Observation is Awareness: Intro Text and Exercise

“Thoughts come and go, feelings come and go, find out what remains.” Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi.
Self-investigation is the tool to discover That.
The single most important question to ask oneself is Who Am I? It is not a question to be positively answered; one can only say what I am not. The only thing we can say with certainty is that I am, to say I am this or that is to believe in a false, transitory sense of self; a construct of the mind.
What is it that is lasting, permanent within us, indeed is there anything permanent and how would we begin to find out and discover it?
We identify with the body, the emotions and any passing thought in order to create a sense of being. By doing so we strengthen the very thing that denies direct moment to moment experience of who and what we truly are  – and we suffer thereby.
We believe in our thoughts instead of asking who thinks them. Who is the thinker, and is there a difference between the thinker and the thought, between the observer and the observed, between the subject and the object? Is there a thinker when and if there is no thought?
Man is really threefold in nature: Self/Atman/Monad, Soul/Jiva, Personality (also threefold – mental, emotional and two fold physical – etheric and dense). The One permanent reality is the Self, the I, Atman or Monad, the ‘Spark of God’. As Helena Blavatsky explained in The Secret Doctrine, “life we look upon as the one form of existence, manifesting in what is called matter; or what, incorrectly separating them we name spirit, soul and matter in man. Matter is the vehicle for manifestation of soul on this plane of existence, and soul is the vehicle on a higher plane for the manifestation of spirit, and these three are a Trinity synthesized by life which pervades them all.”
It is the soul that takes incarnation again and again as it seeks to carry out its part in the Plan of Evolution. The soul in its becoming is a perfect reflection of the Self, its nature is consciousness; the soul is consciousness. In esoteric literature soul is described as the divine intermediary between the man or woman in incarnation and the Real I. The Self as it is known in the literature of east.
The ‘return journey’, from identification solely with the body/personality and its petty desires to awareness of and ultimate realisation of the true ‘I’, which is the only I (there are not two I’s), comes about through the renunciation of the personality. The ‘death of the ego’, the anhiltation of the experiencer. For this meditation in the form of self-enquiry, or observation is given. Earnest, committed meditation and selfless service together are the royal way out of bondage.
The primary aim of all meditation, whether realised or not, is to establish contact with and eventually at-one-ment with the soul. Strictly speaking meditation is not a practice at all, it is a state of being – unmediated relationship with ‘what is’, this is true meditation. When there is no meditator, then there is mediation; when the observer is the observed, then there is meditation. The object of the ‘spiritual path’ is to extinguish the one that appears to stand between the Real and the unreal, to shatter totally the false sense of I, which is maintanied by the mind.
It is the mind that initially meditates and investigates, and what is the mind but a bundle of thoughts, without thoughts is there a mind as we currently know it, at all? The mind is the intermediary between the brain and the soul, a silent mind is th aim of meditation. As the agency of thought mind is constantly in a state of agitation, moving either into the future or regressively into the past; thought is never within the Eternal Now.
In order to begin to be free from thought and liberte the mind, we must learn to focus the mind, to ‘hold it steady in the light’, and to this end ‘meditation’ is essential. It is not actually meditation though it is concentration, a very important stage, but not meditation in the pure use of the term.
All of the sitting, so-called ‘meditations’ are simply means, more or less effective, of quietening and focussing the mind in order that observation of the self can begin and so that mediation can, at some point, spontaneously come about.
Thinking is the natural activity of the mind, without it we would not be able to function in the world; the aim is not to suppress thought, but to ignore it. To be aware of the movement of thought and allow it to function efficiently – intelligently; but thought should not impact on the psychological state or be mistaken for what we in truth are. Watch thought, be attentive, observe the movement of thought but do not identify with any particular thoughts. Simply observe and ignore it.
Awareness
The realisation of freedom and peace comes about through awareness (cosniousness without a subject), which is the nature of the Self and is limitless and infinite. There is no ‘way’ to truth, because Truth already and forever IS – take away the obstacles to its realisation and Truth remains; negate everything that is not love (attachment, desire, fear etc.) e.g., and love IS. Awareness and observation are synonymous, – in acute observation there is awareness.
Awareness creates mental space, and allows one to respond to life consciously and dispassionately, not unconsciously and with fear, as is the case most of the time. Life comes at us relentlessly, and mostly we react habitually – unconsciously with our own particular conditioning (social and psychological conditioning). Observation brings about detachment, and allows conscious responses and action free from motive, right action, to occur.
Self-awareness allows the brain to rest, and re-order itself. Mental harmony free from time bound agitation is the result.
Observation is an all day affair; the aim is to be in a constant state of awareness. Disciplined regular ‘practice’ periods are important to establish a new, fresh way of being and living, and to set in motion a momentum of steady withdrawal and focussed awareness. Instead of constantly looking without, one must learn to turn within. To look at oneself, to be aware of oneself only.
Observation without an observed object (thought feeling etc.) allows for the silence within to naturally come about, and when held long enough without any forcing, free from desire or effort, this silence will draw unto itself the Great Silence of which it is a reflection.
Observation Exercise
Simple exercise performed twice a day, for fifteen minutes or so – whatever is comfortable. Discipline and consistency is important, it is a very dynamic process. Try to stick at it: “Intention and effort, plus the power of persistence,” are, the Master DK states in the Alice A Bailey teachings,  the essentail requirments for spiritual practice.
Sit quietly in the same place every time so as to magnetise the space: Master DK –  “If wise, [the disciple] he/she will always seek the same spot [for meditation], for he/she will there build up a shell around it that will serve as a protection and make the desired higher contacts more easy. The [physical] matter of that spot, becomes then tuned to a certain vibration (the persons own highest vibration, reached in consecutive meditations) which makes it easier for him/her each time to start at his/her highest and so eliminate a long preliminary keying up.”
Optional Pranayama: Breath deeply into diaphragm (eyes closed maybe) through alternate nostrils: – close one nostril with thumb, breath through the other a slow count of four, hold breath for same count, close first nostril with index finger and exhale through other nostril. Repeat other side. Maybe three times either side.
Slowly look around the room – the external environment, be aware of looking, simply look. After a few minutes close your eyes and watch the activity of the internal environment. Simply watch the thoughts, be aware of the constant activity of the mind – just watch it without judging or choosing. And be aware of the emotional reactions in your solar plexus. Watch it all – like you would watch a film at the cinema.
Inevitably and ceaselessly you will be pulled along by thoughts, you may drift off into reverie and find you are no longer observing. Just start again. Don’t try to control the thoughts, just watch them and ignore them.
The more you observe and don’t identify with the thoughts – thereby strengthening them – the quieter the mind will become, a mental space will open, giving the possibilty for meditation as a state of being to take place.
Close with a prayer (say out loud with focused intent) perhaps.
Maitreya The World Teacher has given out ‘A Prayer for The New Age’. It is a prayer of affirmation and will help to shift identification away from the ego to the Self.
Say out loud with fixed intent – attention focused at the ajna centre (between the highbrows):
I am the creator of the universe.
I am the father and mother of the universe.
Everything comes from me.
Everything shall return to me.
Mind, spirit and body are my temples,
for the self to realize in them My supreme being and becoming.
Om Shanti
Or if you prefer use the oldest prayer in the world:
“Lead us oh Lord, from darkness to light; from the unreal to the real; from death to immortality’
You can think of the Lord in this context as the soul. The unreal is the personality/ego life, the Real is the life of the soul/Self, the darkness is simply ignorance of the Self, of the ever present ‘I’, and when there is awareness of That there is no death – it is only the personality and the body with which it identifies the self with that dies.
 
Om Shanti

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