CHAPTER FOUR: DISSOLVING UNCONSCIOUSNESS
It is essential to bring more consciousness into your life in ordinary situations when everything is going rela tively smoothly.
darkness cannot survive in the presence of light.
When you learn to be the witness of your thoughts and emotions, which is an essential part of being pres ent, you may be surprised when you first become aware of the background "static" of ordinary unconsciousness and realize how rarely, if ever, you are truly at ease within yourself.
MAKE IT A HABIT TO MONITOR YOUR MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL STATE throughself-observation. ''Am I at ease at this moment?"
Or you can ask: "What's going on inside me at this moment?"
Be at least as interested in what goes on inside you as what happens outside. If you get the inside right, the outside will fall into place. Primary reality is within, secondary reality without.
BUT DON'T ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS IMMEDI ATELY. Direct your attention inward. Have a look inside yourself.
What kind of thoughts is your mind pro ducing?
What do you feel?
Direct your attention into the body. Is there any tension?
With practice, your power of self-observation, of monitoring your mner state, will become sharpened.
WHEREVER YOU ARE, BE THERE TOTALLY
Stress is caused by being "here" but wanting to be "there," or being in the present but wanting to be in the future. It's a split that tears you apart inside.
DIE TO THE PAST EVERY MOMENT. You don't need it.
Only refer to it when it is absolutely relevant to the present. Feel the power of this moment and the fullness of Being. Feel your presence.
BECOME AWARE OF YOUR BREATHING. Feel the air flowing in and out of your body. Feel your inner energy field.
Ask yourself what "problem" you have right now, not next year, tomorrow, or five minutes from now. What is wrong with this moment?
How much of your life do you spend waiting? What I call "small-scale waiting" is waiting in line at the post office.
"Large-scale waiting" is waiting for the next vacation, for a better job, for the children to grow up, for a truly meaningful relationship, for suc cess, to make money.
It is not uncommon for people to spend their whole life waiting to start living.
Waiting is a state of mind. Basically, it means that you want the future; you don't want the present. You don't want what you've got, and you want what you haven't got.
With every kind of waiting, you uncon sciously create inner conflict between your here and now, where you don't want to be, and the projected future, where you want to be.
This greatly reduces the quality of your life by making you lose the present.
Gratitude for the present moment and the fullness of life now is true prosperity. It cannot come in the future.
GIVE UP WAITING AS A STATE OF MIND. When you catch yourself slipping into waiting …snap out of it. Come into the present moment. Just be, and enjoy being. If you are present, there is never any need for you to wait for anything.
But beware: The false, unhappy self, based on mind identification, lives on time. It knows that the present moment is its own death and so feels very threatened by it. It will do all it can to take you out of it.It will try to keep you trapped in time.
In a sense, the state of presence could be compared to waiting. It is a qualitatively different kind of waiting, one that requires your total alertness.Something could happen at any moment, and if you are not absolutely awake, absolutely still, you will miss it. In that state, all your attention is in the Now. There is none left for day dreaming, thinking, remembering, anticipating.
You are present with your whole Being, with every cell of your body.
In that state, the "you" that has a past and a future, the personality if you like, is hardly there anymore.
In fact, you are more fully yourself than you ever were before, or rather it is only now that you are truly yourself.
THE PAST CANNOT SURVIVE IN YOUR PRESENCE
You may think that you need more time to understand the past or become free of it, in other words, that the future will eventually free you of the past.This is a delusion.Only the present can free you of the past. More time cannot free you of time.
The more attention you give to the past, the more you energize it, and the more likely you are to make a "self" out of it.
Give attention to the present; give attention to your behavior, to your reactions, moods, thoughts, emotions, fears, and desires as they occur in the present.
You cannot find yourself by going into the past.
You find yourself by coming into the present.
CHAPTER FIVE: BEAUTY ARISES IN THE STILLNESS OF YOUR PRESENCE
To become aware of such things, the mind needs to be still. You have to put down for a moment your per sonal baggage of problems, of past and future, as well as all your knowledge; otherwise, you will see but not see, hear but not hear. Your total presence is required.
REALIZING PURE CONSCIOUSNESS
Body awareness keeps you present. It anchors you in the Now.
You are cut off from Being as long as your mind takes up all your attention. When this happens - and it happens continuously for most people - you are not in your body.The mind absorbs all your consciousness and transforms it into mind stuff. You cannot stop thinking.
A very effective way of doing this is simply to take the focus of your attention away from thinking and direct it into the body, where Being can be felt in the first instance as the invisible energy field that gives life to what you perceive as the physical body.
CONNECTING WITH THE INNER BODY
DIRECT YOUR ATTENTION INTO THE BODY. Feel it from within. Is it alive? Is there life in your hands, arms, legs, and feet - in your abdomen, your chest?
Can you feel the subtle energy field that pervades the entire body and gives vibrant life to every organ and every cell? Can you feel it simultaneously in all parts of the body as a single field of energy?
Keep focusing on the feeling of your inner body for a few moments. Do not start to think about it. Feel it.
The more attention you give it, the clearer and stronger this feeling will become. It will feel as if every cell is becoming more alive.
GOING DEEPLY INTO THE BODY
Sit on a chair, but don't lean back. Keep the spine erect. Doing so will help you to stay alert. Alternatively, choose your own favorite position for meditation. Make sure the body is relaxed. Close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths. Feel yourself breathing into the lower abdomen, as it were. Observe how it expands and contracts slightly with each in and out breath.
Then become aware of the entire inner energy field of the body. Don't think about it - feel it. By doing this, you reclaim consciousness from the mind.
When you can feel the inner body clearly as a single field of energy, focus exclusively on the feel ing. If you can, also drop any mental image you may still have of the physical body. All that is left then is an all-encompassing sense of pres ence or "beingness," and the inner body is felt to be without a boundary.
Then take your attention even more deeply into that feeling. Become one with it. Merge with the energy field, so that there is no longer a perceived duality of the observer and the observed, of you and your body. The distinc tion between inner and outer also dissolves now, so there is no inner body anymore. By going deeply into the body, you have tran scended the body.
Stay in this realm of pure Being for as long as feels comfortable; then become aware again of the physical body, your breathing and physical senses, and open your eyes. Look at your sur roundings for a few minutes in a meditative way - that is, without labeling them mentally - and continue to feel the inner body as you do so.
AS YOU GO ABOUTYOUR LIFE, don't give 100 percent of your attention to the external world and to your mind. Keep some within.
Feel the inner body even when engaged in everyday activities, especially when engaged in relationships or when you are relating with nature. Feel the stillness deep inside it. Keep the portal open.
a deep sense of peace somewhere in the background, a stillness that never leaves you, no matter what happens out here.
This is the state of connectedness with the Source that we call enlightenment.
HAVE DEEP ROOTS WITHIN
The key is to be in a state of permanent connectedness with your inner body - to feel it at all times.
If you keep your attention in the body as much as possible, you will be anchored in the Now. You won't lose yourself in the external world, and you won't lose yourself in your mind. Thoughts and emotions, fears and desires may still be there to some extent, but they won't take you over.
PLEASE EXAMINE WHERE YOUR ATTENTION IS at this moment. You are listening to me, or you are reading these words in a book. That is the focus of your attention.You are also peripher ally aware of your surroundings, other people, and so on. Furthermore, there may be some mind activity around what you are hearing or reading, some mental commentary.
Yet there is no need for any of this to absorb all your attention. See if you can be in touch with your inner body at the same time. Keep some of your attention within.
Feel your whole body from within, as a single field of energy. It is almost as if you were listening or reading with your whole body. Let this be your practice in the days and weeks to come.
By all means focus on what you are doing, but feel the inner body at the same time whenever possible. Stay rooted within.Then observe how this changes your state of consciousness and the quality of what you are doing.
STRENGTHENING THE IMMUNE SYSTEM
first thing in the morning before getting up, "flood" your body with consciousness. Close your eyes. Lie flat on your back. Choose different parts of your body to focus your attention on briefly at first: hands, feet, arms, legs, abdomen, chest, head, and so on. Feel the life energy inside those parts as intensely as you can. Stay with each part for fifteen seconds or so.
Then let your attention run through the body like a wave a few times, from feet to head and back again. This need only take a minute or so. After that, feel the inner body in its totality, as a single field of energy. Hold that feeling for a few minutes.
Be intensely present during that time, present in every cell of your body.
CREATIVE USE OF MIND
If you need to use your mind for a specific purpose, use it in conjunction with your inner body. Only if you are able to be conscious without thought can you use your mind creatively, and the easiest way to enter that state is through your body.
WHENEVER AN ANSWER, A SOLUTION, OR A CRE ATIVE IDEA IS NEEDED, stop thinking for a moment by focusing attention on your inner energy field. Become aware of the stillness.
When you resume thinking, it will be fresh and creative. In any thought activity, make it a habit to go back and forth every few minutes or so between thinking and an inner kind of lis tening, an inner stillness.
We could say: Don't just think with your head, think with your whole body.
LET THE BREATH TAKE YOU INTO THE BODY
If at any time you are finding it hard to get in touch with the inner body, it is usually easier to focus on your breathing first. Conscious breathing, which is a power ful meditation in its own right, will gradually put you in touch with the body.
FOLLOW THE BREATH WITH YOUR ATTENTION as it moves in and out of your body. Breathe into the body, and feel your abdomen expand ing and contracting slightly with each inhala tion and exhalation.
PART TWO: RELATIONSHIP AS SPIRITUAL PRACTICE
Love is a state of Being.
Your love is not outside;
it is deep within you.
You can never lose it, and it cannot leave you.
It is dependent on some other body, some external form.
CHAPTER SIX: DISSOLVING THE PAIN-BODY
The greater part of human pain is unnecessary. It is self created as long as the unobserved mind runs your life. The pain that you create now is always some form of nonacceptance, some form of unconscious resistance to what is.
In other words, the more you are identified with your mind, the more you suffer. Or you may put it like this: The more you are able to honor and accept the Now, the more you are free of pain, of suffering - and free of the egoic mind.
Pain is inevitable as long as you are identified with your mind, which is to say as long as you are unconscious, spiritually speaking. I am talking here primarily of emotional pain, which is also the main cause of physical pain and physical ·disease.
BREAKING IDENTIFICATION WITH THE PAIN-BODY
THE PAIN-BODY DOESN'T WANT YOU TO OBSERVE IT DIRECTLY and see it for what it is. The moment you observe the pain-body, feel its energy field within you, and take your atten tion into it, the identification is broken.
I call it presence. You are now the witness or the watcher of the pain-body. This means that it cannot use you anymore by pretending to be you.
You have found your own innermost strength.
WHEN YOU BECOME THE WATCHER and start to disidentify, the pain-body will continue to oper ate for a while and will try to trick you into iden tifying with it again. Although you are no longer energizing it through your identification, it has a certain momentum, just like a spinning wheel that will keep turning for a while even when it is no longer being propelled. At this stage, it may also create physical aches and pains in different parts of the body, but they won't last.
TRANSMUTING SUFFERING INTO CONSCIOUSNESS
EGO IDENTIFICATION WITH THE PAIN-BODY
It could be taught to a child, and hopefully one day it will be one of the first things children learn in school. Once you have understood the basic principle of being present as the watcher of what happens inside you - and you "understand" it by experiencing it - you have at your disposal the most potent transformational tool.
OBSERVE THE RESISTANCE WITHIN YOURSELF.
Observe the attachment to your pain. Be very alert. Observe the peculiar pleasure you derive from being unhappy. Observe the compulsion to talk or think about it. The resistance will cease if you make it conscious.