Brandon West, Guest
In life, we lose ourselves – our awareness of our life purpose, Spirit, and our Genuine Self – whenever our minds are too full. When our thoughts are too loud, and our minds are not clear, quiet and focused. This occurs when our thoughts and emotions aren’t processed on a regular basis, which returns us to a state of simple openness and receptivity. But more importantly, we must process this information in order to return to our natural state. For when we always take in information, and never consciously resolve, process, and essentially amalgamate it within ourselves, it just clutters our minds and our awareness, eventually distorting it. Like throwing rocks into a stream every day. It doesn’t matter how big or small the rocks are, because if you do it every day without fail, then eventually it will dam up the stream. So it is with ourselves as well. Except in this case we obstruct the natural expression of spirit and who we really are.
A quiet mind is a clear lens through which Spirit can enter into our awareness. Or at least a higher energy and expanded state of consciousness which humans call Spirit. Yet that word might be misleading in our understanding of what that force is, due to all of the oftentimes erroneous beliefs, superstitions, and connotations of this word, and others like it, which have become attached to it.
In any case, when our mind is quiet – calm, peaceful, and focused – we are open and receptive not just to elevated levels of consciousness, but also to inspiration, creativity, insight, and direct knowledge. Moreover, when our minds are clear, quiet, and precise, our ability to think, to learn, and to understand is dramatically increased.
Meditation :: Processing Internal Information
A clear, quiet, and focused mind is achieved by directing our attention internally. I would say that it is directed towards Spirit, which is perfectly true. But only because when we direct our attention inwards, we move towards singularity. Which is an experience of pure awareness which we can only move towards by degrees as we discipline our attention internally, and our minds towards silence.
Singularity is not just a term, but a concept we will cover in detail in the future, from its understanding in physics, within the context of the nature of consciousness and energetic anatomy, its implications in spiritual discipline and practice, and our understanding of Spirit. But for now, all that is important to understand is that as we turn our attention inwards we begin to process all the information stored and unresolved within us at the present time, leading to silence, balance, and direct understanding and experience of ourselves and Spirit.
Each time we turn our attention inwards we process internal information, such as thoughts, emotions, experiences, desires, etc. What I mean by ‘process’ is that we first become aware of this internal information. Yet that awareness leads to us being able to accept and let go of those thoughts and emotions which are hindering us, while also being able to understand our desires and who we are on a deeper level so that we can act in accordance with them. And by this form of coherent action, we express them and thus let go of them in their own way by realizing what they were telling us about ourselves and how we wanted to be and act. Which is part of the path of moving towards a complete realization and expression of who we are.
This internal information is always inside of us. Yet we are aware of only a tiny sliver of what is within us at any given moment, let alone in the full spectrum of who and what we are. For there is always more to discover and learn. Moreover, the information that is oftentimes at the surface of our awareness is only what has been recently internalized. Thoughts on the movie we just watched, the book we were just reading, the argument we just had, or the thing which just happened to us.
Yet if we do not seek to resolve and process this information, it can stay with us for days, weeks, or years especially when the information of each successive day is just piled on top of it. Resulting in gradual blockages and obstructions in the expression of our true nature, and of course of our life purpose and potential. These blockages and obstructions take the form of distorted and imbalanced emotional states, worldviews, thought and behavioral patters, moods, desires, habits and lifestyles, goals, and a distorted understanding of who we are – which is perhaps the source of all other distortion and imbalance. Thus if we fail to process this internal information consistently, it also results in the gradual accumulation of information – thoughts, memories, emotions, and experiences – which piece by piece results in the formulation of a self-image that eclipses and suppresses our genuine self. And the awareness of our intrinsic spiritual nature.
Life is an act of taking in information. We do it every day, and in every way, because we are aware. We see, hear, taste, touch, smell, experience, think, feel, conceive, imagine, and desire all day, every day. This is our perceptual reality. But if we do not learn how to wield this energy-information, how to process it, and above all, how to direct our attention and energy consciously, thereby selecting that which we take in with more deliberation and coherence, we are only causing problems for ourselves.
The idea that I want to bring to you is that of changing what information we take in, and how we act on it. For not all of the information that we take in, or express, is in our best interest. Nor is it aligned with who we really are, or with higher states of spiritual awareness and understanding. Whatever we consistently direct our attention and energy towards is what we internalize, and is that which informs and ultimately determines our experience. When we direct our attention towards a subject every day for months, we become better at that subject. We develop knowledge and understanding of it. Likewise, when a musician practices their instrument every day, continuing to learn new things both in greater depth and breadth, they become better at it. They develop skill and knowledge which informs and raises their level of creativity and ability to express themselves through music. Thus when we focus our attention on ourselves and on spiritual awareness, we develop spiritual awareness, we experience Spirit, and we come to know ourselves. This is the only way to know Spirit.
It is for this reason that meditation is essential. Through meditation we direct our attention inwards, and we do two things. We process internal information (as I defined it above) so that we can learn from it, accept it, understand it, act on it, or conversely, let it go and move on. But we also open up space that is left behind by that act of mental-emotional processing, through which a bit of our natural, genuine self comes through. And through which Spirit can be perceived and experienced as the release of that information decreases some of the internal pressure and clutter of our consistent internal dialogue, thereby resulting in an increased depth and expansion of our awareness, and increase in our level of energy. As we process information, we are but removing some of the lines from that repetitive dialogue, replaced by genuine experience of a deeper reality of who we are, which comes through in the space between.
Emptying Your Cup
“Empty your cup so that it may be filled; become devoid to gain totality.” ~Bruce Lee
Each time we sit down to meditate, we direct our attention inwards and process information on a collapsing path towards singularity – the place where we are Spirit, where we are one with the Universal Force of Consciousness.
The more information that we have within us which has accumulated in the mind-field, within consciousness, the longer it will take to reach a state of pure awareness: the experience of inner silence. But in reality, it does not matter quantitatively ‘how much’ obstructing information we have within us because our experiences along the way are always relative to our own personal experience. This means that we will experience degrees of silence, gradual shifts in our awareness, and changes in how we think, feel, and our level of energy along the path. Thus each stage of spiritual development is experienced as a positive shift relative to how we used to be and feel. So with consistent practice we increase the level of our ordinary state. On one level this can be described as a positive shift in our mood, which is our average emotional state over long periods of time. In the sense that we consistently begin feeling better, more loving, more focused, more creative, happier, etc., in stages the longer that we practice. This occurs as a gradual result of consistent realignment with Spirit and our Genuine Self through the practice of meditation, as an elemental practice along the path. But not an end in and of itself, for most people at least. For a major part of this process is learning to express ourselves in our actions, habits, and life in a different way as we discover new dimensions to who we are.
If we stay with a meditation for long enough, we will ultimately return to the greatest depth or expanded state of awareness that we have ever experienced. And eventually we will surpass that limit. This occurs because in that meditation we will have come to process all of the accumulated information within us to the depth in awareness that we have already achieved. And we surpass that present limit when we can maintain that new level of consciousness naturally in our lives and actions, which eventually allows us to go deeper – which means piercing deeper inwards and thus processing new depths and levels of internal information on a path towards pure awareness. And also cultivating and ‘gaining access’ to new levels of spiritual awareness and information as well – knowledge and experience of consciousness-spirit, reality, who we are, our life purpose, and so on. This also results in deeper levels of understanding and creativity in our subjects, arts, or disciplines.
Yet this doesn’t happen every time we sit down to meditate. It occurs in stages. I find that at each stage (level of energy, level of consciousness, and degree of understanding of who we are) that we reach persists until we can effectively express and sustain this level of energy-consciousness naturally. In other words, until we have learned how to amalgamate that new level of consciousness and energy through a balanced expression of it in our lives. A balance, I might add, which can only be achieved when our expression is in perfect coherence with who we are, at our present level of awareness and understanding that is. And we cannot proceed to the next stage until we have done so. In each case I have spent years figuring out how to express that new knowledge and level of consciousness at each stage in my own growth and development. And yet I have only just recently realized that this is what has been occurring. Learning to be patient along this path is one of our greatest assets.
Another reason why we do not reach new levels of spiritual awareness every day we practice is due to the fact that the quantity and quality of information within us changes from day to do. Which is precisely why the meditative experience changes each day we practice. No practice is the same as the day’s before because we are slightly different each day.
What I mean by this is that ideally we are learning something new each day. Working maybe on the same projects but different aspects of them because we are progressing and learning, and because our experiences are different every day, so the information we are taking in is different each day. Also, when we focus daily on a spiritual practice or regimen of self-development in some way, we are growing each day. Thus, ideally we are different every day. Which means that meditation must be an act we engage in every day so that we can continue growing the next day, and each day after that, because we are not stuck in the same cycles due to unprocessed internal information.
Returning To Center
What I have found is that the greatest difficulty resides in the art of consistently bringing ourselves back to center. There is a saying in meditation that goes, ‘Remember to remember.’ Which means, to always remember to bring ourselves back to center, back to our breath, back to observing our minds and emotions instead of attaching ourselves to them and allowing them to drag us away from ourselves and spirit by participating unconsciously in them and the events they are linked to – again.
Ultimately this practice brings us back to pure awareness – Spirit – whenever we are dragged away by a train of thought or roller coaster of emotion, which happens all of the time in meditation. It is part of the process. Which is why the art of bringing ourselves back to center is so crucial, for it has profound repercussions in our life as well, as we will discuss.
It does happen less the more often we practice, as we are able to remain as a detached observer of what is taking place within us due to a greater degree of presence and attention. Yet it still occurs, because it is part of the process of living and learning. That is, part of processing thoughts, ideas, knowledge, information, experiences, and emotions.
However, this event of being pulled away from center happens in life in exactly the same way. We are carried away on tangents of thought and emotion, desires and aspirations, habits and action, or are simply caught up in the pace of everything around us. Sometimes it is pleasing and enjoyable, especially when it is in perfect alignment with who we are and the direction we have chosen to grow and that process.
But what happens when we are dragged too far away from ourselves that we lose touch with who we are? What do we do then, when we find ourselves in a place we don’t remember how we got to, with no direction home? Furthermore, what do we do when we cannot remember what genuine spiritual awareness is? As opposed to belief, faith, or dogma? Which is an extremely crucial issue in the world today for most people, I believe, for how many people can say with complete certainty that they have experienced profound spiritual states directly? (Naturally of course, without the use of drugs.)
The answer is simple, and it is always applicable: to sit without distraction, turn our attention inwards, and meditate. For a period of time each day, for as long as it takes each day to notice a shift in our mental-emotional state, and the quality of our awareness.
For these reasons, meditation is an accumulative practice. If we stop meditating, then we gradually do lose the depth and level of awareness that we attained, at least to a point. Only because we have not been regularly processing the information within us on a daily basis, returning back to center, to balance, to spiritual awareness, and ultimately to degrees of higher consciousness.
Each time we direct our attention inwards for any length of time we strengthen our connection to Spirit, and our awareness of our true nature. And in so doing we gradually fix our attention on One Consciousness so that we may live more and more in heightened awareness. But also so that we may act and live more creatively and vitally, with more freedom and power, because over time we learn how not to be dragged away from ourselves. And thus we can choose when and how to silently step away from everything around us and express ourselves honestly and genuinely in our own way, instead of being repeatedly pulled away from ourselves and manipulated by everything going on around us.
And when we can do this consistently, only then are we on the path to true freedom and liberation. Because we are not distorted by the world – the people, the events, the opinions, and the limitations – of all that is around us. For so many people get caught in patterns and habits that they know will only lead them down a path they have gone before which leads to a dead-end. Which has led them before to low emotional states, imbalance, and limited (or non-existence) spiritual awareness, which only obstruct our growth and development.
It takes time to develop the self-awareness and self-knowledge to firstly recognize the path which leads us to the realization of our highest potential, among a myriad of possibilities. But it requires even more self-awareness to be able to avoid those actions which obstruct that path. Usually only because we have fallen into that trap enough times – but gotten our as well, which is important to note – that we don’t need to do so again.
Meditation in order to process internal information consistently, cultivate a quiet and receptive mind in order to discover our true selves and spiritual awareness, and also to return back to center each time we are pulled away from ourselves, makes this process infinitely easier. Not easy, but easier because we have the right tools to get us back on the path each time we wander. Which we inevitably will.
For this tool in particular always takes us home: back to higher consciousness and knowledge of our unbounded nature as consciousness. We just have to remember to remember to use it, whenever we need to. And ideally without any conscious thought so that we can remain on this path of spiritual evolution, growth and development, as consistently as possible. Always moving forwards. Always evolving.
Brandon West is the creator of Project Global Awakening. A website dedicated to the research of a variety of scientific and spiritual disciplines, and applying that knowledge to help you live an inspired life and change the world. Follow Project Global Awakening on Facebook, and Twitter.
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