a point of silent awareness looking out through our eyes, listening with our ears, using our brain and body to sense and navigate the world around us. To support this focus take one of your senses, vision for example, and focus all of your attention on the experience of that sense. Notice the shapes, shadows, and colors around you. Be aware of your entire field of vision - near and far, to the side and what is in front of you. Practice this active meditation with your other senses as well. One at a time, focus your attention completely on listening, smelling, touching, and then tasting. These awareness exercises will support your growing sense of being a point of awareness. They will give us a more direct experience of who we actually are.
Sit quietly and be aware of your breathing. As thoughts come, simply let them go.
How long should you do this? I suggest doing this exercise as long as you are comfortable and relaxed. That might mean only a few minutes. Give yourself permission to stop whenever you are feeling stressed. Excessive effort is often a sign of the ego. We are not here to strengthen its grip on our identity.
How many times a day? Once or twice is fine.
Here is the bottom line - the more our silence exercises become a part of our everyday life the more they can and will benefit us. How do we do this? Well as human beings we are designed to do what we find pleasurable. Isn't that true? So our strategy is to allow these moments of silence to become a time we desire. We do that by making it a time of pleasure and happiness. And this is possible. After all we are discovering the personal, intimate, blissful compassion that lies hidden beneath the mind's activity. It makes sense that each moment of true silence can release a moment of happiness for you.
So enjoy a few moments of silence, allowing your attention to follow your breath. If you are distracted simply tell yourself "I am discovering the blissful nature of life. My mind and body can relax for a few moments." Then simply return to the exercise, letting the thoughts go and watching your breathing. Relax. You are discovering bliss and all is well.
The wants and needs, priorities and concerns of our ego fill up our day, but what becomes of our self as a point of awareness? Allow yourself to experience simply being in the world, not as a self, but as awareness. Try serving awareness with your time and attention. Unlike our ego, our awareness is in touch with a universe grounded in compassion and bliss. See what it is like. Practice letting your thoughts go, just like you are doing in our silence exercises. This leaves you available for the experience of being a point of awareness in the world. Wait. Listen. Watch. You might find yourself engaged in simple acts of friendliness or kindness, or perhaps find yourself feeling a certain peace or happiness. The nature of Being will naturally begin to express itself through you. As you free up moments of attention from the mind's activity supporting your ego, you become available to express and receive its personal, intimate, blissful compassion. Don't force it; just allow your thoughts to go. Be aware; be a simple, conscious point of awareness.
Allow the intention of this meditation to continue. Give this insight and experience time to deepen I will know myself to be a point of silent, conscious awareness using a brain and body to sense and navigate the world around you.