MINDFULNESS AS A PATH TO SELF AWARENESS AND AWAKENING
Originally posted 2014
For those of you growing up in the 80’s you will know this is a quote from “The Breakfast Club”. As you will remember, the key characters (all teenagers in a weekend detention) are asked to write an essay describing who they think they are. The “nerd” of the group sticks two pens in his mouth and says “I am a walrus”…….makes me laugh every time!
Anyway, from the wisdom of the “Breakfast Club” to the insights of one of the most incredible spiritual leaders of our time….Eckhart Tolle. One of my all time favourite quotes from “The Power of Now” is on page 4 of his book (I probably remember it so clearly as I have started to read this book about 300 times – finished it only once….). He is describing his long battle with depression. He goes on to detail what he noticed to be happening in his mind during a particularly dark time for him.
“I cannot live with myself any longer”, this was the thought that kept repeating itself in my mind. Then, suddenly I became aware of what a peculiar thought it was. “Am I one or two? If I cannot live with myself, there must be two of me: the ‘I’ and the ‘self’ that ‘I’ cannot live with.” “Maybe” I thought, “only one of them is real”
Every time I read this, it helps me to remember that ‘I’ am so much more than what I and other people habitually “see”.
‘I’ am not the car I drive, the books I read, the way I do my hair or the relationships I have (sounds a bit like a quote from Fight Club). All of those external things belong to the ‘self’ that I have created to allow me to live in this physical modern world.
It has taken me forever to grasp this concept. I have always had a sense that there was “more” to this whole life thing. That surely there was more to it than the colour of my jeans, the career I choose or the handbag I carry. And so, I have finally understood that we truly do have many parts (body, mind, heart and spirit). And so often, these parts are so disconnected from each other that we are not truly functioning at our best.
For the purpose of this blog, lets just focus on two of them – the ‘I” (spirit) and the ‘self’ (mind).
Mindfulness is a tool that supports us to discover direct access to the ‘I’. How do we find this ‘I’ in the madness of our lives? I can assure you it is lying somewhere between the phonecall to your boss and the dinner you are about to prepare……
Think of a time when you have felt truly and deeply content…when time seemed to stop and you felt like you were just in “flow”,
When the incessant chatter of your mind took a break,
When your body felt whole and complete and truly divine, perhaps even a little tingly.
For most people, this happens when they are doing something they are passionate about like dancing, singing, painting, playing an instrument, listening to music, connecting with nature, doing yoga or cooking. For some lucky people, they even experience this when they are working….
A time you feel the worries, the planning and the obsessing just melt away. When you feel clear headed, stimulated but calm, when you feel aware and tuned in.
A time you feel connected to another – you feel your hearts meeting, you no longer feel separate or alone…..
This all happens when you are in touch with your ‘I’ and when you allow your ‘self’ to take a back seat.
I am hoping to paint a picture of where mindfulness can bring you. The irony is that you are already there, some of the time, you just are not aware of it.
So, the question remains, who are you? Do you really know your true essence? Who would you be if we took away the money, the relationships, the body, the career? Mindfulness is one path that can help you to find out. You never know, you may discover you are not actually a walrus after all.