A group of friends were discussing non-duality. The subject was to identify exactly what it was that constituted the sense of being, the underlying consciousness or aware presence that many seekers have sought, experienced, and, more often than not, lost at some point during their spiritual search – the sense of resting as that which exists prior to any knowledge, any appearance, any experience, accompanied by a feeling of unlimited freedom and overwhelming joy.
It was a lively conversation, including bits and pieces of various insights, methods used, the recalling of intense experiences, and many questions. The group was really trying to pin it down.
Someone frustrated by the apparent illusive nature of awareness said, ‘I just don’t seem to be able to hold on to it. I get it and then just as quickly, it’s gone. Then I look and look and can’t find it for the longest time. Most of the time I don’t even know what I’m looking for. I just know that there’s something out there that’s bigger than me. I can feel it, taste it, be it for a moment, and then its back to the same old maddening search. Can anyone help me?’
‘If you notice it, you’re not it,’ a quiet voice offered.
‘Wait, what did you say?’ called out the questioner.
The group fell silent.
‘Whatever you notice cannot be who or what you are,’ said the soft-spoken woman.
‘I’m not sure I understand totally what you’re saying, but it really resonates. I can feel it in my gut,’ said the questioner. ‘Can you tell me more?’
The woman smiled and shrugged her shoulders. ‘You’re the one who notices?’
* * *
If we pay attention to ourselves, our world, what is it that we notice? We notice our thoughts, images, feelings, sensations, and perceptions, including sights, sounds, tastes, textures, and smells – all temporary objects, subtle or gross, which arise in us and thus have to be made of us. But, although they come and go, we, awareness, that which notices all things, does not come and go with them. Simply notice this and always be.