I cannot believe we have reached Week 5 on this course already, time has flown by ever so quickly but if you have kept tuning in each week to deepen your understanding and awareness of living with Mindfulness intention then give yourself a pat on the back! As I touched on in Week 1, this process is not an overnight fix – learning to be ‘mindful’ in every life situation takes time, perseverance and commitment, but the outcomes of sacrificing just a few minutes a day to your mindful practice is undoubtedly worth the infinite outcomes of joy, happiness and overwhelming positivity you are allowing yourself to experience.
For the fifth and final week I will be touching on Mindfulness as ‘pure awareness’. By pure awareness, I mean to just BE. It’s that simple. The two letter word, which means to just exist – as pure as anything in the present moment. When you begin to become aware of your inner world and where you are in the moment, you are greeted with more love and happiness with life. This love and happiness is unlike any other – it remains less dependent on the outside world and remains more a part of your inner world, uniquely precious to you. It’s the simplest form of self-love, which later blossoms into love of the self. An important act which stems from the root of the heart, out of adoration and compassion. No, it is not selfish, it is not out of vanity or egotism – it is the purest emotion of which you are empowered to emit.
What acts make up your average day? You say, “I walk”, “I talk”, “I eat”, “I think”, etc etc, you get the gist. But drop the verbs, “walk”, “talk”, “eat”, “think” and what remains? The sole and separate “I” – the source of just ‘being’. It’s a difficult concept to get your head around, but it is possible just to BE. Just to be aware, without any attached actions or behaviours.
When you already carry the future in the mind, you miss the present moment at every step.
I always think that as children this ability to just ‘be’ is something we take for granted. As infants, there is nothing standing between the body and the self. The constant commotion and busyness of life exists, but it isn’t really there. There is an absence of distractions, a simple mind allows a simple life. No stresses, no bills, no exams – the vessels of the mind are hollow.
When a child makes a castle across the sea, they do it out of joy without any purpose. This is the very purpose of life. To live and create life out of joy, not for the purpose but for the joy of life itself. Imagination; dreams; curiosity; and creativity; are part of the mind that brings novelty to life. It doesn’t appear from past experiences; it comes from a different space of the mind. When children look at the world, they don’t carry any idea for life. They look at the situation that is in-front of them and act spontaneously. This is awareness in the present moment.
The adult mind is like a stream, with a constant current cascading water down narrow rivulets all leading to the estuary where the river concourse decides where to ship the water to next.
The vessels of our mind occupy an incessant flurry of thoughts; always submerged in whirlpools of experiences and impressions, either dwelling in the past or creating the future. The present moment is always there, but it is so often missed, unnoticed. It remains disguised behind the experiences of the mind. The only way to bring your attention back to the present is by dropping and releasing any hold of what has hold of you.
Just as a man digging a well discards what is not water, until he reaches the water-bearing strata; so must you discard what is not your own until there is nothing left for your mind to hook on to. In this moment, you are co-extensive with time and space; you are a point of awareness.
In this moment, the self contemplates the body, you will be a fully awakened witness of the field of consciousness. It is like white paper on which nothing is written yet; an empty canvas, a blank slate. There is no current; no distractions’ no complicated philosophy. Be like that infant, instead of trying to be this or that, just be happy to Be.
Your life path is created by your mind, your deepest dreams and ambitions hatch from a single living brain cell. A single cell of thought is all it takes. All it takes to set your heart and mind on what it is you want to achieve. However, it is the bridge between your current path of life and the path where you want to be that actually gets you from A to B. This bridge has to be built from within, connecting the old nature of the mind to the mind that is completely fresh and open to life. You are the creator of the strong foundation. If you build a bridge from twigs and foliage compared to steel and masonry it will be more likely to collapse. You must not expect a strong structure from weak foundations.
The bridge separating you from your life path, must be created from a strong inner desire. It needs burning passion, determination and ambition to uphold the weight of the world and allow you to cross safely. You must enjoy every moment of life; the gratifications and the drudgeries which come with constructing your bridge and allow your joy to pass it on to the next moment. All of this is kindled by the state of your mind.
There are two perceptions of life and the difference between the two is what may just be separating you from building your bridge. You can either see life directly through the eye-glass or, you can perceive life through the coating on the eye-glass. When you direct your attention to the moment you are dropping the coating from the eye-glass and perceiving life directly in the moment. This, is the purpose of life. To experience life without the coating, in its pure and simplest form; pure awareness in the present.
Consider the eye-glass as your awareness field. All of your beliefs, experiences, impressions and thinking are the coating to the eye-glass. The pure awareness you a free to experience when you drop this coating pursues the process of evolution. Your awareness grows inch by inch. Through evolution you begin to touch the deeper layer of awareness, where all your coatings from the eye-glass fade and you see life directly from the awareness field. The mind is constantly seeking direction all the time. If you are not aware of what’s going on in your mind, the mind subconsciously chooses anything that goes into the mind, and all of your energy is directed in that direction. If you remain present in the moment, you cannot get deceived by your mind. Even with little awareness, you can change the path of your mind. Either you direct the mind consciously, or the mind will always pick and choose from the existing experiences and impressions and take you down a path well-trodden – which is likely to be exactly where you do not wish to go.
Your awareness never ceases to exist. It is always there; behind your eyes, it sits. Beyond your mind, it remains always aware. It is the entirety of your universe; the very source of everything you perceive, as all things can only exist within consciousness itself — nothing is ever outside of it. Your awareness is the root of your entire being.
An easy way, I have found, to remain aware of your mind in the present moment is by shifting your conscious awareness to your feet. What do they feel right now? Where are the stepping? Where are they grounded? Focusing here allows you to stop the thinking process for the moment, and you experience life.
From the perspective of awareness, no thought or emotion is any better or any worse than another. They are all manifestations of the mind’s infinite potential.
As you sit reading this, test yourself. See if you can bring this attitude of complete openness and unconditional love into your life for a moment. Your life now; not where you wish to be or don’t wish to be. You don’t need to sit in a specific posture or say any special prayer or mantra, nor do you have to alter your thoughts or feelings in any way. Just let yourself Be. Completely natural, completely at ease with whatever arises in the present moment; Now.
When you rest like this, you don’t have to wait for anything special to happen. What we are doing here is profoundly ordinary. In a way, there is nothing new here. It’s the same body, the same mind that you experience all of the time. The only difference is that now you are not resisting your experience. It doesn’t matter if you feel open and spacious or completely tense. You may even feel that simply relaxing and letting go is entirely impossible. If that’s the case, then that’s wonderful. Just be with resistance, be with frustration…be with whatever emotion manifests in the moment. Always remember that there is nothing in the entire world that can rob you of this timeless awareness. It’s with you all the time. It is you against time, and this time is Yours.
Though we often make mindfulness meditation complicated and difficult, it is really quite simple. Or, at least as simple as we make it. What I have learnt over the past year on my own journey, is that if we embrace each experience with awareness and open our hearts fully to the present moment we can then bring this same open-hearted attitude to our interactions with others. Now it is no revelation that awareness and compassion are contagious. You need not say or do anything, yet when you are completely at ease with your own being, the ripples of your awareness will naturally spread out in all directions, touching the lives of everyone you meet.
Pure awareness in four simple ways; four ways which can take hold of your mind and bring your awareness back to the Now. Try them, practice them and persist. Feel the joy they bring to your experiences and share this awareness with the lives of those around you. For you are not an object in Consciousness, but its Source, its Witness, pure shapeless Awareness.
- Bring your attention to your feet; what do they feel? Are they warm/cold? What are they grounded on?
- Dig out the distractions of your mind, create a space for your pure awareness. Think of the man digging a well; discarding what is not water, until he reaches the water-bearing strata.
- Plant the seeds to build your bridge. Remember – you need a good, strong and secure foundation to build from.
- Nurture your bridge; your life path. Allow it to grow and remain aware of its evolution. Open your heart and embrace life in its purest life form.
Go forth in your Mindfulness journey and cherish every moment. Use the tips and knowledge gained throughout this 5 Week course and don’t forget to tune back in if you lose sight of your path and want a little nudge in the right direction.
Any feedback will be greatly received, and I wish you the most happiness and compassion in wherever your journey takes you – REMEMBER, it is a journey, it may not be plain sailing, but they view from the other side of the bridge is beautiful. Please don’t lose sight of that.