A Simple Daily Practice that Works
The beauty of the simple practice is that there is no special, eyes-closed meditation; no yoga or other exotic body movements; no restrictive diet; and no chanting, sacred rituals, or esoteric rites.
It is just a matter of whenever we find ourselves lost in or getting distracted by a thought or “story,” or are having an emotional reaction to someone or something, we remember to come down out of our heads and back to the present moment.
We come back to seeing without a “story” in the way, interfering with our clear perception of what “is” in this moment.
To help us embody this, make it real in our lives, we can affirm the liberation mantra: “We are pure presence…”
Then we take a few deep, slow breaths down into our belly, unlock our knees if we are standing, and feel our feet on the ground. Be alert, yet relaxed, and feel the alive presence in our body, the fact that we exist, here, now.
Do the stepping-back practice if it helps. Step back a few inches above and behind our heads, which is more the real, “pure awareness” us.
Then notice how everything in our awareness—our thoughts and “stories,” the “I” thought with its endless worries and concerns, and our feelings and emotions—comes and goes, yet we are always here.
Become aware of our true nature as awareness itself, the alive existence in which all sounds, sights, sensations, thoughts, and “stories”—even the most personal of stories, the “I” and “me” story—come and go, arise and disappear.
Realize or feel ourselves to be the awareness in which everything happens, in which everything comes and goes, shifts and changes. This includes, obviously, all our thoughts, beliefs, “stories,” the “I” and ego thought, as well as our emotional reactions.
If the ego “I” is especially persistent in our awareness, with its judgments, criticisms, expectations, and negative self-talk, just step back and love it—as opposed to resisting or struggling with it, which only makes it stronger.
Then see how it comes and goes, and let it fade into the background. After all, it’s not the real “us,” the beautiful, powerful people we are—it’s just our reactive ego doing its thing.
If we do this practice enough throughout the day, then eventually we will have the big “ah ha!”
We will know ourselves as the pure existence, the awareness in which everything comes goes, this is assured. We will be awake, at least in this moment, to the love and freedom of our true nature.
Remember: the more we see how our thoughts and stories come and go, but we— as the seeing—are always here, the easier it is to let go of them.
In fact, the more present we are, the more our thoughts and stories just drop away, dissolve, on their own. We don’t even have to “let go.”
As we learn to see every situation we find ourselves in throughout the day without projecting any story or belief into it, any problems or challenges we may face will reveal themselves to us as they are.
We will see them with more clarity and insight and will intuitively know what to do about it—or, at least, have a better idea of the next step we need to take.
We are literally seeing with the eyes of the universe, and this, above all, is the source of our supreme confidence and trust in life, and our ability to handle whatever challenge may arise.
Truly, it is just as William Blake, the 18th Century British poet and mystic said: “If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, Infinite.”
A good reality-check is to ask ourselves this question at the end of our day: “How present was I today? Did I see things essentially without any story, or was I in my head, identified with and obsessing about this or that?”
As we look back on our day, we will notice the times when we were present, living in awakened consciousness, versus those when we were lost in thought, in our story—when the voice of judgment, expectation, or some other distracting thought was taking over.
Acknowledge what was so, and then come back to simply being present, open, and loving in this moment now—just this moment now.
We are either present, or we are lost in a “story.”