”Okay, so where did all those thoughts go? Even the thought “I am Lori Ann, a person in charge here” has evaporated. Instead, a spacious emptiness exists where before a whole mob of rowdy “thinkings” had been partying away. Now and then, a stray heavy thought will wander through the emptiness and leave pretty quickly, probably in disappointment “Like, man, where’s the party?” Living in this thought-vacuum is pretty easy. When mental noise is minimal, reality is much more vivid and immediate. When a friend talks, I listen like never before, because competing thoughts (like I agree or disagree) are out to lunch.”
Lori Ann, theawakeneddreamer.com
The article on the right, ”Shifting Focus of Awareness to Stillness via Breathing” is a tool for Awakening and Staying Awake.
Nature has provided us with everything we need to transform our consciousness and lead a life of enlightenment. Every night consciousness offers us a gateway to a higher dimension via our dreams. The reason we choose to ignore these great opportunities is mostly due to our ignorance and the belief that only waking life is real and dreams are simply fantasies without any reality whatsoever. It is only when our dreams become lucid that our viewpoints begin to shift and we start to realise that we have opened a wormhole into a parallel universe, so incredible, it simply staggers the imagination.
But it’s not just our dreams which can open the gates to our much greater reality. Our waking life too holds the key to open the doors if we utilise a natural process to which we hardly pay any attention, a process which we started the moment we were born and which will only stop when we die, and that isour breath.
With every breath we take, nature is potentially providing us with an opportunity of shifting our consciousness and entering an enlightened state. The reason this gateway to the greater reality remains firmly shut for most of us is that we don’t give it our attention. We are much more committed to following the commands of our inner commentator with its incessant stream of thoughts over which we have little control. If we get into the habit of using our breath as a means of focusing attention away from our thoughts to our feelings, we would gradually obtain sovereignty over our mind and liberate ourselves from the compulsions and addictions of habitual and often idle thought. Above all, instead of debating good and bad, pros and cons in our thoughts, we open an instant highway to the spontaneous wisdom of the heart.
It sounds almost too simple to state that we can access a greater, more rewarding reality by a simple shift of attention, but simplicity is often the way reality works. By following the path of simplicity we don’t have to take up postion within a complicated network of rules. We don’t have to belong or subscribe to a religion, mindset, fanciful beliefs or complicated practices. We only have to make decisions and the more decisions we make the more we inform our minds that we are in charge. We train our thoughts into accepting that there is a new ruler in town, the Thinking Heart.
Our new inner connection doesn’t rely on gurus or teachers, or ancient or modern beliefs or sets of rules. We quickly and joyfully begin to accept that our heart and our breath is beating a path to our inner teacher, a unique and spontaneous wisdom. And all we do is focus our attention in the right direction. This suggestion here is not a prescription for everyone to follow. Most of us will have already found our own way. We are a boundless species with infinite diversity of temperament and there are many paths open to us for focusing awareness as there are people. This is just one of many. Everybody will feel attracted to the tools which suit their personality and temperament.
Awakening is new every moment, there are no repeats. Every moment is a first.
Awakening is a unique experience and different to each of us, although they share one essential thing, the silence of the commentator. With stillness appearing on the scene we enter an illuminated realm or space of consciousness. It is experienced as objective reality, unbiased, unperturbed by what is happening around us and it feels like home. Until now we have been exiles, but entering this space of reality we finally are where we belong. It is difficult to find words for it, although many have tried, and however hard we try to describe it we realise we only ever touch on a tiny facet of the whole.
Entering the new space of stillness opens up an infinite realm.
Many people entering this realm for the first time feel disinclined to do anything or take any action at all, often simply becoming observers of the new world opening up around them without inclination to participate. That is a temporary state, but it can last a long time for some.
Others experience it differently becoming part of the creative flow, breathing through their hearts like a fresh wind. Instead of listening they sing with the wind and add their unique sound to this new universal melody. There are no shoulds and should nots. It is our heart which will give us the impulse from now on and it makes no difference where we are at the moment in time, the job we do, or the people we are surrounded by.
There is no arrival either, there are only beginnings. And when people think that when enlightenment occurs, we have ‘arrived,’ we are wrong footed. After awakening some newly awakened feel their state will last forever and they begin to neglect their attention and gradually fail to integrate their new state of consciousness into their everyday lives. Instead of realising that they are at the threshold of a grand adventure, they feel they have found the answer to life’s mysteries. The stillness and the oneness experienced soon gives way to thoughts and, without noticing, our silenced ego eases its way back to the fore and takes ownership of our experience. It finds words to limit the unlimited. It casts what is beyond the reach of language into a semantic cage. Even existing religion is wheeled into place to serve as a framework and provide a new box. At other times the ego sets itself up as the experiencer and uses the experience as food for self importance. A guru is born every minute with new world views and fundamentalist ideas which proclaim the Only way. Cults are not far off and it is back to the old mind game.
There is nothing wrong in wanting to share our facets of the diamond with our fellow souls. Quite the opposite. We are a family of consciousness, here to share, inspire, enrich and support each other. It is part of our blueprint and in doing so we respect, honour and love our fellow companions.
Wisdom – illuminated thinking from the heart
An awakened state can never become the status quo and it will never stake claims. It can only ever be experienced moment by moment. The moment we think about it it will be gone like a butterfly we try to catch with our bare hands. It is the beauty of the Awakened State that it silences thought and instead opens our awareness to something which is fathomless and new every single moment. With the commentator of our thinking gone we enter infinite vistas of peace and liberation, but also of creativity and growth, which is kept alive with every breath we take. Reality knows no repetition. The universe is born with every breath and every moment we are like newborns entering this expanding world as if for the first time.
How is that possible? How can we operate without thoughts? By understanding that our thoughts are little more than the legs we use for walking. Thoughts are tools for survival. But in addition to using thoughts as survival tools, we’ve grown accustomed for them to do our “living” for us as well. We would be much better off to allow “wisdom” to do our living, which is a much higher, more evolved form of thinking. Wisdom is illuminated thinking. It bypasses thought. It is intuitive and instant. It has no pros and cons, no yes and buts, but rises out of a deep, intuitive understanding from an unspoken level of truth. It has no bias, is not for or against, but simple, impartial, factual and non judgmental. It has no self interest, no preference and arises out from the core of what IS before it even comes into being. It is this illuminated thinking which is the next grand step in our human evolution.
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Shifting Focus of Awareness to Stillness via Breathing
It is the decision making process more than anything else that will train our mind to embrace Stillness instead of continuing to endure the constant inner chatter and uncontrolled commentary of our thoughts. By deciding to favour our breathing with our attention, rather than our inner chatter, we are gradually training our minds to embrace a greater reality. From then on our thoughts will become our tools and instruments rather than our masters. The best way to deprive our thoughts of their compulsive nutrition is by using a different mode of thinking and perception. Instead of seeing with your eyes which is then narrated and judged by our mind and our old ideas, we learn to see with your heart, without judgement or interpretation. Using the same process when speaking and hearing will make a difference to the quality of our communication. This new mode of gathering information or communicating will connect us to a higher level of reality. It will also open the channels of intuition, which is basically a much more evolved form of thinking as it encompasses information we are consciously unaware of.
This new mode of operating our senses can be learned like any other skill. We will know when we are successful when our stream of thoughts becomes quiet and everything becomes still around us. Our thoughts are no longer in the driving seat and instead of continuous judgement, which takes all our energy and deprives us our objectivity, we become aware of a powerful feeling of compassion, love and connectedness to all life. Our ego identifications become less important as we begin to identify with the the space surrounding us rather than the voices in hour head. We access reality directly rather than our interpretation of it and gain a much more inclusive understanding of who we are.
The best way to practice this kind of Seeing and Thinking with our Heart is by connecting our feeling to our breathing. As we breathe constantly anyway, we can practice this technique all day long. Instead of following our thoughts we simply decide to follow our breathing. We do this breathing in the awareness of the energy and the stillness surrounding us through the base of our body.(see diagram) We then follow our breath as it reaches our heart. We then surrender our breath again to the Stillness of the greater consciousness surrounding us, the same space of consciousness where we have taken it from.
The surrender of our breath or outbreath is accompanied by a feeling of goodwill or love. With this feeling of love we also automatically surrender the idea of our limited ego identification without even thinking about it. Instead we take comfort in the fact that we offer everything we are to a greater reality and the much larger reality of our true being.
This is the Anytime Anywhere Meditation because we can do it anytime and anywhere, whilst washing, having breakfast, driving to work, in the office, at lunch, in the cinema, talking to friends or operating machinery because it is a feeling rather than a conscious thought process. We favour surrender rather than clinging to our thoughts and judgements. Gradually our thoughts will learn to follow the wisdom that rises from the heart rather than insist on its old prejudicial pattern. As our thinking becomes more clear and we become in tune with reality our actions will be guided by the rise of wisdom, and we will use our mind as an instrument.