Awareness Tools

 

«After the ecstasy, the laundry.» — Jack Kornfield

The major part of the «tools» on this page can be regarded as «conscious self-help methods.» They can be handy for going through intense and challenging experiences and states, as well as purification and integration processes, which can possibly occur both during and after awakening, in the most smooth and non-resisting way possible. When there is a deeper sense of presence, awareness, or more «inner space,» residual energetic emotional «charges» may surface to be released at the cell level and to leave your body system lighter and more liberated. However, such «processes» usually do not last for long, fully in line with the core message of an ancient Sufi story that says, «This, too, shall pass.»

In the context of the LOCs 600 to 699, in which the «no-self» and «non-doing» may be clearly experienced and, therefore, gladly be responded to the crisis, problems, and help requests from others by saying, «There is nothing you can do,» or, «There is no one there to do anything,» Ramaji writes in his book «1000,» «When you have come full circle in this journey, it again makes sense to talk as a human being to human beings and tell them what they can do to help themselves.»

Besides, in his book «Who Am I? Meditation,» Ramaji quotes an email exchange in which he was responding to a person who had recently gone to LOC 1000, «You have realized the Self. There may still be an apparent process of stabilization. Some go through that, some don’t. People vary in the amount of mental-emotional «karma» they will still have to deal with. If there is a lot of stuff left to deal with, that can be confusing. The typical assumption is that there will be only perfect peace and bliss all of the time. The «highest-level» sage does indeed enjoy that experience. «Lesser» sages, though Self-realized, do have subjective «karmic» momentum that is potentially disturbing or distracting. We will deal with whatever comes up as it is needed.»

The first three methods on this page can be beneficial when experiencing «challenging» emotions or traumas; the next three when experiencing mental «noise,» residual self-identifications, etc.; the eight and ninth may result in an increased sense of awareness — the ability to see what is there — and a deeper sense of «inner freedom;» the 9th — surrenderis universal, almost timeless, and completely natural.

In a nutshell, it is all about seeing or seeing through, fully experiencing or going, feeling and living through it particularly through fears and resistance —, and about surrendering to what is or whatever comes up; not as another mode of «doing,» but as a natural happening in the now.

You may pick up any of the following methods that currently speak to you and apply them calmly and with awareness. You may also jump via the direct links below.

1. Being what is or staying with what is there
2. «Falling into» the feeling
3. Merging with the feeling
4. Exposing the «thinker»
5. No more believing thoughts or cutting them off
6. The «Buddha meditation»
7. Self-inquiry according to Ramana Maharshi
8. Becoming aware of being aware
9. Surrender

1. Being what is or staying with the what is there

In the beginning, this method may take some practice because we have been so conditioned to avoid so-called «unpleasant» or «uncomfortable» feelings and emotions. But when applied multiple times deliberately, it becomes as simple and natural as breathing.

Be with the feeling that is there. Do not judge. Just be aware of it. Focus your attention on the feeling and the part of the body where the feeling is most noticeable. Now you feel what is going on in your body. Feel the feeling — be it pain, fear, grief, anger, etc. You do not need to name or analyze it. Just feel it in the body and stay with it. Engage with it fully. «Be» it.

If you should get distracted by thoughts, as soon as you realize it, immediately bring your focus or attention back to the feeling or sensation in the body. Just feel what is going on inside you. Allow it to express itself exactly as it is. If you feel any resistance, turn your attention to the resistance and allow it. Regardless of which emotion is arising or prevailing, let it be, allow it to be expressed and experienced. Even if it is just the feeling of boredom or «I don’t like now.» Allow every feeling by perceiving it, feeling it, and «being with it» — without trying to change or to get rid of it.

You may apply this method as often as you like. It may be helpful first to do it at home or wherever you are undisturbed. If you got used to it, you might apply it anywhere, anytime, even while shopping, taking a walk, etc.

At best, apply this method daily for several weeks until it happens automatically. This way, it may result in a complete acceptance of (i.e., an absence of resistance to) whatever arises and is felt and bring about an enormous relief and release. So do it and apply this method as often and for as long as needed.

Anssi Antila puts it this way, «What are you feeling now? Is this your favorite state? If not, then you are doing no good to yourself now. Admit your defeat for a moment. Say, «It’s okay.» Then, watch your breathing and your feelings. Nothing else needs to be done — just feeling and breathing. Do this till life takes you back to your center. Test it.»

2. «Falling into» the feeling

This approach is similar to the one above, except that you consciously let yourself «fall into» the feeling or the pain. Let yourself fall into it so long and so deeply until you have come to the bottomless bottom of the feeling.

Try it the next time when a painful or oppressive feeling arises in you. First, locate the pain or the oppressive feeling in the body. Just perceive it, feel it, and let yourself fall into the center of it with full awareness. You may also imagine that you’re falling «back into» it. It may be helpful to imagine that you are falling backwards into it.

So «fall in love» with the intensity of feeling itself. Experience it thoroughly and intimately, let yourself fall into this «sweet emptiness,» and discover what remains.

Gunnar Gressl, a friend and RASA facilitator from Austria, writes: «What I experience with many in the post 1000 (and, of course, before that) is dissatisfaction with WHAT IS. That was also the case with me, and I virtually do not experience it anymore. Now, there is a 100% «YES» to WHAT IS (whatever that is).

If someone asks me what I can do, I often say — let yourself completely fall into the dissatisfaction. I have written it several times already, but for me, it is like inner backward tipping or falling back into dissatisfaction. Then you cannot hold on anywhere — free fall into the «black hole.» Let yourself completely be eaten, digested, and puked. So, whatever appears, whatever shows up — as crappy as it might feel — know it is THIS, and surrender to it. Uncompromising.»

3. Merging with the feeling

We are used to saying, «I have pain, anger, fear, depression, etc.,» instead of saying, «I am pain, anger, anxiety, depression, etc.»

Next time a depressing, constricting, or painful emotion or sensation arises, be with it in the knowingness that you are not different from it, that you are «one» with it. There is no separation between you and the feeling. You «are» it.

In case of intense emotions or traumas that may be felt as «charges» in your body, you may apply this method in a 30-minutes to one-hour meditation. During that time, consciously embrace, feel, and experience everything within as «I am.» 

Alexander Trampitsch, a friend and RASA facilitator from Austria, explains, «I AM the blockage. Therefore not pushing it away, but rather bringing it back consciously. I am this blockage (it is part of me), then staying with it in meditation for at least half an hour. Then, Kundalini dissolves it.

That is something different than teaching to stay with the pain or to experience it fully. The difference is to really FULLY integrate it. Not just to experience, but «Yaaahoooo, I AM this blockage!»

Not I + blockage, but becoming blockage, BEING blockage.»

Jalaluddin Rumi says, «The cure for pain is in the pain.»

Shuryu Suzuki says, «The only way to endure the pain is to let it be painful.»

Nikita Gill says, «Let it hurt. Let it «bleed.» Let it heal. And let it go.»

Tip — Here are some more writings and sayings related to the first three methods on this page.

4. Exposing the «thinker»

If any «negative,» i.e., depressing, anxious, seeking thoughts or such appear, without further bothering about them go to the root, to the «I.» Can you locate the «I» in that mental noise? Who is thinking those thoughts? Can you localize him or her? Can you find such a thing called a «thinker» in you?

Apply this method in a focused manner and then see for yourself what remains of the phantom «thinker» along with its worries, anxiety, and other fantasies.

Another variation of this method is to command the non-existent «thinker» in you to «Think!» — and then see what happens.

Tip — This blog post may provide additional clarity on this method.

5. No more believing thoughts or cutting them off

A. Decide to no more believe any thoughts with immediate effect. They are not yours. They merely come and go, just like a breeze that enters the window. Stop dealing with them, and they will get lost by themselves. Let them «vanish into thin air.»

Shunryu Suzuki says, «(…) leave your front door and back door open. Let thoughts come and go. Just don’t serve them tea (i.e., stop dealing with them. This applies to both «negative» and «positive» thoughts).

(…) do not try to stop your thinking. Let it stop by itself. If something comes into your mind, let it come in, and let it go out. It will not stay long. When you try to stop your thinking, it means you are bothered by it. Do not be bothered by anything. It appears as if something comes from outside your mind, but actually it is only the waves of your mind, and if you are not bothered by the waves, gradually they will become calmer and calmer.»

Byron Katie says, «Thoughts are not personal. They just appear — like raindrops. Would you argue with a raindrop?»

Nisargadatta Maharaj says, «Watch your thoughts as you watch the passing traffic. People come and go. You register without a response.

There is no such thing as peace of mind. Mind means disturbance. Restlessness itself is mind.»

Leave your mind alone; that is all. Do not go along with it.
After all, there is no such a thing as a mind apart from thoughts, which come and go obeying their own laws, not yours. They dominate you only because you are interested in them.
It is exactly as Christ said, «Resist not evil.» By resisting «evil,» you merely strengthen it.»

The band members of «Here 2 Here» sing in their song «Ego?», «(…) the only thing that’s got beat with the mind is the mind.»

Alexander Trampitsch says, «YOU have NEVER thought a single thought.»

Papaji says, «Keep quiet. Don’t touch the thoughts. Let them be.

Don’t waste your time purifying the mind because the mind can never be pure. Even the desire to be pure is a trick of the mind. And you need to drop the mind because it doesn’t exist. How can you drop something that doesn’t exist?»

B. The next time thoughts arise, cut them off by the power of your awareness. Regardless of what they are about (the «content») or how beautiful or ugly they might appear. Whenever any thoughts arise, simply cut them off.

Ramana Maharshi says, «A thought has to be quenched as soon as it arises.»

These are some related sayings by Sri Bhagavan that might provide more insights.

«Thoughts are not mine.

This body is not mine.

Everything is happening automatically.

There is no one there at all.

To see is to be free.

The mere seeing is sufficient.

What is life? Seeing what is going on inside.

Suffering is never in the fact, but only in the perception of the fact (never «out there» or in «the other,» but only ever in your — conscious or unconscious — perception of it; never in the experience, the situation, the circumstance, thoughts, emotions, sensations, etc., but only in the mental interpretation or conception of it, i.e., how it «appears»).»

The content (of thoughts, emotions, experiences, etc.) is never important, but to experience it is.

Anything experienced fully turns into bliss (i.e., joy, peace).

All things should happen naturally and spontaneously.

Life is as it comes.

Tampering with (or resisting) the flow is the birth of suffering.

Any movement away from the what is is suffering.

Resistance is suffering. Where there is oneness (or awareness), there is no resistance.

Letting go (or dropping off) of resistance is acceptance.»

What you resist persists.

What is, simply IS.

6. The «Buddha meditation»

This approach taught by the Buddha may help you to recognize yourself as the free awareness that is completely unaffected by what is apparently happening. Its conscious application in meditation or everyday situations is particularly useful if you are struggling with something or identifying with any annoying thoughts or strenuous emotions.

Meditate and observe whatever appears (thoughts, emotions, sensations, body, etc.), contemplate, know and see,

Whatever appears,
1. is not Me,
2. is not Mine,
3. is no statement about Me.

Nisargadatta Maharaj says, «You observe the heart feeling, the mind thinking, the body acting. The very act of perceiving shows that you are not what you perceive.»

Alexander Trampitsch says, «In fact, You are Never inside of it.»

Ramana Maharshi says, «Let come what comes. Let go what goes. See what remains.»

The Buddha says, «See what is. See what is not. Follow the true «path» (or abide by the Truth, Reality).»

7. Self-inquiry according to Ramana Maharshi

Self-inquiry or investigating yourself (Sanskrit Ātma-vichara) might be familiar to you. Here you internally ask the question, «Who am I?» This question need not be answered verbally but can lead you into a more profound «seeing» of your self-nature, i.e., you may penetrate the core of the «I,» find out what that «I» consists of, and let yourself fall into the «bottomless bottom within.» What then remains is It.

You may use this method at any time, either with your eyes open or closed and especially when «disturbing» thoughts pass through. Then ask yourself, «Whom do these thoughts arise?», «Who is aware of these thoughts?» and, «In what do these thoughts emerge?» Do not expect a specific answer, but let yourself be taken into a deeper awareness of yourself by this «open question.»

Another step is to trace the «thinker» or the «I»-thought explicitly. By asking «Who?» or «What?», find out where the apparent «thinker» is precisely located in you. Be aware of the «I»-thought, «stalk» it and go to the bottom of it. «See» what is at the center or the root of the «I»-thought, and then dwell or abide in that thoughtless «space,» and see what remains.

One step further down is the «Two-step Self-inquiry,» in which you gently but consistently expose and trace the «I»-thought back to the heart on the right (where it, according to Ramana Maharshi, originally arises from) with these two powerful questions,

«Who am I?» or «Who or what is having this experience?» of thoughts, emotions, body, sensory impressions, etc.

«Where do you come from?» or «Where do you arise from?»; directed towards the «I»-thought.

Ramana Maharshi says,

«Of all the thoughts that arise in the mind, the «I»-thought is the first thought.

You must turn inward (direct your attention inward) and see where the mind rises from, and then it will cease to exist.

Only the annihilation of the «I» is Liberation. But it can be gained only by keeping the «I-I» always in view. So the need for the investigation of the «I»-thought.

Reality is simply the loss of the «ego» (the «I»-thought). Destroy the «ego» by «seeking» (or inquiring) its identity. Because the «ego» is no entity, it will automatically vanish, and Reality will shine forth by Itself.»

Nisargadatta Maharaj says,

«By self-knowledge, I mean full knowledge of what you are not. Such knowledge is attainable and final. But to the discovery of what you are, there can be no end. The more you discover, the more there remains to discover.

To know what you are, you must first investigate and know what you are not. Discover all that you are not — body, feelings, thoughts, time, space, this or that. You observe the heart feeling, the mind thinking, the body acting. Nothing, concrete or abstract, which you perceive can be you. The very act of perceiving shows that you are not what you perceive.

What is really your own, you are not conscious of. What you are conscious of is neither you nor yours. Yours is the power of perception — not what you perceive.
It is a mistake to take the conscious to be the whole of man. Man is the unconscious, the conscious, and the superconscious — but you are not that man. Yours is the cinema screen, the light, and the seeing power — but the picture is not you.

I am like a cinema screen — clear and empty. The pictures pass over it and disappear, leaving it as clear and empty as before. In no way is the screen affected by the pictures, nor are the pictures affected by the screen.»

Tips — More in-depth instructions and explanations on this method can be found in the short book «Who am I?» about Ramana Maharshi, in the other books about him via this page, and in the videos about him on this page.
Besides, you may view Ramaji’s free ebook «The Yoga of Self Inquiry» (for Apple devices only, as a PDF here) that is a condensed and revised version of his «Who Am I? Meditation.»

8. Becoming aware of being aware

This is another extremely direct method taught by Ramana Maharshi, Nisargadatta Maharaj, and others. It is also known as «turning around the light» or «directing awareness back to itself.»

Rupert Spira says,

«I» refers to the formless, non-objective presence of pure knowing,
being aware of awareness itself,
which is temporarily colored by the qualities of experience
but never limited by them.»

Eckhart Tolle says,

«Instead of being aware of something, just be aware that you are aware.
Feel your own presence, and become still.»

Ramana Maharshi says,

«Consciousness (or awareness) is indeed always with us.
Everyone knows «I am!» No one can deny his own being.

Become aware of being aware.
Say or think «I am,» and add nothing to it.
Be aware of the stillness that follows the «I am.»
Sense your presence —
the naked, unveiled, unclothed beingness.

Remain aware of yourself, and all else will be known.»

Nisargadatta Maharaj says,

«There is nothing to practice. To know yourself, be yourself. To be yourself, stop imagining yourself to be this or that. «Just be.» Let your true nature emerge. Don’t disturb your mind with seeking.

Put your awareness to work, not your mind. The mind is not the right instrument for this task. The timeless can be «reached» only by the timeless. Your body and your mind are subject to time. Only awareness is timeless — even in the now.

A quiet mind is all you need. All else will happen rightly once your mind is quiet. As the sun on rising makes the world active, so does self-awareness affect changes in the mind. In the light of calm and steady self-awareness, inner energies wake up and work miracles without any effort on your part.

The awareness that you are will open your eyes to what you are. It is all very simple. First of all, establish constant contact with yourself, be with yourself all the time. Into self-awareness all blessings flow. Begin as a center of observation, deliberate cognizance, and grow into a center of love in action.

Stay in that love, go deeper and deeper into it, investigate yourself, and love the investigation.

The Unchangeable can only be realized in silence. Once realized, It will deeply affect the changeable, Itself remaining unaffected.

This union of the seer and the seen happens when the Seer becomes aware of himself as the seer. He is not merely interested in the seen, which he is anyhow, but is also interested in being interested; giving attention to attention; aware of being aware.»

Tips — A more detailed instruction of this method is available via this website and in the books and videos of Rupert Spira.
Another, related method can be found in the books and videos about Nisargadatta Maharaj — in Nisarga Yoga Manual — Key Instructions by Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
, for example.

9. Surrender

Non-dual or «true» surrender (Sankrit advaita bhakti) is what is voiced by Ramana Maharshi in these short and concise sayings.

«Surrender to the substratum of appearances unreservedly. Then, Reality will be left over as the residue.

It is enough that one surrenders oneself. Surrender is giving oneself up to the original cause of one’s being.
(…) The Source is within yourself — give yourself up to it. This means that you should «seek» the Source and «merge» in it.

Surrender is to «merge» with the Source of the «I.»

By constantly keeping your attention on the Source, the «I» is dissolved in the Source like a salt doll in the sea.»

Nisargadatta Maharaj says, «Surrender to your own Self, of which everything is an expression.»

Mooji says, «Hand your existence over to Existence.»

In short, it is a complete and unconditional surrender to THIS.

Stop trying, let go, and relax. Or, in other words — surrender to THIS, let IT, and «do nothing.»

THIS IS IT
BE AS YOU ARE
«JUST BE»

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