Get out of your own way!

During the holidays I spent time with many friends, particularly some close friends who are on path similar to my own.  They have been on this journey since the seventies. I say a “similar” path as they have chosen to follow an Indian guru. I don’t have a guru; I have teachers -mostly Tibetan and mostly Buddhist. We came to talk about such topics as being fully present in your life, what enlightenment means and what self-actualization means. We agreed that there is really not much to say about all of this. It is a state that has to be experienced to be understood. Understanding is completely intuitive and happens “all at once” 

I share now something I wrote on holiday.

Often,  I fall  into my thoughts and get lost in them but every so often I also naturally fall into being fully awake, a state in which I effortlessly find myself fully present, my mind tranquil and stable, no effort, no forcing, no making anything happen. In fact, it would feel like a great effort to move out of that space. I often think of it as a simple shift in perception (or as a dear friend of mine describes it, a subtle twist of consciousness) in which we move from the “dream state” when we are lost in thoughts and feelings, identified with our ego, and suffering as a result) to “awake”, a place where the space  between thoughts is so great that that thoughts effectively don’t exist, just a sense of knowing. The colours are brighter, senses heightened, more acute. I “see” people with greater clarity. My sense of me, of the person called “Geoffrey” is so weak as to be non-existent; there is no sense of separation, no “me and other”. I know and I experience with absolute certainty that love and connection is our natural state. Everything is contained within that experience, that certainty.  I am simply a “pinched up” part of the same stuff as I am observing .There is no “what is me” and  “what is not me”. The pure, awe inspiring beauty of the miracle of simply being fills me. I am filled with a sense of immense gratitude, of great good fortune, of the miracle of life.  My consciousness is at one with all consciousness. Concepts of happy/sad become irrelevant; the pure untrammelled joy of simply being is so beyond happiness and sadness. There is no sense of opposites: happy/sad,  good/ bad – just a sense of knowing. All is as it is, as it needs to be. All is absolute.

You, like me will have glimpsed this, for example, when seeing a beautiful view for the first time. Thoughts stop and ego disappears. We feel present, at peace, connected. Then the rational mind has to interfere with a thought like, “It’s beautiful… but I’ve seen better” or” It would be perfect if it were not for those trees, that house”. Now we have fallen once again into our thoughts, our ego our dream.

The experience of being present, of love and connection is always there within us. We don’t have to go and find it, buy it from somewhere. We just have to learn to get out of our own way. When we lose touch with this fact, experience/perception, we can be left feeling empty, anxious, or a feeling of…”there has to be something more to life than this” 

What I teach is how to get ourselves out of our own way so that we can discover and experience that it is always there within us – it always has been but in our dream state we forgot it even exists.  At the deepest level, it is the only thing about you that never changes. It is who we/you really are.  

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