Inner  Frontier
Fourth Way Spiritual Practice

 

Inner Work


For the week of July 27, 2009

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Perceiving Consciousness

(Part 5 of 9 in the series: Stages of Becoming Conscious)

As we grow familiar with the spaciousness, peace, and equanimity of consciousness, we come to recognize the taste of that still pool of cognizance that is the foundation of all our experience, the very medium of all perception. We start to be aware of consciousness itself, not just how it affects us. We notice the clear, almost viscous, mind-like substance of consciousness, more akin to space than to ordinary gases, liquids, or solids. We notice where it is: behind our thoughts, behind our ordinary sensory perceptions. We notice its all-pervasiveness, without boundaries, and without a center. We notice its unchanging sameness that is more than alive. We see that consciousness is always available: we need only make ourselves available to it. With all these remarkable qualities, it is little wonder that so many who enter pure consciousness mistake it for God.

Why does the perception of consciousness matter to us? First, consciousness gives us a foothold in a truly spiritual realm beyond space and time. Second, consciousness gives us a new level of inner freedom. Third, consciousness proves crucial to the integration of our will into a unified I, which allows us to be fully ourselves. The ability to perceive consciousness itself shows us the way more deeply into consciousness. We start to become able to work with consciousness itself directly. And by understanding consciousness we move toward the possibility of going beyond it, into the higher spiritual realms.

Like noticing the air or the space around us, we can turn our perceptive faculty toward the cognizant substrate of experience, toward the still pool of consciousness that surrounds us, inside and out. When meditative stillness flowers into spaciousness, peace, and equanimity, we can look to the conscious energy that supports that experience. We can notice the pristine, mind-like substance of our awareness in that moment. And in so doing, we touch and explore consciousness itself. The more we do that, the more we acquire the taste of consciousness, and the more we are able to open to consciousness in the midst of our day. As the fundamental energy of presence, the perception of conscious energy leads us directly toward a new, more vivid, warm-hearted, and satisfying life.

For this week, explore the taste of consciousness itself.


     

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