Draw a circle – that’s your mind. Now write ‘Me’ in it. That’s what most of us think we are – everything within our conscious awareness.
But the thing we call “me” is actually just a witness – a really small part of the vast expanse of our minds. The thing we call me is really more like a tiny explorer, stood on the surface of a gigantic iceberg, which stretches forever, hidden under the surface of conscious awareness.
We watch as thoughts and emotions arise in our minds, like fireworks in the sky. And unthinkingly, most of the time, we join our sense of self to those thoughts or feelings…
“I feel angry,” we say to ourselves.
But in reality, it’s not you that’s feeling angry – it’s something within you (under the surface) that projects a feeling of anger into your conscious awareness (above the surface).
It’s more accurate to say, “There is a feeling of anger here and I am witnessing it. I can choose to join with it if I want, or I can simply observe it from the outside.”
This is what we can learn from the practice of mindfulness meditation.
You are not your thoughts. You are not your feelings. You are merely a witness to these thoughts and feelings as they rise up within you.
As the thoughts/feelings arise, we can choose to give them power by narrating them, weaving a story of meaning around them. Or, we can simply let them be; in which case they pass in their own time, like clouds in the sky.
Humans feel existential pain and suffering. Much of this is caused by our separateness. We see ourselves as separate from the world and from each other.
There’s an ego barrier (or AT Field) which separates our souls, making us into distinct individuals.
Our AT Fields keep us safe from each other, but our separateness also causes us pain.
We are like the hedgehogs – we yearn to be close to others, we seek their warmth and want to huddle together. But the closer we get to others, the more our spikes dig into each other, causing pain. It’s a dilemma.
When we tune into the present moment (becoming mindful), we become the witness.
I like to imagine that our thoughts and emotions are merely lights on a control panel in front of us. We have total freedom in how we choose to react.
We find a great peace, an inner stillness, when we inhabit the persona of The Witness. We have a connection to our deeper selves.
During the peak of my Spiritual Awakening in mid-August, I felt a strong connection to other aspects of myself. I connected with the unconscious animal inside me: raw, savage, with supernatural powers, like some kind of werewolf.
And at other times I felt I was connected to a higher part of myself, looking down on the normal me, able to see things from a more spiritual and all-encompassing perspective.
In a book I’m reading at the moment about Spiritual Awakenings, it seems that most awakened people experience a strong sense of empathy and one-ness with other people and with the Universe.
I don’t think I experienced that… or maybe only glimpses. But I want to experience more of it. It sounds awesome.
I feel like a videogame character, eager to explore. Most people are stuck on Level 1 of consciousness. For a few weeks, I experienced a transcendent state, which I’ll call Level 2.
But now it seems there’s at least a Level 3, and possibly many more levels of consciousness which I’ve not yet experienced, or maybe only for a few moments.
I know I can’t use drugs any more. If I do, I’ll end up divorced, dead (through suicide or overdose) or in a mental institution.
So… maybe it’s time I finally took up meditation as a regular, daily, practice. I want to experience glimpses of this oneness, not just with myself, but with all of mankind and all of creation.
And it seems that if I’m lucky, through meditation it might just be possible.