Watching Oneself Ceaselessly

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Self-realization is the key to cultivating peace in daily living. It is the complete acceptance of “what is.” The peace of mind in a self-realized individual prevails even when the circumstances are unfavorable. This peace is not based on conditions but surrender to “what is.”

It doesn’t mean that we’ll never experience pain. Pain is inevitable in phenomenality. But that pain doesn’t translate into suffering as thinking in linear time. When surrender happens, the pain is accepted and witnessed by the impersonal aspect of consciousness, beyond space and time. It is what “Living in the present” means.

The presence witnesses all the events without judgment or contemplation. I often sit alone for hours on the bank of lake Sukhna in Chandigarh and look at the water and listen to its sound. At some point, the individual “me” fades, and the “listening” and “seeing” happen on their own.

The identified consciousness or the individual observing an event is always concerned with why things happen this way or that way, but the witnessing is impersonal. Therefore, this impersonal aspect of consciousness is not worried about an outcome but rests in pure awareness or your natural state.

So what can we do to cultivate the presence to “be” in this natural state? And the answer is surprisingly simple. RELAX. Choose your preferred method and do it any way you like. Please don’t create a punishing routine, but grab the moments of awareness as they arise in your consciousness.

Simple deep breathing now and then works wonderfully for me. I know the advice sounds cliche, but most people can’t do it. When people are given a method or practice, they get excited initially, but all that enthusiasm wears down after some time.

It’s because the ego thrives on the idea of achievement and fulfillment. Therefore, let’s say that I come up with a $1000 course on Achieving Enlightenment (whatever that means) in the comfort of your bedroom – it’s appealing to the ego. Now it has a story to tell itself, “I struggled so hard and turned the tides in my favor.”

True happiness doesn’t come from “doing,” but “being.” Our “being” is not on a journey. It has no destination. It’s not trying to expand or “become” whole.

There’s nothing to do or achieve cause you’re already whole.

The idea of self-realization through hardships and struggle is a fantasy of the mind and a mechanism for the ego to survive and perpetuate itself. The first spark of spiritual awakening feels uncomfortable or even traumatic for most people because the story of “me” and “myself” beings to fade. The ego identifications begin to loosen.

First, the ego desires liberation, works in that direction, studies scriptures, sutras, meditates relentlessly for years, and finally, declares itself to be liberated – the perfect human being without desires, flaws, afflictions, and defilements of any kind. It is the birthplace of know-it-all “guru” identification or the spiritual ego.

While the ego does all that, the witness simply witnesses this interplay. The ego or “I” can never be liberated because it doesn’t exist in the first place. The notional of personal-self results from the apparent energy contraction that is the brain fluids.

Our sense of individuality comes from memory impressions. Therefore, the thought that you are so-and-so is identification in the mind. Every aspect of our material existence comes from memory which creates an image. It creates an identity, and through layered abstraction, we think of ourselves as separate individuals living in the world of names and forms.

It is not a question of right or wrong, desirable or undesirable, but “what is.” If somehow, all of your thoughts were wiped out, what would remain? The pure being. It is watchfulness, knowingness, or call it whatever you like. It’s impossible to put it in words.

One can only rest in this natural state and “BE.” It can’t be proved because it’s not an object separate from the subject. We can prove the existence of only that which is apart from us. You are it! The mind-body abstract is simply the interplay of apparent contracted energies, but in reality, nothing is happening.

Duality is but a dream of the “one” consciousness or pure being. It is eternally pure. Sometimes it is conscious of sense objects, and other times, it “knows” the absence of objects of experience. Witnessing is the continuous characteristic of the pure being. It’s a stateless state.

It is there in all three states: waking, dreaming, and deep sleep. In deep sleep, it witnesses the absence of sense objects, but it is there. It is effortlessly present at all times. It is the final constant. It is the impersonal “self” that transcends the mind.

This essay may be a put-off for some people cause the sense of doership is firmly established because of past conditioning. Relaxation calms the mind and allows us to witness the effects of this layered conditioning. The witnessing, in and of itself, detaches us from the impact of our unconscious traits.

I leave you with the following quote from Nisargadatta Maharaj, which beautifully summarizes it. Keep the ‘I am’ in the focus of awareness, remember that you are, watch yourself ceaselessly and the unconscious will flow into the conscious without any special effort on your part. Wrong desires and fears, false ideas, social inhibitions are blocking and preventing its free interplay with the conscious. Once free to mingle, the two become one and the one becomes all. The person merges into the witness, the witness into awareness, awareness into pure being, yet identity is not lost, only its limitations are lost.

Nisargadatta Maharaj
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