Being Aware Joyfully
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Platonic Zen exercises

The English word "religion” derives from the Latin religare which means "to tie back to” the ultimate reality of God. "Tying back” implies that we were once connected to the divine reality but have somehow come adrift. Any disconnection, however, must be more apparent than real; for if we really were separated from the source of all existence then we would cease to exist. Plainly, our separation from God is due to some oversight or forgetfulness. There is actually a close connection already between us and God; it’s just that we don’t recognise or remember it. The following exercises help facilitate the changes in consciousness required for recognising or remembering the presence of God in all things, including the body, life and mind you are. Read the exercises; think about them – then try them out for yourself.

1. The practice of Innate Joy is to spend ten minutes a day just sitting quietly and reliving past experiences of happiness.

Do more than just think about happy memories. Immerse yourself in recollected experiences of them. Do it with several different happy memories.

Shankara, the C.8th Hindu sage, describes the true nature of reality as sat-cit-ananda (Being-Aware-Joyfully). In consciousness of happiness you are close to the true nature of everything, including yourself.

Check it out.

2. The practice of Spiritual Location is to contemplate happy memories and identify the viewpoint from which you recollect them.

You need to be established in the practice of Innate Joy to succeed in this practice of Spiritual Location. Are you skilful at alternating between memories and at juxtaposing them, seamlessly, without interrupting your immersion experience?

Keep practising.

Once you are experienced in Innate Joy, notice that the inner recollecting I/eye does not see past events from exactly the same vantage-point as your physical eyes at the time.

Check it out for yourself.

Notice that the inner I/eye sees all your memories from its own distinct and unchanging viewpoint. Verify that for yourself.

Now that you are well-versed in the practice of Innate Joy, locate and adopt as your own the viewpoint of the inner I/eye from which your memories are recollected.

What do you realise about the constant consciousness of the inner I/eye in regard to the changing content of your various memories?

3. The practice of Cosmic Recognition is to ‘remember’ your true self right NOW.

You need to be established in the practice of Spiritual Location to succeed in this practice of Cosmic Recognition. Are you alert to the constancy of the inner I/eye’s viewpoint and to its difference from your physical eyes’ perspective? Keep practising.

In the future you will remember the present moment. In that memory you’ll mostly see your present surroundings, but your body will be partly visible at the edge of your visual field. Notice how much of your body is visible to your mind’s eye.

Now, in this present moment, instead of just looking with physical eyes to see the surrounding physical world, look from the viewpoint of your recollecting I/eye and see yourself as an integral part of everything that is present to your consciousness.

Notice the comprehensive consciousness of your inner I/eye. The whole of experience, physically and spiritually, is contained in and present to that all-seeing I/eye. It includes all your sensory perceptions of things in the physical world as well as all the innate activities of thought in your mind. The consciousness of that all-seeing I/eye doesn’t need to move or change in order to comprehend All-in-One. It is unwavering, unchanging, effortless, ceaseless, unlimited awareness.

The first-personal subject of that cosmic consciousness, inner I/eye of its mind, is the divine Self of the universe, which manifests as your individual existence, life and mind. In human consciousness, the universe has become aware of itself.

If you don’t see how we are the conscious mind of the universe, you're just not looking closely enough at everything.