Questioner: I keep trying to rest, but my mind just keeps going. Another teacher told me that this pointer to just rest will lead me astray. I’m afraid I’m not getting it.
Vince: Look, everyone who is talking about this stuff has his/her own way of trying to help people see what they have seen. I found, in my own seeking, that “trying” really got in the way of simply stopping and seeing what is ALREADY true – that the SEEING/AWARENESS is absolutely, totally, 100 percent, always functioning effortlessly.
Without “trying” to be aware of sensations, there is awareness of sensation.
Without “trying” to be aware of seeing, there is awareness of light/dark/shape/color, etc.
Without “trying” to be aware of hearing, there is awareness of sound.
Without “trying” to be aware of smelling, there is awareness of odor.
Without “trying” to be aware of tasting, there is awareness of taste.
Without “trying” to be aware of thinking, there is awareness of thinking.
All of this is happening all of the time; sometimes, one sense or another is dominant. No matter WHAT is the object of awareness, AWARENESS itself is present or there would be no way to KNOW experience. In your case, a lot of thinking is going on as well as the thought that there shouldn’t be so much thinking – so what? Right now, isn’t there awareness of the thinking? This thinking is happening in a vast, open, spaciousness that is not in the least disturbed by thinking.
Experience itself is ALWAYS changing. You can prove this to yourself by sitting quietly for a moment and just watching – the body moves slightly, an eye twitches, the wind blows, thoughts shift, light or shadow crosses the room, you smell the chicken soup on the stove and then that smell is replaced by something else, you feel at ease and then you feel tense – all of this can happen in an instant. Yet, there is something present and aware that is registering all of these tiny movements/changes…and THAT IS WHAT YOU ARE! “You” are the presence/awareness that KNOWS the changing.
When I say “just rest,” I am saying “rest as THAT.” We are really NEVER DOING OTHERWISE, anyway! Just rest is an attempt to help “you” see what you already are.
So, no, you don’t “need” to rest in order to see what you already are (since you already are what you already are, anyway – my English teacher would not be happy with that one). I have just found that it helps people notice the awareness that is always, already present and to identify as that – and gives them permission to stop seeking/trying.
It is a little like the old pointer of someone standing in Amsterdam asking someone how to get to Amsterdam. If that person is frantically trying to find Amsterdam, someone who is trying to help might first say, “Stop. It’s OK. Take a breath. Just rest. You are already here. There is nothing more you need to do other than to just rest right here, right now.” You see, the resting isn’t a “process” or “technique” that gets them to Amsterdam; but it increases the chance that s/he will see what is already true.
I hope this helps a bit. I hate to say this because it sounds so much the party line, but you really already ARE what you are looking for. WHAT you ARE (it really is more a “what” than a “who”) is what is registering all of the looking and worrying and thinking and trying and efforting and…so, just rest. You are already in Amsterdam. And, after you’ve taken a breath, take a look – there really is no one resting in Amsterdam, either. Wink.