Breathing In

‘Breathing in, I know I am breathing in.

Breathing out, I know I am breathing out.’

~ Buddha

 

Breathing aside, as it is happening by itself, ask yourself the question, who is this I that knows it is breathing in and out?

It can’t be the personal I, the separate self, the body-mind we call ‘I’ made up of the temporary attributes of thoughts, sensations, and perceptions that are always coming and going. So perhaps a better question might be what is this I that knows it is breathing in and out?

‘What’ infers an object or thing, and all things are bound by the limitations of time and space – they appear and then eventually disappear.

So if the I that knows it is breathing in and out is not the personal I made up of fleeting thoughts, images, memories, moods, sensations, and perceptions – all subtle objects in themselves – or things ‘out there’ in the world, all of which are subject to the limits of time and space, what is it?

You know what it is because you are it. Not the limited personal you, but the limitless knowing presence that has always been with you, aware, unchanged, and untarnished regardless of your experience.

It’s hopeless to try and think this through. The ‘it’ we are talking about is prior to mind, prior to the body and the world. It is that part of you, we, I, that remains ageless as the personal self, the body-mind, is born, lives, and dies, as things out in the world age and disintegrate.

To say that it is a part of you is not entirely accurate. It is not a part of you as a body-mind in a world. You, as a body-mind in a world, are a part of it. ‘It’ is that which contains all things, yet is not itself a thing. It cannot be found because it has no objective qualities, but it is never not here. Call it consciousness, awareness, or Divine Spirit. Whatever you call it, it is the undeniably present and aware essence in which all things arise, are known by, and made of.

It is consciousness that knows it is breathing in and out, and because all there is is consciousness, consciousness is breathing itself in and out, although in reality there is no in or out for consciousness, so consciousness is just breathing.

We, as individual body-minds, are the manifest breath of consciousness. Yes, we appear to come and go, to be born, live and die, but in reality there is no place to come from and no place to go to. There is only infinite and eternal consciousness breathing itself, or more accurately, consciousness just is. And we are that. 

No Mistaken Identity

‘The known always changes. The knower never changes.’ ~ Rupert Spira

To know yourself is as simple as knowing that which knows our experience. Our experience is always changing, but the knower of experience, of all experience, never changes. Discover the knowing presence within yourself that is never changing and know your essential being, our essential shared being, once and for all. No mistaken identity.

Consciousness Only Knows Itself

Can you have any experience outside of consciousness, outside of awareness, the knowing presence at the core of our being that has been with us unchanged, untarnished, since we were infants?

Look at your hand. Is it outside your field of awareness?

Feel the weight of your body on the chair. Is this sensation outside your field of awareness?

Listen to any sound that occurs. Is it outside your field of awareness?

Take a thought, an image, an emotion, a memory. Are any of these appearing outside of consciousness, outside your field of awareness?

Is it possible for anything to exist outside of consciousness, outside our field of awareness?

If you say yes, how would you prove this? You must be in consciousness, in awareness, to experience anything, even the erroneously labeled ‘outside of consciousness’.

Nothing can appear outside of consciousness, outside our field of awareness, because that is all there is.

What are the implications of this discovery?

All things that arise in consciousness must be made out of consciousness.

This being the case, if we, everything, is made out of the same stuff, there can be no real division or separation between any thing.

When there is no separation, no division, when all we experience is indivisible oneness, don’t we call that love?

Gap In The Clouds

We experience thoughts coming and going, but after one thought disappears and another one arises there is a gap. Where are we in this gap between thoughts?

Do we, the one who is aware of thoughts coming and going, disappear when a thought disappears and the gap appears? No. We are still here, in the gap. So we could now say, ‘I am the gap.’

But there is no gap.

To say that we are the gap between thoughts would be like saying that the sky is a gap in the clouds.

Just as there is only the unbroken continuity of the sky, sometimes obscured by the clouds, but never not there, there is only the unbroken continuity of the presence of awareness, sometimes obscured by our thoughts, sensations, or perceptions, but never not there.

Now ask yourself, who or what is it that notices the thoughts, gap, clouds, sky, and awareness?

But before you answer, here’s a hint: there is no ‘who’ or ‘what’.

Don’t Name It

We all have feelings. We feel happy, content, peaceful, angry, sad, depressed, bored, lonely, anxious, etc.

What is a feeling, really? Most of us accept feelings as part of our essential nature, but is this our actual experience?

All feelings are temporary, coming and going in the empty, open field of awareness, the source of our being. Rather than name these feelings as good, bad, or neutral, and reacting to them in some way, don’t name them at all.

Go through a day without naming or labeling any of your so-called ‘feelings’ and see what happens.

If you do this, go through a day just experiencing feelings, observing them as they come and go without naming them, you will find that what you considered a previously uncomfortable feeling is nothing more than a temporary appearance in awareness that does not affect the unchanging, knowing presence of awareness itself.

And you are this awareness. You are that. All feelings come and go in you, awareness, but you do not come and go with them. Things happen in you, not to you.

A Bird’s Simple Song

A bird’s song is a simple song, a song sung from dawn to dusk, year after year, for a lifetime. It may be only a few melodic notes, perhaps a small variation here or there, but always beautiful in its simplicity.

Composers from all musical traditions have been inspired by birdcalls like that of the nightingale and the cuckoo. ‘The Lark in the Morning’ is an old and beloved Irish fiddle tune. The call of the Western Meadowlark brings to mind a saxophone riff by Charlie ‘Bird’ Parker.

And to know ourself as Awareness is a simple song – there is only one thing going on, not two. That is, there is only one consciousness, one aware-presence that knows the coming and going of all things, but doesn’t come and go with them. And all things that arise in consciousness, which, in fact, is everything, must be made of consciousness, leaving us to conclude that consciousness is all there is.

The source of our being.

How simple is that?

I, Awareness, sing my song, my simple song

My one note song

Of silence

From dawn to dusk, from dusk till dawn

A timeless melody

~

As I am boundless, with no beginning or end

Nothing exists outside of me

I am the source of all sound

~

All songs appear in me, in my silence

All songs are known by me, by my silence

All songs are made of me, of my silence

~

I, Awareness sing my song, my simple song of silence

Alive with the rhythms of peace, love, and happiness

The only song I know

My one note song

Not two

Ram Dass, Going Home

For those of us who hold Ram Dass dear to our heart, if you haven’t already, watch the newly released Ram Dass Going Home streaming on Netflix.

Words can’t express the indebtedness to Richard Alpert, who, in the midst of the political, social, and spiritual turmoil of the late ‘60s, went to India in search of the truth and returned as Ram Dass to spread his message of peace, love, and happiness to the many seekers who were inspired by his journey. His book ‘Be Here Now’ motivated us to join him on the pathless path and discover our essential nature that his presence now embodied.

And now, at age 87, having gracefully weathered a severe stroke he suffered over twenty years ago, he is preparing to die. His mantra, ‘I am loving Awareness.’ His message, ‘Let’s all lead each other home.’

Thank you, thank you, thank you, Ram Dass!

Eternal gratitude!

We love you!