Monday, October 12, 2009

Turning spontaneously

The mind presents us with all kinds of experience. And further, the mind articulates that experience in many different ways (depending on the experience), such as:

I am working or

I am sad or

I am having a good time or

I am watching a movie etc

All of mind's interest and attention is in the sensory experience of being happy or sad or engrossed in the movie or whatever else. But if we really look at experience (any experience), there are always 2 components to any experience: - one is the sensory part of the experience (as described above - happy, sad, etc)- two is the 'I am' part of the experience or the beingness implicit in any experience.

This component of 'I am' is the foundational experience without which the sensory experience cannot be had. In order for something to be experienced, there must be someone who experiences it. So we can say that "I am" is the primary experience and the sensory part is the secondary experience.

Then perhaps we can agree that we live most of our lives located in secondary experience alone. It can be said that the primary experience is mostly ignored or taken for granted.

Most spiritual paths invite us to turn to the primary experience. Many meditation techniques and spiritual practices are geared to anchor us in this I-amness or simply beingness. But when mind goes there it gets very bored. There is no excitement there. By contrast, it seems like the secondary experience is vast, varied and infinitely more interesting. So the mind turns right back there, and assures itself of, at the very least - an exciting time. :-)

And yet, at the same time, it may seem like there is a lingering, maybe small part of us that is getting a bit tired of the sensory stuff. Perhaps we find that we need ever new experiences to keep us interested, because what used to interest us simply lost its appeal. And although there is no dearth of new things, we may find that they have an old air about them.

So we find ourselves in somewhat of a quandary - wanting sensory experience and yet wanting more than just that. The next time this quandary is experienced (or anything else), and the mind says 'I am feeling confused', perhaps we can turn, ever so slightly, to the primary experience there, - I am - and give it a small bit of attention too. So that we find that our awareness holds both - the experience of confusion and the experience of being.

We don't need to hold our attention there, we can just turn there when it occurs to us to do so. What we may find is that something expands out, and instead of feeling boxed into a tiny part of our reality - which is the sensory experience - we feel a spaciousness around experience, that is very relaxing.

But it is not just relaxing, it is perspective-altering. Stepping into I-amness, even for a split second, is stepping into the larger reality. And from here everything is seen differently. This world of experience that we have given so much importance to, begins to be seen in a much bigger context, and all experience is held more lightly.

The split second of unforced turning to I-am ness is unimaginably powerful. In the mind it competes with a lifetime of other experiences, but in reality it works like seeds sprinkled in the ground - invisibly, silently and surely, yielding forests that change the landscape.

In this way, without force, we can start to reconnect with the primary experience of beingness and see where it takes us. There is no need to give up our attraction to secondary experience. We can simply turn to 'I am', when we remember and want to do so. We need not dedicate a pre-specified amount of time to this, nor assign a special place for this. It can happen anytime, anyplace - during work, during leisure, in the car or while walking...

The best time to turn to 'I am' is when it happens spontaneously.

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