Hey guys! Welcome back.
I hope you enjoyed the previous lesson. I hope you had a lot of fun seeing that your everyday experiences and circumstances and relationships (and even your own thoughts, your own negative emotions, your own bad feelings, and your own beliefs) are all appearances, therefore confirming that you are always already aware.
This is a crucial exercise and I encourage you to continue to try it out during everyday life even after this lesson is over, even after you have already proceeded with different courses.
It is such a potent practice and you can use it with everything. Whenever you feel like there is a tightness—like there is non-clarity in terms of what you truly are—simply use that feeling of non-clarity as an appearance confirming the spaciousness of Awareness.
For this lesson, I want to share with you a very potent, powerful, cutting-through type of practice that I discovered during my own seeking journey.
I found that this practice is actually more direct for many people as a way to gain deeper experience and conviction in the always-already-present nature of the Enlightenment they are looking for.
The exercise is very simple, very short, and you can repeat it over and over and over again, as with most of the practices that I share.
So, this is all you are going to do: You are going to relax (or not, it doesn’t even really matter). Then you are going to ask yourself:
“Can I not be aware of this moment?”
In other words, actively try to not be aware right now. Try it right now! Try very hard not to be aware. Be as “unenlightened” as you can be. Think as many bad thoughts as you want. Create emotions. Conjure up trauma. Try to be as unconscious as you can, but keep checking in with yourself to see if it’s working; if it’s actually allowing you to not be aware of this moment.
Try this right now. You are reading my words. You may be thinking lots of thoughts. Think about something far, far away—like maybe a fantasy or a traumatic past experience—whatever you equate to being unconscious, try to conjure up that experience. Try to be as unconscious as you can be and keep checking in with yourself to see if it is working; if it is eliminating awareness of this moment; if it is canceling out awareness of this moment.
Try not to be aware of my words right now. Try really hard not to be aware of this moment, of this now, of this experience.
Even if you close your eyes and don’t read what I’m saying, you will still be aware of this moment. Things will have changed in your experience, but you cannot eliminate the awareness of this moment.
The “Try to Not Be Aware” Exercise
I’ll give you a couple of additional micro-exercises to amplify this effect. Read the next few paragraphs and then practice what you’ve read.
- With eyes open, see whatever you are seeing. Recognize that you are aware of what you are seeing. You are aware of visual stimuli. You are aware of this moment, in other words. You are aware of the body having a visual perception.
- Now, take a few moments to sit with your eyes closed. When you close your eyes, notice that the same Awareness, the same ability to recognize, is still present. You’ve simply changed your visual experience. You’ve closed your eyes, and therefore what you are aware of now is closed eyes; it is the experience of Now containing the appearance of closed eyes.
- Now, open your eyes again, notice that the same Awareness is still here.
- Now, close your eyes again. The same Awareness is still aware; now it’s aware of having your eyes closed. Slowly open your eyes, as slowly as you can (like, take 20 seconds to open them fully) and notice that the same Awareness is still aware as you gradually open your eyelids. Open open open open further further further. And now, all the light pours into your eyeballs again and you are still aware of that experience.
You cannot not be aware of this experience.
- Now, close your eyes again. You cannot not be aware. You cannot not be aware of this experience. Try hard to not be aware of closing and opening your eyes. You can’t do it. It’s impossible.
Awareness is Inescapable
So you see, Awareness is, in fact, inescapable. I love this word. “Awareness is inescapable” means you can’t escape it. You can’t get rid of it. And therefore, you also can’t try to find it again. The illusion of trying to find again what cannot be lost, what cannot be escaped, is kind of ironic. It keeps that seeking energy alive in a rather tense way for most people.
Apply these very simple but profound and concise exercises that I share with you during this chapter and during this course in general. Simply apply them over and over and over and over again. It may sound like a chore, but actually it can be really, really fun because what it introduces you to is the natural state of your being; the ease of your being. It gives you a great sense of empowerment, of confidence, of immortality, of transcendence; it gives you the sense of things not really mattering that much to you. You’ve become impartial in a holistic way, in a good way. You don’t mind what happens anymore.Jiddu Krishnamurti once said, “Do you want to know what my secret is? It is that I don’t mind what happens.”
Awareness works in a similar way. Realizing Awareness is exactly what Krishnamurti was talking about and what he embodied. Seeing everything, in a sense, with impartial eyes. It doesn’t mean you don’t have any preferences; it means you know that your true fundamental nature is undistracted, unlimited, inescapable, and that it does not change with the changing of appearances.
Awareness itself remains, and therefore you can be more in a state of not really minding what happens, even if you still have preferences (which is great). Preferences are a way of life and I will share more about that in the Empowerment teaching courses. However, for the purpose of this course, what you need to know and realize is that the stability of your True Being never leaves you; never changes. It is impartial or neutral to the appearances of life.
Trying hard to not be aware is one of the most profound, simple, and hilarious confirmations of the fact that “I cannot find what I am looking for because I already am what I am looking for; because I never lost what I am looking for.”
As you have probably guessed by now, the homework for this lesson is for you to sit down for perhaps 15 minutes straight and try to go into all the corners of your mind, all the corners of your emotional body, all the corners of your circumstances—project your consciousness wherever you want to, imagine whatever you want to imagine, think whatever you want to think. But keep checking in with yourself every 10 seconds or so to see if you are still aware. Try to distract yourself; try to not be aware of this moment. And keep checking in to see whether or not you have successfully become unaware.
Of course, you already know this is impossible. But still, it is very confirming to actually try it out and experience it first-hand, over and over and over again. It is very confirming, it is very pleasant, it is very enjoyable. And it increases your conviction tenfold when you really practice this exercise.
So, have fun with this! And, as with any exercise (even when I don’t mention it), feel free to write down a few paragraphs about your experience, about what you realized, about what changed in your experience, about what stood out to you, about what you noticed, about what beliefs disappeared, about what beliefs were exposed to be false beliefs, and so on.
Have fun with this, and I’ll see you in the next lesson.
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