Inner  Frontier
Cultivating Spiritual Presence

 

Inner Work


For the week of July 16, 2018

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The One Who Sees

(Living in Oneness: 4)

To understand the opposite of oneness, namely fragmentation, we need look no further than our own mind. Thousands of disparate, contradictory, and conflicting forces, urges, desires, opinions, tensions, fears, jealousies, angers, identities, regrets, plans, dreams, and so on populate our mind. Pushing its own agenda, each one takes center stage as if it were the only one in existence, shouting "I," until it is shoved aside by another one.

It is remarkable that normal people appear as stable as they do, with all these roiling chunks of micro-identity behind the scenes. No wonder we sometimes feel like imposters, given that among this multitude of continually shifting forces and urges, we do not know which one is us. We do not know who we are. Our belief that we are the one currently on the center stage of our mind is comforting, until that one vanishes, only to be replaced by a quite different one. Who am I in all this?

The source of this hidden turmoil lies in our identification with the contents of our mind. The first major step out of this is exactly that: to step out of the turmoil, out of the contents of our mind, and into the cognitive context of our mind. We step into awareness itself.

In our meditation, we sit and notice the unending procession of thoughts and images, emotions and desires, urges and sensations streaming through the screen of our cognition. We sit and watch. From time to time, we see ourselves get caught by something in the stream and we flow away with it. Then we surface, remember what we are doing, and return to sitting and watching. We fall into the stream and resurface. Again and again and again. Eventually, we fall less often. The stream loses some of its allure.

At that point, we begin to notice that there is more to our cognitive faculty than the stream of content. There is the awareness quietly surrounding the stream. In this vast and open cognitive stillness, we let the stream flow on as it will, while we relax into the great ocean of awareness. Regardless of how loudly each piece of it shouts "I," we are neither the stream nor its contents.

Consciousness is a seamless whole. It spreads a cognizant umbrella of peace above the roiling content of our mind. In its wholeness, consciousness is one. Within its umbrella, it integrates all the disparate forces, urges, desires, and the rest. This becomes one mind, with many manifestations. The one mind is primary and its manifestations are secondary, like small clouds passing through the great blue sky. We open up to become that sky and include all the different clouds within our vastness.

Though each little piece claims to be "I," we know that we are the one who sees the whole, the one who does not change with the twists and turns of time. We are the one who is conscious. To be centered means to be the one who sees what we see and does what we do. To be present means to be the one who is here, now. This one remains, despite the changing voices on the center stage of our mind and heart. This one sees those pretenders come and go, letting them be while remaining our self. The question of "who am I?" transforms into the self-evident and self-fufilling assertion: "Here I am."

For this week, please practice coming back into your own one who sees.


        

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