If you have not found that which is timeless or formless in yourself, then nothing that you manifest will satisfy yourself. ~ Eckhart Tolle
Sit still and do nothing for a few moments.
Temporarily let go of responsibilities, interests and concerns … relax into being.
Ask … who am I?
Watch the answers changing … let go
Answers are non important – your question is.
Ask … who is the questioner?
The self that we are is something complex, deep, mysterious and … confusing at times. There are so many thought forms living inside our head; so many people sharing the space of our heart; so many reflections of past and future glories or dreads agitating the substance of our minds; so many possibilities to our soul.
Some of them are ‘ours’, they are the original voices of our inner being; others belong to our familial and cultural inheritance: mother, father, friends, boss, social models, celebrities or anyone who has impressed our mind. Watch yourself operating in real life and you realise that a sizable amount of your attitudes is a counterfeit of behaviour you saw in others and subconsciously adopted.
Wherever they come from, all those inner presences have a voice through which they express their needs, sensitivities and intentions. They argue, lobby, disagree, make alliances or overtly fight with each other just like when you wonder whether you should pursue a career, take care of your aging parents or just don’t care and follow the flow of your inner nature. Each compete for your attention and seek to capture the seat of will and power from where they would, if you were allowing them, dominate your inner world. And they all excel at tricking you into believing that they are you and that you are them.
This inner turmoil has actually little to do with the real you. It is a drama unfolding inside your mind whose protagonists are the parts of your individuality that have developed in relationships or under the influence of other people. But, beware: lost in the crowd of acquired memories and inner fantasies lies the real ‘You’:
- A formless presence alone and awake in a world of dreams and erratic psychic formations;
- A solid centre of pure awareness standing still amidst fleeting mental images and moving charges of emotions;
- A feeling of wholeness and connectedness devoid of needs, fulfilled and forever at peace with life and the world.
Be mindful of the silent voice of ‘I’ness inside and recognise its tune.
We will spend time exploring and identifying the territory of self at a later stage but for now let’s stay with the idea that you are the presence, the questioner, the observer, the experiencer who is getting slightly confused with all this story… Relax. See your mind as a space in which thoughts, images, emotions and desires are making all the noise. You are not the noise. You can see through the chaos.
It is always empowering to see things as they are but in order to do that, we must dis-identify: temporarily withdraw our attention from the contents created by the mind.
Most of us are so engrossed and identified to our own thoughts and emotions that we confuse them for the real world. The mind creates an artificial reality it surimposes on the ‘real’ reality, tricking us to believe that what we think or imagine is what is – which is seldom the case.
The ‘reality’ generated by the mind is the product of memory. It is never actual, authentic or new because all the mind can do is re-use the material left by past experiences to create probabilities about the future. For the mind, tomorrow can only be a variation of yesterday, a mechanical repetition or, in the best case, a new combination of old elements producing an appearance of newness and creativity.
Being identified to the mind creates a false sense of self based on memory – as if everything we are today was a result of something we had been yesterday.
When we dis-identify from our mind, we experience a warm, vibrant and empowering sense of presence and wholeness. We become aware that we are pure awareness – a conscious, sensitive, free-flowing energy in the process of manifesting our life.
One of the most important things I have discovered in my life is that it is not by exploring the world or endlessly gathering information, sensory experiences or things that one ‘knows’ the world but it is by coming back to the essence of being that we are and share with all things. This experience allows a knowing through insight or direct contact from being to being.