During our spiritual Journey through the world of shapes and forms, we are often under the effect of our daily disappointments, as our “sandcastles come tumbling down,” and we ask ourselves the question:
What the f#ck is this? What am I doing here?
In a narrow sense it may mean: ”What am I doing in this situation?” or ”What am I doing in these relationships? In a broader sense the meaning can be:
What am I doing in this life, what is the sense of life, what is my ultimate goal ? Why was I born onto this Earth?
The socially conditioned mind is ready with the answer to all those questions, provides a detailed description and explanation, underpinned with scientific arguments. It tells us and analyses our own personal histories, starting with birth and ending with death. Between the tangible endpoints, the already and the yet, every single conscious moment of our life is embedded int he story as experience.
Every such personal history, however, has its own problems and conflicts, beauties, ups and downs, and questions awaiting answers. One of the central questions in almost every autobiography is the following:
How could I achieve more in life in order to be happy?
One of the awakened teachers, who has experienced the real nature of truth, Nissargadatta Maharaj believes, however, that instead of asking that, we should concentrate on the following questions:
- What is my true nature?
- What is the capital that I had when I was born and that has stayed with me since the moment when I realized that I existed?
- How did I acquire this bodily structure, together with the vitality and Consciousness that gives me the sense of Presence?
- How long is it going to last?
- What had I been before this body was born, and what am I going to be when this body decomposes?
- Who was born, and who is going to die?
- Who am I?
The only answer to these questions is that the capital with which we were born and which stays with us is the concept of ”I am here, I am now,” the intuitive feeling and reality of ”I am.” It is only possible to experience that in the Present moment, in the Now.
Past is an intangible part of our personal history, and future is the expectations we project into it. Both are products of the mind, therefore illusory, false, not realistic things.
From the Edge to the Centerpoint
In order to bring our life into a resting point, the Present moment, we need to “move” from the edge to the centerpoint.
What does it mean?
The edge is the present state of Consciousness, in which the overwhelming majority of people live. That is the state of identifying with the mind, that of the dormant Consciousness, which dreams and tells our personal history.
That is the state of perfect identification with thoughts, emotions and desires, where we seek the goals of our life only in the world of forms and shapes, whether they are crude material forms (the world experienced with our sensory organs) or fine material forms (thoughts, emotions). The motor of our existence on the edge is the ambition to become something or somebody and to be in control all the time.
The centerpoint, the Awakened Consciousness, and the world of internal silence are beyond the mind. It does not refer to the internal silence forced upon oneself by various techniques called meditation (in this case, in fact concentration), but the undescribable, but experiencable, alive and living internal emptiness. In there, there is no effort, no desire and ambition, and we give up the last bastion of wanting to be in control. This is the state of perfect abandoment and submission, submitting ourselves to the Present Moment, to the Now. That centerpoint is the Self.
At the very moment when you find a resting point in the center, you will be away from the edge, and you will be able to see your previous self (the image created by the mind). Here it becomes obvious that the external world may only touch or scratch the edge, but never your real Self.
Be Alert and Conscious!
How can we get from the edge to the center of our Self ? The solution of this question should be the inner purpose of every human being. A precondition of making a move is promoting the emergence of the extra sensitivity found inside us.
The first phase of the process is becoming sensitive to our external environment in a new manner. Be consciously attentive to your environment, see, hear and feel everything with an intensity and vividity that we should be the eye when we see, we should be the ear when we hear, and we should be the sensor when we touch. We must not, however, stick to any of the senses, we should be attentive to everything at the same time, when all the senses unite. The information broadcast by all the senses will merge into one single stimulus.
After practising and making it regular, the second phase of the process comes. In the second phase we turn our alert attention inward.
The first phase of turning inward is becoming conscious of our body. In most cases, our body works unconsciously, automatically, we are not really aware of how we walk, sit, eat etc. Now our alert attention will be extended to these activities as we try to use our body more consciously. As we become gradually more and more conscious of our body, we perceive more and more of the vitality and energy in the physical body and beyond. We thus become more and more sensitive to our internal body. If we do not give up consciously watching our body, but diligently practise it, after a while the sense of the inner body becomes permanent and keeps us in the present time as a massive anchor.
Once we have become conscious in connection with our body and the awareness of inner body is a permanent part of our life, then we may advance even deeper as the third phase of the process. We may become alert to the functions of the mind, the ideas, concepts, projections and the emotions generated by all these in the body. As we become more conscious of our mind, we may observe that the initially permanent and forced operations of the mind slow down, our thoughts become more transparent and the mind, slowly and gradually, becomes quiet.
At the same time we should also watch our emotions and moods, since we need to make these conscious as well, seeing that out thoughts are followed by bodily reactions. These reactions do not differentiate between the effects of reality and those generated by the illusoric works of the mind; the reactions are the same as in the case of a real experience.
Having discovered all this, we are now capable of behaving as external spectators of the generation, functions and disappearance of emotions and moods. As a result of this process we enter a formerly unknown and new domain, which is undoubtedly the center of our personality, and we become aware that we are the Witness, the Consciousness, which was not created and so is eternal.
By practising the attention described previously, we are not yet able to reach the center from the edge. At that point our own power is not enough, but the helping Grace will be sufficient.
About the author:
Frank M. Wanderer Ph.D is a professor of psychology, a consciousness researcher and writer. Frank is the author of the book s The Revolution of Consciousness: Deconditioning the Programmed Mind and 3 Stages in the Evolution of the Human Spirit
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