If you wanted to hunt your spirit down and meet it face to face where would you look and how would you go about finding it? It’s an age old question and there’s an age old answer dressed in modern language.
First of all I used the word spirit but you could easily use soul or consciousness or any word you’d like to use. None of the words describe it fully (as explained in this post https://thirdobservation.wordpress.com/2012/01/17/words-understanding-wisdom-and-all-that-stuff/) so use the word you are comfortable with.
When hunting a wild beast (your spirit) it helps to know any trails they leave behind so you can follow the trail and then it helps to know where it might lurk, so you can track it back to its resting place.
You can track your spirit because your spirit (consciousness) drives your awareness. The trail it leaves behind for you to follow is your awareness.
Your awareness is how you trace yourself back to your spirit. This is described as being aware of awareness or as watching the watcher, or even mindfulness in some contexts. On top of my computer screen there a small note that simple reads WtW to remind myself to watch the watcher. Now that might sound simple, but that usually means that it isn’t easy. There’s an entire post or two in that one phrase (and dozens of books out there) but very briefly…
When you are in and look at a scene, say a busy city street, you pay attention to what interests you, your eyes record the photons from everything but your brain can’t process all that information so your awareness narrows down your focus (filters the information) to what is important to you. You might pay attention to the buildings or the shops inside the buildings or the cars or the street or the mass of people or even what those people are wearing or just the path in front of your feet. It is your spirit or consciousness that drives your awareness depending on your belief systems (see post here https://thirdobservation.wordpress.com/2011/12/01/your-belief-system/). They are all interlinked and support each other.
Consciously focus your attention on where your attention is being taken. Be aware of awareness.
Of course meditation is a perfect place to be doing the exercise because your mind will naturally wander on its own without the driving force of needing to be in a specific building for an appointment. Your natural awareness will go where it wants to go on its own. Don’t judge it – just watch it as if you are stalking an animal and see where it goes. You don’t want to control it, just meet it.
So now you have some insights on how to track it, where the heck do you start looking?
I believe that there are two primary motivators in life – fear and love. Some people take this a step back and say the primary drivers are separation and unity. I agree with that because separation brings fear which brings any other negative emotion and unity is the essence of love. But in terms of “real life” and things we can actually recognise and feel, most people simply don’t know how to judge when they’re in “separation” mode but we can very easily know when we are fearful. Again, relate it to what works for you because it is the concept that’s important not my terminology.
An easy way to know when you are in fear mode is that it shrinks you and contracts you and brings you into yourself. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing because sometimes that is what will keep you alive and is why it’s there, but you need to be aware of it and its consequences. Love on the other hand expands you and brings you into touch with more than just yourself. Fear holds you in while love reaches out.
Sometimes it can get confusing because the differences might be very subtle. Two simple examples might be sex and charity. The same action might be done out of fear to protect your own needs and your own desires, or could be done out of genuine giving to another with no expectation for return. Honesty is the only thing that can tell the difference.
I would say that 97% of people, 97% of the time act out of fear. It is a survival instinct and most of us are in survival mode, even when we think we are giving. We simply aren’t aware (there’s that word again) of alternatives so we default to survival mode, which is fear.
Fear shrinks you so your spirit will be curled in the foetal position afraid to look out at the world because you have told it over and over again (through your belief system) that the world is a dangerous place. That’s why it is so easy to think that the body is all there is to us because our awareness is shrunk inside it. It appears to us that everything comes from inside the boundary of our body, and essentially it does because it’s a safe haven for the spirit. Have you seen those cartoons where there is a fierce robot destroying everything but when it finally breaks down or is beaten there’s a tiny alien inside (usually in the middle of the forehead or at the heart) that is terrified. That’s a good image of us. A fierce machine tearing up the world to get what we want while inside there’s a very small but scared controller being given images of a fiery world.
Love expands and when you act from true love you see your real awareness in its natural state and it expands to be bigger than you are. Your spirit doesn’t simply get feedback from your senses as if your spirit is secondary but your spirit then directs your awareness to control your senses to filter the associated images. Your spirit is the holder of the camera (your awareness) that your senses use to capture images of your world and these images then are used to give your spirit impressions of your world. When your spirit is free to explore the wonder of the world it looks for (is aware of) beautiful images everywhere and expands even more. Love is everywhere.
If you think everything is bad and scary then the impressions are bad so you focus on the bad to avoid them, so your spirit shrinks for protection so you aren’t aware of your true self and the spirit is so busy protecting you from the bad images that it doesn’t focus on anything but the impressions it is given. It’s a slippery slope.
When your awareness expands you realise your physical impressions are as if they are only a small part of you or even as if they belonged to someone else and not the core of you. It is kind of like your spirit is in a hot air balloon hovering over you and seeing from a distance what is happening to you. It is no longer that “I am angry” but is more like “look, he is experiencing anger” and the reaction from that awareness from spirit is not one of anger itself but simply knowing the anger is happening. It is as if there are silk ropes dangling down from the balloon to “me” and every so often a rope is tugged from something that happens and the awareness feels the tug on the rope and says “oh, there goes the frustration rope again”. Of course every now and again a tug on the rope is so severe that the balloon can be dragged down back into the senses, but even then you know the reality of your spirit as being bigger than you.
Finding your spirit doesn’t mean that you are immune to life. It simply brings more to your life.
The key to finding it is tracking it through being aware of your awareness. Tracking it can be a long and tiring process and can be frustrating and even bring up its own fears. You might wonder why you are doing it to find something that is so elusive it might just be a flight of fancy or a myth.
When starting the hunt you need to use your awareness of your awareness to find your spirit inside yourself. Silence is the best place to begin the search to look within. This is the message of the vast majority of spiritual paths and religions. When you find it you wonder what took you so long to see what was always there, then you smile.
Some people say that there is no process and “enlightenment” takes an instant. I believe that’s true and that instant is the instant you actually find your spirit but it is very unlikely you’ll find it without looking for it in the first place – the looking is the process and the time taken for the process depends on how close you are to start with and the tools you use to track it. The most common tools are either desperation or dedication, or sometimes a mix of both.
When you find it you realise there is no need and actually never was a need to look because you are it. You realise “I am that”, or simply I AM. The end takes an instant; the path to get there is as varied as you and I.
What do you think?