image credit: Jamoker
In the scriptures of Shaivism and other mystic traditions, it is said that there is only one Consciousness or Mind and that we are all emanations of that one Consciousness. That Consciousness has descended from its expanded state to become the contracted self or mind that we experience as separate beings. Another name for Consciousness is Awareness, which pervades and empowers our bodies, minds and everything in this universe.
When I was a child I had experiences of this state of Awareness. In one experience, I was lying on the trunk of a coconut tree, and as I looked up at the sun breaking through the fronds of the huge branches swaying in the breeze, I was not conscious of me witnessing this. I was ecstasy itself, the sun’s rays, the branches, and the breeze. I was not witnessing the moment or separate from it all. That experience still stays with me and I was reminded of it when I met a great spiritual master for the first time. Being in the presence of a master who has become established in that state of Awareness is compared to a vibrating tuning fork harmonizing every instrument in the vicinity to its vibration. I had the same experience of no mind, no separate existence just blissful beingness. Of course I soon had to extricate myself from this state, as I was not used to it, in order to be “me “ again and to function in the world. That meant coming back down to my usual thinking, judging, and commenting mind.
This state of Awareness is always present and we can learn to be aware of it. When we practice meditation it is easier to be aware of this state. When the mind becomes quiet, we can be aware of Awareness. This state is described as the seer, the knower and the witness. At this moment as you are reading this, ask yourself, who or what is behind the function of seeing, reading, and cognizance. That, which empowers this experience, is Awareness itself. One exercise that you can practice to develop the awareness of this state is to be aware of yourself in your interactions. See yourself in the picture. It’s a state of detachment that allows you to not identify with your mind and body as a separate entity but as beingness itself. This is a difficult state to sustain because we are programmed by our ego to keep ourselves separate, so that I am I and you are you. The ego does not let go of this function because if it does, there will be no ego, we will only experience our true nature of oneness with all that is, which is the goal of the spiritual healing journey.