We all live in a hectic world where constant activity is cherished beyond everything else. You are often even seen as more successful and productive if you constantly and consistently are (or at least appear to be) very busy.
But it is often that our busyness (or shall we say “business”?) can lead us astray. We may be constantly doing something, but is the path we are carving forward really in tune with our deepest desires and indeed our deepest selves? You may run as fast as you can, yet when you are running in the wrong (or at least sub-optimal) direction, you may end up lost and confused, while simply a casual stroll on the right path could have led you home.
How do we come to our core and allow ourselves to realign with our optimal path? The key lies in allowing ourselves to be. This to me, is the most wondrous practice, that I indulge in regularly. But really, even calling it a practice is missing the mark. If you allow yourself to be as you are, you are not really doing something – rather, you are actively doing nothing, which in Taoism is called the art of Wu Wei.
Indeed this, as you may have noticed, is the essence of meditation. But as much as a regular meditation habit can be very helpful, it is imperative to connect this to the rest of your life. Not only to connect it, but to understand its importance and implication, see it as something far beyond a practice, but as a new way of living life – understanding that what you are missing is right in front of you and noticing that as you allow yourself to touch what is, you will be renewed and your life rejuvenated.
So for a moment, right now, allow yourself to simply be. Allow yourself to relax, yet remain at full alertness. If you intend and allow your awareness to be swallowed by thought, you will move into unconsciousness, and ultimately into the sleep state. This is not what we are attempting here. We are attempting an open relaxed alertness, one that embraces all that comes onto its path.
Allow yourself to become fully present. Feel the body in its entirety, as best you can. Notice your breath moving inwards and outwards, moving your abdomen, as well as slipping through your nostrils. Allow yourself to look, truly look at your surroundings – see them as if you were looking at them for your first time, with a beginner’s mind, as they would say in Zen. Let your awareness expand, utilizing all your senses, as you truly listen to what is happening around you and perhaps even inside you, the beating of your heart, any sound you are making as you breathe…. as you allow yourself to feel whatever you are sitting or standing on…taste whatever you may feel in your mouth…… and smell the scent that surrounds you, be it pleasant, neutral or unpleasant.
It is easiest to become rooted in presence, by allowing yourself to become presence itself. A great pointer towards this is simply stating “I am”. Do not get hooked on the words – allow that simple mantra to point you to yourself as Being, as Awareness – that which cannot and does not need to be described, as it precedes description itself.
Indeed it is at this point or likely even sooner during this process, especially if you’ve had a difficult day, or are going through a difficult period of your life (which it seems we all are nowadays) that you will encounter various emotions, thoughts, sensations that are arising from your subconsciousness. As they arise, allow yourself to embrace them. Do not fight them, or resist them, as that will simply magnify their power and make you seem helpless in comparison, which is far from the truth.
As best you can, allow yourself to be present with what is present.
When emotions or sensations arise on the level of the body, feel them. When thoughts or pictures arise in your mind, notice them. Allow yourself to become the observer of what is happening. As you embrace what is appearing in consciousness, do not identify with it or get involved with it. Do not worry if this happens however, as it most likely will, thus it is most important to be present on the level of both the body and the mind in order to dissolve any resistance. On the level of the body feel what is, allow it. On the level of mind, of thoughts, stories and beliefs, allow yourself to accept whatever comes up.
There are many ways to deal with rogue thoughts – for one, if you simply allow any thought, belief or story to arise and accept it, while being present, you will slowly move beyond it.
For example – if a belief comes up that cries out “I’m such a loser” and you allow yourself to simply accept it as a thought, while remaining present, you will transcend it – you will see that in the light of this moment, of who you are, this lone thought has no value and it will soon fade away into oblivion. This is especially true once you feel, allow and thus integrate any emotions pertaining to this belief – as emotions are the wood that gives the fire of illusory beliefs its vigorous flames. An alternative way is simply questioning the thought or belief and therefore doubting its validity, allowing it to dissolve as the light of your presence brings a deeper, intuitive knowing forth to you, or allows you to be at peace with the space that follows it.
When you have integrated what has arisen (as best you were able to), allow yourself to notice what is beyond the appearances of your sense perception. Notice the space that is interspersed between all the objects in your awareness –
The space will be there as actual physical space you can see with your naked eye, the absence of something.
It is also there as silence, which is the auditory space, that which is after, before and behind every sound, that which allows sound to be.
Space is also internal, you will notice it in your mind, as it quietens, as well as in your body, wherever and whenever there are no sensations, or when you have gone beyond them.
The quality of all space is stillness, it is a peace that has infinite depth. The stillness will be subtle at first, but it will gradually deepen and give room to a sense of joy, love and even bliss – all parts of its fragrance.
Allow yourself to rest, simply be in this space, rest as the “I am” of being, as best you can. Welcome whatever comes up, allow it to be. Allow the world and your life situation to be as they are, if only just for now.
You have arrived. Arrived to where you have always been, yet never noticed.
Here you are welcome anytime. Frequent visits are encouraged 🙂