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introduction this above all to thine own self be true and it must follow as the night the day thou canst not then be false to any man william shakespeare shakespeare's age-honored words spoken by polonius to his son laertes in act 1 of hamlet sound so clear and unambiguous they tell us that to maintain honest relations with others we must first be true to ourselves yet if laertes were to be totally honest
with himself he would realize that his father may as well have told him to catch the wind after all to which self are we to be true is it the one that shows up when we're in a bad mood or the one that is present when we feel humbled by our mistakes is it the one who speaks from the dark recesses of the heart when we're depressed or upset or the one that appears during those fleeting moments when life seems so fanciful and light from these questions we see that the concept of
self may turn out to be a bit more elusive than initially presumed perhaps if laertes could have turned to traditional psychology it would have shed some light on the subject freud the father of psychology divided the psyche into three parts the id the ego and the superego he saw the id as our primal animal nature the superego as the judgment system that society is instilled within us and the ego is our representative to the
outside world that struggles to maintain a balance between the other two powerful forces but this certainly would not have helped young laertes after all to which of these conflicting forces are we to be true again we see that things are not always as simple as they seem if we dare to look past the surface of the term self questions arise that many people would rather not ask are the many aspects of my being all equally part of myself or is there only one of me and if so
which where how and why in the following chapters we will undertake a journey of exploration of self but we will not do so in a traditional manner we will neither call upon the experts in psychology nor upon the great philosophers we will not argue and choose between time-honored religious views or resort to statistically supported surveys of people's opinions we will instead turn to a single source that has phenomenal direct knowledge on the subject
we will turn to one expert who for every moment of every day of their life has been collecting the data necessary to finally put this great inquiry to rest and that expert is you but before you get too excited or decide that you're not up to the task first be clear that we're not after your views or opinions on the subject neither are we interested in what books you have read classes you have taken nor seminars you have attended we are only interested in your intuitive experience of what it is like to be
you we are not looking for your knowledge we are seeking your direct experience you see you can't fail at this because yourself is what you are at all times and in all places we simply need to sort it out after all it can get quite confusing in there the chapters of this book are nothing but mirrors for seeing yourself from different angles and though the journey we are about to embark on is an inner one it will draw upon every aspect of your life
the only requirement asked of you is the willingness to honestly look at yourself in the most natural intuitive manner remember if we are seeking the root of self what we are actually seeking is you as you listen to this book you will find that you know much more than you thought you did about some very deep subjects the fact is you already know how to find yourself you have just gotten distracted and disoriented once refocused you will realize that you not only have the ability to find
yourself you have the ability to free yourself whether you choose to do so or not is entirely up to you but upon completion of your journey through these chapters there will be no more confusion no more lack of empowerment and no more blaming others you will know exactly what must be done and should you choose to devote yourself to the ongoing journey of self-realization you will develop a tremendous sense of respect for who you really are it is only then that you will come to
appreciate the full depth of meaning in the advice this above all to thine own self be true part one awakening consciousness chapter one the voice inside your head shoot i can't remember her name what is her name darn here she comes what is it sally sue she just told me yesterday what's the matter with me this is going to be embarrassing in case you haven't noticed you have a
mental dialogue going on inside your head that never stops it just keeps going and going have you ever wondered why it talks in there how does it decide what to say and when to say it how much of what it says turns out to be true how much of what it says is even important and if right now you are hearing i don't know what you're talking about i don't have any voice inside my head that's the voice we're talking about and if you're smart you'll take the time to step back examine this voice
and get to know it better the problem is you're too close to be objective you have to step way back and watch it converse while you're driving you hear internal conversations like this wasn't i supposed to call fred i should have oh my god i can't believe i forgot he's going to be so mad he may never talk to me again maybe i should stop and call him right now no i don't want to stop the car right now notice that the voice takes both sides of the conversation
it doesn't care which side it takes just as long as it gets to keep on talking when you're tired and trying to sleep it's the voice inside your head that says what am i doing i can't go to sleep yet i forgot to call fred i remembered in the car but i didn't call if i don't call now oh wait it's too late i shouldn't call him now i don't even know why i thought about it i need to fall asleep oh shoot now i can't fall asleep i'm not tired anymore
but i have a big day tomorrow and i have to get up early no wonder you can't sleep why do you even tolerate that voice talking to you all the time even if what it's saying is soothing and nice it's still disturbing everything you're doing if you spend some time observing this mental voice the first thing you will notice is that it never shuts up when left to its own it just talks imagine if you were to see someone walking around constantly talking to himself
you think he was strange you'd wonder if he's the one who's talking and he's the one who's listening he obviously knows what's going to be said before he says it so what's the point the same is true for the voice inside your head why is it talking it's you who's talking and it's you who's listening and when the voice argues with itself who is it arguing with who could possibly win it gets very confusing just listen i think i should get married no you know you're not ready you'll be sorry
but i love him oh come on you felt that way about tom what if you had married him if you watch carefully you'll see that it's just trying to find a comfortable place to rest it will change sides in a moment if that seems to help and it doesn't even quiet down when it finds out that it's wrong it simply adjusts its viewpoint and keeps on going if you pay attention these mental patterns will become obvious to you it's actually a shocking realization when you notice that your mind is constantly talking
you might even try to yell at it in a feeble attempt to shut it up but then you realize that's the voice yelling at the voice shut up i want to go to sleep why do you have to talk all the time obviously you can't shut it up that way the best way to free yourself from this incessant chatter is to step back and view it objectively just view the voice as a vocalizing mechanism that is capable of making it appear like someone is in there talking to you don't think about it just notice it no
matter what the voice is saying it's all the same it doesn't matter if it's saying nice things or mean things worldly things are spiritual things it doesn't matter because it's still just a voice talking inside your head in fact the only way to get your distance from this voice is to stop differentiating what it's saying stop feeling that one thing it says is you and the other thing it says is not you if you're hearing it talk it's obviously not you you are the one who hears the voice you are the one who notices that it's
talking you do hear it when it talks don't you make it say hello right now say it over and over a few times now shout it inside can you hear yourself saying hello inside of course you can there is a voice talking and there is you who notices the voice talking the problem is that it's easy to notice the voice saying hello but it's difficult to see that no matter what the voice says it is still just a voice
talking and you listening there is absolutely nothing that voice can say that is more you than anything else it says suppose you were looking at three objects a flower pot a photograph and a book and were then asked which of these objects is you you'd say none of them i'm the one who's looking at what you're putting in front of me it doesn't matter what you put in front of me it's always going to be me looking at it you see it's an act of a subject perceiving various objects
this is also true of hearing the voice inside it doesn't make any difference what it's saying you are the one who is aware of it as long as you think that one thing it's saying is you but the other thing it's saying is not you you've lost your objectivity you may want to think of yourself as the part that says the nice things but that's still the voice talking you may like what it says but it's not you there is nothing more important to true growth than realizing that you are not the voice of the mind
you are the one who hears it if you don't understand this you will try to figure out which of the many things the voice says is really you people go through so many changes in the name of trying to find myself they want to discover which of these voices which of these aspects of their personality is who they really are the answer is simple none of them if you watch it objectively you will come to see that much of what the voice says is meaningless most of the talking is just a waste of
time and energy the truth is that most of life will unfold in accordance with forces far outside your control regardless of what your mind says about it it's like sitting down at night and deciding whether you want the sun to come up in the morning the bottom line is the sun will come up and the sun will go down billions of things are going on in this world you can think about it all you want but life is still going to keep on happening in fact your thoughts have far less
impact on this world than you would like to think if you're willing to be objective and watch all your thoughts you will see that the vast majority of them have no relevance they have no effect on anything or anybody except you they are simply making you feel better or worse about what is going on now what has gone on in the past or what might go on in the future if you spend your time hoping that it doesn't rain tomorrow you're wasting your time your thoughts don't change the rain you will someday come to see that there is
no use for that incessant internal chatter and there is no reason to constantly attempt to figure everything out eventually you will see that the real cause of problems is not life itself it's the commotion the mind makes about life that really causes problems now this raises a serious question if so much of what the voice says is meaningless and unnecessary then why does it even exist the secret to answering this question lies in understanding
why it says what it says when it says it for example in some cases the mental voice talks for the same reason that a tea kettle whistles that is there's a buildup of energy inside that needs to be released if you watch objectively you will see that when there's a buildup of nervous fearful or desire based energies inside the voice becomes extremely active this is easy to see when you are angry with someone and you feel like telling them off just watch how many times the inner voice tells them off before you even see
them when energy builds up inside you want to do something about it that voice talks because you're not okay inside and talking releases energy you will notice however that even when you're not particularly bothered by something it still talks when you're walking down the street it says things like look at that dog it's a labrador hey there's another dog in that car he looks a lot like my first dog shadow well there's an old oldsmobile it's got alaska place
you don't see many of those down here it is actually narrating the world for you but why do you need this you already see what's happening outside how does it help to repeat it to yourself through the mental voice you should examine this very closely with a simple glance you instantly take in the tremendous detail of whatever you're looking at if you see a tree you effortlessly see the branches the leaves and the flowering buds why then do you have to verbalize what you have already seen
look at that dogwood the green leaves are so beautiful against the white flowers look how many flowers there are wow it's so full what you'll see if you study this carefully is that the narration makes you feel more comfortable with the world around you like backseat driving it makes you feel as though things are more in your control you actually feel like you have some relationship with them a tree is no longer just a tree in the world that has nothing to do with you it is a tree that you saw labeled and
judged by verbalizing it mentally you brought that initial direct experience of the world into the realm of your thoughts there it becomes integrated with your other thoughts such as those making up your value system and historical experiences take a moment to examine the difference between your experience of the outside world and your interactions with the mental world when you're just thinking you're free to create whatever thoughts you want in your mind and these thoughts are expressed through the voice you are very accustomed to
settling into the playground of the mind and creating and manipulating thoughts this inner world is an alternate environment that is under your control the outside world however marches to its own laws when the voice narrates the outside world to you those thoughts are now side by side in parity with all your other thoughts all these thoughts intermix and actually influence your experience of the world around you what you end up experiencing is really a personal presentation of the world
according to you rather than the stark unfiltered experience of what is really out there this mental manipulation of the outer experience allows you to buffer reality as it comes in for example there are myriad things that you see at any given moment yet you only narrate a few of them the ones you discuss in your mind are the ones that matter to you with this subtle form of pre-processing you manage to control the experience of reality so that it all fits together inside your
mind your consciousness is actually experiencing your mental model of reality not reality itself you have to watch this very carefully because you do it all the time you're walking outside in the winter you start to shiver and the voice says it's cold now how did that help you you already knew it was cold you're the one who's experiencing the cold why is it telling you this you recreate the world within your mind because you can control your mind
whereas you can't control the world that is why you mentally talk about it if you can't get the world the way you like it you internally verbalize it judge it complain about it and then decide what to do about it this makes you feel more empowered when your body experiences cold there may be nothing you can do to affect the temperature but when your mind verbalizes it's cold you can say we're almost home just a few more minutes now you feel better in the thought world there's always
something you can do to control the experience basically you recreate the outside world inside yourself and then you live in your mind what if you decided not to do this if you decide not to narrate and instead just consciously observe the world you will feel more open and exposed this is because you really don't know what will happen next and your mind is accustomed to helping you it does this by processing your current experiences
in a way that makes them fit with your views of the past and visions of the future all of this helps to create a semblance of control if your mind doesn't do this you simply become too uncomfortable reality is just too real for most of us so we temper it with the mind you will come to see that the mind talks all the time because you gave it a job to do you use it as a protection mechanism a form of defense ultimately it makes you feel more secure
as long as that's what you want you will be forced to constantly use your mind to buffer yourself from life instead of living it the world is unfolding and really has very little to do with you or your thoughts it was here long before you came and it will be here long after you leave in the name of attempting to hold the world together you're really just trying to hold yourself together true personal growth is about transcending the part of you that is not okay and needs protection this is done by
constantly remembering that you are the one inside that notices the voice talking that is the way out the one inside who is aware that you are always talking to yourself about yourself is always silent it is a doorway to the depths of your being to be aware that you are watching the voice talk is to stand on the threshold of a fantastic inner journey if used properly the same mental voice that has been a source of worry distraction and general neurosis can
become the launching ground for true spiritual awakening come to know the one who watches the voice and you will come to know one of the great mysteries of creation chapter two your inner roommate your inner growth is completely dependent upon the realization that the only way to find peace and contentment is to stop thinking about yourself you're ready to grow when you finally realize that the i who is always talking inside will never be content
it always has a problem with something honestly when was the last time you really had nothing bothering you before you had your current problem there was a different problem and if you're wise you will realize that after this one's gone there will be another one the bottom line is you'll never be free of problems until you are free from the part within that has so many problems when a problem is disturbing you don't ask what should i do about it ask what part of me is being disturbed by this
if you ask what should i do about it you've already fallen into believing that there really is a problem outside that must be dealt with if you want to achieve peace in the face of your problems you must understand why you perceive a particular situation as a problem if you're feeling jealousy instead of trying to see how you can protect yourself just ask what part of me is jealous that will cause you to look inside and see that there's a part of you that's having a problem with jealousy
once you clearly see the disturbed part then ask who is it that sees this who notices this inner disturbance asking this is the solution to your every problem the very fact that you can see the disturbance means that you are not it the process of seeing something requires a subject object relationship the subject is called the witness because it is the one who sees what's happening the object is what you are seeing in this case
the inner disturbance this act of maintaining objective awareness of the inner problem is always better than losing yourself in the outer situation this is the essential difference between a spiritually minded person and a worldly person worldly doesn't mean that you have money or stature worldly means that you think the solution to your inner problems is in the world outside you think that if you change things outside you'll be okay but nobody has ever truly become okay by changing things outside
there's always the next problem the only real solution is to take the seat of witness consciousness and completely change your frame of reference to attain true inner freedom you must be able to objectively watch your problems instead of being lost in them no solution can possibly exist while you're lost in the energy of a problem everyone knows you can't deal well with the situation if you're getting anxious scared or angry about it the first problem you have to deal with is your own reaction
you will not be able to solve anything outside until you own how the situation affects you inside problems are generally not what they appear to be when you get clear enough you will realize the real problem is that there's something inside of you that can have a problem with almost anything the first step is to deal with that part of you this involves a change from outer solution consciousness to inner solution consciousness you have to break the habit of thinking that the solution to your problems
is to rearrange things outside the only permanent solution to your problems is to go inside and let go of the part of you that seems to have so many problems with reality once you do that you'll be clear enough to deal with what's left it really is a way to let go of the part of you that sees everything as a problem it may seem impossible but it's not there is a part of your being that can actually abstract from your own melodrama you can watch yourself be jealous or
angry you don't have to think about it or analyze it you can just be aware of it who is it that sees all this who notices the changes going on inside when you tell a friend every time i talk to tom it gets me so upset how do you know it gets you upset you know that it gets you upset because you're in there and you see what's going on in there there's a separation between you and the anger or the jealousy you are the one who's in there noticing these things
once you take that seat of consciousness you can get rid of these personal disturbances you start by watching just be aware that you are aware of what is going on in there it's easy what you'll notice is that you're watching a human being's personality with all its strengths and weaknesses it's as though there's somebody in there with you you might actually say you have a roommate if you would like to meet your roommate just try to sit inside yourself for a while and complete solitude in silence
you have the right it's your inner domain but instead of finding silence you're going to listen to incessant chatter why am i doing this i have more important things to do this is a waste of time there's nobody in here but me what's this all about right on cue there's your roommate you may have a clear intention to be quiet inside but your roommate won't cooperate and it's not just when you try to be quiet it has something to say about everything you look at
i like it i don't like it this is good that's bad it just talks and talks you don't generally notice because you don't step back from it you're so close that you don't realize that you're actually hypnotized into listening to it basically you're not alone in there there are two distinct aspects of your inner being the first is you the awareness the witness the center of your willful intentions and the other is that which you watch the problem is the part that you watch never
shuts up if you could get rid of that part even for a moment the peace and serenity would be the nicest vacation you've ever had imagine what it would be like if you didn't have to bring this thing with you wherever you go real spiritual growth is about getting out of this predicament but first you have to realize that you've been locked in there with a maniac in any situation or circumstance your roommate could suddenly decide i don't want to be here i don't want to do this i don't want to talk to this person
you would immediately feel tense and uncomfortable your roommate can ruin anything you're doing without a moment's notice it could ruin your wedding day or even your wedding night that part of you can ruin anything and everything and it generally does you buy a brand new car and it's beautiful but every time you drive it your inner roommate finds something wrong with it the mental voice keeps pointing out every little squeak every little vibration until eventually you don't even like the car anymore once you see what this can do to your life
you are ready for spiritual growth you're ready for real transformation when you finally say look at this thing it's ruining my life i'm trying to live a peaceful meaningful existence but i feel like i'm sitting on top of a volcano at any moment this thing can decide to freak close down and fight with what's happening one day like someone and the next day decides to pick on everything they do my life is a mess just because this thing that lives in here with me has to make a melodrama out of everything
once you've seen this and learn to no longer identify with your roommate you're ready to free yourself if you haven't reached this awareness yet just start to watch spend a day watching every single thing your roommate does start in the morning and see if you can notice what it's saying in every situation every time you meet somebody every time the phone rings just try to watch a good time to watch a talk is while you're taking a shower just
watch what that voice has to say you will see that it never lets you just take a peaceful shower your shower is for washing the body not for watching the mind talk non-stop see if you can stay conscious enough throughout the entire experience to be aware of what's going on you'll be shocked by what you see it just jumps from one subject to the next the incessant chatter seems so neurotic that you won't believe that it's always that way but it is you have to watch this if you want to
be free of it you don't have to do anything about it but you have to get wise to the predicament you're in you have to realize that somehow you've ended up with a mess for an inner roommate if you wanted to be peaceful in there you're going to have to fix this situation the way to catch on to what your inner roommate is really like is to personify it externally make believe that your roommate the psyche has a body of its own you do this by taking the entire personality that you hear talking to you inside
and imagine it as a person talking to you on the outside just imagine that another person is now saying everything that your inner voice would say now spend a day with that person you've just sat down to watch your favorite tv show the problem is you have this person with you now you'll get to hear the same incessant monologue that used to be inside except that it's sitting next to you on the couch talking to itself did you turn off the light downstairs you better go check not now i'll do it later i want to finish watching the show
no do it now that's why the electric bill is so high you sit in silent all watching all of this then a few seconds later your couch mate is engaged in another dispute hey i want to get something to eat i'm craving some pizza no you can't have pizza now it's too far to drive but i'm hungry when will i get to eat to your amazement these neurotic bursts of conflicting dialogue just keep going on and on and as if that's not enough instead of simply watching tv
this person starts verbally reacting to whatever comes on the screen at one point after a redhead appears on the show your couch mate starts mumbling about an ex-spouse in a painful divorce then the yelling starts just as though the ex-spouse were in the room with you then it stops just as suddenly as it started at this point you find yourself hugging the far corner of the couch in a desperate attempt to get as far away from this disturbed person as you possibly can will you dare to do this experiment
don't try to make the person stop talking just try to get to know what you live with inside by externalizing the voice give it a body and put it out there in the world just like everybody else let it be a person who says on the outside exactly what the voice of your mind says inside now make that person your best friend after all how many friends do you spend all of your time with and pay absolute attention to every word they say how would you feel if someone outside really started talking to you the way your inner voice does
how would you relate to a person who opened their mouth to say everything your mental voice says after a very short period of time you would tell them to leave and never come back but when your inner friend continuously speaks up you don't ever tell it to leave no matter how much trouble it causes you listen there's almost nothing that voice can say that you don't pay full attention to it pulls you right out of whatever you're doing no matter how enjoyable and suddenly you're paying attention to whatever it has to say
imagine that you're in a serious relationship and are about to get married you're driving to the wedding and it says maybe this is not the right person i'm really getting nervous about this what should i do if someone outside of you said that you'd ignore them but you feel you owe the voice an answer you have to convince your nervous mind that this is the right person or it won't let you walk down the aisle that's how much respect you have for this neurotic thing inside of you you know that if you don't listen to it it will bother you every day of your
life i told you not to get married i said i wasn't sure the bottom line is undeniable if somehow that voice managed to manifest in a body outside of you and you had to take it with you everywhere you went you wouldn't last a day if somebody were to ask you what your new friend is like you'd say this is one seriously disturbed person just look up neurosis in the dictionary and you'll get the picture that being the case once you've spent a day with your friend what is the probability you'd go to them
for advice after seeing how often this person changed their mind how conflicted they were on so many subjects and how emotionally overreactive they tended to be would you ever ask them for relationship or financial advice as amazing as it seems you do just that every moment of your life having taken its rightful place back inside of you it is still the same person who tells you what to do about every aspect of your life have you ever bothered to check its credentials how many times has that
voice been totally wrong she doesn't care for you anymore that's why she hasn't called she's going to break up with you tonight i can feel it coming i just know it you shouldn't even answer the phone if she calls after 30 minutes of this the phone rings and it's your girlfriend she's late because it's your one year anniversary and she was preparing for a surprise dinner it was definitely a surprise to you since you completely forgot the anniversary she says she's on her way over to pick you up well you're very excited and your inner voice is chatting about
how great she is but haven't you forgotten something haven't you forgotten about the bad advice the inner voice gave you that caused you to suffer for the last half hour what if you had hired a relationship advisor who had given you that terrible advice they had completely misread the entire situation and you listened to your advisor you never would have picked up the phone wouldn't you fire them on the spot how could you ever trust their advice again after seeing how wrong they were well are you going to fire your inner roommate
after all its advice and analysis of the situation were totally wrong now you never hold it responsible for the trouble it causes in fact the next time it gives advice you're all ears is that rational how many times has that voice been wrong about what was going on or what will be going on maybe it's worth noticing whom you're going to for advice when you've sincerely tried these practices of self-observation and awareness you'll see that you're in trouble you'll realize that you've only had one
problem your entire life and you're looking at it it's pretty much the cause of every problem you've ever had now the question becomes how do you get rid of this inner troublemaker the first thing you'll realize is that there's no hope of getting rid of it until you really want to until you've watched your roommate long enough to truly understand the predicament you're in you really have no basis for practices that help you deal with the mind once you've made the decision to free yourself from the mental melodrama you are ready for teachings and
techniques you will now have a real use for them you will be relieved to know that you are not the first person to have this problem there are those who have gone before you who found themselves in the same situation many of them looked for guidance from those who had mastered this field of knowledge they were given teachings and techniques such as yoga which were created to help in this process yoga is not really about getting your body healthy although it does that too yoga is about the knowledge that will help you out of your predicament
the knowledge that can free you once you've made this freedom the meaning of your life there are spiritual practices that can help you these practices are what you do with your time in order to free yourself from yourself you will eventually catch on that you have to distance yourself from your psyche you do this by setting the direction of your life when you're clear and not letting the wavering mind deter you your will is stronger than the habit of listening to that voice there is nothing you can't do your will
is supreme over all of this if you want to free yourself you must first become conscious enough to understand your predicament then you must commit yourself to the inner work of freedom you do this as though your life depended on it because it does as it is right now your life is not your own it belongs to your inner roommate the psyche you have to take it back stand firm in the seat of the witness and release the hold that the habitual mind has on you
this is your life reclaim it chapter 3 who are you ramana maharshi 1879 to 1950 a great teacher in the yogic tradition used to say that to attain inner freedom one must continuously and sincerely ask the question who am i he taught that this was more important than reading books learning mantras or going to holy places just ask who am i who sees when i see
who hears when i hear who knows that i am aware who am i let's explore this question by playing a game make believe that you and i are having a conversation typically in western cultures when someone comes up to you and asks excuse me who are you you don't admonish them for asking such a deep question you tell them your name for example sally smith but i'm going to challenge this response by taking out a piece of paper and writing the letters
s-a-l-l-y s-m-i-t-h and then showing it to you is that who you are a collection of letters is that who sees when you see obviously not so you say okay you're right i'm sorry i'm not sally smith that's just a name people call me it's a label really i'm frank smith's wife no way that's not even politically correct nowadays how could you be frank smith's wife are you saying you didn't exist before you met frank and you would cease to exist if he died
or you got remarried frank smith's wife can't be who you are again that's just another label the result of another situation or event you participated in but then who are you this time you respond okay now you have my attention my label is sally smith i was born in 1965 in new york i lived in queens with my parents harry and mary jones until i was five years old then we moved to new jersey and i went to newark elementary school i got all a's in school and in the fifth
grade i played dorothy in the wizard of oz i started dating in the ninth grade and my first boyfriend was joe then i went to rutgers college where i met and married frank smith that is who i am wait a minute that's a fascinating story but i didn't ask you what has happened to you since you were born i asked you who are you you've just described all these experiences but who had these experiences wouldn't you still be in there aware of your existence even if you had
gone to a different college so you contemplate this and you realize that never in your life have you asked yourself that question and really meant it who am i that is what ramana maharshi was asking so you ponder this more seriously and you say okay i am the body that is occupying this space i am five foot six and i weigh 135 pounds and here i am when you were dorothy in the fifth grade play you weren't five foot six you were four foot six
so which are you are you the four foot six person or are you the five foot six person weren't you in there when you were dorothy you told me you were aren't you the one who had the experience of being dorothy in the fifth grade play and is now having the experience of trying to answer my questions isn't this the same you perhaps we need to step back for a moment to ask some exploratory questions before returning to the core question when you were 10 years old didn't you look in the mirror and see
a 10 year old body wasn't that the same you that now sees an adult body what you looked at has changed but what about you the one who is looking isn't there a continuity of being wasn't it the same being that looked in the mirror throughout the years you have to contemplate this very carefully here's another question when you go to sleep every night do you dream who dreams what does it mean to dream you answer well it's like a motion
picture plays in my mind and i watch it who watches it i do the same you who looks in the mirror does the same you who is listening to these words also look in the mirror and watch the dreams when you awake you know you saw the dream there is a continuity of conscious awareness of being ramana maharshi was just asking some very simple questions who sees when you see who hears when you hear who watches the dreams who looks at the
image in the mirror who is it that is having all these experiences if you try to just give honest intuitive answers you are simply going to say me it's me i'm in here experiencing all of this that's about the best answer you'll have it's actually pretty easy to see that you're not the objects you look at it's a classic case of subject object it's you the subject that is looking at the objects so we don't have to go through
every object in the universe and say that object is not you we can very easily generalize by saying that if you are the one who is looking at something and that something is not you so right away in one fell swoop you know what you're not you're not the outside world you're the one who is inside looking out at that world that was easy now at least we've eliminated the countless things outside but who are you and where are you if you're not outside with all the other things
you just have to pay attention and realize that you would still be in there experiencing feelings even if all the outside objects disappeared imagine how much fear you would feel you might also feel frustration and even anger but who would be feeling these things again you say me and that's the right answer the same me experiences both the outside world and the inside emotions to take a clear look at this imagine that you're watching a dog play outdoors suddenly you hear a noise right
behind you a hiss like a rattlesnake would you still be looking at the dog with the same intensity of focus of course not you'd be feeling tremendous fear inside though the dog would still be playing in front of you you'd be completely preoccupied with the experience of fear all of your attention can very quickly become absorbed in your emotions but who feels the fear isn't it the same you who is watching the dog who feels love when you feel love can't
you feel so much love that it's hard to keep your eyes open you can become so absorbed in beautiful inner feelings or frightening inner fears that it's hard to focus on outer objects in essence inside and outside objects compete for your attention you are in there having both inner and outer experiences but who are you to explore this more deeply answer another question don't you have times when you're not having emotional experiences and instead
you just feel quiet inside you're still in there but you're just aware of peaceful quiet eventually you will begin to realize that the outside world and the flow of inner emotions come and go but you the one who experiences these things remain consciously aware of whatever passes before you but where are you maybe we can find you in your thoughts rene descartes a great philosopher once said i think therefore i am but is that really what's
going on the dictionary defines the verb to think as to form thoughts to use the mind to consider ideas and make judgments the question is who is using the mind to form thoughts and then manipulate them into ideas and judgments does this experience or of thoughts exist even when thoughts are not present fortunately you don't have to think about it you are very aware of your presence of being your sense of existence without the help of your thoughts when you go into deep meditation for
example the thoughts stop you know that they've stopped you don't think it you are simply aware of no thoughts you come back and say wow i went into this deep meditation and for the first time my thoughts completely stopped i was in a place of complete peace harmony and quiet if you are in there experiencing the peace that occurs when your thoughts stop then obviously your existence is not dependent upon the act of thinking
thoughts can stop and they can also get extremely noisy sometimes you have many more thoughts than other times you may even tell someone my mind is driving me crazy ever since he said those things to me i can't even sleep my mind just won't shut up whose mind who is noticing these thoughts isn't it you don't you hear your thoughts inside aren't you aware of their existence in fact can't you get rid of them if you start to have a thought you don't like can't you try to make it go away
people struggle with thoughts all the time who is it that is aware of the thoughts and who is it that struggles with them again you have a subject object relationship with your thoughts you are the subject and thoughts are just another object you can be aware of you are not your thoughts you are simply aware of your thoughts finally you say fine i'm not anything in the outside world and i'm not the emotions these outer and inner objects come and
go and i experience them plus i'm not the thoughts they can be quiet or noisy happy or sad thoughts are just something else i'm aware of but who am i it starts to become a serious question who am i who is having all these physical emotional and mental experiences so you contemplate this question a little deeper this is done by letting go of the experiences and noticing who is left you will begin to notice who is
experiencing the experience eventually you will get to a point within yourself where you realize that you the experiencer have a certain quality and that quality is awareness consciousness an intuitive sense of existence you know that you're in there you don't have to think about it you just know you can think about it if you want to but you will know that you're thinking about it you exist regardless thoughts or no thoughts
to make this more experiential let's try a consciousness experiment notice that with a single glance at a room or out a window you instantaneously see the full detail of everything that's in front of you you are effortlessly aware of all the objects that are within the scope of your vision both near and far away without moving your head or eyes you perceive all the intricate detail of what you immediately see look at all the colors the variations of light the grain of wood furniture the
architecture of buildings and the variations of bark and leaves on trees notice that you take all this in at once without having to think about it no thoughts are necessary you just see it now try to use thoughts to isolate label and describe all the intricate detail of what you see how long would it take your mental voice to describe all that detail to you versus the instantaneous snapshot of consciousness just seeing when you just look without
creating thoughts your consciousness is effortlessly aware of and fully comprehends all that it sees consciousness is the highest word you will ever utter there is nothing higher or deeper than consciousness consciousness is pure awareness but what is awareness let's try another experiment let's say you are in a room looking at a group of people and a piano now make believe the piano ceases to
exist in your world would you have a major problem with that you say no i don't think so i'm not attached to pianos okay then make believe the people in the room cease to exist are you still okay can you handle it you say sure i like being alone now make believe your awareness doesn't exist just turn it off how are you doing now what would it be like if your awareness didn't exist it's actually pretty simple you wouldn't be there
there would be no sense of me there wouldn't be anyone in there to say wow i used to be in here but now i'm not there would no longer be an awareness of being and without awareness of being or consciousness there is nothing are there objects who knows if no one is aware of the objects their existence or non-existence becomes completely irrelevant it doesn't matter how many things are in front of you if you turn off the consciousness there is nothing if you are conscious however there can
be nothing in front of you but you are fully aware that there is nothing it's really not that complicated and it's very enlightening so now if i ask you who are you you answer i am the one who sees from back in here somewhere i look out and i am aware of the events thoughts and emotions that pass before me if you go very deep that is where you live you live in the seat of consciousness a true spiritual being
lives there without effort and without intent just as you effortlessly look outside and see all that you see you will eventually sit far enough back inside to see all your thoughts and emotions as well as outer form all of these objects are in front of you the thoughts are closer in the emotions are a little further away and form is way out there behind it all there you are you go so deep that you realize that's where you've always been
at each stage of your life you have seen different thoughts emotions and objects pass before you but you have always been the conscious receiver of all that was now you are in your center of consciousness you are behind everything just watching that is your true home take everything else away and you're still there aware that everything is gone but take the center of awareness away and there is nothing that center is the
seat of self from that seat you are aware that there are thoughts emotions and a world coming in through your senses but now you are aware that you're aware that is the seat of the buddhist self the hindu atman and the judeo-christian soul the great mystery begins once you take that seat deep within chapter four the lucid self there is a type of dream called a lucid dream in which you know that you're
dreaming if you fly in the dream you know that you're flying you think hey look i'm dreaming that i'm flying i'm going to fly over there you are actually conscious enough to know that you're flying in the dream and that you're dreaming the dream that's very different from regular dreams in which you are fully immersed in the dream this distinction is exactly the difference between being aware that you are aware in your daily life and not being aware that you are aware when you are an aware being
you no longer become completely immersed in the events around you instead you remain inwardly aware that you are the one who is experiencing both the events and the corresponding thoughts and emotions when a thought is created in this state of awareness instead of getting lost in it you remain aware that you are the one who is thinking the thought you are lucid this raises some very interesting questions if you are the indwelling being who is experiencing all this then why do these different levels of
perception exist when you are seated in the awareness of self you are lucid where are you when you are not seated deeply enough inside the self to be the conscious experiencer of all you are experiencing to begin with consciousness has the ability to do what is called focus it is part of the nature of consciousness the essence of consciousness is awareness and awareness has the ability to become more aware of one thing and less aware of something else
in other words it has the ability to focus itself on certain objects the teacher says concentrate on what i'm saying what does that mean it means focus your consciousness on one place teachers figure you know how to do that who taught you how to do that what class in high school taught you how to take your consciousness and move it somewhere in order to focus on something nobody taught you this it was intuitive and natural you've always known how to do it so we
do know that consciousness exists we just don't normally talk about it you probably went through grade school high school and college without anyone discussing the nature of consciousness fortunately the nature of consciousness has been studied very closely in deep teaching such as yoga in fact the ancient teachings of yoga are all about consciousness the best way to learn about consciousness is through your own direct experience for example you know very well that your consciousness can be aware of a wide
field of objects or it can be so focused on one object that you are unaware of anything else this is what happens when you get lost in thought you can be reading and then suddenly you're not reading anymore it happens all the time you just start thinking about something else outside objects or mental thoughts can catch your attention at any time but it's still the same awareness whether it is focused on the outside or on your thoughts the key is that consciousness has the ability to concentrate on different things
the subject consciousness has the ability to selectively focus awareness on specific objects if you step back you will clearly see that objects are constantly passing before you at all three levels mental emotional and physical when you're not centered your consciousness invariably gets attracted toward one or more of those objects and focuses on them if it concentrates enough your sense of awareness loses itself in the object it is no longer aware that it is aware
of the object it just becomes object conscious have you ever noticed that when you're deeply absorbed in watching tv you have no awareness of where you're sitting or what else is going on in the room the tv analogy is perfect for examining how our center of consciousness shifts from awareness of self to being lost in the objects we're focused on the difference is that instead of sitting in your living room getting absorbed in the tv you're sitting in your center of consciousness getting absorbed in the
screens of mind emotions and outside images when you concentrate on the world of physical senses it draws you in then your emotional and mental reactions draw you in further at that point you are no longer sitting in the center itself you are absorbed in the inner show you're watching let's look at your inner show you have an underlying pattern of thoughts that goes on around you all the time this pattern of thoughts stays pretty much the same you are as familiar and comfortable with your normal thought patterns
as you are with the living space of your home you also have emotions that are your norm a certain amount of fear a certain amount of love and a certain amount of insecurity you know that if certain things happen one or more of these emotions will flare up and dominate your awareness then eventually they will settle back down to the norm you know this so well that you are very busy inside making sure nothing happens to create these disturbances in fact you are so preoccupied with controlling your world of thoughts
emotions and physical sensations that you don't even know you're in there that is the normal state for most people when you are in this lost state you get so totally absorbed in the objects of thought feelings and the senses that you forget the subject right now you are sitting in the center of consciousness watching your personal tv show but there are so many interesting objects distracting your consciousness that you can't help but get drawn into them it's overwhelming it's three-dimensional it's all around
you all of your senses draw you in sight sound taste smell and touch as well as your feelings and your thoughts but you are really sitting quietly inside looking out at all these objects just as the sun does not leave its position in the sky to illuminate objects with its radiating light so consciousness does not leave its center to project awareness onto the objects of form thoughts and emotions if you ever want to recenter just start saying hello inside
over and over then notice that you are aware of that thought don't think about being aware of it that's just another thought simply relax and be aware that you can hear hello being echoed in your mind that is your seat of centered consciousness now let's move from the small screen to the big one let's study consciousness using the example of a movie when you go to a movie you let yourself get drawn in it's part of the experience of watching the movie with a movie you use two
senses seeing and hearing and it's very important that these senses synchronize you wouldn't get as involved in the film if they didn't imagine if you were watching a james bond movie and the soundtrack didn't synchronize with the scenes instead of getting drawn into the magical world of the movie you would remain very aware that you were sitting in a theater and that something was wrong but because soundtracks and scenes normally synchronize perfectly movies capture your awareness and you forget that you're sitting in the theater
you forget your personal thoughts and emotions and your consciousness gets pulled into the film it's actually quite phenomenal to contemplate the difference between the experience of sitting next to strangers in a cold dark theater versus being so absorbed in the movie that you are totally unaware of your surroundings in fact with an engaging film you may go for the full two hours without any awareness of yourself so the synchronization of sight and sound is very important if your consciousness is to become absorbed in the movie
and that's just two of your senses what will happen when your experience of a movie includes smell and taste imagine that you're experiencing a film in which someone is eating and you taste what they taste and smell what they smell you would surely get caught in that one the sensory input has doubled and therefore the number of objects drawing on your consciousness has also doubled sound sight taste smell and we haven't mentioned the big one yet would you even go to a theater that has
touch when they get all five senses working together you don't stand a chance if they all synchronize you'll be completely absorbed in the experience but then again not necessarily imagine you're sitting in the theater and even with this overwhelming sensory experience you still become bored with the movie it just isn't capturing your attention so your thoughts start to wander you begin thinking about what you'll do when you get home you start thinking about something that happened to you in the past
after a while you're so lost in your thoughts that you're hardly aware that you're watching a movie this occurs despite the fact that your five senses are still sending you all these movie messages this can only happen because your thoughts can still occur independently of the movie they provide an alternative place for the consciousness to focus now imagine that movies are made that not only engage the five senses but also make your thoughts and emotions synchronized with what's happening on the screen with this movie experience
you're hearing seeing tasting and suddenly you begin feeling the character's emotions and thinking the characters the character says i'm so nervous should i ask her to marry me and suddenly insecurity wells up inside of you now we have the full dimension of the experience five physical senses plus thoughts and emotions imagine going to that movie and getting plugged in careful that would be the end of you as
you know yourself there would be no object of consciousness that is not synchronized with the experience any place your awareness falls would be part of the movie once the movie gets control of the thoughts it's over there is no you in there saying i don't like this movie i want to leave that would take an independent thought but your thoughts have been taken over by the movie now you are completely lost how will you ever get out as scary as it sounds that is your
predicament in life because all of the objects you're aware of are synchronized you get sucked in and are no longer aware of your separateness from the objects the thoughts and the emotions move in accordance with the sights and the sounds it all comes in and your consciousness gets totally absorbed in it unless you're fully seated in witness consciousness you're not back there being aware that you're the one who's watching all this this is what it means to be lost the lost soul is the consciousness that has dropped
into the place where one human's thoughts emotions and sensory perceptions of sight sound taste touch and smell are all synchronized all these messages come back to one spot then the consciousness which is capable of being aware of anything makes the mistake of focusing on that one spot too closely when the consciousness gets sucked in it no longer knows itself as itself it knows itself as the objects it is experiencing
in other words you perceive yourself as these objects you think you are the sum of your learned experiences that is what you would think when you go to one of these advanced movies at such a movie you would first get to select which character you want to be let's say you decide i'll be james bond okay but once you push the button that's it the button had better be on a timer you as you currently know yourself are no longer there since all of your thoughts are now james bond's thoughts your entire existing
self-concept is gone remember your self-concept is just a collection of thoughts about yourself likewise your emotions are bonds and you are watching the movie through his visual and auditory perspective the only aspect of your being that remains the same is the consciousness that is aware of these objects it is the same center of awareness that was aware of your old set of thoughts emotions and sensory input now someone turns off the movie immediately bonds thoughts and emotions are replaced with your old set of
thoughts and emotions you're back to thinking that you're a 40 year old woman all the thoughts match all the emotions match everything looks like smells like tastes like and feels like it did before but that doesn't change the fact that it is all just something consciousness is experiencing it is all just objects of consciousness and you are the consciousness what differentiates a conscious centered being from a person who is not so
conscious is simply the focus of their awareness it's not a difference in the consciousness itself all consciousness is the same just as all light from the sun is the same all awareness is the same consciousness is neither pure nor impure it has no qualities it's just there aware that it's aware the difference is that when your consciousness is not centered within it becomes totally focused on the objects of consciousness
when you are a centered being however your consciousness is always aware of being conscious your awareness of being is independent of the inner and outer objects you happen to be aware of if you really want to understand this difference you must begin by realizing that consciousness can focus on anything that being the case what if consciousness were to focus on itself when that happens instead of being aware of your thoughts you're aware that you're aware of your
thoughts you have turned the light of consciousness back onto itself you're always contemplating something but this time you're contemplating the source of consciousness this is true meditation true meditation is beyond the act of simple one-pointed concentration for the deepest meditation you must not only have the ability to focus your consciousness completely on one object you must also have the ability to make awareness itself be that object in the highest state
the focus of consciousness is turned back to the self when you contemplate the nature of self you are meditating that is why meditation is the highest state it is the return to the root of your being the simple awareness of being aware once you become conscious of the consciousness itself you attain a totally different state you are now aware of who you are you have become an awakened being it's really just the most natural thing in the world
here i am here i always was it's like you have been on the couch watching tv but you were so totally immersed in the show that you forgot where you were someone shook you and now you're back to the awareness that you're sitting on the couch watching tv nothing else changed you simply stopped projecting your sense of self onto that particular object of consciousness you woke up that is spirituality that is the nature of self that is who you are as you pull back into the
consciousness this world ceases to be a problem it's just something you're watching it keeps changing but there's no sense of that being a problem the more you are willing to just let the world be something you're aware of the more it will let you be who you are the awareness the self the atman the soul you realize that you're not who you thought you were you're not even a human being you just
happen to be watching one you will begin to have deep experiences within your own center of consciousness these will be deep intuitive experiences of the true nature of self you will find that you are tremendously expansive when you start to explore consciousness instead of form you realize that your consciousness only appears to be small and limited because you are focusing on small and limited objects that's exactly what happens when you're focusing solely on the tv there's nothing else in your world if
you pull back however you can see the whole room including the tv likewise instead of just focusing so intently on this one human being's thoughts emotions and sensory world you can pull back and see everything you can move from the finite to the infinite isn't this what they've been trying to tell us christ buddha and the great saints and sages of all time and all religions one of these great saints ramana maharshi used to ask
who am i we see now that this is a very deep question ask it ceaselessly constantly ask it and you will notice that you are the answer there is no intellectual answer you are the answer be the answer and everything will change part two experiencing energy chapter five infinite energy consciousness is one of the great mysteries in life
inner energy is another it's actually a shame how little attention the western world pays to the laws of inner energy we study the energy outside and give great value to energy resources but we ignore the energy within people go about their lives thinking feeling and acting without the understanding of what makes these activities take place the truth is every movement of your body every emotion you have and every thought that passes through your mind is an expenditure of energy
just as everything that happens outside in the physical world requires energy everything that happens inside requires an expenditure of energy for example if you concentrate on a thought and another thought interferes you will have to assert an opposing force to fight the interfering thought that requires energy and it can wear you out likewise if you have a thought that you're trying to hold in your mind but it keeps drifting off you will have to willfully concentrate to bring it back when you do this you are actually
sending more energy to the thought in order to hold it in a given place you also assert energy to deal with your emotions if you have an emotion you don't like and it's interfering with what you're doing you just push it aside you do this almost instinctively so that the unwanted emotion doesn't come up and disturb you every one of these acts is an expenditure of energy creating thoughts holding on to thoughts recalling thoughts generating emotions controlling emotions
and disciplining powerful inner drives all require a tremendous expenditure of energy where does all this energy come from why is the energy there sometimes and at other times you feel completely drained have you ever noticed that when you are mentally and emotionally drained food doesn't help that much conversely if you look at the times in your life when you were in love or excited and inspired by something you were so filled with energy that you didn't even want to eat this energy we are discussing does not
come from the calories your body burns from food there is a source of energy you can draw upon from inside it is distinct from the outer energy source the best way to examine this source of energy is to look at an example let's say that you're in your twenties and your girlfriend or boyfriend breaks up with you you get so totally depressed that you start staying home alone soon because you don't have the energy to clean up everything ends up sprawled all over the floor you can hardly get out of bed so you
just sleep all the time you must be eating because there are pizza boxes lying all around but nothing seems to help you just have no energy your friends invite you out but you decline you are simply too tired to do anything most people have been there at some time in their lives you feel that you have no way out and it seems like you will stay there forever then suddenly one day the phone rings it's your girlfriend that's right the one who dumped you three months ago she's crying and she says oh my god do
you remember me i hope you'll still talk to me i just feel so terrible leaving you was the worst mistake i ever made i see now how important you are to me and i can't live without you the only real love i ever felt in my life was during the time we were together would you please forgive me could you ever forgive me can i come over and see you now how are you doing seriously how long does it take you to get enough energy to jump out of bed clean up the apartment take a shower and
get some color back in your face it's practically instantaneous you're filled with energy the moment you hang up the phone how does this happen you were completely drained for months and months you had no energy then out of nowhere in a matter of seconds there is so much energy it blows you away you can't just ignore these enormous shifts in your energy level where exactly did all that energy come from there was no sudden change in your eating or sleeping habits
yet when your girlfriend comes by you end up talking all night and going out to see the sunrise in the morning you're not tired at all you're together again and you're holding hands and these rushes of joy just won't stop overwhelming you people see you and they remark that you look like a bundle of light where did all this energy come from what you'll see if you watch carefully is that you have a phenomenal amount of energy inside of you it doesn't come from food and it doesn't come from sleep
this energy is always available to you at any moment you can draw upon it it just wells up and fills you from inside when you're filled with this energy you feel like you could take on the world when it is flowing strongly you can actually feel it coursing through you in waves it gushes up spontaneously from deep inside and restores replenishes and recharges you the only reason you don't feel this energy all the time is because you block it you block it by
closing your heart by closing your mind and by pulling yourself into a restrictive space inside this closes you off from all the energy when you close your heart or close your mind you hide in the darkness within you there is no light there is no energy there is nothing flowing the energy is still there but it can't get in that is what it means to be blocked that is why you have no energy when you're depressed
there are centers within that channel your energy flow when you close them there is no energy when you open them there is although various energy centers exist within you the one you intuitively know the most about opening and closing is your heart let's say that you love somebody and you feel very open in their presence because you trust them your walls come down allowing you to feel lots of high energy but if they do something you don't like the next time you see them you don't
feel so high you don't feel as much love instead you feel a tightness in your chest this happens because you closed your heart the heart is an energy center and it can open or close the yogis call energy centers chakras when you close your heart center energy can't flow in when energy can't flow in there's darkness depending upon how closed you are you either feel tremendous disturbance or overwhelming lethargy often people fluctuate between these two
states if you then find out that your loved one didn't do anything wrong or if they apologize to your satisfaction your heart opens again with this opening you get filled with energy and the love starts flowing again how many times have you experienced these dynamics in your life you have a wellspring of beautiful energy inside of you when you are open you feel it when you are closed you don't this flow of energy comes from the depth of your being
it's been called by many names in ancient chinese medicine it is called chi in yoga it is called shakti in the west it is called spirit call it anything you want all the great spiritual traditions talk about your spiritual energy they just give it different names that spiritual energy is what you're experiencing when love rushes up into your heart that is what you're experiencing when you're enthused by something and all this high energy comes up inside of you
you should know about this energy because it's yours it's your birthright and it's unlimited you can call upon it anytime you want it has nothing to do with age some eighty-year-old people have the energy and enthusiasm of a child they can work long hours for seven days a week it's just energy energy doesn't get old it doesn't get tired and it doesn't need food what it needs is openness and receptivity this energy is equally available to everybody
the sun does not shine differently on different people if you're good it shines on you if you did something bad it shines on you it's the same with the inner energy the only difference is that with the inner energy you have the ability to close up inside and block it when you close the energy stops flowing when you open all the energy rushes up inside of you true spiritual teachings are about this energy and how to open to it the only thing you
have to know is that opening allows energy in and closing blocks it out now you have to decide whether or not you want this energy how high do you want to get how much love do you want to feel how much enthusiasm do you want to have for the things you do if enjoying a full life means experiencing high energy love and enthusiasm all the time then don't ever close there is a very simple method for staying open you stay open by never closing it's
really that simple all you have to do is decide whether you are willing to stay open or whether you think it's worth closing you can actually train yourself to forget how to close closing is a habit and just like any other habit it can be broken for example you could be the type of person who has an underlying fear of people and tends to close when you first meet them you could actually be in the habit of experiencing an uptight closing sensation whenever somebody walks up to you you
can train yourself to do the opposite you can train yourself to open every time you see a person it's just a question of whether you want to close or whether you want to open it's ultimately under your control the problem is we don't exercise that control under normal circumstances our state of openness is left to psychological factors basically we are programmed to open or close based upon our past experiences impressions from the past are still inside of us and they get stimulated by
different events if they were negative impressions we tend to close if they were positive impressions we tend to open let's say you smell a certain scent that reminds you of what it was like when you were young and somebody was cooking dinner how you react to this scent depends upon the impressions left by your past experiences did you enjoy having dinner with the family was the food good if so then the smell of that scent warms you and opens you if it wasn't so much fun eating together or if you had to eat food
you didn't like then you tighten up and close it really is that sensitive a smell can make you open or close and so can seeing a car of a certain color or even the type of shoes a person is wearing we are programmed based upon our past impressions such that all kinds of things can cause us to open and close if you pay attention you will see it happen regularly throughout each day but you should never leave something as important as your energy flow to chance
if you like energy and you do then don't ever close the more you learn to stay open the more energy can flow into you you practice by not closing anytime you start to close ask yourself whether you really want to cut off the energy flow because if you want you can learn to stay open no matter what happens in this world you just make a commitment to explore your capacity for receiving unlimited energy you simply decide not to close at first it feels unnatural since your innate tendency is to close as a means of
protection but closing your heart does not really protect you from anything it just cuts you off from your source of energy in the end it only serves to lock you inside what you'll find is that the only thing you really want from life is to feel enthusiasm joy and love if you can feel that all the time then who cares what happens outside if you can always feel up if you can always feel excited about the experience of the moment that it doesn't make any difference what
the experience is no matter what it is it's beautiful when you feel that way inside so you learn to stay open no matter what happens if you do you get for free what everybody else is struggling for love enthusiasm excitement and energy you simply realize that defining what you need in order to stay open actually ends up limiting you if you make lists of how the world must be for you to open you have limited your openness to those conditions
better to be open no matter what how you learn to stay open is up to you the ultimate trick is to not close if you don't close you will have learned to stay open do not let anything that happens in life be important enough that you're willing to close your heart over it when your heart starts to close just say no i'm not going to close i'm going to relax i'm going to let this situation take place and be there with it honor and respect the situation and deal with it by all means
deal with it do the best you can but deal with it with openness deal with it with excitement and enthusiasm no matter what it is just let it be the sport of the day in time you will find that you forget how to close no matter what anyone does no matter what situation takes place you won't even feel the tendency to close you will just embrace life with all your heart and soul once you've attained this very high state your energy level will be
phenomenal you will have all the energy you need at all times just relax and open and tremendous energy will rush up inside of you you are only limited by your ability to stay open if you really want to stay open pay attention when you feel love and enthusiasm then ask yourself why you can't feel this all the time why does it have to go away the answer is obvious it only goes away if you choose to close
by closing you are actually making the choice not to feel openness and love you throw love away all the time you feel love until somebody says something you don't like and then you give up the love you feel enthused about your job until someone criticizes something and then you want to quit it's your choice you can either close because you don't like what happened or you can keep feeling love and enthusiasm by not closing as long as you're defining what you like and what you don't like you will open and close
you are actually defining your limits you are allowing your mind to create triggers that open and close you let go of that dare to be different enjoy all of life the more you stay open the more the energy flow can build at some point so much energy comes into you that it starts flowing out of you you feel it as waves pouring off of you you can actually feel it flowing off your hands out your heart and through other energy centers all
these energy centers open and a tremendous amount of energy starts flowing out of you what is more the energy affects other people people can pick up on your energy and you're feeding them with this flow if you are willing to open even more it never stops you become a source of light for all those around you just keep opening and not closing wait until you see what happens to you you can even affect the health of your body with your energy flow when you start to feel the tendency of
an illness coming on you just relax and open when you open you bring more energy into the system and it can heal energy can heal and that's why love can heal as you explore your inner energy a whole world of discovery opens up to you the most important thing in life is your inner energy if you're always tired and never enthused then life is no fun but if you're always inspired and filled with energy
then every minute of every day is an exciting experience learn to work with these things through meditation through awareness and willful efforts you can learn to keep your centers open you do this by just relaxing and releasing you do this by not buying into the concept that there is anything worth closing over remember if you love life nothing is worth closing over nothing ever is worth closing your heart over
chapter six the secrets of the spiritual heart very few people understand the heart in truth your heart is one of the masterpieces of creation it is a phenomenal instrument it has the potential to create vibrations and harmonies that are far beyond the beauty of pianos strings or flutes you can hear an instrument but you feel your heart and if you think that you feel an instrument it's only because it touched your heart
your heart is an instrument made of extremely subtle energy that few people come to appreciate in most human beings the heart does its work unattended even though its behavior governs the course of our lives it is not understood if at any given point in time the heart happens to open we fall in love if at any given point in time it happens to close the love stops if the heart happens to hurt we get angry and if we stop feeling it all together we get empty
all of these different things happen because the heart goes through changes these energy shifts and variations that take place in the heart run your life you are so identified with them that you use the words i and me when you refer to what's going on in your heart but in truth you are not your heart you are the experiencer of your heart the heart is actually very simple to understand it is an energy center a chakra it is one of the most beautiful and
powerful energy centers and one that affects our daily lives as we have seen an energy center is an area within your being through which your energy focuses distributes and flows this energy flow has been referred to as shakti spirit and chi and it plays an intricate part of your life you feel the hearts energy all the time think about what it is like to feel love in your heart think about what it is like to feel inspiration and enthusiasm pour from your heart think about what it is like to feel
energy well up in your heart making you confident and strong all of this happens because the heart is an energy center the heart controls the energy flow by opening and closing this means that the heart like a valve can either allow the flow of energy to pass through or it can restrict the flow of energy from passing through if you observe your heart you know very well what it feels like when it's open and what it feels like when it's closed in fact the state of your heart changes
quite regularly you can be experiencing great feelings of love while in the presence of someone until they say something you don't like then your heart closes toward them and you simply don't feel the love anymore we have all experienced this but what exactly is causing it since we all have to experience the heart we might as well understand what's going on in there we begin this analysis by asking a fundamental question what is it about the structure of the heart center that permits it to close
what you will find is that the heart closes because it becomes blocked by stored unfinished energy patterns from your past you need to only examine your everyday experiences to understand this as events take place in this world they come in through your senses and have an impact on your inner state of being the experience of these events may bring up some fear some anxiety or maybe some love different experiences happen inside because of how you take in and digest the world as it passes through you
when you take in the world through your senses it is actually energy that is coming into your being form itself does not come into your mind or heart form stays outside but it is processed by your senses into energy patterns that your mind and heart can receive an experience science explains the sensory process to us your eyes are not really windows through which you look out into the world your eyes are cameras that send electronic images of the world into you this is true of all your senses they sense the world
convert the information transmit the data through electrical nerve impulses and then the impressions get rendered in your mind your senses are indeed electronic sensing devices but if the energy patterns that are coming into your psyche create disturbance you will resist them and not allow them to pass through you when you do this the energy patterns actually get blocked within you this is very important to better understand what it's like to have these energy stored within you let's first examine what it would be
like if nothing was stored what if everything just passed right through you for example when you're driving down a highway you probably pass thousands of trees they don't leave impressions on you they're gone as soon as they're perceived while you're driving you see trees you see buildings you see cars and none of these make lasting impressions on you there's just a momentary impression that allows you to see them no they do come in through the senses and make impressions upon your mind as quickly as the impressions are made they are released
when you have no personal issues with them impressions process freely this is how the overall system of perception is meant to work it's meant to take things in allow you to experience them and then let them pass through you so that you're fully present in the next moment while this system is in a working operative state you are fine and it is fine you're simply having experience after experience driving is an experience trees passing by are an experience and cars passing by an experience these
experiences are gifts that are being given to you like a great movie they are passing into you awakening and stimulating you they are actually having a profound effect on you moment after moment experiences are coming in and you're learning and growing your heart and mind are expanding and you are being touched at a very deep level if experience is the best teacher there's nothing that comes close to the experience of life what it means to live life is to
experience the moment that is passing through you and then experience the next moment and then the next many different experiences will come in and pass through you it's a phenomenal system when it is working properly if you could live in that state you would be a fully aware being that is how an awakened being lives in the now they are present life is present and the wholeness of life is passing through them imagine if you were so fully present during each experience of life
that it was touching you to the depth of your being every moment would be a stimulating moving experience because you would be completely open and life would be flowing right through you but that's not what happens inside most of us instead it's more like you're driving down the street here come the trees here come the cars and it's all passing right through you with no trouble then inevitably something comes in that doesn't make it through there was this one car a light blue
ford mustang that looked like your girlfriend's car but as it passed by you noticed two people hugging in the front seat at least it looked like they were hugging and it sure looked like your girlfriend's car but it was just a car like all the others wasn't it no it wasn't just like all the other cars to you let's look carefully at what happened surely for the camera of the eyes there's no difference between that car and the others there's light bouncing off of objects passing through your retina and making a visual impression on your
mind so at the physical level nothing different is going on but at the mental level the impression didn't make it through when the next moment comes you no longer notice the rest of the trees you're not seeing the rest of the cars your heart and mind are fixated on that one car even though it's gone you've got yourself a problem here there's a blockage an event that got stuck all the subsequent experiences are trying to pass through you
but something has happened inside that has left this past experience unfinished what happens to that experience that didn't make it through specifically what happens to the image of the girlfriend's car if it doesn't just fade away into deep memory like everything else at some point you'll have to stop focusing on it in order to deal with something else like the next stoplight what you don't realize is that your entire experience of life is about to change because of what didn't make it through
you life must now compete with this blocked event for your attention and the impression does not just sit in there quietly you will see that your tendency is to think about it constantly this is all in an attempt to find a way to process it through your mind you didn't need to process the trees but you need to process this because you resisted it got stuck and now you have a problem you see the thoughts start up well maybe it wasn't her of course it wasn't her how could that
possibly have been thought after thought goes on inside it drives you crazy in there all that inner noise is just your attempt to process the blocked energy and get it out of the way long term the energy patterns that cannot make it through you are pushed out of the forefront of the mind and held until you are prepared to release them these energy patterns which hold tremendous detail about the events associated with them are real they don't just disappear when you are unable to allow life's
events to pass through you they stay inside and become a problem these patterns may be held within you for a very long time it is not easy to keep energy together in one place for long as you willfully struggle to keep these events from passing through your consciousness the energy first tries to release by manifesting through the mind this is why the mind becomes so active when the energy can't make it through the mind because of conflicts with other thoughts and mental concepts it then tries to release through the heart
that is what creates all the emotional activity when you resist even that release the energy gets packed up and forced into deep storage within the heart in the yogic tradition that unfinished energy pattern is called a samskara this is a sanskrit word meaning impression and in the yogic teachings it is considered one of the most important influences affecting your life asamskara is a blockage an impression from your past it's an unfinished energy pattern that ends up
running your life in order to understand this let's first take an in-depth look at the physics behind these blocked energy patterns just like energy waves the energy that comes into you must keep moving but that doesn't mean it can't get blocked within you there is a way that the energy can both keep moving and stay in one place and that is to circle around itself we see this in atoms and in planetary orbits everything is energy and energy will just expand outward if it is not
contained for there to be manifest creation energy must get in the dynamic of cycling around itself to create a stable unit that's why energy manifesting as an atom forms the basic building block of this entire physical universe energy cycles around itself and as we've discovered atoms have enough harnessed energy to blow up the world when that energy is released but unless forced otherwise the energy will stay harnessed because of its equilibrium state
this process of cycling energy is exactly what happens with a samskara a samskara is a cycle of stored past energy patterns in a state of relative equilibrium it is your resistance to experiencing these patterns that causes the energy to keep cycling around itself there is no other place for it to go you won't let it this is how most people process their issues this packet of cycling energy is literally stored in your energetic heart center all the samskaras you have collected
over your life are stored there to fully appreciate what this means let's go back to the example of the light blue mustang that looked like your girlfriend's car once the disturbed energy patterns are packaged and stored in the heart they are basically inactive it may look to you like you have handled the situation and that you have no more issues with that experience you may not even mention the event your girlfriend because it would look like you were jealous you didn't know what to do so you resisted the energy and it got stored in the heart where it could fall into the
background and not be bothersome well it may seem like it's done like it is all over and gone it really isn't every one of the samskaras that you've stored is still there everything that did not make it through you from the time you were a baby all the way up to this moment is still inside of you it is these impressions these samskaras that encrust the valve of the spiritual heart that encrustation builds up and restricts the energy flow
now that we understand where the blockages within the heart come from we have answered the structural question of how the heart gets blocked you can certainly see the potential for impressions to build up to the point where very little energy can make it through if they build up sufficiently you will find yourself in a state of depression in that state all becomes dark this is because very little energy is coming into your heart or mind eventually everything appears negative because the world of the senses must
pass through this depressed energy before it gets to your consciousness but even if you aren't prone to depression your heart still gets blocked over time it just builds up it doesn't always stay blocked however depending upon life's experiences it can open and close quite frequently this leads us to our next question what is the cause of these frequent changes in the state of the heart if you watch carefully you will see it is related to the same stored past impressions that cause the blockages
the stored energy patterns are real a samskara is actually programmed with the specific details of the event that could not pass through if you experience jealousy because you thought you saw your girlfriend hugging someone in a car very detailed data about that event is stored in the samskara it has that events vibration it has that events nature and it even retains your level of sensitivity about the event to see this let's watch what happens in the future it's five years later and you're no
longer with your old girlfriend you've married someone else and you're much more mature one day you're out driving along with the family having a wonderful time the trees are going by the cars are going by and then a light blue mustang drives by with two people hugging in the front seat immediately something changes in your heart your heart actually skips a beat then it starts beating faster you start getting moody irritated and agitated you aren't having such a nice day anymore all of these inner changes occur because
your heart got disturbed when you saw one particular car it is truly amazing to step back and look at this process five years ago for just a few moments an event took place you never discussed it with anybody and now five years later a light blue mustang drives by and it changes the energy flow through your heart and mind as unbelievable as this seems it is true and not only true about light blue mustangs it's true about everything that didn't make it through you
no wonder we're so overwhelmed no wonder the heart keeps opening and closing the energy that's stored there is real and it interacts with the flow of current thoughts and events the dynamics of this interaction cause the vibrations that are stored as some scars to get activated sometimes years later this is what happened with the light blue mustang understand however that it didn't even have to be the identical car to activate the stored energy it could have been a black mustang or
any car with people hugging anything in the neighborhood has the potential to stimulate a samskara the point is that past impressions do get stimulated even old ones and they affect your life sensory inputs from today's events dig through all the stuff you have stored through the years and they restore the exact past patterns associated with the incoming events when a samskara is stimulated it opens like a flower and begins to release the stored energy suddenly flashes of what you experienced
when the original event took place rush into your consciousness the thoughts the feelings sometimes even the smells and other sensory input the samskara can store a complete snapshot of the event it is way beyond any computer storage system created by human beings it can archive everything you were feeling everything you were thinking and everything that was happening surrounding the event all this information is stored into a tiny energy bubble within your heart
years later it gets stimulated and instantly you're experiencing the feelings you felt in the past you can actually feel the fears and the insecurity of a five-year-old when you're sixty what is happening is that unfinished mental and emotional energy patterns are getting stored and reactivated but it is just as important to realize that most of what you take in does not get blocked it makes it right through you imagine how many things you see all day they're not all stored like that of all
these impressions the only ones that get blocked are those that cause either problems or some extraordinary sense of enjoyment yes you store positive impressions too when a wonderful experience happens to you it doesn't make it through because you cling to it clinging means i don't want this one to go away he told me he loved me and i felt so loved and protected i want to keep reliving that moment play it back for me over and over again clinging creates positive and when these
are stimulated they release positive energy hence two kinds of experiences can occur that block the heart you are either trying to push energies away because they bother you or you are trying to keep energies close because you like them in both cases you are not letting them pass and you are wasting precious energy by blocking the flow through resisting and clinging the alternative is to enjoy life instead of clinging to it or pushing it away if you can live like that each moment
will change you if you are willing to experience the gift of life instead of fighting with it you will be moved to the depth of your being when you reach this state you will begin to see the secrets of the heart the heart is the place through which energy flows to sustain you this energy inspires you and raises you it is the strength that carries you through life it is the beautiful experience of love that pours through your whole being
this is meant to be going on inside you at all times the highest state you have ever experienced is simply the result of how open you were if you don't close it can be like that all the time don't sell yourself short this can go on all the time unending inspiration unending love and unending openness that is the natural state of a healthy heart to achieve this state simply allow the experiences of life to come in and pass
through your being if old energies come back up because you were unable to process them before let go of them now it's that easy when that light blue mustang drives by and you feel fear or jealousy just smile be happy that this samskara which has been stored down there for all this time has the opportunity to make it through you just open relax your heart forgive laugh or do anything you want just don't push it back down
of course it hurts when it comes up it was stored with pain it's going to release with pain you have to decide if you want to continue to walk around with stored pain blocking your heart and limiting your life the alternative is to be willing to let it go when it gets stimulated it only hurts for a minute and then it's over so you do have a choice do you want to try to change the world so it doesn't disturb your samskaras or are you willing to go through this
process of purification don't make decisions based on stimulated blockages learn to be centered enough to just watch this stuff come up once you sit deeply enough inside to stop fighting the stored energy patterns they'll come up constantly and pass right through you they'll come up during the day and they'll even come up in your dreams your heart will become accustomed to the process of releasing and cleansing just let it all happen get it over with don't process them one by one that's too
slow stay centered behind them and let go just like the physical body purges bacteria and other foreign matter the natural flow of your energy will purge the stored patterns from your heart your reward is a permanently open heart there is no more valve you live in love and it feeds you and strengthens you that is an open heart that is the instrument of the heart as it was meant to be allow yourself to experience every note
the heart can play if you relax and release this purification of your heart is a wonderful thing set your eyes on the highest state you can imagine and don't take them off if you slip just get back up it doesn't matter the very fact that you even want to go through this process of freeing the energy flow means you are great you will get there just keep letting go chapter 7 transcending the tendency to close
the foundations of spiritual growth and personal awakening are very much strengthened by the findings of western science science has shown us how an underlying energy field forms into atoms which then bind together into molecules and ultimately manifest into the entire physical universe the same is true inside of us all that goes on inside also has its foundation in an underlying energy field it is the movements in this field that create our mental and emotional patterns as well as our inner drives urges and
instinctual reactions regardless of what you call this inner force field chi shakti or spirit it is an underlying energy that flows in particular patterns through your inner being when looking at these patterns within yourself as well as in other living species it is not difficult to see that the most primal energy flow is the survival instinct during eons of evolution from the simplest of living forms to the most complex there has always been the day-to-day struggle to protect oneself
in our highly evolved cooperative social structures this survival instinct has gone through evolutionary changes many of us no longer lack food water clothing or shelter nor do we regularly face life-threatening physical danger as a result the protective energies have adapted toward defining the individual psychologically rather than physiologically we now experience the daily need to defend our self-concepts rather than our bodies our major struggles end up being with our own inner fears insecurities
and destructive behavior patterns and not with outside forces nonetheless the same impulses that make a deer run away urge you to run away suppose somebody raises their voice at you or talks about an uncomfortable subject these are not physically threatening circumstances yet your heart starts pumping a little faster that's exactly what happens to deer whenever they hear a sudden sound their hearts start pumping faster and they either freeze or run away in your case however it is not usually
the kind of fear that causes you to physically run away it's just a deep personal fear demanding protection since it's not socially acceptable to run into the woods and hide like a deer you hide inside you withdraw close down and pull back behind your protective shield what you are actually doing is closing down your energy centers even if you don't know you have energy centers you've been closing them down since kindergarten you know exactly how to close your heart and put up a psychological protective
shield you know exactly how to close down the centers to avoid being too receptive and sensitive to the different energies coming in and causing fear when you close down and protect yourself you are pulling a shell around the part of you that is weak this is the part that feels it needs protection even though no physical attack is taking place you are protecting your ego your self-concept although a situation may present no physical danger it may cause you to experience disturbance fear
insecurity and other emotional problems so you feel the need to protect yourself the problem is that the part of you that gets disturbed is way out of balance it's so sensitive that the slightest little thing causes it to overreact you are living on a planet spinning around the middle of outer space and you're either worrying about your blemishes the scratch on your new car or the fact that you burped in public it's not healthy if your physical body were that sensitive you would say you were sick
but our society considers psychological sensitivities normal because most of us don't have to worry about food clothing or shelter we have the luxury of worrying about a spot on our pants or laughing too loud or saying something wrong because we've developed this hyper hypersensitive psyche we constantly use our energies to close around it and protect ourselves but this process only hides the problems it doesn't fix them you're locking your illness inside yourself and it will only get worse
you will get to a point in your growth where you understand that if you protect yourself you will never be free it's that simple because you're scared you have locked yourself within your house and pull down all the shades now it's dark and you want to feel the sunlight but you can't it's impossible if you close and protect yourself you are locking this scared insecure person within your heart you will never be free that way ultimately if you protect yourself perfectly you will never grow all your habits and idiosyncrasies will
stay the same life becomes stagnant when people protect their stored issues people say things like you know we don't talk about that subject around your father there are all these rules about things that are not supposed to happen outside because they could cause disturbance inside living like this allows for very little spontaneous joy enthusiasm and excitement for life most people just go from day to day protecting themselves and making sure nothing goes too wrong at the end of the day when someone asks
how was your day a normal response is not too bad or i'll survive what is that telling you about their view of life they see life as a threat a good day means you made it through without getting hurt the longer you live like this the more closed you become if you really want to grow you have to do the opposite real spiritual growth happens when there is only one of you inside there's not a part that's scared and another part that's protecting the part
that's scared all parts are unified because there is no part of you that you're not willing to see the mind is no longer divided into the conscious and subconscious everything you see inside is just something you see inside it's not you it's what you see there is simply the pure energy pouring inside of you that creates the ripples of thoughts and emotions and there is the consciousness that's aware of it there is simply you watching the dance
of the psyche in order to reach this state of awareness you must let your entire psyche surface every little separated piece of it must be permitted to pass through right now many fragmented parts of your psyche are held within you if you want to be free it all has to be equally exposed to your awareness and released but it will never get exposed if you're closing yourself after all the purpose of closing was to make sure that the sensitive parts of your psyche don't get exposed
so you catch on that no matter how much pain the exposure creates you are willing to pay that price for freedom when you are no longer willing to identify with the part of you that is separating itself into a million pieces you are ready for real growth begin by seeing the tendency to protect and defend yourself there is a very deep innate tendency to close especially around your soft spots but eventually you will notice that closing creates tremendous work
once you close you have to make sure that what you protected doesn't get disturbed then you carry this task for the rest of your life the alternative is to become conscious enough to simply watch the part of your being that is constantly trying to protect itself you can then give yourself the ultimate gift by deciding not to do that anymore you decide instead to get rid of that part you start by watching life and noticing the constant flow of people in situations that hit your stuff every day how often do you find yourself trying to
protect and defend that weak part of you you feel like the world wants to get right at it every place you go there's someone or something trying to disturb you trying to get your goat why not let them have it if you don't really want it then don't protect it the reward for not protecting your psyche is liberation you are free to walk through this world without a problem on your mind you are just having fun experiencing whatever happens next because you got rid of that scared part of you and don't ever have to worry about getting hurt or disturbed
you no longer have to listen to what will they think of me or oh god i wish i hadn't said that it sounded so stupid you just go about your business and put your whole being into whatever's happening instead of putting your whole being into your personal sensitivity once you've made the commitment to free yourself of that scared person inside you will notice that there is a clear decision point at which your growth takes place spiritual growth is about the point at which you start to feel your energy change
for instance somebody says something and you start to feel the energy get a little strange inside you will actually start to feel a tightening that is your cue that it's time to grow it's not time to defend yourself because you don't want the part of you that you would be defending if you don't want it let it go you will eventually get conscious enough so that the minute you see the energy start getting strange you stop you stop getting involved in the energy if it normally causes you to start
talking you stop talking you just stop mid-sentence because you know where it will go if you continue the moment you see the energy getting imbalanced inside the moment you see the heart starting to tense and get defensive you just stop what exactly does it mean to stop it's something you do inside it's called letting go when you let go you are falling behind the energy that is trying to pull you into it your energies inside have power they are
very strong and they draw your awareness into them if a hammer falls on your toe all your awareness will focus there if there's a sudden loud sound again all of your awareness will focus there consciousness has the tendency to focus on disturbance and disturbed energies inside are no exception these disturbed energies will draw your consciousness to them but you do not have to let this happen you really do have the ability to disengage and fall back behind them
when the energies inside start to move you do not have to go there for instance when your thoughts start you do not have to go with them let's say you're outside taking a walk in a car drives by your thoughts say boy i wish i had that car you could just keep on walking but instead you start getting upset you want a car like that but your salary isn't high enough so you begin thinking about how you can get a raise or a different job you didn't have to do all that it could have just been
here comes the car and there it goes and here comes the thought and there it goes they're both gone together because you didn't go with them that is what's called being centered if you aren't centered your consciousness is just following whatever catches its attention you see the car drive by and you're off doing something about it another day you see a boat and then it is all about the boat and you forget about the car there are people like that they don't hold jobs very well and relationships don't tend to work out for them they're just all over the place
their energy is very scattered you have the ability to not go with any of these thoughts you can just sit in the seat of consciousness and let go a thought or emotion emerges you notice it and it passes by because you allow it to this technique of freeing yourself is done with the understanding that thoughts and emotions are just objects of consciousness when you see your heart start getting anxious you are obviously aware of this experience but who is aware it is the consciousness
the indwelling being the soul the self it is the seer the one who sees the changes you experience in your inner energy flow are simply objects of this consciousness if you want to be free then every time you feel any change in the energy flow relax behind it don't fight with it don't try to change it and don't judge it don't say oh i can't believe i'm still feeling this i promised myself i wouldn't think about that car anymore
don't do that you'll just end up going with the guilt thoughts instead of the car thoughts you have to let them all go but it's not just about letting go of thoughts and emotions it's actually about letting go of the pull that the energy itself has on your consciousness the disturbed energy is trying to draw your attention into it if you use your inner willpower to not go with it and just remain seated within you will notice that the distinction between the consciousness
and the object of consciousness is like night and day they are totally different things the object comes and goes and the consciousness watches it come and go then the next object comes and goes while the consciousness watches it both objects came and went but the consciousness didn't go anywhere it stays constant and simply watches all of it the consciousness experiences the creation of thoughts and emotions and it has the clarity to see where they came from
it sees all of this without thinking about it it sees what's going on inside as easily as it sees what's going on outside it simply watches the self is watching the inside energies change in accordance to both inside and outside forces all the energies that it watches will just come and go unless you lose your center of consciousness and go with them let's take a slow-motion look at what happens if you go with these energies first you start to have a thought or
feeling this feeling could be as subtle as your energy flow starting to tighten and become defensive or it could be something much stronger if these energies capture your consciousness and all the power of awareness gets focused on them this power actually feeds them consciousness is a tremendously powerful force when you concentrate on these thoughts and emotions they become charged with energy and power this is why thoughts and emotions get stronger the more attention you give them
let's say you feel a little jealousy or a little fear if you focus on it it grows in importance and demands more of your attention then because your attention feeds it it becomes infused with even more energy and draws more attention that's how the cycle goes eventually what started as a passing thought or emotion can become the center of your entire life if you don't let go it can get completely out of control a wise person remains centered enough to let go every time the energy shifts into
a defensive mode the moment the energy moves and you feel your consciousness start to get drawn into it you relax and release letting go means falling behind the energy instead of going into it it just takes a moment of conscious effort to decide that you're not going there you just let go it's simply a matter of taking the risk that you are better off letting go then going with the energy when you're free from the hold the energy has on you you will be free to experience the joy and expansiveness
that exists within you so you decide to use life to free yourself you become willing to pay any price for the freedom of your soul you will realize that the only price you have to pay is letting go of yourself only you can take inner freedom away from yourself or give it to yourself nobody else can it doesn't matter what others do unless you decide that it matters to you begin with small things we tend to let ourselves get bothered by the little meaningless things that
happen every day for example somebody beeps at you at the stoplight as these little things happen you will feel your energy change the moment you feel a change relax your shoulders and relax the area around your heart the moment the energy moves you simply relax and release play with letting go and falling behind this sense of being bothered let's say someone at work took your pencil and you notice that every time you go to use another one your inner energy shifts even the slightest amount
are you willing to release the old pencil in order to liberate yourself this is how you make freedom a game instead of getting into being bothered you get yourself into being free when you reach for a pencil and you see yourself getting a little uptight let go your mind might start saying it was a pencil today and if i let go they'll step all over me it'll be my desk tomorrow or my house or maybe even my husband that's how the mind talks it's very melodramatic
but you decide that for the cost of a pencil you'll go for the ride you tell your mind when it's the car we'll have a talk right now it only costs a pencil to be free just decide that no matter what the mind says you aren't getting involved you don't fight the mind in fact you don't even try to change it you just make a game out of relaxing in the face of its melodrama you simply learn how to release the tendency for getting drawn into the energy the root is where the consciousness is
aware of the pull of these energies you will see that the energy does have the power to draw you in even once you decide you're not going to let this happen it still has a tremendous power over you it happens at work and it happens at home it happens with your children and with your husband or wife it happens with everything and everybody all the time your opportunities to grow are endless it's always there in front of you just commit to not letting the energy draw you in when you feel the pull like somebody
pulling on your heart you just let go you fall behind it you simply relax and release and no matter how many times you're pulled that's how many times you relax and release because the tendency to get drawn in is constant the willingness to let go and fall behind has to be constant your center of consciousness is always stronger than the energy that is pulling on it you just have to be willing to exercise your will but it's not a fight or a struggle it's
not that you're trying to stop the energies from coming up inside there is nothing wrong with feeling the energies of fear jealousy or attraction it's not your fault that such energies exist only attractions repulsions thoughts and feelings don't make any difference they don't make you pure or impure they are not you you are the one who is watching and that one is pure consciousness don't think you'd be free if you just didn't have these kinds of feelings
it's not true if you can be free even though you're having these kinds of feelings then you're really free because there will always be something if you can learn to remain centered with the smaller things you will see that you can remain centered with bigger things over time you will find that you can even remain centered with the really big things the types of events that would have destroyed you in the past can come and go leaving you perfectly centered and peaceful you can be fine deep inside even in the face of a deep
sense of loss there's nothing wrong with being peaceful and centered as long as you are releasing the energy not suppressing it ultimately even if terrible things happen you should be able to live without emotional scars and impressions if you don't hold these issues inside you can go about your life without getting psychologically damaged no matter what events take place in life it is always better to let go rather than to close there's a place deep inside of you where
the consciousness touches the energy and the energy touches the consciousness that's where your work is from that place you let go once you've let go every minute of every day year after year then that's where you'll live nothing will be able to take your seat of consciousness from you you'll learn to stay there after you've put years and years into this process and learn to let go no matter how deep the pain you will achieve a great state you will
break the ultimate habit the constant draw of the lower self you will then be free to explore the nature and source of your true being pure consciousness part three freeing yourself chapter eight let go now or fall the exploration of self is inextricably interwoven with the unfolding of one's life the natural ups and downs of life can
either generate personal growth or create personal fears which of these dominates is completely dependent upon how we view change change can be viewed as either exciting or frightening but regardless of how we view it we must all face the fact that change is the very nature of life if you have a lot of fear you won't like change you'll try to create a world around you that is predictable controllable and definable you'll try to create a
world that doesn't stimulate your fears fear doesn't want to feel itself it's actually afraid of itself so you utilize the mind in an attempt to manipulate life for the purpose of not feeling fear people don't understand that fear is a thing it's just another object in the universe that you are capable of experiencing you can do one of two things with fear you can recognize that you have it and work to release it or you can keep it and try to hide from
it because people don't deal with fear objectively they don't understand it they end up keeping their fear and trying to prevent things from happening that would stimulate it they go through life attempting to create safety and control by defining how they need life to be in order to be okay this is how the world becomes frightening this may not sound frightening it may sound safe but it's not if you do this the world truly becomes threatening
life becomes a me against its situation when you have fear insecurity or weakness inside of you and you attempt to keep it from being stimulated they will inevitably be events and changes in life that challenge your efforts because you resist these changes you feel that you are struggling with life you feel like this person is not behaving the way they should and this event is not unfolding the way you want you see situations that happened in the past as disturbing and you see things down the road as
potential problems your definitions of desirable and undesirable as well as good and bad all come about because you have defined how things need to be in order for you to be okay we all know that we're doing this but nobody questions it we think we're supposed to figure out how life should be and then make it that way only someone who looks deeper and questions why we need the events of life to be a particular way will question this assumption how did we
come up with the notion that life is not okay just the way it is or that it won't be okay the way it will be who said that the way life naturally unfolds is not all right the answer is fear says so the part of you inside that's not okay with itself can't face the natural unfolding of life because it's not under your control if life unfolds in a way that stimulates your inner problems then by definition it's not okay it's really very simple
that which doesn't disturb you is okay and that which does disturb you is not we define the entire scope of our outer experience based upon our inner problems if you want to grow spiritually you have to change that if you are defining creation based upon the most messed up part of your being what do you expect creation to look like it's going to look like a frightful mess as you grow spiritually you will realize that your attempts to protect yourself
from your problems actually create more problems if you attempt to arrange people places and things so they don't disturb you it will begin to feel like life is against you you'll feel that life is a struggle and that every day is heavy because you have to control and fight with everything there will be competition jealousy and fear you will feel that anyone at any moment could cause you disturbance all they have to do is say or do one thing and the next thing you know there's
disturbance inside of you that makes life a threat that's why you have to worry so much that's why you have all these dialogues going on inside your mind you're either trying to figure out how to keep things from happening or you're trying to figure out what to do because they did happen you are fighting with creation and that's what makes creation itself the most frightening thing in your life the alternative is to decide not to fight with life you realize and accept that life is not
under your control life is continuously changing and if you're trying to control it you'll never be able to fully live it instead of living life you'll be afraid of life but once you've decided not to fight with life you'll have to face the fear that was causing you to fight fortunately you don't have to keep this fear inside of you there is such a thing as a life without fear in order to relate to this possibility we must first have a deeper understanding
of fear itself when you have fear inside of you the events of life invariably stimulated like a rock thrown into water the world with its continuous changes creates ripples in whatever is held within you there's nothing wrong with that life creates situations that push you to your edges all with the effect of removing what is blocked inside of you that which is blocked and buried within you forms the root of fear fear is caused by blockages in the flow of your energy
when your energy is blocked it can't come up and feed your heart therefore your heart becomes weak when your heart is weak it becomes susceptible to lower vibrations and one of the lowest of all vibrations is fear fear is the cause of every problem it's the root of all prejudices and the negative emotions of anger jealousy and possessiveness if you had no fear you could be perfectly happy living in this world nothing would bother you you'd be
willing to face everything and everyone because you wouldn't have fear inside of you that could cause you disturbance the purpose of spiritual evolution is to remove the blockages that cause your fear the alternative is to protect your blockages so that you don't have to feel fear to do this however you will have to try to control everything in order to avoid your inner issues it's hard to understand how we decided that avoiding our inner issues is an intelligent thing to do but everybody's doing it
everyone is saying i will do every single thing i can to keep my stuff if you say anything that disturbs me i will defend myself i'll yell at you and make you take it back if you cause any disturbance inside of me i will make you so sorry in other words if somebody does something that stimulates fear you think they did something wrong you then do everything you can to make sure they never do it again first you defend yourself and then you protect yourself you do whatever you can to keep from
feeling disturbance eventually you become wise enough to realize that you do not want that stuff inside of you it doesn't matter who stimulates it it doesn't matter what stimulation hits it it doesn't matter whether it makes sense or whether it seems fair or not unfortunately most of us are not that wise we're really not trying to be free of our stuff we're trying to justify keeping it if you truly want to grow spiritually you'll realize that keeping your stuff
is keeping you trapped eventually you'll want out at any cost you will then realize that life is actually trying to help you life is surrounding you with people and situations that stimulate growth you don't have to decide who's right or wrong you don't have to worry about other people's issues you only have to be willing to open your heart in the face of anything and everything and permit the purification process to take place when you do this the first thing you'll
see is that situations will unfold that hit your stuff but in truth that's exactly what has been happening your entire life the only difference is that now you see it as a good thing because it's an opportunity to let go the stuff that holds you down periodically rears its head when it does let it go you simply permit the pain to come up into your heart and pass through if you do that it will pass if you are sincerely seeking truth
you'll let go every time this is the beginning and end of the entire path you surrender yourself to the process of emptying yourself when you work with this you start to learn the subtler laws of the process of letting go there is a law you will learn very early in the game because it is an unavoidable truth you will learn it early but you will fall many times while trying to adhere to it the law is very straightforward when your stuff gets hit
let go right then because it will be harder later it won't be easier if you explore it or play with it hoping to take the edge off it won't be easier to think about it talk about it or try to release only part of it at a time if you want to be free to the core of your being you must let go right away because it will not be easier later in order to live by this law you have to understand its principles first you must be aware that there is something within you that needs to be released
you must then be aware that you the one who notices the stuff coming up are distinct from what you're experiencing you are noticing it but who are you this place of centered awareness is the seat of the witness the seat of self that is the only seat from which you can let go let's say you notice that something in your heart gets hit if you let go and stay in the seat of awareness what you are noticing will pass if you don't let go and instead get lost
in the disturbed feelings and thoughts that arise you'll see a sequence of events unfold so quickly you won't know what hit you if you don't let go you'll notice that the energy that got stimulated in your heart works like a magnet it's a phenomenally attractive force that will pull your consciousness into it the next thing you know you won't be there you won't maintain the same perspective of awareness that you had when you first noticed the disturbance you will leave the seat of objective
awareness from which you saw your heart begin to react and you will get involved in the shifting energies coming from your heart sometime later you'll come back and realize you weren't there you'll come back and realize that you were totally lost in your stuff then you will hope that you didn't say or do anything you'll regret you'll look at the clock and five minutes will have gone by or an hour or even a year you can lose your clarity for quite some time where did you go how did you come back
we will address these questions shortly but what really matters is that when you're seeing clearly you're not going anywhere you're simply sitting in the seat of centered awareness watching your stuff get hit as long as you're watching you're not getting lost in it the key is to understand that if you don't let go immediately the disturbing force of the activated energy draws the focus of your consciousness as your consciousness gets immersed in the disturbance you lose your clear seat of self
it happens instantaneously there's no feeling of going anywhere any more than there is when you leave the room by getting absorbed in a book or tv show you simply lose the fixed point of consciousness from which you were objectively aware of your surroundings your consciousness leaves the centered position of witnessing the many energies around you and you get sucked into focusing on just one of them this leaving the seat of self is not generally a willful act the laws of attraction will cause it to
happen consciousness is always drawn to the most distracting object the bumped toe the loud noise or the hurting heart it's the same law both inside and out the consciousness goes to the place that distracts it the most that's what we mean when we say it was so loud it caught my attention it drew your consciousness to it when a blockage gets hit this same attraction takes place and the consciousness gets pulled to the source of discomfort that place then becomes your seat of
consciousness after the discomfort settles down and lets you go you'll naturally drift back toward your higher seat of awareness this is where you sit when you're not distracted by disturbance but as important as this higher seat is it is equally important to see what happens when you are distracted by disturbance your seat of consciousness falls down to where the disturbance is happening and the whole world looks different let's analyze this fall step by step it begins when you get
pulled down into the disturbed energy you end up exactly where you don't belong the last place you want to put your consciousness is down there but that's where it will get pulled now as you look out through your disturbed energy everything is distorted by the haze of your disturbance things that looked beautiful now look ugly things you liked now look dark and depressing but nothing has really changed it's just that you're looking at life
from that seat of disturbance each of these shifts in your perception should remind you to let go the moment you start seeing that you don't like the people you used to like the moment you start seeing that your life looks really different the moment it all starts getting negative let go you should have let go before but you didn't the trouble is that it's more difficult now you could have taken one breath and let go when it started now it takes serious work to get your
previous seat of consciousness back without going through the whole cycle the cycle is the time it takes from the moment you leave your seat of relative clarity until you come back this period of time is determined by the depth of the energy blockage that caused the initial disturbance once activated the blockage must run its course if you don't let go you get sucked in you are no longer free you are caught once you fall from your seat of relative clarity
you are under the mercy of the disturbed energy if that blockage is stimulated by an ongoing situation you may stay down there for a long time if it happens to be just a passing event and the energy released by the blockage dissipates immediately then you'll find that you drift back up quickly the main point is that it's not under your control you lost it this is the anatomy of falling when you're in this state of disturbance your tendency will be to act in order to
try to fix things you don't have the clarity to see what's going on you just want the disturbance to stop so you start getting down to your survival instincts you may feel that you have to do something drastic you may want to leave your husband or wife or move or quit your job the mind starts saying all kinds of things because it doesn't like this space and it wants to get away from it any way it can now that you've fallen to that point here comes the creme de la creme imagine that while you're lost in the
disturbed energy you actually do one or more of the things that your mind is telling you to do imagine what would happen if you actually quit your job or if you decide i've held this in long enough i'm going to give him a piece of my mind you have no idea how big a step down that is it's one thing if the disturbance is going on inside of you but the moment you allow it to express itself the moment you let that energy move your body you have descended to another level now
it's almost impossible to let go if you start yelling at somebody if you actually tell someone how you feel about them from this state of non clarity you have involved that person's heart and mind and your stuff now both of your egos are involved once you externalize these energies you will want to defend your actions and make them look appropriate but the other person will never think they were appropriate now even more forces are keeping you down first you fall into the darkness and
then you manifest that darkness when you do this you are literally taking the energy of the blockage and passing it on when you dump your stuff into this world it's like painting the world with your stuff you put more of that kind of energy into your environment and it comes back to you you are now surrounded by people who will interact with you accordingly it's just another form of environmental pollution and it will affect your life that is how negative cycles happen
you actually take a piece of your stuff which is nothing but deeply seated disturbance from your past and you implant it in the hearts of those around you at some point it will come back to you anything you put out comes back imagine if you got upset and fully released your disturbed energies onto another person this is how people ruin relationships and destroy their lives how far down can you go once you're weakened another blockage could get hit and yet another you can fall all the way down until your
life is an absolute mess you can reach a point of total loss of control and completely lose your center in this state your previous seat of clarity may drift by once in a while but you can't hold it now you're lost do you doubt that a single blockage getting hit in your heart could cause a fall that lasts a lifetime it has been known to happen what if all you had to do to avoid all of this was to let go in the beginning
if you had you would have gone up instead of down that's how it works when a blockage gets hit it's a good thing it's time to open up internally and release the blocked energy if you let go and permit the purification process to take place inside that blocked energy will be released when it's released and allowed to flow up it becomes purified and merges back into your center of consciousness this energy then strengthens you instead of weakening you
you begin to go up and up higher and higher and you learn the secret of the ascent the secret of the ascent is to never look down always look up no matter what happens below you just turn your eyes upward and relax your heart you do not have to leave the seat of self in order to deal with the darkness it will purify itself if you let it getting involved in the darkness does not dispel darkness it feeds it don't even turn toward it
if you see disturbed energies within you it's okay don't think that you don't have blockages left to release just sit in the seat of awareness and never leave no matter what goes on below you open your heart and let it go your heart will become purified and you will never know another fall if you fall along the way just get up and forget it use the lesson to strengthen your resolve let go right then do not rationalize blame or try to
figure it out don't do anything just let go immediately and allow the energy to go back to the highest center of consciousness it can achieve if you feel shame let it go if you feel fear let it go all of these are the remnants of the blocked energy that is finally being purified always let go as soon as you're aware that you didn't don't waste your time use the energy to go up you are a great being who has been given a tremendous opportunity
to explore beyond yourself the whole process is very exciting and you will have good times and bad times all sorts of things will happen that's the fun of the journey so don't fall let go no matter what it is let it go the bigger it is the higher the reward of letting go and the worse the fall if you don't it's pretty black and white you either let go or you don't there really isn't anything in between so let all of your blockages and
disturbances become the fuel for the journey that which is holding you down can become a powerful force that raises you up you just have to be willing to take the ascent chapter nine removing your inner thorn the spiritual journey is one of constant transformation in order to grow you must give up the struggle to remain the same and learn to embrace change at all times one of the most important areas requiring change
is how we solve our personal problems we normally attempt to solve our inner disturbances by protecting ourselves real transformation begins when you embrace your problems as agents for growth in order to understand how this process works let's examine the following situation imagine that you have a thorn in your arm that directly touches a nerve when the thorn is touched it's very painful because it hurts so much the thorn is a serious problem it's
difficult to sleep because you roll over on it it's hard to get close to people because they might touch it it makes your daily life very difficult you can't even go for a walk in the woods because you might brush the thorn against the branches this thorn is a constant source of disturbance and to solve the problem you only have two choices the first choice is to look at your situation and decide that since it's so disturbing when things touch the thorn you need to make sure nothing touches it the second choice is to decide that
since it's so disturbing when things touch the thorn you need to take it out believe it or not the effects of the choice you make will determine the course of the rest of your life this is one of the core level structural decisions that lay the foundation for your future let's begin with the first choice and explore how it will affect your life if you decide you have to keep things from touching the thorn then that becomes the work of a lifetime if you want to go for a walk in the woods you'll have to thin out the
branches to make sure you don't brush against them since you often roll over and touch the thorn when you sleep you'll have to find a solution for that as well perhaps you could design an apparatus that acts as a protective device if you really put a lot of energy into it and your solutions seem to work you would think that you had solved your problem you'd say i can sleep now and guess what i got to go on tv to give a testimonial anyone who has the thorn problem can get my protective device and i even get paid royalties
so now you've got a whole life built around this thorn and you're proud of it you keep the woods thinned out and you wear the apparatus to bed at night but now you have a new problem you fell in love this is a problem because in your situation it's hard to even hug nobody can touch you because they might touch the thorn so you design another kind of device that allows closeness amongst people without actually touching eventually you decide you want total
mobility without having to worry about the thorn anymore so you make a full-time device that doesn't have to be unstrapped at night or changed over for hugging and other daily activities but it's heavy so you put wheels on it control it with hydraulics and install collision sensors it's actually quite an impressive device of course you had to change the doors in the house so that the protective apparatus could get through but at least now you can live your life you can go to work go to sleep and get close to people so
you announce to everyone i have solved my problem i am a free being i can go anywhere i want i can do anything i want this thorn used to run my life now it doesn't run anything the truth is the thorn completely runs your entire life it affects all your decisions including where you go whom you're comfortable with and who's comfortable with you it determines where you're allowed to work what house you can live in
and what kind of bed you can sleep on at night when it's all said and done that thorn is running every aspect of your life it turns out that the life of protecting yourself from your problem becomes a perfect reflection of the problem itself you didn't solve anything if you don't solve the root cause of the problem but instead attempt to protect yourself from the problem it ends up running your life you end up so psychologically fixated on the problem that you can't see the forest for the
trees you actually feel that because you've minimized the pain of the problem you've solved the problem but it is not solved all you did was devote your life to avoiding it it is now the center of your universe it's all there is in order to apply the analogy of the thorn to your whole life we will use loneliness as an example let's say you have a very deep sense of inner loneliness it's so deep that you have trouble sleeping at night and during the day it
makes you very sensitive you're susceptible to feeling sharp pains in your heart that cause quite a disturbance you have trouble staying focused on your job and you have trouble with everyday interactions what's more when you're very lonely it's often painfully difficult to get close to people you see loneliness is just like the thorn it causes pain and disturbance in all aspects of your life but in the case of the human heart we have more than one thorn
we have sensitivities about loneliness about rejection about our physical appearance and about our mental prowess we are walking around with lots of thorns touching right against the most sensitive part of our hearts at any moment something can touch them and cause pain inside you have the same two choices with these inner thorns as you did with the thorn in your arm surely it was obvious that you would have been much better off taking out that thorn there's no reason to spend your life protecting the thorn from getting
touched when you can just remove it once the thorn is removed you are truly free of it the same is true with your inner thorns they can be removed but if you choose to keep them without being disturbed by them you must modify your life to avoid the situations that would stir them up if you're lonely you must avoid going to places where couples tend to be if you're afraid of rejection you must avoid getting too close to people if you do this however it is for the same reason that you thinned out the
woods you are attempting to adjust your life to make allowance for your thorns in the earlier example the thorns were outside now they are inside when you are lonely you find yourself pondering what to do about your loneliness what is it that you can say or do in order not to feel so lonely notice that you aren't asking how to get rid of the problem you're asking how to protect yourself from feeling it you do this either by avoiding situations or by using people
places and things as protective shields you're going to end up just like the person with the thorn the loneliness will run your entire life you'll marry the person who makes you feel less lonely and you'll think that's natural and normal but it's exactly the same as the person who is avoiding the pain of the thorn instead of taking it out you have not removed the root of loneliness you have only attempted to protect yourself from feeling it should someone die or leave you the loneliness would again disturb you the problem will be back the moment the
external situation fails to protect you from what's inside if you do not remove the thorn you will end up responsible for both the thorn and everything you pulled around yourself in an attempt to avoid it should you be fortunate enough to find someone who manages to diminish the feeling of loneliness you will then begin worrying about keeping your relationship with this person you've managed to compound the issue by avoiding the problem this is exactly the same as using the apparatus to compensate for the thorn
you have to adjust your life accordingly the minute you allow the core problem to stay it expands out into multiple problems it wouldn't dawn on you to just get rid of it instead the only solution you see is to try to avoid feeling it now you have no choice but to go out and fix everything that affects it you have to worry about how you dress and how you talk you have to worry about what people think of you because that could affect your feeling of loneliness or need for love if someone is attracted to you and this eases your feelings of loneliness
you wish you could say how do i need to act in order to please you i can be any way you want i just don't want to feel these periods of loneliness anymore you now have this burden of worrying about the relationship it creates an experience of underlying tension and discomfort and it can even affect your sleep at night the truth is however the discomfort you're experiencing isn't actually the feeling of loneliness it's the never-ending thoughts of did i say the right thing does she really like me or am i just
kidding myself the root problem is now buried under all these shallower issues that are all about avoiding the deeper ones it all gets very complicated people end up using their relationships to hide their thorns if you care for each other you are expected to adjust your behavior to avoid bumping into each other's soft spots this is what people do they let the fear of their inner thorns affect their behavior they end up limiting their lives just like someone living with an external thorn
ultimately if there is something disturbing inside of you you have to make a choice you can compensate for the disturbance by going outside in an attempt to avoid feeling it or you can simply remove the thorn and not focus your life around it do not doubt your ability to remove the root cause of the disturbance inside of you it really can go away you can look deep within yourself to the core of your being and decide that you don't want the weakest part of you running your life
you want to be free of this you want to talk to people because you find them interesting not because you're lonely you want to have relationships with people because you genuinely like them not because you need for them to like you you want to love because you truly love not because you need to avoid your inner problems how do you free yourself in the deepest sense you free yourself by finding yourself you are not the pain you feel nor are you the part that periodically stresses out
none of these disturbances have anything to do with you you are the one who notices these things because your consciousness is separate and aware of these things you can free yourself to free yourself of your inner thorns you simply stop playing with them the more you touch them the more you irritate them because you're always doing something to avoid feeling them they are not given the chance to naturally work themselves out if you want you can simply permit the disturbances to come up
and you can let them go since your inner thorns are simply blocked energies from the past they can be released the problem is you either completely avoid situations that would cause them to release or you push them back down in the name of protecting yourself suppose you're sitting at home watching tv you're enjoying the program until the two main characters fall in love suddenly you feel loneliness but there's no one around to give you attention interestingly you were fine just a few minutes ago
this example shows that the thorn is always in your heart it's just not activated until something touches it you feel the reaction as a hollowness or a dropping sensation in your heart it feels very uncomfortable a sense of weakness comes over you and you begin thinking about other times when you are left alone and of people who have hurt you stored energy from the past releases from the heart and generates thoughts now instead of enjoying tv you're sitting alone caught in a wave of thoughts and
emotions what can you do to solve this besides eating something calling somebody or doing something else that might quiet it down what you can do is notice that you've noticed you can notice that your consciousness was watching tv and now it is watching your inner melodrama the one who sees this is you the subject what you are looking at is an object a feeling of emptiness is an object it is something you feel but who feels it your way out
is to just notice who's noticing it's really that simple it is much less complex than the protective apparatus with all its all bearings wheels and hydraulics all you have to do is notice who it is that feels the loneliness the one who notices is already free if you want to be free of these energies you must allow them to pass through you instead of hiding them inside of you ever since you were a child you've had energies going on inside
wake up and realize that you are in there and you have a sensitive person in there with you simply watch that sensitive part of you feel disturbance see it feel jealousy need and fear these feelings are just part of the nature of a human being if you pay attention you will see that they are not you they are just something you are feeling and experiencing you are the indwelling being that is aware of all of this if you maintain your center you can learn to appreciate and respect even the
difficult experiences for example some of the most beautiful poetry and music have come from people who are in turmoil great art comes from the depth of one's being you can experience these very human states without getting lost in them or resisting them you can notice that you notice and just watch how experiencing loneliness affects you does your posture change do you breathe slower or faster what goes on when loneliness is given the space it needs to pass through you
be an explorer witness it and then it will go if you don't get absorbed in it the experience will soon pass and something else will come up just enjoy all of it if you can do this you will be free and a world of pure energy will open up within you the more you sit in the self the more you will begin to feel an energy that you have never experienced before it comes up from behind rather than in front where you experience your mind and emotions
when you are no longer absorbed in your melodrama but instead sit comfortably deep inside the seat of awareness you will start to feel this flow of energy coming up from deep within this flow has been called shakti this flow has been called spirit this is what you begin to experience if you hang out with the self instead of hanging out with your inner disturbances you don't have to get rid of loneliness you just cease to be involved with it
it's just another thing in the universe like cars grass and the stars it's none of your business just let things go that's what the self does awareness does not fight awareness releases awareness is simply aware while everything in the universe parades before it if you sit within the self you will experience the strength of your inner being even when your heart feels weak this is
the essence of the path this is the essence of a spiritual life once you learn that it's okay to feel inner disturbances and that they can no longer disturb your seed of consciousness you will be free you will begin to be sustained by the inner energy flow that comes from behind you when you have tasted the ecstasy of the inner flow you can walk in this world and the world will never touch you that's how you become a free being you
transcend chapter 10 stealing freedom for your soul the prerequisite to true freedom is to decide that you do not want to suffer anymore you must decide that you want to enjoy your life and that there is no reason for stress inner pain or fear every day we bear a burden that we should not be bearing we fear that we are not good enough or that we will fail we experience insecurity anxiety and self-consciousness we fear that
people will turn on us take advantage of us or stop loving us all of these things burden us tremendously as we try to have open and loving relationships and as we try to succeed and express ourselves there is an inner weight that we carry this weight is the fear of experiencing pain anguish or sorrow every day we are either feeling it or we are protecting ourselves from feeling it it is such a core influence that we
don't even realize how prevalent it is when buddha said that all of life is suffering this is what he was referring to people do not understand how much they are suffering because they have never experienced what it is like to not suffer to put this into perspective imagine what it would be like if neither you nor anyone you know has ever been healthy everyone has always had major ailments so acute that they can hardly get out of bed in this world nothing gets done that
can't be done near the bedside if that were the case then people wouldn't know anything different they would have to use all their energy just to drag their bodies along and there would be no concept or understanding of health and vitality that is exactly what is going on with the mental and emotional energies that make up your psyche your inner sensitivities expose you to a minute to minute constant situation in which you are suffering to one degree or another you are either trying to stop suffering controlling your environment to avoid
suffering or worrying about suffering in the future this state of affairs is so prevalent that you don't see it just as a fish doesn't see the water you only notice that you're suffering when it gets worse than usual you admit you have a problem when it gets so bad that it actually begins to affect your everyday behavior but in truth you are having constant issues with your psyche during your normal daily life to truly see this compare your relationship with your mind to your relationship with your body
under normal healthy situations you are not thinking about your body you are just going about your business walking driving working and playing without focusing on it you only think about your body when there is a problem in contrast you think about your psychological well-being all the time people are constantly thinking things like what if i get put on the spot what should i say i get so nervous if i'm not prepared that is suffering that constant
anxious inner talk is a form of suffering can i really trust him what if i expose myself and i get taken advantage of i don't ever want to go through that again that is the pain of having to think about yourself all the time why do we have to think about ourselves all the time why are so many thoughts about i me and mine look how often you think about how you're doing whether you like things or not and how to rearrange the world to please
yourself you think like this because you're not okay inside and you're constantly trying to make yourself feel better if your body had not been okay for a