You are very accustomed to settling into the playground of the mind and creating and manipulating thoughts. This inner world is an alternate environment that is under your control. The outside world, however, marches to its own laws. When the voice narrates the outside world to you, those thoughts are now side by side, in parity.
What you end up experiencing is really a personal presentation of the world according to you, rather than the stark, unfiltered experience of what is really out there.
This mental manipulation of the outer experience allows you to buffer reality as it comes in.
For example, there are myriad things that you see at any given moment, yet you only narrate a few of them. The ones you discuss in your mind are the ones that matter to you.
Your consciousness is actually experiencing your mental model of reality, not reality itself.
You re-create the world within your mind because you can control your mind whereas you can’t control the world.
If you can’t get the world the way you like it, you internally verbalize it, judge it, complain about it, and then decide what to do about it.
Basically, you re-create the outside world inside yourself, and then you live in your mind.
If you decide not to narrate and, instead, just consciously observe the world, you will feel more open and exposed.
This world is unfolding and really has very little to do with you or your thoughts. It was here long before you came, and it will be here long after you leave. In the name of attempting to hold the world together, you’re really just trying to hold yourself together.
True personal growth is about transcending the part of you that is not okay and needs protection. This is done by constantly remembering that you are the one inside that notices the voice talking.
The one inside who is aware that you are always talking to yourself about yourself is always silent.
To be aware that you are watching the voice talk.
If used properly, the same mental voice that has been a source of worry, distraction, and general neurosis can become the launching ground for true spiritual awakening.
2. Your inner roommate
the only way to find peace and contentment is to stop thinking about yourself.
the “I” who is always talking inside will never be content. It always has a problem with something.
The bottom line is, you’ll never be free of problems until you are free from the part within that has so many problems.
don’t ask, “What should I do about it?” Ask, “What part of me is being disturbed by this?”
If you ask, “What should I do about it?” you’ve already fallen into believing that there really is a problem outside that must be dealt with.
you must understand why you perceive a particular situation as a problem.
Ex: “What part of me is jealous?”
Once you clearly see the disturbed part, then ask, “Who is it that sees this? Who notices this inner disturbance?”
The very fact that you can see the disturbance means that you are not it.
nobody has ever truly become okay by changing things outside.
The only real solution is to take the seat of witness consciousness and completely change your frame of reference.
you must be able to objectively watch your problems instead of being lost in them.
The first problem you have to deal with is your own reaction.
When you get clear enough, you will realize that the real problem is that there is something inside of you that can have a problem with almost anything.
The only permanent solution to your problems is to go inside and let go of the part of you that seems to have so many problems with reality.
There is a part of your being that can actually abstract from your own melodrama.
Be aware of being angry for example. Who is it that sees all this? Who notices the changes going on inside?
You may have a clear intention to be quiet inside, but your roommate won’t cooperate.
It has something to say about everything you look at.
You don’t generally notice because you don’t step back from it. You’re so close that you don’t realize that you’re actually hypnotized into listening to it.
There are two distinct aspects of your inner being. The first is you, the awareness, the witness, the center of your willful intentions; and the other is that which you watch. The problem is, the part that you watch never shuts up. If you could get rid of that part, even for a moment, the peace and serenity would be the nicest vacation you’ve ever had.
That part of you can ruin anything and everything, and it generally does.
Once you’ve seen this, and learn to no longer identify with your roommate, you’re ready to free yourself.
just start to watch. Spend a day watching every single thing your roommate does. Start in the morning and see if you can notice what it’s saying in every situation. Every time you meet somebody, every time the phone rings, just try to watch.
if you can stay conscious enough throughout the entire experience to be aware of what’s going on. You’ll be shocked by what you see. It just jumps from one subject to the next. The incessant chatter seems so neurotic that you won’t believe that it’s always that way. But it is.
Just imagine that another person is now saying everything that your inner voice would say. Now spend a day with that person.
Don’t try to make the person stop talking. Just try to get to know what you live with inside by externalizing the voice.
make that person your best friend. After all, how many friends do you spend all of your time with and pay absolute attention to every word they say?
After seeing how often this person changed their mind, how conflicted they were on so many subjects, and how emotionally overreactive they tended to be, would you ever ask them for relationship or financial advice?
As amazing as it seems, you do just that every moment of your life.
are you going to fire your inner roommate? After all, its advice and analysis of the situation were totally wrong.
Your will is stronger than the habit of listening to that voice.
As it is right now, your life is not your own; it belongs to your inner roommate, the psyche. You have to take it back. Stand firm in the seat of the witness and release the hold that the habitual mind has on you.
3. Who are you?
Ramana Maharshi (1879-1950):
“Who am I? Who sees when I see? Who hears when I hear? Who knows that I am aware? Who am I?”
You're not a name, a label, someone's else wife (you would still exist if you were to divorce, and you existed before getting married).
You're not your past experiences. Should you have had different experiences, you would still be aware of it.
who had these experiences? Wouldn’t you still be in there, aware of your existence, even if you had gone to a different college?
"I am the body that is occupying this space. I am five foot six and I weigh 135 pounds"
When you were Dorothy in the fifth grade play you weren’t five foot six.
Are you the four foot six person or are you the five foot six person?
When you were ten years old, didn’t you look in the mirror and see a ten-year-old body?
Wasn’t that the same you that now sees an adult body?
What you looked at has changed; but what about you, the one who is looking?
Isn’t there a continuity of being? Wasn’t it the same being that looked in the mirror throughout the years?
Does the same you who is reading these words also look in the mirror and watch the dreams?
When you awake, you know you saw the dream. There is a continuity of conscious awareness of being.
Who sees when you see? Who hears when you hear? Who watches the dreams? Who looks at the image in the mirror? Who is it that is having all these experiences?
pretty easy to see that you’re not the objects you look at.
you’re not the outside world. You’re the one who is inside looking out at that world.
But who are you? And where are you if you’re not outside with all the other things?
You can become so absorbed in beautiful inner feelings, or frightening inner fears, that it’s hard to focus on outer objects. In essence, inside and outside objects compete for your attention.
Eventually, you will begin to realize that the outside world and the flow of inner emotions come and go. But you, the one who experiences these things, remain consciously aware of whatever passes before you.
You are very aware of your presence of being, your sense of existence, without the help of thoughts.
Deep meditation: If you are in there experiencing the peace that occurs when your thoughts stop, then obviously your existence is not dependent upon the act of thinking.
If you start to have a thought you don’t like, can’t you try to make it go away?
You are the subject, and thoughts are just another object you can be aware of. You are not your thoughts. You are simply aware of your thoughts.
"Fine, I’m not anything in the outside world and I’m not the emotions. These outer and inner objects come and go and I experience them. Plus, I’m not the thoughts. They can be quiet or noisy, happy or sad. Thoughts are just something else I’m aware of. But who am I?"
It starts to become a serious question: “Who am I? Who is having all these physical, emotional, and mental experiences?” So you contemplate this question a little deeper.
You will begin to notice who is experiencing the experience. Eventually, you will get to a point within yourself where you realize that you, the experiencer, have a certain quality. And that quality is awareness, consciousness, an intuitive sense of existence.
You know that you’re in there. You don’t have to think about it; you just know. You can think about it if you want to, but you will know that you’re thinking about it. You exist regardless, thoughts or no thoughts.
try to use thoughts to isolate, label, and describe all the intricate detail of what you see. How long would it take your mental voice to describe all that detail to you, versus the instantaneous snapshot of consciousness just seeing? When you just look without creating thoughts, your consciousness is effortlessly aware of, and fully comprehends, all that it sees.
Consciousness is the highest word you will ever utter. There is nothing higher or deeper than consciousness. Consciousness is pure awareness.
What would it be like if your awareness didn’t exist? It’s actually pretty simple—you wouldn’t be there. There would be no sense of “me.” There wouldn’t be anyone in there to say, “Wow, I used to be in here but now I’m not.” There would no longer be an awareness of being. And without awareness of being, or consciousness, there is nothing.
If no one is aware of the objects, their existence or nonexistence becomes completely irrelevant.
"I am the one who sees. From back in here somewhere, I look out, and I am aware of the events, thoughts, and emotions that pass before me."
You live in the seat of consciousness. A true spiritual being lives there, without effort and without intent. Just as you effortlessly look outside and see all that you see, you will eventually sit far enough back inside to see all your thoughts and emotions, as well as outer form. All of these objects are in front of you. The thoughts are closer in, the emotions are a little further away, and form is way out there.
Behind it all, there you are. You go so deep that you realize that’s where you’ve always been. At each stage of your life you have seen different thoughts, emotions, and objects pass before you. But you have always been the conscious receiver of all that was.
That is your true home. Take everything else away and you’re still there, aware that everything is gone. But take the center of awareness away, and there is nothing.