You heard it again and again but the technique somehow eludes your grasp. And besides you’re rushed for time and want a very simple method of passing through the sudden outburst when a sleeping volcano erupts.
How about the next best alternative?
The next best alternative……. Hmmmmmm….
This is not going to sound like the next best. But I assure you that, to my mind, it is. Here it is.
Just be aware.
That’s it, but there’s a lot to that little “it.”
Start becoming aware. A good beginning would be to say “I’m aware of” or “I’m aware that.” Again and again and again.
I remember how six weeks of being aware at Cold Mountain Institute showed me that I was out of touch with my feelings. Maybe I’m just slow, but the realization itself came like a bolt out of the blue. And opened the door to a whole different world of incredibly-richer experience than I’d ever known before.
I’m aware right now that I’m moving my apartment and should be frazzled and I’m not.
I’m aware that I was late for an appointment today (almost missed it) and should feel abashed and I don’t.
I’m aware that my place is in chaos and I’m enjoying it. I’m aware that I’m impressed at how organized I am. I’m aware that I’m approaching this move as I’d approach project change control.
I’m aware that I’m doing one thing at a time and completely finishing it before starting the next. I’m aware of a quiet stillness inside.
Being aware of ourselves and what we’re doing, thinking and feeling takes us out of the domain of the mind and into the domain of the Self.
The domain we leave is called “unconscious awareness.” (1) We’re aware but have no knowledge that we’re aware, no consciousness of ourselves, no reflexive consciousness.
The domain we enter is called “conscious awareness.” We do, think and feel: that’s common to both domains. But in this domain we have the added dimension that we’re aware of ourselves; we have reflexive consciousness. We’re aware of what we do, think, and feel. And we’re aware that we’re aware.
Just as I could say that love creates, preserves and transforms, so I could also say that awareness creates, preserves and transforms. Love and awareness both refer to the essence of God.
We’re therefore “being God” when we’re self-aware. Awareness will dissolve the vasana, not as quickly as using the upset clearing process; a little more randomly – for instance, we have to lie in wait for the vasana to reappear whereas with the clearing process we get right in there and work on the vasana, sometimes before it goes off.
Most times we cannot work on it until it erupts. But it’s getting easier to access and source a vasana in the face of the Tsunami of Love.
But even if we leave vasanas aside, being aware is still a versatile and full-fledged spiritual practice, one of the best gifts we can give ourselves, an endlessly-fascinating pursuit. It renders the quickest and highest returns of bliss than any other path that I know of with the exception of pure and simple love.
How can you tell that I love the path of awareness and look back on the times when I practiced it at growth centers like Cold Mountain Institute as some of the happiest of my life?
So if you can’t nail down the upset clearing process – you can’t name the feeling, you can’t get an the image of the earlier-similar incident, or you don’t know how to re-experience your original emotions – go for the more general approach, in the mastering of which you’ll enter some of the most absorbing and rewarding areas of life you may ever find.
Be aware. Increase your awareness. Maintain your awareness. We are, as it turns out, simply that awareness. All the rest of it – body, mind, everything we see around us – is something added as we descend Jacob’s dimensional ladder. Strictly extra and optional. Our awareness alone is eternal and unchanging.
The one who’s doing the looking? That’s the one you’re looking for. Are you aware of the looker?
If you wish to be free,
Know you are the Self,
The witness of all these,
The heart of awareness. (2)
Steve will be taking Nov. 30-Dec. 3 off to move his apartment.
(1) I’m using the term more loosely than Werner Erhard might have. Werner used it to refer to the transformed state of awareness. I’m using it to refer to the reflexive or self-aware state, a state junior to what Werner was discussing.
(2) Thomas Byrom, The Heart of Awareness. A Translation of the Ashtavakra Gita. Boston and Shaftesbury: Shambala, 1990, 1.