As the witnessing presence of Awareness, we stand in the background of experience; as the light of pure Knowing, we stand at its heart. 

Taking Our Stand As Awareness

I am still feeling confused about "taking my stand as Awareness" and welcoming and letting whatever arises be as it is.

Dear Rupert,

Thank you for taking the time to provide such a thorough response. It does make sense that I have taken on some of the pointers of nondualistic teachings as belief systems, and that could be a large part of why I feel stuck. However, I am still feeling confused about “taking my stand as Awareness,” and welcoming and letting whatever arises be as it is. 

Recently, when I sit and try to notice myself as Awareness I experience a great deal of struggle with this. While it seems like there can be no particular “right way” to do this, I find myself feeling that I can’t possibly be doing it ‘right.’ As I discussed in my previous enquiry, I have been suffering very intensely and constantly, and when I sit and try to “take my stand as Awareness” my mind produces all sorts of stories that never seem to die down accompanied by negative emotions and the strong tension in the chest.

Moreover, when I try the alternate but similar practice of “welcoming everything that arises” and “letting it be” all that I can conclude is that I am most certainly not letting things be as they are and I just seem to notice how deeply I am resisting my experience, which seems to get me even more caught up than before I start the practice.

I’ve been having similar experiences of frustration with the question “what am I?” as well. Prior to this current intense bout of suffering, when I would go into these types of practices there would often be a sense of spaciousness or deeper presence that would arise, sometimes lasting for weeks at a time. Along with this, when I would practice resting as Awareness, there would often be a sense of recognition or knowing that I was Awareness, and thoughts and emotions didn’t have the grip and control they do now. It seems like I can no longer stay anchored in these practices.

Do you have any advice in relation to what I’m going through? Do you think that I should begin with a more concrete practice such as “following the breath” or yoga in order to develop more clarity and presence in order to carry out these more subtle practices/explorations?

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Tommy

 

Dear Tommy,

Tommy: I am still feeling confused about “taking my stand as Awareness” and welcoming and letting whatever arises be as it is. Recently, when I sit and try to notice myself as Awareness I experience a great deal of struggle with this. While it seems like there can be no particular “right way” to do this, I find myself feeling that I can’t possibly be doing it “right”.

As I discussed in my previous enquiry, I have been suffering very intensely and constantly, and when I sit and try to “take my stand as Awareness” my mind produces all sorts of stories that never seem to die down accompanied by negative emotions and the strong tension in the chest.


Rupert: It is important to understand that to ‘take one’s stand as Awareness’ is not something that one can do as a person, an entity. The reason for this is that if we try to do this as a practise undertaken by the person, we are by definition standing as that person that one presumes oneself to be.

To ‘take one’s stand as Awareness’ would perhaps be better phrased as ‘understand or see clearly that you are Awareness and be that knowingly.’

In other words, it is a shift that comes about naturally and effortlessly as a result of understanding or seeing, not as a result of any effort or discipline.

After all, is it not you that are seeing these words? And is this ‘you’ not aware and present? In other words, without making any effort at all, but rather just by looking and seeing, it is obvious that you are both aware and present.

Be this Aware Presence that you already are allow every appearance of the mind, body and world simply to appear, remain and disappear in its own time. Have no agenda with yourself (Aware Presence) or with the body/mind/world.

Tommy: Moreover, when I try the alternate but similar practice of “welcoming everything that arises” and “letting it be” all that I can conclude is that I am most certainly not letting things be as they are and I just seem to notice how deeply I am resisting my experience, which seems to get me even more caught up than before I start the practice.

Rupert: If there is resistance, then include that in your welcoming. If welcoming seems difficult, replace it with allowing. The resistance is  just the way the mind is appearing in this particular moment. Simply allow it to be as it is. Don’t resist your resistance.

It is important to understand that ‘welcoming’ or ‘allowing’ is not a practise that we undertake in order to get rid of suffering. That would not be truly welcoming or allowing.

Their purpose is to understand suffering and to see that it is based on the false identification of this Aware Presence that we are with a limited body. This understanding will naturally take care of the suffering.

Simply see that the mind, body and world all appear equally to this Presence that you are. Just let them appear in you, do their thing, flow by and eventually disappear.

Keep returning to yourself in this way and the power of the mind, body and world over you will slowly diminish.

Tommy: I’ve been having similar experiences of frustration with the question “what am I?” as well.

Rupert: If it is frustrating, leave it. It should be enjoyable and interesting. The only purpose of “what am I?” is to lead you to the understanding that you are this Aware Presence and, as we go into it more deeply, to see clearly that there is no evidence that this Aware Presence is  located in or as the body.

Tommy: Prior to this current intense bout of suffering, when I would go into these types of practices there would often be a sense of spaciousness or deeper presence that would arise, sometimes lasting for weeks at a time.

Along with this, when I would practice resting as Awareness, there would often be a sense of recognition or knowing that I was Awareness, and thoughts and emotions didn’t have the grip and control they do now. It seems like I can no longer stay anchored in these practices.

Rupert: Who is the ‘you’ that could be anchored in  these practises or not? You are Aware Presence. You do not have to anchor yourself there. You are already that and cannot be anything else. Just see that. You are safe there.

You are giving yourself an impossible task and then getting frustrated when you discover it is impossible. I don’t blame you!

Be kind with yourself. This is not about discipline, effort or practise. It is about interest, love and understanding.

See clearly what you are and be that knowingly. And allow whatever appears to you, including your own feelings and reactions, to take their full shape within you. Act on them if necessary. Otherwise let them flow by.

Tommy: Do you think that I should begin with a more concrete practice such as “following the breath” or yoga in order to develop more clarity and presence in order to carry out these more subtle practices/explorations?

Rupert No. You are already Presence. You cannot develop that. It is your birthright. It is You. As regards more clarity, what will help is simple looking and simple seeing.

If you are feeling depressed do whatever is necessary in your case to bring yourself to a more neutral place. Be gentle with yourself. Go for a walk. See a friend….whatever helps you.

When you are feeling stable enquire into your true nature and see that you are this Knowing Presence that is experiencing whatever appearances of the mind, body and world are present. Be that knowingly. Rest as that. Be very loving, as this Presence, with all appearances, especially your own feelings of resistance. Be yourself and allow them to be.

With kind regards,

Rupert