December 31, 2016 § 1 Comment
Practice is the continuous movement from distraction to the present moment. Awakening from distraction to the reality of the moment is enlightenment. As Kosho Uchiyama said, “The only true enlightenment is awareness of the vivid reality of life, moment by moment.”
We only know life as vivid reality when we attend to it fully, without distraction. Until that moment, it seems as if life has placed a pane of glass between it and us. This feeling of separation comes from having attached qualities to the self that it does not properly have, like anger or loneliness. As these qualities are distinct and discrete it is falsely supposed that the self is, too. There arises the fiction of a separate body with its own life and own needs.
The belief that awareness requires a ‘somebody’ who is aware is, in the final analysis, just another thought. Like other thoughts, it distracts from the immediacy of the present moment with questions like, “How will this affect me? And, “What’s best for me?”
We can take that thought, that sense of self, into practice and observe it, just as we do with any other distraction. In observing what we thought was our self, the question will necessarily arise as to who is doing the observing. “Who am I?” we ask.
I, as observer, will ultimately be revealed to be no self, at all. As we step further back from what was thought to be a permanent, separate self our consciousness empties of thinkable content. To quote Tenzin Palmo, “the further back we go the more open and empty the quality of our consciousness becomes. Instead of finding some solid little eternal entity, which is “I”, we get back to this vast and spacious mind which is interconnected with all living beings. In this space you have to ask, where is the “I”, and where is the “other”.”
As Sri Aurobindo wrote it in the poem “Liberation”,
I have thrown from me the whirling dance of mind
And stand now in the spirit’s silence free,
Timeless and deathless beyond creature-kind,
The centre of my own eternity.
I have escaped and the small self is dead;
I am immortal, alone, ineffable;
I have gone out from the universe I made,
And have grown nameless and immeasurable.
My mind is hushed in a wide and endless light,
My heart a solitude of delight and peace,
My sense unsnared by touch and sound and sight,
My body a point in white infinities.
I am the one Being’s sole immobile Bliss:
No one I am, I who am all that is.