Awakening is actually not difficult. It is a very easy process. But We make it difficult, if not nearly impossible. We are our own worst enemy. That which is seemingly simple becomes the most difficult thing one could possibly do. The process itself is very easy: Be present in your awareness. You are Not your mind. You are the awareness beyond the mind. You are the witness of your mind, your body and the world. Step outside of your mind as awareness, and become the watcher of your mind. Simply watch the thoughts flow through the mind like a river. Disassociate yourself from it. After some time, the thoughts seem to fade away, like the noise of a raging stream as you move further away from it. The mind becomes silent. Stay in this awareness. There isn’t anything else.
“Just be aware that you are and remain aware—don’t say: ‘yes, I am; what next?’ There is no ‘next’ in ‘I am’. It is a timeless state.”
– Nisargadatta Maharaj
Not so difficult. But the problem is that somehow, we have been hoodwinked into believing that we Are the mind. We have been hijacked by the mind, and it has taken control of us. Therefor the mind will do anything to stay in control. The last thing that it wants is us to be in present time, disassociated from the mind, to know yourself as awareness separate from it, as this means the end of its control – the death of the false ego. So it has an entire arsenal to keep us imprisoned. It dangles carrots in front of us, enticing us to go in any direction except the truth that will set us free. If we become interested in truth, the mind will present all kinds of pseudo-spiritual paths. There are thousands of them on the internet alone. Notice that they All keep the mind engaged, acquiring new knowledge, rituals and ceremonies, various practices, etc. Yes, the mind loves this stuff.
I can’t even count how many roads I went down. Maybe the truth is down here? Oh, this looks good. Maybe this is the one? I was a fool. I don’t know if Grace just took pity on me or she got fed up with my stupidity, my avoidance of the very thing I was searching for. She took mercy on me by dragging me to a precipice and kicking me over the edge into the abyss. Well….. That woke me up. Quite Embarrassed.
So this is our dilemma. We believe that we are the mind, yet it is the very thing we need to become free of. So how do you do that? How do you become free from yourself? It sounds like an impossibility. Yet it’s Not. Simply slip out of your mind and see that you are actually awareness, not the mind. You are separate from it. That one exercise alone is powerful enough to break the spell. The mind may keep dragging you back, but it’s too late. You Know. Just keep escaping. The game is over when you want it to be.
“No particular thought can be mind’s natural state, only silence. Not the idea of silence, but silence itself. When the mind is in its natural state, it reverts to silence spontaneously after every experience, or, rather, every experience happens against the background of silence.
It has nothing to do with effort. Just turn away, look between the thoughts, rather than at the thoughts. When you happen to walk in a crowd, you do not fight every man you meet, you just find your way between. When you fight, you invite a fight. But when you do not resist, you meet no resistance. When you refuse to play the game, you are out of it.”
~ Nisargadatta Maharaj
So the secret is to separate your Self from the mind. From that point, get to the point that the mind remains quiet. Don’t fight with it, as that will only give the mind more power to control you. Just ignore it. Don’t give it any attention.
“A quiet mind is all you need. All else will happen rightly, once your mind is quiet. As the sun on rising makes the world active, so does self-awareness affect changes in the mind.”
“Look at your mind dispassionately; this is enough to calm it. When it is quiet, you can go beyond it. Do not keep it busy all the time. Stop it – and just be. If you give it a rest, it will settle down and recover its purity and strength.”
– Nisargadatta Maharaj
In my article On Meditation, I described how I just put my attention on the sights, sounds and feelings of Mother Nature without any thought. There was no effort. I was more interested in Mother Nature than the chattering mind. In reality, the mind is very annoying. It never shuts up. Don’t give it any attention. Game over.
– Greg Calise