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Sensing Inside

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We often look into our mind to know something, and so when we want to know ourselves, we often look into the mind for that also. But the mind is full of thoughts about what we want to know and never the thing itself. You will never find an apple or a lover or a sunset or anything in your mind, just thoughts about these things. And you will never find your true Self in the mind, just a lot of thoughts about the true Self. That is just what the mind is made of and so that is what you find in there.

What if you sense in your heart instead? I am not suggesting you think about what you might find in your heart. What if you actually sense the space inside your chest? What is actually here right now within the space of your body? It can be helpful to rest your hands over your chest, and then simply notice what is really present beneath your hands. No need to think much about it, just directly sense what is here.

First of all, how mysterious is it that there is a body with a heart? And even more mysterious is the simple existence of space beneath the hands resting on your heart. What is this simple mystery of a place called here? Why is there a "here" that holds your body and everything else that is present? What is that space itself under your hands like? If for just a moment you do not think about what is here and instead just sense the actual space under your hands, what do you find?

Staying Focused on the Self

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Someone contacted me asking about the teachings of Ramana and also asking how I stay focused on the Self. Here is my response:

In my experience, the great power of Ramana's teaching is as you say in the focused simplicity of the message. Self-inquiry can point you all the way back to the source of Being in pure Presence. And yet I also at times find that to be its limitation. Formless awareness loves to play in form and all of the many levels of existence....it even loves forming egos!

Perhaps, a balanced perspective is that there is a place for discovering your true nature as empty awareness, and yet that is not the end of the inquiry but just another beginning. There are all of the endless possibilities inherent in Consciousness to be explored and enjoyed as well.

And so in answer to your question as to how I stay focused on the Self, I would say that as I discover more and more about the Self I keep finding in deeper ways that there is nothing else here. That makes it easy to stay focused on the Self as I can't miss. Every experience is worthy of inquiry and deeper understanding and love. It is like eating at a buffet instead of having to order something specific off of the menu.

Note to readers: Please feel free to email me with questions or topics you would like to see addressed on this blog using the form on the contact page.

Oneness in Everyday Experiences

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The following is an excerpt from one of the free articles available here entitled What is Advaita or Nonduality?

What about your experience right now? Is it possible to discover this subtle oneness in ordinary experience? It is, if you set aside the expectation of a dramatic experience of oneness and explore the oneness a little bit at a time. Just as even a single drop of water is wet, you can experience oneness in even simple everyday experiences, since oneness is a fundamental quality of everything that exists.

As an experiment, just notice your fingers and the palm of your hand. Can you really say where one starts and the other ends, or are they one thing? To take this further, where does your hand stop and your forearm begin? Can you experience the oneness of your hand and your forearm?

If these are not separate, then what about all the other parts of your body? Are your feet and your ears really one even though they are so different? Now notice if there really is a separation between your thoughts and your head. Where does your head stop and something else called thought begin? What about feelings or desires? Are they really separate from you or your body?

Now, notice the simple sensations you are having: the sounds you are hearing, the sensations of touch, and the objects and events you are seeing. If you are seeing, something, where does the seeing stop and something else called the eye begin? If you are hearing sounds where does the sound start and the ear stop? Perhaps the hearing and the sound and your ear are all one thing. Yes, the ear is different from the sound, but in the act of hearing they become one thing.

Then, where does the source of the sound stop and the sound itself start? For example, if a bird is singing outside your window, where does the bird stop and the sound of its song begin? Or are they one thing? If the bird and its song are one thing, and your hearing and the song are really one thing, then is it possible that you and the bird are one thing also?

Advaita, or oneness of Being, has often been thought of as something hidden or difficult to experience, when it is quite ordinary and available in every moment. Of course a big experience of oneness, where you directly experience the oneness of everything, is a rare and dramatic event. But why wait for something so rare when this sweet and satisfying oneness is right here, right now?