Thursday, October 2, 2014
FROM A SENSE OF SELF TO A SENSE OF BEING
'Get your mind off yourself. ... There needs to be a shift
in emphasis from self to non-self.' -- Dr Norman Vincent Peale.
So many of our problems arise out of self-centeredness, self-absorption, and self-obsession---in other words, selfishness and egocentricity. In many ways, this is the inevitable price we pay for the infinite, eternal, universal, and timeless spirit of life having descended into matter and flesh---which it forever does---and taking shape and form in time and space as the finite person each one of us is.
Not only that, but every moment of every day we generate literally hundreds of little ‘I’s’ and ‘me’s’ (i.e. likes and dislikes, views and opinions, attachments and aversions, as well as the ego-self, the so-called 'witnessing [or 'transcendental'] self,' and numerous other selves) in our mind and we then proceed to identity with these false selves---false because they are not the real person that we are---and we even mistake these false selves for that real person. Such a mindset is a ‘sense of self,’ but in truth that ‘self’ has no separate, distinct, or independent existence from the person each one of us truly is.
As I’ve said many, many times on my blog, what we need to do, if we are to be happy and live authentically, that is, from and as the real person we are, is to move from a ‘sense of self’ to a ‘sense of Being.’ Now, what do I mean by ‘sense of Being’? Let’s start with life itself. Life is. That much is axiomatic. Yes, life is. And, what’s more, we are. Now, life is Be-ing, or perhaps more accurately Be-ing-ness, for is not life nothing other than living things---including you and me---living out their livingness, or be-ing-ness, from one moment to the next? I think so. In other words, Be-ing, or Be-ing-ness, is the very ground of our being (one’s ‘I Am-ness’), indeed, the ground of all Be-ing. It is the All-in-all. However, few of us seem to be aware of this truth, the reason being that we are so locked into a false sense of self. If only we could come to the realisation that self is illusory.
Many years ago I wrote out a short mediation with the hope of assisting the meditator to recognize and appreciate the true being of their ‘I Am-ness,’ so that the meditator can move from a ‘sense of self’ to a ‘sense of Being,’ and thus enter into a state of choiceless awareness of their ‘true Self.’ What follows is that meditation, which I’ve continued to change over the years, but not in any major way. (A shorter version of the meditation has already appeared in a post on this blog.) The meditation may also be useful whenever there is a need to get one’s mind off oneself---and isn’t that most of the time?
Now, here’s the meditation …
I have a body, but ‘I’ am not that body.
I have a brain, but ‘I’ am not that brain.
I think thoughts, but ‘I’ am not those thoughts.
I experience emotions, feelings and desires, but ‘I’ am not those emotions, feelings or desires.
I Am the ‘I’ of me, the reality of me---‘me’ being the real person that I am.
I Am not my sense of self, that is, the hundreds of little ‘I's’ and ‘me's’ generated in and by my mind from moment to moment. None of those little ‘selves’ are the real person that I am.
I Am that in me which lives and moves and has its Be-ing in me and as me.
I Am the person that I am---a person among persons.
I Am a centre of consciousness, awareness, and awareness of awareness----choiceless awareness, that is---from which all things are a matter of present observation.
I Am the impersonal. I Am the personal.
I Am the presence and power of pure Being---the very Be-ing-ness of the person that I am.
I Am my own Be-ing. Life is Be-ing-ness. Its Be-ing-ness is my very Be-ing-ness right now. That Be-ing-ness is my Real Self.
I Am, in truth, my Real Self.
My Real Self is the same Self in all persons and things. That Self is not a thing of time or circumstance. It is the only presence and power active in the universe and in my life now. It is the omnipresence of life itself---the very living-ness and Self-expression of life---manifesting itself everywhere as the Eternal Now.
I know my Real Self as One with the Self in all.
I Am that which I Am. Life is---and I Am.
My ‘I Am-ness’ is what is, and that is what in truth I Am.
I Am not the I, I thought I was.
I Am pure Being. I am a person among persons.
This meditation is a ‘spoken meditation’---to be spoken either aloud or silently and interiorly to oneself, in whole or part. The meditation, in whole or part, can also be used in groups with the group leader saying aloud the words of the meditation.
What I suggest is that, when you’re ready so to do, you go to some quiet room or other place and proceed to say this meditation to yourself---either aloud or silently and interiorly---slowly, quietly, and meaningfully. The meditation is usually more effective if it is said many times over. Indeed, repeat the exercise as and when you feel it necessary. However, from time to time you may wish to ponder and reflect upon just one or a few of the lines of the meditation. Either way, let the words sink deep into your consciousness by a process of mental or spiritual osmosis.
Now, there is absolutely no ‘magic’ to any of this. This is not an exercise in so-called ‘magical thinking’---at least, that is not what I have in mind, as I am totally opposed to all such thinking. And there’s absolutely no point whatsoever in saying this meditation at all if you don’t understand the meaning of the various metaphysical concepts referred to in the meditation, or if you don’t agree with what I’ve said.
There will also be some people for whom this rather metaphysical meditation will appear dry and hollow or perhaps mechanical. I respect those who feel that way. That is the way they are, and it is no weakness on their part to feel that way—forgive me if I sound patronizing (that is not my intention)---for we are all different. This type of meditation ‘works’ for me because I have been trained as both a lawyer and a minister of religion to think in these rather abstract, metaphysical thought-forms.
Ultimately, it’s what works for you, but the all-important thing is for each and every one of us to … get our minds off ourselves. That’s the only thing that truly matters.