Whatever Happens

Whatever is happening is happening in awareness. Not to awareness.

As individual selves, we think things are happening to us, but that is not our actual experience.

When we identify as separate selves, then yes, things happen to us that make us feel happy, angry, inspired, or depressed. But when we look for the self to which things happen, we can’t find it. All we find is a conglomeration of ever-changing thoughts, images, memories, emotions, bodily sensations, and perceptions of the world through our five senses. These are all temporary qualities, and therefore can’t be considered part of our essential nature.

The only thing that is not temporary in our experience is awareness – that which knows all experience but itself is not an experience. Experiences come and go, but awareness does not come and go with them.

Ask yourself, does awareness, the knowing element in all experience, happen in a thought, or does thought happen in awareness? This is easy to confirm one way or the other. Which comes first, a thought or awareness? Thoughts are continually coming and going, but that which knows them doesn’t appear and disappear along with them. For just a moment, sit quietly and observe a thought entering your field of awareness, lingering for a moment, and then leaving your field of awareness. You, that is, your essential being of ever-present awareness, exists prior to, during, and after a thought has appeared, lingered, and disappeared. And this is true for all of the temporary qualities of the body-mind, or so-called separate self.

These observations being irrefutable, we can only conclude that our essential being is awareness itself. And if we investigate the qualities of this awareness, no limits or boundaries can be found. It is therefore infinite and eternal, and we can’t each house our own private infinite and eternal awareness. Where is there room for two?

You, I, we, are this one and only awareness. So as you move through this temporary life form as a body-mind, remember that all things happen in you as infinite and eternal awareness, not to you as a limited separate self. And with this revelation, happiness prevails.

Whatever happens is happening in awareness, not to awareness. This is very reassuring, in fact, completely liberating when you are established in this realization. When you are having a difficult time, don’t worry. Just as a violent thunder and lightning storm leaves the sky unchanged, untarnished, and unharmed, similarly, awareness, our essential shared being, is untouched, unchanged, and unharmed by whatever is happening in it.

Whatever

Whatever you perceive you are not.

You perceive a body that experiences pleasure and pain.

You are not.

You perceive a mind filled with thoughts, images, and memories.

You are not.

You perceive a world outside full of beings and objects.

You are not.

You perceive the wonders and horrors of humanity and beasts, nature and the universe.

You are not.

You perceive the observer of all these things.

You are not.

If you are not any of the above, what remains?

You.