Every perception has a subject and an object. The object is the center of attention, while the subject is the awareness paying this attention. Awareness is the presence which perceives a particular event. There is a difference between a sensation and the awareness of it. If you pinch someone who is sleeping the body receives a sensation, but there is no awareness of it. Likewise, there is a difference between a though and the awareness of it.
Thoughts are like the popcorn of the mind. They magically spring to life from some origin we cannot find, and we hypnotically follow them wherever they may lead us. There is nothing wrong with thoughts in and of themselves, but problems arise when we begin to identify ourselves with these thought forms.
The purpose of meditation is to escape this trance and discover the unchanging awareness which lies beneath all thought and is the essence of our own being. Meditation is a profound tool for discovering our most primal state of being. Meditations are typically techniques for controlling the incessant chattering of the mind with intentional distractions like focusing on the breath or visualizing light entering some part of the body. But, when one reaches a state of full awareness all techniques evaporate along with all other boundaries. Techniques, like thoughts, are merely tools and can be very powerful when applied correctly, but also like thoughts they can become the boundaries of our own prison if we become identified with them.
So how is one supposed to discover the awareness behind their experience? First of all the begining meditator should abandon the idea of a destination. The idea that enlightenment or self-actualization is out there somewhere in the future is in and of itself a boundary that separates one from the truth of the present moment. It assumes that one is not already complete. Simply put, there is nothing one can ever do or learn that will bring them closer to the truth of their being than they are right now. The truth of your being is present right now, your source is present right now, if you stop searching for anything for one minute you will feel it pouring through you.
For one minute, close your eyes, release all beliefs, all desires, and all fears and simply feel the immensity of your awareness. Release all beliefs, all desires, and all fears, you can pick them back up later. But for right now, just let all of it go. Try to feel where this awareness of yourself is coming from. Notice that it comes from everywhere.
Although simple, this is yet another technique and no matter what technique is applied the awareness behind the experience is the same. The only question is which techniques work best for you? The only way to know is to try every meditation you can get your hands on, and once you have a little experience begin making up your own. Who could know what state of mind you are trying to reach better than yourself? Simply devise mental parameters to create that state of being.
Here is one of my favorite meditations which came to me while I was struggling with the popcorn chattering of the mind.
Close the eyes and feel your breath. Notice the sensation of the inflow and how it is different than the outflow. Now notice that there is a space inbetween the two. Make that space inbetween breaths longer and set your intention to have no thoughts in this space. Allow the mind to do whatever it needs to during inhale and exhale but keep the inbetween space silent. Now notice the difference in sensation between the activity of breathing and the space inbetween breaths. Notice how there is a similar difference in sensation during a thought and the space inbetween thoughts. Now shift your attention to only the thoughts and let them rise and fall naturally like the breath but stay focused on the sensation of having a thought as opposed to the sensation of the space between them. Now simply allow the sensation of the space between thoughts to grow bigger and bigger and bigger. Allow this space to grow until the thoughts are merely dots inbetween the vast spaces. Finally, allow yourself to stay in the space inbetween.
This guided meditation is much more complicated than the former, but a person with an intensely chattery mind wouldn’t get much out of the first one because their mind needs more distraction.
In the comment section below, tell me what this exercise felt like to you. Were you able to feel the difference between a thought and the space in between the thoughts? Were you able to feel the difference between your thoughts and your awareness of them. How would you explain this difference?
Experiment with your awareness, step beyond your perceptual boundaries at least once everyday, and you will discover that your essence is right here, right now as it always has been.
I love you,