Posted 7 July 2015 by Sal
Aware is your essential nature and points to freedom
One of the most common devices of teachers on the path is to tell people to look within, or go inside, something along those lines. But I think this can be misleading and confusing. It gives the impression that you are inside somewhere. Whenever I tried to do that on the path I only felt claustrophobic. Even if it brought some peace or bliss it was still limited to body/mind. And also to look within makes you think that you will discover SOMETHING. But the NO-THING that you are cannot be found within, or anywhere in fact. It is simply known. The idea of ‘looking within’ just supports the idea of separation.
It is about allowing attention to be free and open instead of 'self-focused' and to then recognize our true, center-less existence. When this “my body/mind is the center of my existence” idea is dropped then it is known that I am not ‘in’ anything. This is when you discover the ultimate joke. There is a sense of limitless existence, unattached, un-centered, instead of the feeling/sense of self-focus. This points to freedom, your essential being. Here there is no dimension, no time. Just here, now, eternal. So simple and so obvious.
One way to recognize this is to have a look at the idea that, ‘I am aware’. In that sentence it appears that there is an 'I/self' who is 'aware'. Aware is used as an adverb. This supports the belief that we are centered in a body looking outward and being aware. But instead of using aware as an adverb what if we make the word 'aware' synonymous with the word 'I'? I and aware are not different. This stops the mind from creating the idea that there is an ‘I’ who is ‘aware’. This way we sense less the body as the center from where we look outwardly and there is just that which is freely aware. Unattached to body, not centered inside, but free. Just one seamless aware which is both and neither inside nor outside the body. This will instantly take you out of the belief identification with mind and body. It is a simple and immediate way to recognize what is true, here and now, so obvious. It is not seeking, it is finding. It is not a path and it takes no time. It’s more like a light switch. First it is dark. You throw the switch. And then it is light. It takes no time.
But the problem comes because almost no one wants this absolutely utter simplicity. Mind will say, ‘This can't be the holy grail, it can’t be this simple’. That’s because there is nothing to get here. No experience, no bliss, no ecstasy, nothing special. No flashing lights or explosions. But this is where freedom lies. This shows you immediately, in no time, that you are already essentially free. This recognition is the means to liberation. In fact it is already liberation itself. And when you see this you know that you can either value what is free, here and now, or once again overly value this body/mind and instantly create the claustrophobic limitation and suffering that that belief brings. This is an effortless means of inquiry. Whenever you notice that you are focused on thought just stop and recognize that 'freely aware is who I am'. And let that free you from the limitation of identifying with body and mind.
So the question arises, ‘Is this a practice that has a future goal?” The answer is that it is a very simple inquiry that can show what is true now. It points to the ultimate joke, that, 'I am not this body, or inside this body, I am free.' It is already liberation itself; however, if one still wants more… experience, self-identification, suffering, then it will seem too ordinary, simple and obvious. This recognition is the essential foundation of liberation. If one is truly authentic about being free then once this is recognized one will come to believe less and less in the amalgamation of self-identified thoughts, feelings and sensations as who I am exclusively. I don't say it is a path, because it is true in every moment already. As the saying goes, ‘The path and the goal are one’. So this should not be used as a tool for some enlightenment in the future, but simply as a recognition of what is true now, that who you are is freedom itself already. This inquiry points to freedom now.
As Ramana Maharshi says, 'Abide as the Self.' But, without calling it Self, just abide as your essential free nature... simplicity itself, freely aware, here and now. No-thing. Unidentified, yet alive. This should not be used as a path but as a way to recognize what is eternally true now, over and over... and always. See again and again what is true, that you are now, and always have been, free.