but it can bring us to the outermost edge of a deep understanding – and this is useful….. but from there we must jump in and stay with the direct experience of being. Staying in this direct experience (so keeping our attention on the awareness that is Here) is the doorway to deeper self-realization. Nobody can do this for you – it is your journey alone.
So what is this understanding that the mind can bring us to? We can use our minds (our memories, our ability to analyze and derive insights) and our bodies, emotions and intuition to recognize how and where we’ve picked up all these different elements that make up ‘who we are’. We can use these capacities to see how we have compiled all of our experiences, our various roles, our beliefs, our culture, everything our bodies have been through, our talents and our shortcomings to create an identity – the very person you believe yourself to be. When the mind is willing to really be open and honest, even it can clearly see that this identity is fabricated from this elaborate and complex accumulation of all of these past experiences – the mind is capable of acknowledging this story of a ‘me’.
Can you see this in yourself? What is your identity comprised of? Feel the strength of that… the familiarity…. the depth of the belief that yes, this is who you are.
Even at this point, most of us already know that even with everything in this story, it is not what we really truly are. It is just what we refer to when we say or think ‘me’. But we know that there is something else, something more present, something within us that is simply here – that can see and feel and remember all of the past, and also be somehow not attached to it – just a simple (yet profound) present awareness that sees – that just is.
And this is not to trivialize the past. Your experiences, your family, your friendships, your body, your thoughts, all of your emotions, your beliefs, your joys and losses have all been deeply felt experiences that are profound, wondrous, and yes, important…. the importance and sacredness of your life cannot possibly be measured.
But at some point, when we keep pointing to this identified self, saying ‘this is me, this is who I’ve been and who I always will be’, we must be able to see that our belief that this identity is the totality of who we are, is trapping us. It keeps us in a place we suffer in stuck-ness, we carry painful (false) beliefs in our bodies (causing illness/injury) and we engage in sabotaging behaviour and marinate in negative thoughts about ourselves. The identified self is full of pride and full of struggle…. I’ve seen this again and again…. when this identity is seen… none of these patterns/behaviours/strategies are needed anymore…….the release is glorious…..
We already intuitively know that the totality of who we are is not merely an accumulation of our experiences, (even though our experiences deeply affect our body/mind/emotions/perceptions and we can certainly learn from them and eventually glean a deeper truth from them). The mind can see the entire past, and can also see that truthfully, we are whatever is Here in this moment – free (unattached) conscious awareness. From here, we are suddenly able to consciously not attach to a belief that has perhaps been ruling our thoughts, emotions and behaviours (and our relationships, and our ability to be truly joyful) for a lifetime.
So this is the outermost edge that the mind can carry us to – the recognition of this identified self. Once we can see that what we truly are is whatever is Here Now – an awareness of consciously being – not just standing at the edge of it, but diving right in, opens up.
Just stay with whatever is that is Here Now. Stay with it. The mind gets bored, or distracted, or will steamroll in an urgent matter to attend to… but just experiment with staying Here for a while… – and, as Papaji says… ‘keep quiet’. This is true meditation. This is the doorway into the limitless depths of your being.