FROM SPIRITUAL SEEKING TO SPIRITUAL BEING
Misidentification with the objects of our awareness
Conceptually most all of us know that we are spiritual beings. We somehow recognize that there is something more to us than flesh, bones and the thoughts we think. We theoretically understand this, but have difficultly coming from being. Rather we come from mental concepts and physical sensations, using those as proof of our existence, without really investigating the source of our concepts and sensations. If we did do a little bit of investigation we would come to see that we are what is aware of the thoughts and the body and everything in between. We are the being, the awareness, that notices those things, therefore we can’t be them. It’s kind of like looking at a table and identifying yourself as it. However you know that you aren’t the table, but rather that you are aware of the table. The same is true for everything that you are aware of, it’s simply that most of us have misidentified ourselves as the objects of our awareness rather than see ourselves as the being that knows the objects.
This misidentification with the objects of our awareness is the reason that we spiritually seek. We seek because we feel that there is something missing. That something which feels like it’s missing only feels that way because we have placed our focus and sense of self onto things that are not our self. This leaves a feeling of a void, an emptiness of sorts, or a longing for something that we know exists, but that we just can’t seem to figure out how to get, realize or know it. We somehow feel separate from and that feeling of separateness comes from thinking that we are an object of our awareness. So we seek to find and feel whole, because we have misidentified ourselves as a part. This seeking for wholeness or oneness is the core of the healing or spiritual journey.
It is not bad or wrong to seek. In fact the seeking impulse can provide us with the experiences we need in order to remember what we are and the skills, knowledge, and awareness to realize what is already here. When we realize what is already here spiritual seeking shifts into spiritual being. There is however a bit of a dog chasing its tail scenario that can happen on the spiritual path if you are not clear in your intentions. What I mean is that if you don’t have genuine desire to know yourself, you can get lost in all of the glitter and sparkle of the spiritual journey. You can fall into chasing more objects of physical and metaphysical pleasure, rather than keeping your eye on the ball. You get lost in the game and take detours on the path that bring you back to where you started rather than in the direction of spiritual being. Purifying your desire to know yourself is the brightest light you can shine on your path.
SILENCE IS YOUR NEW BEST FRIEND
Somewhere some great master said that ‘silence is the greatest teacher.” I couldn’t agree more. To our busy mind with all of its thoughts this seems like a strange impossibility. How could you ever learn anything from silence, after all there is nothing there? Don’t you need content or information in order to learn? This is how we are conditioned yes, but this conditioning has also brought us to the state of being we are currently experiencing as life. One where we are constantly searching for more content, more answers, more reasons, which we think will provide us with the clarity of being we desire, but all they ever do is send us down more and more rabbit holes and leave us feeling overwhelmed. Yet we continue to function in this way hoping that somewhere we will find the light at the end of hole.
The light we are seeking lives in the silence of our own minds. Getting ourselves to be innerly silent can be a mighty task, which we why we must have such a strong desire to know ourselves in the first place. If we don’t then we will simply continue to allow ourselves to be distracted in and by thoughts, feelings, sensations and any other content we can find to latch our awareness onto. The mind really, really loves content. It is, its jam. It’s bread and butter. It’s life force. Without content the mind feel useless, and because we are merged with the mind and its content as who we are, then we personally feel useless. Other experiences that arise in silence are boredom, frustration or irritation, loneliness, restlessness, purposeless, and others.
I have found that there are stages to the “getting innerly silent process.” When you are first learning how to get silent by sitting or lying down and just beginning to let go of some of the content, taking a few breaths, you start feeling some sense of relaxation. This typically feels good to us. If however you go a bit deeper into the letting go process, sitting or lying longer, you will find lots of areas where you don’t want to let go. You may notice this as tension in areas of the body, sensations getting louder, mental tension, thinking and being lost in the thoughts, scattered, restlessness, or feeling emotions. Once you move through that stage, I often find the next stage to be an insightful stage. This is where you still aren’t completely focused on being yet, but you are less fixated with the objects of your awareness. There is now more space for you to see things from a larger perspective. You might get insights, intuitions or be able to see your patterns or habits more clearly. Once you move through that, I find the next stage to be simply noticing that you are, that you be. There may still be thoughts, feelings or sensations, but you are no longer focused on them. You are only focused on that you be. This is often peaceful, restful and the tendency is to want to stay here, to be absorbed in simply being. Sometimes this stage will come with feelings of bliss, energy or an increased alertness or wakefulness. None of those things are required, but they can be present.
The longer you allow yourself to be present to “that you be” the more you come to know yourself and less identified you are with the objects of your awareness. I have this to be the most direct path to self-realization. Try it out. It takes desire, commitment and some discipline, but the rewards are epic. It’s the end of spiritual seeking and the beginning of spiritual being.
Dr. Amanda Love