Text follows for a set of three short introductory conferences about self knowledge, which begins by the Presence of Oneself.
A discursive introduction is available in a video interview pulished by CONSCIOUS.TV
For seminars and retreats, in English, Spanish or Italian, please contact the author by mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Why certain thoughts and feelings impose themselves upon us when we least need them, and won’t go away?
Fear, resentment, envy, self accusations, internal rants, seem to lead a life of their own inside of us, regardless of our consent.
This is just a symptom of a much bigger problem, affecting all of us, which G.I. Gourdjieff once stated very clearly when addressing his students; he said: “Not one of you has noticed the most important thing that I have pointed out … “ You do not feel yourselves; you are not conscious of yourselves. You do not remember yourselves.”
It takes an effort to see that we are normally living our life in a state of deep sleep, not metaphorically, but literally. This exposes us to the constant siege and invasion from unwanted influences, starting from the internal, mechanical associations, which make us react in the same way every time, to the external ones, which can enslave us in a more subtle manners.
We are here precisely to make that effort.
If you choose not to deny this, but rather want to search for the truth and see this for yourself, you may end up catching intermittent glimpses of Reality in your life. They will flash in the moments when you DO remember yourself, and make the foundation for a new life which can open up.
The activity of our meet up group builds upon this core in various ways, through lectures and guided practices.
Self Remembering I
The forgotten Jewel of self knowledge
Being in the presence of oneself – a practical activity [ 5 minutes ]
Make yourself comfortable, close your eyes, and turn your gaze to your mind. Yes, you can do that, did you know?
You may see thoughts, or perhaps some silence, but you will surely realize that SOMETHING in you is observing an inner landscape.
In the same way you could turn your attention, your inner gaze towards the center of your chest, the so-called solar plexus, and you can savor some emotion passing by, that warm or uncomfortable feeling dwelling in our chest.
Whether or not there is an emotion to observe, there is still that SOMETHING that is observing.
With your eyes still closed, you can also turn your attention to your body, see how you are sitting. Is there any strain, or tension, can you feel the pressure of the chair on your legs?
That SOMETHING that is looking is still there. It is silent. We call it the Observer.
Now try to turn the look towards the OBSERVER itself. and you will savour a subtle sensation; you are feeling a part of yourself that perhaps you did not know, but at the same time is … familiar.
Do not lose this feeling, please cling to it.
You feel “present”, you have no doubt that you exist. In this moment, you are Real. Your Essence, also called our “Divine Spark” is the only part of us that has the ability to observe consciously the other parts of the Universe, starting from the small Universe that is our body. When our Essence is active, one of the most notable effects is that we are awake, in the here and now. More on this later.
Now you know what Self-remembering is. Instead of a formal definition, I prefer you to have a taste, a sensation, because it does not allow misunderstandings.
Inclusive or spherical attention
Keeping the pleasant sensation of your presence, that is, feeling the Observer, now open your eyes, and receive the images of what is in front of you.
Now you can feel your existence (being in touch with the Essence) while you also take notice of something external, another object of your attention.
It is a little harder to maintain the look inwards while the outer world touches your senses, but if you manage to keep your attention in both directions, you, again are in a higher state of consciousness, which we shall call Self-remembering.
You will notice, with practice, that you do not lose any of your focus if you maintain an active look inwards all the time. It is not like trying to focus on two outer objects at the same time, which would disrupt our concentration.
That is why I prefer not to call this attitude “divided attention”, but inclusive, or spherical attention instead.
Self-remembering, presence in the instant, and concentration
Paying attention, focusing on something we see or do is certainly useful, as well as savoring the moment, as suggested by ancient esoteric traditions and contemporary authors such as Eckhart Tolle.
Self Remembering is something close to mindfulness, to being “in the here and now”, to living in the moment, but requires the fundamental step of inclusive attention: it is through this attitude that the observing Essence, does not “forget about itself” while focusing on something “else”. The observer and the observed are both in the focus of our attention and sensation.
If we leave out the latter part, the Essence, our Real part, would not be active, so that the helm would remain in the wrong hands, although we could look wiser from the outside. That part which is in the here and now, would be one of the many “aggregates” (unwanted guests, more on that later) living inside us.
What I suggest is that the importance of the “here and now” is out of question, but what we want to achieve here is to make sure that the part of us that is savoring the moment be our Essence. In fact, not only does it matter what we do, but also who, inside us, does it.
being in the instant + inclusive attention = self-remembering
Self Remembering, at the beginning, is something temporary, which is useful at the moment it occurs, but also is a seed we plant, that gives fruit at other subsequent moments, and brings us closer to a condition in which the higher state of consciousness is gradually more and more continuous.
As a side note, we should mention that concentration, or focus on something, although very useful, is not necessarily connected with the presence in the here and now, nor with the memory of itself. Concentrating very deeply on something without the presence of oneself may be the action of one of our aggregates, a mechanical and perishable part living inside of us. While this action remains useful for our everyday life, it has no value for our internal development or spiritual growth.
Some would say that the impressions we receive “feed the wrong mouth”.
And when there is no presence …
As we begin to practice the presence of ourselves, we shall also begin to view some of the many facets of our personality in action, caught in the middle of their manifestation at the very moment of awakening, when a flash from the Essence lightens our inner world and collects a picture. Often we just catch a glimpse of the tail of something which has just escaped round the corner.
We are normally blind to those annoying traits of character that we are told we have, but we tend to deny, or we attribute to the mean criticism of others. They appear to us in the same measure that we experience a moment of self remembering, of wakefulness, when we have the chance to take an unbiased picture, so we start to collect a well rounded portfolio of images of what we really are.
When we are “not there”, which normally is 99% of our time, some of the countless splinters of our personality, formed during the early stages of our life, takes temporary control of our body and mind, acts as it always does, tells its story (always the same), then leaves its place to the next, which will often come by an associative link from the previous, or will be called forth by a physical stimulus or a new impression.
Such temporary manifestations of us are sometimes called “egos”, as they like to use the word “I” to give themselves importance, or “aggregates”, because they are a crust, a layer added on top of our Real Essence, which blocks its brightness and keeps it asleep.
When our Essence is asleep, we, as beings, do not exist.
To the trained observer, our eyes will tell if we are awake, remembering ourselves, or asleep, “identified” with some external object or internal idea.
The consequences of a higher state of Consciousness
The consequences of being in a higher state of Consciousness are many and profound.
The main reason why life takes up a new flavor of new possibilities of choice arise if because the state of Consciousness in which you are dictates who is looking at the world through your eyes, thinking with your brain, feeling with your heart, moving your body.
Is it your Essence, your Real part, the Owner of the House, who is in control, or some other servant, who seized your mind and body, and acts in your name because the Owner, the Essence, is sleeping?
The owner is real, has a purpose, a will of its own, a connection with the higher realms of reality, a lifetime larger than that of the body. The aggregates, the fragments, simply have none of these things. Quite a difference.
This metaphor of the human psychological condition explains why one is mostly living in a lower state of consciousness, in which she is “lost” in something she sees, or hears; she does NOT feel present, and reacts to events mechanically, using one of the fragments of memory stored within her, each of which calls itself “I”.
This is called the state of identification, or “vertical sleep” (the horizontal is that in bed, of course). Have you seen the gaze of someone who is lost in their dreams? This is a very extreme and blatant form of identification, but there are many shades of it, and unfortunately most of our time is spent in one form or another of this state, under the control of an aggregate that then hands us over to the next.
Inner freedom of choice exists, only for the Essence
A first way to look at the effects of self remembering is that any activity of our life will have a different flavor and possibilities: it is as if an actor on the stage, instead of being asleep and bound to his script, were awake and could choose how to act at any moment. What a liberation: she could, for example, avoid the fatal mistake which triggers all the suffering in the plot.
Being in a state of identification, in our mind many thoughts follow one another, connected in chains of association, whose beginning is triggered by the impressions we receive, and whose sequence is driven by the impressions that hit us in the meantime.
During each of these short episodes, we do not act freely, but rather use one of the scripts which, taken as a whole, make up our personality. They are a limited set, which our friends know well, and which gives the material for caricatures, but that we ourselves tend not to notice: and now you know why.
It is like being an airplane governed by the autopilot, which allows it to fly reasonably well, as long as nothing important requires a real decision, because the pilot is sleeping.
When something awakens us, and we rise for a while to the higher state of consciousness, the self remembering, then WE ARE, we can see what happens in our mind, and feelings, and we have the freedom to choose if we actually want to think and feel them, or maybe we prefer to take the out of the way. The pilot has awoken for a moment, the course can be corrected if necessary.
I want to reiterate this part: almost always we are in identification, or we are NOT present, therefore we say and we think and we feel the only thing that we can, that does not come from our choice, but of memories, habits, the recordings that form our so-called “personality”. When we awaken and feel present (“Wow! Here I am back!”) in self remembering, we take over the situation, and the chain of associations may be broken; not only do we notice the rise to the stage of a certain thought, or feeling, but we also have the power to assess if it’s adequate for the given moment, or if we want to expel it from our mind altogether.
If, during a day, you could list all the thoughts you had, and see, from among them, how many of them you have chosen to think, and how many simply “came” , you would get a great scare, because they would realize that almost all our life proceeds automatically, without a single, real choice.
The same holds for the words we say, the feelings we have and the moves we make. The freedom of choice only arises with the emergence of our Real part, the Essence, if and when we remember ourselves.
For the other 99% of the time, thoughts “think themselves” through your mind, feelings “feel themselves” through your solar plexus, and movements give you body dynamic and poses; each of these parasite entities is using your energy to feed, stay alive and grow. At the expense of our real Being.
Well, if the Noble part inside of you has brought you in contact with these concepts, probably your Essence wants to come to the front, and transform your life, because it is clear that the same difference that exists between a wooden puppet like Pinocchio and a Human Being is that between a sleeping man and the same man awake.
What kind of reality do we create?
An interesting way to look at our reality has compared our external, sensible reality to a hologram, and some go so far as saying that which we co-create it through our feelings, which, in turn, come from our thoughts and emotions.
Fascinating and compelling as it is, it comes with consequences: can you imagine what sort of reality will result if we DO NOT choose the vast majority of our thoughts and feelings but rather we suffer them, due to our low (identified) state of consciousness, the lack of presence?
The result of our work of creating our reality, from a dream-like state of identification, so far, is the life you have now around you, and, more important, within you. Do you like it?
All those who teach that we create (or co-create) the reality around us, or that we can heal any disease, say something, in my opinion quite true, with one caveat, though: that is not only valid for the future, but also that we have created it up to now, including our diseases.
Therefore our power includes not only the ability to repair but also that of breaking, and it is what we usually do when, in our life we give the helm not to the Captain, or the Essence, but to five hundred boys of the ship, the aggregates, or small egos, in constant disagreement and quarrel between them: there is no defined course, but it changes all the time, and we always fall into the same storms, we always run aground on the same rocks.
At the same time, we must recognize that without certain difficulties, there would not be an encouragement to grow, to seek something better, to improve ourselves. Taking advantage of adversity is the art of life.
This topic has an alarming implication: if a certain person can be made to think of disasters and wars, of crime and illness, what will she project into her reality, which is part of our own shared reality? You can see the role of mass media and information here, under a different light.
What remains of us in the “end”? It depends on who you ask …
The only Real life we have during our day is what we do when awake, what is done from a state of Presence, or self remembering. Yes, that is about 1% normally.
Remarkable investigators, with whom I agree, hold that what remains of us after death is the sum of the moments of Self Remembering and what we did with them.
Another way to say this is that the sum of the flashes of light which the Essence is able to give out, the moments of presence, taken together, form an energetic structure which survives the death of the physical body, and is sometimes called “astral body”. The best treatment of this topic that I know is in a remarkable book by Rodney Collin.
If this is true, the string of shining moments of Reality along our lifetime is the only baggage that we carry over into our the future life, in another body, or without it. The rest dissolves quickly, having no value outside of its specific earthly context.
This is no easy idea to accept, so let me offer you a small, significant experience to support it.
Think for a moment what It will be of you after the death of your body.
You may feel a certain discomfort, emptiness, doubts, fear, or a mix of them all.
Now, look inwards, close your eyes, Remember Yourself … and without leaving that state, silently ask yourself what you will be after the death of your body.
Have you noticed that there is no fear whatsoever in your Essence? Have you realized that the Essence, what you really are, can not even conceive its own non-existence? That is normal, because the Essence is eternal and Divine, and that is what you can feel clearly, as long as it is awake, that is, so long as you remember yourself.
You may have realized then, that the answer is totally different, according to what part, within you, receives the question: first, we have asked your personality, which is perishable. Then the Essence, which is eternal.
There are other compelling ways to dispel the fear of death, related to out-of-the-body experiences, but they are outside of the topic of this lecture.
This is one of the situations where a change of your state of consciousness, that is, who is in command within you, makes the deepest difference.
Self Remembering II
towards self development
Man as a creature susceptible of development
Among the creatures we know, man has more complexity and potentialities than all the others, but living almost always in the state of “identification” they only live to fulfill the goals of nature, goals that are not our own, and that we do not understand.
As important as we can believe we are, if we act unconsciously, we simply are a cell of an organ of the higher order entity in which we live, in our case a sort of skin of planet Earth.
The effort that one makes to become Real, to wake up His Essence, which is his Divine part, is what elevates him above the mechanical life, which is where one lives and dies horizontally, that is, only worrying about earthly things, and whose maximum longing for transcendence is to pass their values to their sons, as if they could do something different.
What survives the body are subtle parts, which are defined and increased based on the moments in which one is real, that is when our Essence is active.
Such moments are rare and brief, often associated with great emotion, or danger, or feeling the approach of death: they establish something lasting within us, points of bright light in the gray path of life, much more than years of mechanical action, and will be the basis on which a vertical, spiritual progress can be made in life itself or in subsequent lives.
An interior, spiritual progress which we associate here with a progressive awakening of the Essence, is not at all necessary for the purposes of nature: that is, a man can live a lifetime or more lives without having any idea that such a possibility even exists. His presence on the planet serves then for purposes that are not his own, like a cell of our skin, which does not need to understand the reasons or aspirations of our psyche, but still perfectly plays its role as epidermidis.
But it ends right there. In fact, this man does not take advantage of a possibility that is his by birthright, but that is not something obligatory.
Yearning for something deeper
Another person can fight to be something more than that, because she has seen something beyond the appearance of the world, she does not believe that ordinary life is so real and convincing, because she feels that many things do not fit, do not add up; and yet she can not find the solution with the resources she has.
It is for this class of people that we are today speaking. Through a progressive awakening of the Essence, which becomes conscious, first of itself, such a woman (or man) begins to see more clearly the inconsistencies of the so-called reality, and to catch signs, in it, which clearly come from another level, as messages for their deep part, that come as if we were in a virtual reality, that every now and then can change a sign in the street to tell us things, or put words in the mouth of a child to deliver us a message.
Progressively, those who wake up perceive a meaning, a meaning in life in general, starting from his own, which he did not suspect, and can free himself from the bonds that he brings from remote times, and develop those parts of his nature that were designed so that the machine man can evolve, break its shell and become a real Man, with a capital “M”, something wonderful that looks more like an Angel than a person.
This class of real Men are members of the inner circle of Humanity, which struggles through the centuries to push it towards nobility and development, and away from barbarism, as Guardians and Elder Brothers of the ordinary man and helpers of God.
To feel that all this is something very important may be the call, for some of you, to approach the Conscious Circle of Humanity. If you have, planted in you, the seeds of inner development, you will see that you can not have peace until you find a Real Teaching, that makes you feel that “now I found what I was looking for!”. If it is what you feel today, congratulations, for the older Brothers surely need help to share their Great Work.
Know yourself – but why?
Why do they always tell us that we have to know ourselves, and we can not dedicate ourselves to knowing the world and the others instead?
The enigmatic relationship between external and internal world
Who begins to live in a higher state of consciousness, is silently instructing the Universe to begin a deeper communication with us, made of unexpected changes, coincidences, synchronicities, new intuitions, new friends or books that bring us ideas for radical changes, unknown feelings that appear to our sensibility, in short, a whole interior and exterior panorama that is changing, starting a journey of fantastic discovery whose limits I still haven’t found. The virtual reality that we had forged until now as a prison, the mold or shell where we have spent so many years, starts to crack, to reveal what a fantastic adventure can be a Real life.
At the same time we must realize that what we have before our Eyes and ears, and other senses, is a projection, although not instantaneous, and not exclusively ours, of what we have inside us. There are convincing arguments holding that the outside world is not so real, but for now let us put this issue aside, because it could lead us astray from the main topic: we assume for the moment that the outside world exists as something real and objective; the conclusions of our argument will not be affected by such a choice.
The inner world controls the outside one
It is my experience that by changing our attitudes, our reality will change. Certain events that tried to teach us something, seeing that we have already learned the lesson, will stop happening, or the effect that the so-called “external events” has have on us will change astonishingly.
There will be times when you see in the outside reality a metaphor of something that did not understand of Yourself, as if the Universe is makes a joke out of my situation, and shows something through an event, or an image, or a street sign, for you to understand: all of this will make more sense the more you have studied yourself from within.
I have appreciated that understanding the outside world is a very long and complex task if we do not understand our interiority. It is a great help to start by looking inwards, and seeing inside the causes of external events.
Self-Remembering opens the way to Self-Observation.
How does the Self-Remembering link with the knowledge of ourselves? As we experienced together at the beginning of our (first) conversation, there we have an inner sense that allows us to look inward and “see” our thoughts, emotions, and perceive the position of each part of our body. This sense, which is usually atrophied, we call self-observation.
Now we know, though, that inside of us there can be different parts in control: who is the observer behind self-observation?
If we are the state of identification, self-observation is in the hands of one of our aggregates, that observes another aggregate acting. A real problem, as we shall see shortly.
On the other hand, if we are self remembering, the observer will be the Essence, the real part of us. This simple change of the observer makes a huge difference.
Suggesting to someone use self-observation, without having emphasized that he first has be in the presence of himself means to do him a great damage, because self-observation then becomes mechanical, and the aggregate that is in command of our mind, begins to blame every thought or emotion that he sees from his position of mental narrowness, nourishing himself for his purposes.
For example, if the dominant aggregate in me is that of the “humble person,” this can fuel the disdain for myself. If my main trait was a “resentful” one, it would feed the internal accusations towards everyone else for having “forced” him to be so bad, and so on.
I know of a so called school, or better said a cult, where people are supposed to strongly express a prayer to destroy every thought or feeling that appears, without even being present.
Besides creating the unfortunate side effects mentioned above, this feeds a sense of impotence, of not being able to do anything without the intervention of another entity, this supposed divine helper invoked every time, which despite its supposed divine status, acts like a servant under such command.
If, on the other hand, self observation is carried out by the Essence, from a solid position of Self-Remembering, it has no vested interest to judge or accuse anyone.
From your Presence, You can afford to look at everything that happens in your mind or in your feelings, and with the Light of your gaze, to do the magic of dissolving very unpleasant states, as if they were snow under the sun, and to understand how they are connected to each other.
This is not to surprise us, because there is a very close connection between Consciousness and Light. Our Essence, which looks into the obscurity of our interiority, acts in fact as an inner Sun, although, at first, it is shining in a very discontinuous way.
An astronomer might suggest that when we try to remember ourselves, then, a Star is in gestation inside of us, giving out flashes of intermittent light before it becomes stable and recognizable as a fully developed star. As above, so below.
Another important theme that immediately emerges is how responsible is each of us of what we do, since we are normally “asleep” most of the time.
This is not an attempt to revolutionize our judicial system, but rather a way to invite each of us to ponder the following:
most of the time, when put in a certain situation, under our ordinary state of (low) consciousness, there is only one way we can act, and we are powerless to do in any other way.
All those actions which caused us problems and pain, were probably done in such circumstances, so that holding a grudge to someone doesn’t make sense.
Being able to raise our state of consciousness, now we can even try to take this one step forward, and understand the real meaning of forgiveness: not giving our attention and energies to those aggregates, inside of us, which look for vengeance and the suffering of others. Simply rising above them, when they appear, instead of letting them live through us for some of our precious time.
It is easy to verify how little unimportant are our hatreds, antipathies, resentments, if we review them when we are remembering ourselves: we will quickly realize that our essence ignores them. Even if we introduce them in our thinking, almost to test the patience of our Essence, we will enjoy the great calm that is one of its features.
Self Remembering III
Strategy and tactics
Once the Real part of me wants to wake up, my inner world is shaken, as the personality, the sum of all aggregates surrounding my Essence, will feel their former easy life is in danger. Their endless feast in Ulysses house, while the owner is away, having their way with my mind, heart and actions, often making a fool of me, is to gradually come to an end.
This is the great clash portrayed in several allegorical works of art and literature, often under the guise of a war, as in the Mahabharata, or dangerous adventures as those of Hercules, slaying dragons like Saint George, awakening the Sleeping Beauty, finding the philosophal stone, turning lead into gold, awakening as in the Gospels, navigating back home as in the Odyssey, or finally revealing the King who had been long, too long, hidden, as in Robin Hood. Yes, lots of literature will start to make sense, then.
All these metaphors for such endeavor suggest that our life, that has been running horizontally until now, is starting now to tread into a new “vertical” dimension as well.
This will raise an opposition, as it may be expected, that will take many forms, trying to discourage me, to flatter me into a delusion of grandeur to stop any actual work, to distract or scare me in several ways.
These are the guardians of the cave, which I may or may not decide to face. If I do, I will then need to summon determination and ability to push through, if I really want to get out at the other end.
This chapter is devoted to expose some of the most common dangers and to propose techniques for those who feel like they want to face this challenge. Lao Tsu would be happy to see that there is a new version of his Art of War.
As a side note, considering the comment about us being cells in a larger creature’s body, the moment when we decide to pursue such a radical change, we may not be a fixed, short lived cell, like those of, say, skin, but perhaps a staminal cell that may still pick a role, choosing to become a long lived cell in the brain, or perhaps even turn into the only type of cell that can escape its dimension and turn into a completely new being: gametes.
Entering and exiting the Presence of Yourself
If you are in doubt whether or not you are in the Presence of yourSelf, I’d like to clarify immediately that you are not.
When the Essence awakens and perceives itself, so the feeling of oneself, the Observer, makes its Regal entry in our awareness, we feel it with total clarity.
It is like emerging from the water to breathe again. There may even be a feeling of disappointment, when we realize that we have been “absent” for such a long time.
This is similar to horizontal sleep: no one realizes when they fall asleep, but everyone realizes when they wake up the next morning. Something analogous happens with Self Remembering:
we always realize when we enter this state (“here I am!”), but
we never realize when we lose it (“ … ”)
For example, in the bus, three hours ago, perhaps because a reflection of the Sun struck my eyes, reminding me that I exist, I remembered myself briefly, rising for a few seconds to State of higher consciousness. The next thing I know, five seconds ago, a casual remark I’ve heard, wakes me up again. All that happened in the meantime, I did not actually live: at best I just know it happened.
If we make a resolution to be Remembering Ourselves all the time, we will soon realize that we are not able to do it at will: we cannot rise voluntarily from the state of identification (the ordinary vertical sleep). That is because in identification we do not exist, therefore we have no will and we can not do anything. Anything conscious, that is. We can live a whole day, and perform most of the tasks that are required of us, but we will do so in the only possible way. There is no real choice there.
When something or someone gives us a certain “shock”, or tells us about Consciousness, or Self Remembering, and awakens us, what we can do is savor it, keep it for as long as we can, hopefully have a few seconds of conscious interactions with others, avoid expressing negative emotions, until we fall asleep again, probably because we started talking. We will then talk, think, work, do several things for hours, until, again, a shock wakes us up a few seconds: welcome back to reality, Neo, would say Morpheus of the Matrix movie.
Not all Essences want this. But if our Real Self is interested in raising our Level of Being, the Essence will prompt us in several ways to pursue a higher state of Consciousness, in various ways. One of them is to summon a movie, a book, a person to show you certain clues, like those I’m describing to you today.
Otherwise, all these considerations are going to seem meaningless, soon to be forgotten. That means that there is no willingness, by a certain Essence, to raise above the low state of consciousness called identification.
The latter condition is the most common for people today, and the main cause of the suffering we all undergo.
Certain events, by their own nature seem more likely to give this little shock to wake me up, and the same might happen to you. A few examples of the “natural” alarms:
- strong emotions
- surprise! something new or unusual, out of place
- something written that is related to awakening/consciousness meditation etc.
- a direct look into someone’s eyes
As we said, when we are asleep, contrary to our belief, we “cannot do anything”, especially deciding to wake up. This means of course, we cannot do anything “new”, outside of our narrow repertoire of prefabricated responses and cliches.
But when we are awake can prepare some sort of help for ourselves, to create a small reminder, which we shall then encounter during sleep, and which hopefully will wake us up again. It’s like a small trick we play on ourselves, perhaps using some of the the hints we saw above, like:
- placing an object out of its context: when we find a plastic frog that we had placed on our bed, we might experience a moment of awakening
- tying a place to a strong intention of awakening, like: “whenever I cross that door, I will be conscious of myself”
- spending time with people who are interested in inner development: there is a buildup of energy there, which helps stay vigilant, present
- practicing relaxation, meditation
- setting some time aside just for being present
- setting a bell to ring at certain moments during the day
- chef’s picks – more difficult and more rewarding
- meeting someone we do NOT like
- when we feel we really “have to say” something the challenge is waking up just in time to resist (and then rejoice for keeping silent – this has saved lots of trouble)
Ok, so now I’m awake … what do I do?
First of all, just Be!
Enjoy your feeling of presence.
Often there is no need to do or say anything, although we feel constrained to, like when we are standing in an elevator with other people.
Enduring silence, especially when in company, is almost impossible for the personality, while the Essence just loves it.
Are you alone?
Then … explore: you inner world is a vast and changing landscape. Have you noticed your breath? How are you standing, or sitting? Where is your body tense?
Do you see your thoughts coming and going? Do you notice your feelings sending waves from your solar plexus?
Later you may choose to use such precious moments to interrogate your inner Self about something important.
The Essence has a lot fewer frivolous needs than the personality, much less desire to think or say things, and is commonly underdeveloped in us, because it grows with its manifestation, so that when we rise to the state of presence of ourselves, we will notice that we enjoy simple things, like silence, the beauty of nature, some sound or music, and we look at everything with the eyes of a child, as if everything were new.
This is not strange, since children, at birth, are governed by their essence, and do not yet have personality, which is formed in contact with other people and the stimuli of the world.
Are you in company?
Try to look at your next while retaining your presence… soon some thoughts will emerge, commenting about her or him
< you are on the edge of a trap >
in no time you might fall into identification, as a complex monologue, perhaps loaded with criticism or irony, unfolds in your mind, with a life of its own; unless, of course, you hang onto your presence, and detach yourself from such thoughts. They will then evaporate quickly.
In a dialogue? Try retaining your presence when you start talking. Admittedly, this is one of the hardest things to do. But even noticing, in retrospective, that you fell into identification when you uttered the first words is precious insight, when you gain it personally. Don’t be discouraged.
It takes a long time to advance along this path of maintaining presence in speech. With practice, you can remain present throughout a sentence, or all the way to the end of your conversation. When you achieve gradually more control you will enjoy the unusual luxury of hearing yourself talking. It may be surprising to hear the tone of voice that we use in each situation. That is why we are so often surprised or even annoyed when we see movies of ourselves talking or moving around: finally we see why others have made funny remarks about us. If you are remembering yourself, you see this live, and can change it in real time.
Another example is that you might feel pride emerging from your chest while you pronounce certain words, or notice that you become tense or start fidgeting with your hair when you ask questions. These are pictures, sounds, feelings, all snapshots of you, starting to fill your personal folder.