Awareness is Everything

Awareness is present when the “me-sense” is present.

Awareness is present when the”me-sense’ is not present.

Awareness is present when the sense of “beingness” is present.

Awareness is present when the sense of “beingness” is not present.

Awareness is present when there is a sense of “knowing.”

Awareness is present when there is no sense of “knowing.”

Awareness is not dependent upon anything.

Everything is dependent upon Awareness.

Awareness everything.

Don’t Be Fooled By Smoke

Regardless of our understanding, difficult states continue to come up, but we don’t focus on them. We just allow them to be there, allow them to arise and do whatever it is they do, but continue to practice short moments of resting as we are again and again. We begin to see that it all arises within this space and we are that space. The sky is completely unaffected by whatever is passing through it. The sky remains completely unaffected and clear and by taking short moments we get to know that and we gain confidence in it. We are that sky, too. We are not just the arisings.

We can’t hold onto any insight that might happen as a result of resting as the awareness that we are. These objects of awareness that we call insights arise only in the moment. Understanding only happens in this moment, now this moment and now this moment. None of it can be grasped. Any insight is just another object, another thought, no matter how beautiful. It can only be enjoyed in the moment. The smoke takes a particular shape in this moment and then it is gone.

We use the thoughts that arise to limit ourselves in many ways; we tell ourselves what we can and can’t do. What arises doesn’t really limit us in any way. It is like smoke taking the shape of steel bars and then we believe we cannot move through it. We forget that it is just smoke. Understanding, not understanding, getting it, not getting it – all of it is smoke taking one or another shape and it is just us forgetting that it is simply smoke and we can walk through it at anytime. We don’t need to do anything about it. We just rest as we are and it will clear.

This smoke is what we are dealing with in every moment of our lives. We believe we are dealing with reality but we are always just dealing with smoke. We let smoke stop us from doing what needs to be done in any moment. We just keep coming back to resting simply in this moment. As we rely on this open space of awareness; the shapes that smoke takes no longer hoodwinks us. Don’t be fooled – the smoke is still there and it will still make frightening shapes, but we won’t be thrown by it any longer. We know what it is and it can no longer scare us. By just resting in this moment, we have all we need right now. There is nothing special about this. Yet, it can completely transform our life.

Shiny Objects

You are already what you’re looking for. You can’t ‘become’ it, ‘find’ it, ‘create’ it, or ‘lose’ it. All that is ever happening is that our attention gets caught by shiny objects. Misdirected attention.  When it happens – and it will – see that only the attention has moved. What knows the attention has moved remains here as always. Stay here. You’re really never anywhere else anyway; you just think you are. There is no welcome home for you because you never really left.

It’s a Binary Choice

As we go through the day we have thousands of thoughts coursing through awareness of all sorts – practical, happy, sad, memories, plans, judgments, criticisms, fantasies – the list is endless. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this. The amount of thinking we have, the speed of our thinking, the tone of our thinking, the density of our thinking – none of that matters to our life if we realize this one simple fact: we are either caught in our thinking or we are aware of our thinking.

What Does It Mean To Be “Caught” in Thought?

I’m guessing all of us have had the experience of driving down a road that we might drive everyday and one day we miss our turn. What was happening? We were caught in thought. Perhaps we are thinking about our upcoming work day or maybe we’re thinking about our kids, or a conversation we need to have with a partner, or maybe we’re thinking that a BLT sounds delicious right about now. No matter the content of Thought, when we forget the FACT that thoughts are constantly arising and sloshing around and then dissipating 24/7/365, cradle-to-grave, we become slaves to our reactions and some form of lesser or greater chaos typically ensues!

The Binary Choice

When we’re driving and miss an exit, it seems obvious we were hypnotized by our thinking in that moment. It isn’t always so obvious as we’re going through our day – but the exact same thing is happening!

Simply SEEING that thinking/experiencing is happening all the time helps us to step out of thoughts. We simply and easily rest back from thoughts and instantly we find ourselves resting in MIND, in this simple, ever-present source of all experiencing, moment-to-moment.

When you find yourself struggling to “understand” or do it”right” or “figure it out” – STOP. DO NOTHING.

Rest. You are already awash in the clarity and peace you imagine exists somewhere other than right where you’re standing in this very moment.

Look gently in this direction of recognizing and FEELING the difference between being caught in thoughts and WATCHING thoughts. Find out for yourself how this changes your experience. Really look – no amount of thinking will get you any closer to what you already are.

Let me know how it goes and if I can help.

The Bricks in Your Head

About three years ago, my wife and I decided to brick our backyard. We have two big trees that cast shade across the yard throughout the growing season; those, combined with four dogs meant no grass and plenty of mud. We had a hard time finding the bricks we wanted to use, but when we did, I stockpiled…hence the 6×8 stack of bricks in the corner of the drive for the past three years.

Ami and I had been talking about moving those bricks since the moment we stacked them there. We talked about finding someone to move them for us. We talked about using them in another part of the property. We talked about giving them away. We talked about selling them. We talked about putting a tiny stick of dynamite in them and exploding them into a fine powder that could float away on the evening breeze. Bottom line: the bricks were still in the driveway.

I often thought about how hard it would be to move the bricks myself. I thought about how my back might go out. I wondered how much each brick weighted (about 10 pounds!). I thought about how much weight in total I would be moving. I thought about where to put them and how to stack them. I thought about how many days it would likely take for me to move them. I considered how that would fit with my work schedule and how to spread it out over time. I groaned while thinking about how hot it is this summer and how hot it would be while moving the bricks. Lots and lots of thinking and no brick moving.

Then, out of nowhere, I got home last Monday, changed my clothes, and with absolutely no plan other than where I would stack them, I began moving the bricks. Brick by brick, into my old red, Radio Flyer wagon – the one my friends and I used for hauling each other down the sidewalk when we were kids. The wagon that was at various times a ride at the fair, a tank, a plane, a submarine, and a space ship. Now, it was carrying bricks for the same boy 50 years later.

After three hours and a bucket of sweat, all the bricks had been moved. All of them. Three hours. In three hours, I accomplished what three years of thinking hadn’t touched. How many other areas in my life are exactly the same? How many different piles of bricks am I carrying around in my mind that could be dispatched in three hours, or three minutes?

Mind bricks are heavier than driveway bricks.

Do is less painful than think.

So What?

My clients come to see me with sometimes sad, crazy, unpredictable, irritated, altruistic, calm, sublime, lustful, brilliant, anxious, poetic, ugly, murderous, hideous, self-centered, terrified, thinking.

My thinking can also be sometimes sad, crazy, unpredictable, irritated, altruistic, calm, sublime, lustful, brilliant, anxious, poetic, ugly, murderous, hideous, self-centered, and terrified.

When my clients leave and move on with their lives, their thinking is sometimes sad, crazy, unpredictable, irritated, altruistic, calm, sublime, lustful, brilliant, anxious, poetic, ugly, murderous, hideous, self-centered, and terrifying.

The only difference is that now they see thinking as thinking and ask, ‘So what’?

Personal Thought or Mind?

We usually walk around imagining that our moment-to-moment experience of life is the result of situations and people around us:
* I’m irritated because that guy cut me off in traffic
* I’m cranky because I have to go to work early
* I’m bummed because my boyfriend or girlfriend wants to end our relationship
* I’m lonely because I’m not in a relationship
* I’m worried because my retirement account is shrinking

The Three Principles understanding of human experience tells us to look in a different direction. This perspective says that we are always living in the feeling of our own thinking. This is really important to grok: moment-to-moment, we are experiencing our thinking ABOUT what is happening, not what is happening. This is our personal thought system talking and it rarely leads us in a helpful, peaceful direction.

We can only be listening to one thing at a time: we are either listening to our personal thought system or we are listening beyond our personal thoughts to the deeper wisdom that comes from Mind – the formless, infinitely creative Source.

How do we know to which we are listening? By the feeling that we are experiencing in the moment. If we are feeling excited or agitated or irritable or cranky or bummed or worried or fearful -or any permutation of any of these – then we are listening to our pea-brain (as my teacher, Keith Blevins calls it), personal thought system. If we are feeling a sense of ease and peace, then we are plugged into a deeper source of wisdom that we can trust. We are always listening to one or the other.

Just notice the feeling you’re in right now – it will tell you whether you can trust your own thinking in this moment. If the feeling is off – do nothing. Wait. Leave your thinking alone and you’ll find that a nicer feeling returns and with it will come a wiser, more peaceful perspective that will provide guidance for this moment now. There is nothing other-worldly about it. No bells or whistles – but a sense of peace that is worth its weight in gold. Try for yourself.

The Wasps in Your Head

Last week, I was with a client who was struggling. We were discussing the role Thought plays in creating our moment-to-moment experience of life. When I asked him if it was making sense to him, he said, “Yeah. So what you’re saying is that I need to push away or smack down the bad thinking and just think better thoughts, more positive thoughts.”

The idea that we need to ‘manage’ our thinking, or do something to think ‘better’ thoughts or ‘more positive’ thoughts is a common stumbling block to really getting this understanding. And, by ‘stumbling block’, I mean just another thought to which we can cling believing that it is ‘understanding’. Really understanding this means getting that thoughts roll through our consciousness all day, every day. We don’t need to shape them or stop them or color them in any way. They take shape and pass away on their own without any help from you or me.

Still, many of us (me, too, sometimes!) are just like my client – believing that we need to make our thinking ‘better’ somehow in order to really enjoy life and live at our best. When I understood the thinking he was stuck on, I offered him this analogy:

I asked him to imagine that my office was just like the inside of our heads – a few pieces of furniture and some paintings on the wall, but still largely empty (pun intended – at least in regards to my head). Imagine, I said, that you had to be in this office and that there were four or five wasps in the office with you. What would you do? He said immediately, “I’d try to kill the wasps.” I asked him to imagine that the wasps were particularly quick and slippery and that no matter how hard he swung at them, he couldn’t strike them. What did he think would happen if he tried to ‘deal with’ them? If he swung and swatted and flailed – how would the wasps respond? What would you do now?

He looked stumped and said he didn’t know. I pointed out to him that there was a window in the office; what would happen if you opened the window? I asked. He thought for a moment and then the light came on and he said, “I’d do nothing. I’d just wait because the wasps would find their way out without me doing anything.” I told him that was my experience and that, in fact, not dealing with the wasps at all was just about the safest and most efficient way of addressing wasps.

This always-open window in our head is our Innate Health – our inborn wisdom and understanding. Mind is the space in which and as which wasps and desks and windows and waste cans and paintings appear. The truth is that Mind is always wide-open and available – we are living it and it is living us. Just leaving the wasps (thinking) alone allows them (it) to move through awareness and out the open window (we rest back in peace of Mind). This is what it means to rest in and as Mind.

The natural state of the ‘room’ in our heads is one of peace and ease. There is nothing we need to ‘do’ to get back to that. In fact, the more we try to ‘do’, the more we stir up the wasps – it’s no wonder they sting us.

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