Lesson 8 – Every appearance confirms Awareness
Hello everyone! Welcome to Everything Confirms Awareness. This lesson is very similar in nature to Enlightenment I’s Lesson 8, Everything Confirms Presence. The difference is that, in this lesson, we are going to utilize every single experience as a reflection—as an immediate proof, an immediate confirmation—of the fact that we are aware.
Why repeat the same idea? Because one of the key concepts of all of my teachings is the principle of always and already. With this principle of already and always, we start to notice that we can use our everyday experiences as a reflection, a reminder—as proof, as confirmation—of that which we seek. In this course, the intention is to gain greater familiarity, to become more convinced, of Awareness being your true nature, being who you are.
If we want a constant teacher, if we want to really accelerate our understanding and our embodiment of the ease, the freedom, and the spaciousness that is Awareness itself (the true “I-I” identity); if we really want to collapse that “I” back in on itself, so that “I” or Awareness becomes Self-Awareness, then there is no more immediate, faster, complete way to achieve this than to utilize our every single experience as the teacher, as the mirror.
So, what do we do? As always, we simply relax for 2 to 5 seconds, take a deep breath, give away our thoughts and notice the clarity, the spaciousness of the Awareness we are, underneath and behind all our thoughts.
Notice this Awareness and bring it into your everyday life experiences. For example, this is an everyday life experience: I’m talking to you; you are reading these words. Utilize this experience as a confirmation of Awareness. Simply shift your understanding of an experience around. It’s like flipping over the “playing cards” of experiences. On one side, every card looks different; every story looks different. Just like in your life, every story has a different image. But if you flip over that card, every single unique story shares the same background. They all share the same backside, the same fundamental underlying principle.
In the case of your everyday experiences, that underlying principle is not only Presence-Energy, which makes up the experience, it also includes Awareness. And right now, we are going to apply this to the Awareness realization.
As you are reading these words, you are aware of this experience. Instead of only noticing the experience, for the purpose of this lesson, recognize the fact that you are aware of this experience. And then recognize that this experience confirms that you are aware. It is absolute, solid evidence that you cannot escape your own Awareness; that you cannot not already be what you truly are; that the “I,” the Absolute Infinite “I”—Awareness, the ultimate Free Agent of The Absolute—is always here, is already perfect, is already established. You are already Enlightened.
Using Everyday Experiences as Confirmation
Allow every day experiences, every day appearances, to become rock solid, easy, obvious, very playful confirmations of the fact that you are already what you are looking for. You are already this great Awareness. You are already aware of the words you are reading. You are already aware of this moment.Start using every single experience in this way. In addition to recognizing the angle, “Hey, I am aware of this experience” (because you have already done that), see it from the angle of the experience being a confirmation of the fact that you were already aware before you even noticed it. Can you see the power in this? Can you see the immediacy of this? Can you see how this undermines any idea you might have about Awareness not always already being here? Or any belief you might have that you are not always already perfectly Enlightened and awake and aware?
Perhaps you believe that Awareness is always here, but perhaps you don’t believe that you are this Awareness. If that is the case, you can use this experiment in the same way. Simply notice that every single experience that arises confirms that you exist, confirms that you are aware, confirms that you are here to recognize it. Every experience shows you, proves to you, the solid evidence of the fact that there must be something that is already present for the experience to arise within. This ”something,” which is really closer to a “nothing,” is what we would call Awareness—spacious, free, empty Awareness.
So, every time there is an experience that allows you to become aware of the fact that you exist, start using that moment, start milking that moment. Start surfing the wave of that moment of clarity, of that moment of having become conscious again of the fact that you are who you are, that you are part of this Academy, and that you are in this practice, at this time, following this lesson.
As soon as any experience triggers this type of self-awareness or remembrance, see in that moment that this very experience confirms Awareness. In other words, every time you become naturally self-aware (even it is just for a brief moment), every moment you start to naturally recognize that you exist and that you have the ability to choose where to place your attention in that moment, simply notice that Awareness was already aware on its own accord. The experience you are having is absolute proof that Awareness is already perfectly established, and that it is, in fact, who or what you are.
This is a very powerful practice to undermine any doubts you might have regarding your Enlightenment. Because this is one of the nastiest beliefs in the history of spiritual seekers—that, “I am not already what I am, I am not there yet, I am not Enlightened yet. If only I was more like the Buddha; if only I was more like Jesus…” So many spiritual seekers, including myself in the past, beat themselves up over this idea of “becoming” Enlightened, of “becoming” Self-Realized.
This practice is such a sobering, perfectly mundane, obvious, crystal clear, and undeniable confirmation. If there is an experience in your field of Awareness, then there must be a field of Awareness. Every single mundane little experience, including the thoughts that suggest you are not Enlightened, are experiences reflecting Awareness back to itself. These experiences are letting you know, by the very fact they appear, that you are aware of them. You are already aware of them, with no effort. Whether you try to do anything about it, whether you try to maintain Awareness or not, you were, and are, and always will be, already aware of whatever arises in this moment.
Let this experiment—this shift in attention, this flipping over the card of experience—let this show you that every arriving apparition is absolute proof of what you are looking for. Allow this to be your “permission symbol” to completely relax into your knowingness that what you are looking for (which, in this course, just so happens to be the “I,” or I-Awareness), is already the case, is already inescapably here.
You cannot get rid of who you are. You cannot become more of who you are. You can become more aware of the fact that you are already aware, but you cannot, essentially speaking, become “more Awareness.” Awareness is already here. Awareness already noticed the words you are reading, before you even recognized what the words actually convey.
There are sounds in your environment and sensations in your body right now. You are effortlessly registering all these impulses, all these sensations, all these appearances that are part of Awareness’s self-dreaming creation or projection. In other words, every single experience you have ever had or that you ever will have—including experiences you are unconscious of—are already registered by this effortless field of expansive, free, inescapable, already-present, all-inclusive Awareness, which is synonymous with you.
The purpose of this practice is two-fold. One purpose is simply to have an enjoyable confirming experience of Awareness; to increase the clarity with which you recognize that Awareness is always already here, so you become more convinced of it. The second purpose is to undermine any lingering beliefs you might still have at this point about the fact that you are already awake, that you are already perfectly perceiving, as much as you will ever be perceiving.
You are already the Perceiver; you are already the principle of seeing, of being, of perceiving, of witnessing, of being aware. You already are that principle. There is nothing you can do to remove it; there is nothing you can do to add to it. Not really. We can play within this Awareness, with different levels of this awareness of Awareness, but this fundamental, essential Awareness is unchangeable. Because it is actually outside of time; it is beyond time. It includes the experiences of time, but the Awareness that recognizes the experiences of time is itself beyond time. Therefore, it has to be changeless, it has to be eternal. And it is.
In order for you to experience yourself more fully as this Awareness, in a more convinced, grounded, effortless, Enlightened way, simply use every appearance you are conscious of in this moment as a “permission slip” to see that it confirms the effortless natural state of Existence itself, which is you, yourself.
The homework for this lesson is to go about everyday life and have fun with this. Go about your life and realize your immortality, realize your freedom, realize your effortlessness, your ease, and your spaciousness. Use everything you have, every appearance that comes up. In this way, it becomes fun to be alive. It becomes fun to go to work. It becomes fun to be in a relationship. It becomes fun to not know who you are. It becomes fun to think you’re not enlightened. Because all these beliefs, all these events—they are all appearing to Awareness. They are all confirming, by the very fact that they appear to you, that you must already be awake and aware.
If you start using as many moments throughout the day as you can in this particular light, I promise you this search for Enlightenment will very swiftly end. Conviction will replace this effortful seeking that you might still hold onto, on some level of your being. This was one of the most profound and cutting-through-illusion-kind of realizations that I have had on my own journey. It was a realization that really relinquished the need for seeking, that really allowed me to let myself off the hook, to not beat myself up anymore over this vain curiosity about being Enlightened or not being Enlightened. The searching for Enlightenment in that particular, tense way stopped as soon as I realized that everything can be utilized as a confirmation of the Presence and the Awareness I was looking for.
So, go about your everyday life and use as many moments as you can, in as conscious and clear ways as you can, to confirm that which is already conscious and already clear, even before you recognize it. Then, I want you to write two or three paragraphs on the observations you made throughout this practice of utilizing your experiences as confirmations of Awareness. Just write down statements to your self as facts, as truths, describing the realizations you had while performing this practice.
It would be awesome if you could share these paragraphs and your challenges and questions with other people of the Academy in the Enlightenment II, Lesson 8 study group.
Note: For your convenience, below we have added the text of Enlightenment I, Lesson 8: Everything Confirms Presence, changing the word “Presence” to the word “Awareness” here and there. So, you can simply read through it again, but now apply it to this different, more subtle state of your true nature.
The same text, the same principles of “always already” still apply. Apply the same idea of using everything you can as your teacher, as your guru, as confirmation of what you are looking for, as the reflection of what is already here, so that you undermine any doubts and can actually start to relax and enjoy and be at ease in your everyday life experiences.
Do this so you know you are Enlightened, so you know you are free, so you know you are Awareness, so you know you are timeless, so you know you are immortal, so you know you are indestructible, so you know your True Nature will always be here, so you know your True Nature is always reliable. Know that this is who you are.
If you apply this practice over and over again, very swiftly it will transform your whole view of Enlightenment. So, read through the text below again, even though you already read through it in a previous course. But now, apply it to Awareness, just to gain that additional subtlety, that additional clarity, that additional opportunity. Use that text to reflect back to yourself once again, this that is always and already true. Enjoy, have fun, and report!
Enlightenment I, Lesson 8: Everything Confirms Presence
Flipping The Card of Experience
Just as there are two sides to a playing card, so too, there are two sides to every experience that appears within Awareness.
One side of the playing card has a story to tell that is unique from every other card in the deck. It has a picture on it, a number, a label, a form, and a shape that all tell its story. It has a unique frequency that identifies its individuality, its uniqueness.
The other side of the card shows you only one picture and it is the same picture regardless of which card you draw. This is the non-story side of each card; it shows you the same truth over and over again.
Likewise, one side of any experience is the story-side of that experience—it shows you the labels you and others have given it. It shows you the thoughts, the names, the associations, and the ideas or feelings about what’s arising. The story-side of each experience is utterly unique and different from every other experience in the deck of Creation.
Now flip that experience over, so to speak, as you would a card, and recognize that the Awareness-confirming side of that same experience shows you only one thing: the fact that the experience exists.
Just like the backside of every card in a deck shows a flowery red pattern (for example), the backside of each and every experience has this written all over it: “I exist, you exist, Awareness exists.”
If an experience can arise, it must have presence; it must exist.
Read between the lines—see past or beyond the stories—and you will see that the essence of any experience is nothing but Presence confirming its own Awareness (as well as yours).
We read books, meditate for ages, chant mantras, and offer ceremonies to the gods, all to experience more directly this divine, brilliant Presence-Clarity that we already are.
While that is all fine and dandy, why not take the direct route first, and stop searching elsewhere for what is staring you directly in the face over and over again?
Learn to flip over any experience, no matter what its story-side suggests, and see it from the other perspective. Emphasize to yourself that the presence of any experience tells you the same truth over and over again: “I exist. I appear to you, so you exist, too. We both exist as part of this singular Awareness.”
We must be blind to have never noticed! This Awareness-confirmation process—the opportunity for life to wake up to its own Awareness—is happening every nano-second, with every change, or no-change, in your experience.
The man who sees me in everything and everything within me will not be lost to me, nor will I ever be lost to him.
He who is rooted in oneness realizes that I am in every being; wherever he goes, he remains in me.
When he sees all being as equal in suffering or in joy because they are like himself, that man has grown perfect in yoga.Krishna, The Bhagavad Gita
While you read this paragraph, Awareness is being confirmed, reflected to you—and therefore to itself, since you are not separate from Awareness—billions of times!
So, instead of emphasizing the story-side of any experience, learn to appreciate that same experience from its Awareness-confirming side.
It is all about a shift in focus. Where you place your attention—what you emphasize—is what you will notice most.
When you train yourself to emphasize the Awareness-confirming side of an experience, rather than its suggested story or meaning, you start to experience greater and deeper ease in the midst of every experience.
For example, the story-side of you sitting in a field of flowers on a sunny day might suggest that life is beautiful, and as a result, you will feel ease and joy. The experience of someone then throwing a rock at your head, while you’re sitting in the field of flowers, might suggest that something unpleasant is happening, and you might feel uneasy and anxious. But all the while, the beautiful flowers, as well as the rock headed your way, are pure Awareness confirming this moment.
When you learn to soften your stories by emphasizing the Awareness within them, you start to transcend your own definitions of “good and bad” or “ease versus unease,” and a stable sense of well-being begins to emerge and take up residence in the heart of your being—always available. You stop taking life so seriously and you start feeling freer, lighter, and in general, much happier and more empowered, because you know the truth of your being.
Emphasizing Awareness, instead of seeing only stories and definitions, is somewhat similar to Lesson 3’s exercise of seeing the Is-ness of an object, rather than the label you’ve learned to apply to it. The subtle difference between the “Object Has Presence” exercise and the “Flipping Over an Experience” exercise in this lesson, is that here we place the focus not so much on the fact that an experience has Presence, but on the fact that every experience confirms Awareness.
We do this to let go of ideas that we need anything but this moment to confirm the already present enlightenment of (our) Awareness.
In this way, we move from doubt to conviction by letting the obviousness of every-day appearances confirm the here-and-now Awareness, as often as we desire to see this truth.
Remember: an experience’s Awareness and our own Awareness are essentially the same Beingness. The experience is an immediate extension of Presence-Energy, which is also what makes up your body, your thoughts, and everything else that has form or presence.
As you know by now, everything is bathed in, and shares, the same sphere/field/body of Presence-Energy, infused with intelligence—or Consciousness.
The beauty of utilizing everyday experiences as a teacher (confirmer) of Presence (or Awareness!), is the fact that experiences occur all the time. In other words, you are never even an inch removed from your next instruction, your next confirmation of Awareness, your next enlightening moment.
If discovering your eternal, all-pervasive, unchanging nature is what you are after, you are never without a teacher. Your every moment, your every experience, can become a mirror convincing you ever more deeply that you are present; that Awareness is present.
Soon enough (or even right now) you realize with great confidence that Awareness continues to exist—no matter what arises in the field of Consciousness—and that all appearances (experiences) are bathed in, and made of, Awareness.
The “Jewelry Store” Analogy
Imagine yourself stopping in front of a jewelry store window. Mesmerized by the jewelry on display on the other side of the glass, you marvel at the form, shape, size, color, material, name, price tag, and design of the necklaces and bracelets that you see.
You are mesmerized by form and name, by label and thought. You are automatically emphasizing the story-side of that experience.
Suddenly, a pigeon flies by, about a foot behind your head, at 45 miles per hour (pigeons are fast). You hear the swooshing sound and feel its wind trail hit your head. At the same time, you were also shocked awake by the sudden flash that you saw in the reflection in the jewelry store’s window, of this pigeon flying by your head.
At that moment, you are snapped out of the story-dream of the price tag of the jewelry displayed behind the glass, and you become self-aware once again. You remember that you are in a city, in front of a jewelry store, and that you have a body.
This time when you stare into the jewelry store window, you see your own reflection in the glass, rather than the necklaces and bracelets behind it.
Both the jewelry behind the glass, as well as your body’s reflection in it, co-exist within the same space, within the same line of sight, but you can choose to focus more on one, or the other.
As soon as you emphasize the jewelry’s sparkle and price tag, you lose sight of your reflection in the window. As soon as you emphasize your body being reflected in the window, you lose sight of what’s behind the glass.
Whatever you emphasize becomes your experience; everything else disappears from view—from your consciousness.
This analogy helps us see that every single experience works exactly like that: we can either be mesmerized by the form, shape, size, and labels we have learned to see our experiences through, or we can notice that the presence of the experience reflects our true and changeless Awareness.
When you apply this analogy to your own experience, you can see that within the space of an experience arising, you can either see (emphasize) the experience, or you can choose to see (emphasize) that its very presence confirms Awareness.
Arguably, this is the most immediate and profound way to free yourself from needing constant confirmation and reminders by books and teachers: to develop the habit of looking at your immediate surroundings and using the ever-present nature of experience itself as a way to confirm and convince yourself of what’s obviously true—that you always are.
Save Yourself Years of Seeking
The above exercise—when applied—becomes a handy short-cut to conviction, bypassing years that would have otherwise been spent in unnecessary cycles of seeking confirmation of what’s already naturally the case.
Indeed, this almost overly simple exercise—when applied—can eliminate years, even decades, of vague instruction, books, trips to India, the search for teachers, and other external confirmations of what you already are, and replace them with just a few days, or even minutes, of your time enjoying the magic of your already present Greater Self.
You’re welcome. 🙂
You deserve direct tools. They exist, so why not use them and discard the dreadfully slow tools, cloaked in mystery and ceremony?
Unless you absolutely insist on not loving yourself—which you are free to do—I see no reason why you should not bypass the lengthy, windy, vague spiritual paths offered to you by unsatisfying and confused teachings and lineages that are reluctant, or unable, to reinvent themselves.
With all due respect—this should be only about two things: you and what actually works.
So, take what works best for you, focus on what’s obvious and immediate, leave out what feels unnecessary or redundant, and carve out your own direct path with the highest degree of joy and conviction possible for you.
Got a question, or just want to share?
Discuss this lesson in the forums!