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.

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’.

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

Pay More Attention

Pay more attention to the space in which objects arise rather than to the objects themselves.

Anything that can be experienced – a thought, memory, mental image, mood, a perception of the world through the five senses – is a fleeting appearance in the limitless, silent space within which they appear. They are like characters in a movie whose existence depends solely on the screen.

Pay more attention to the screen, this limitless space within you, this unchanging, ever-present knowing that is the background of all experience. This is the source and substance of your original being. Of our original being, as there can be only one. ‘Limitless’ leaves no room for two.

Then ask yourself, who or what is paying attention to this limitless space?

Skyless Cloud

Look closely at awareness, the knowing presence that is our essential being. Notice that all things come and go in this awareness – thoughts, memories, feelings, sensations, sights, sounds, tastes, textures, and smells – but it doesn’t come and go with them.

Can you remove this awareness from your experience? Can anything, any thing, be known without it?

Can you remove the sky from the clouds?

Without the sky, can there be a cloud? Without awareness, can there be a thought, a feeling?

We often see a cloudless sky, but never a skyless cloud. We sometimes experience an aware stillness, but never an independent thought.

There can be an infinite number of clouds, but only one sky in which they appear and disappear, just as there can be an infinite number of thoughts, feelings, or sensations, but only one awareness in which they arise and pass away.

Just as an endless parade of clouds come and go while the sky remains unchanged, an endless parade of thoughts, feelings, sensations, and perceptions come and go in the unchanging field of awareness that is our original nature.

We can experience awareness without thoughts, but we can never experience a thought without awareness. In other words, you can take thoughts out of awareness, but you can’t take awareness out of thoughts.

Find this awareness, this aware stillness that is in the background of all experience, the stuff out of which all experience is made, and know your original nature.

Where is it?

Just as clouds sometimes obscure the sky, but we know it’s always there in the background, notice that awareness, the knowing presence that is your, our, original nature, exists prior to the appearance of any thought or perception. It is ever-present and aware regardless of what arises and passes away.

We know without a doubt the clear, pristine sky that is always present and unchanged by any cloud that appears and disappears within it. Now know without a doubt the clear, pristine presence of awareness that is always with you, always is you, unchanged by any appearance.

Then let go the mental images of the skyless cloud and an aware presence, only concepts of mind. Let them dissolve in that which is beyond all images, beyond all concepts.

Beyond the beyond.

Welcome!