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We all have a being within us. Some call it consciousness or our true essence. Others call it the Self, with a capital S. I call it the awareness. Regardless what we name it, becoming familiar with this being can change our lives in positive ways.
The awareness sits behind our thoughts and emotions and observes, everything. It watches our thoughts appear, it sees our emotions arise, and it notices the physical sensations that occur in our bodies. It sees everything we experience.
When we become aware, we notice just how this human form we identify with, interacts in the world. The awareness watches our physical body moving about and interacting with other humans, with the environment and other external influences. It sees us interact with plants and animals. It notices when emotions occur, but most importantly, it watches our thoughts. I say most importantly, because as you know, our minds are incredibly active with all kinds of thoughts. The awareness is the key to managing these rampaging and sometimes all-encompassing thoughts.
If you meditate at all, you are already quite aware of your active mind. In meditation, we are asked to focus on our breath and body. And we’re also asked to notice the wandering mind but not to get caught up in the individual thoughts. The secret to becoming an aware being lies in the practice of noticing our thoughts when we’re not meditating. Simply observe how your thoughts appear and then vanish. It’s the same with your emotions and physical sensations.
A mindful practice is very similar. A mindful person simply notices what is happening at any given moment. Like when you are walking, or driving, doing any chore or merely sitting quietly. Simply notice what is happening while it is happening. That’s mindfulness. It’s not more complicated than that. When practiced regularly, mindfulness and meditation can both lead to inner peace and greater awareness.
Once you learn to settle within and become an aware being, something amazing happens. Not only do you find peace, you find that nothing really disturbs you anymore. Oh, things will still happen to you that upset you: an aggressive driver, or someone insults you or something in your home breaks and needs to be repaired or replaced. But an aware being simply notices the thoughts and feelings that arise in response to these external events based on for what they are: merely thoughts and emotions. An aware being does not take everything personally, and therefore does not assign any weight to feelings and emotions. The simple act of noticing allows one to separate oneself from the arising disturbance and by doing so, one learns not to identify the Self with it.
In The Untethered Soul, author Michael Singer urges us to simply observe what happens when we experience a disturbance.
Simply watch that sensitive part of you feel disturbance. See it feel jealousy, need, fear. These feelings are just part of the nature of a human being. If you pay attention, you will see that they are not you: they are just something you’re feeling and experiencing. You are the indwelling being that is aware of all of this.Singer, (pg. 86)
When a driver pulls out suddenly and cuts you off causing you to slam on the breaks and narrowly avoid an accident, you get upset. Even an aware being will get upset, but an aware being notices the emotion happening, the racing pulse, the flaring temper, the angry thoughts and then guess what? The simple act of noticing these reactions causes them to dissipate. They lose their power over you. You relax. You settle back down.
In The Untethered Soul, Singer urges us to enjoy every experience, even the uncomfortable ones.
Be an explorer. Witness it, and then it will go. If you don’t get absorbed in it, the experience will soon pass and something else will come up. Just enjoy all of it. If you can do this, you will be free, and a world of pure energy will open up within you. When you are no longer absorbed in your melodrama but, instead, sit comfortably deep inside the seat of awareness, you will start to feel this flow of energy coming up from deep within.Singer, (pg. 87)
Each time you become aware of what is happening, you are reconnecting with your true essence, your Self. The more you do this, the easier it becomes. Singer explains how being aware is a spiritual act that will lead to inner freedom.
If you sit within the Self, you will experience the strength of your inner being even when your heart feels weak. This is the essence of the path. This is the essence of a spiritual life. Once you learn that it’s okay to feel disturbances, and that they can no longer disturb your seat of consciousness, you will be free.Singer, (pg. 87)
As we all become aware of what is happening in and around us, including our thoughts and emotions, particularly when faced by a disturbance, we will reap the benefits of this practice and move forward toward our destiny with a kind heart and light step.
Source: The Untethered Soul, Michael A. Singer. 2007. New Harbinger Publications, Inc. Oakland, CA. http://www.newharbinger.com