Everything that you see around you, everything that appears in your consciousness, every phenomenon that you perceive, is a manifestation of god. It is all god. This is hard to understand, and you cannot simply ‘believe’ it. You must realise it.
We created this entire reality as a playground of sorts, so we could experience multiplicity – that is, allow our oneness to become ‘manyness’ – and enjoy the experiences that are only possible through being seemingly separate individuals. If we could have maintained our knowledge of our underlying oneness, this would have been wonderful. Imagine, a planet of reverent, joy-filled beings, all knowing they were part of one greater whole, enjoying and celebrating life on a deeply beautiful, conscious, living planet which nourished them with delicious foods, invigorated them with pure flowing water, sang to them through the marvellous birds that played amongst the trees, inspired them with the multitude of awe-inspiring creatures of various shapes and sizes – a real paradise of happiness, joyfulness and wonder.
Yet, we forgot. We forgot who we were. We forgot why we were here. We forgot our joyful connection to all that lives. We forgot the Love of our creator.
Instead, we got lost in our individuality, and we became afraid.
From this fear, we became obsessed with attempting to nourish ourselves, create security for ourselves, protect ourselves. We became completely lost in our separate sense of self, which is illusory, and we suffered. We suffered because we were seemingly cut off from our source, from the Love, care, security and spiritual nourishment it provides us with.
And the result is what you see in the world around you, in the people around you. There is a deep need to remember who we are, and we experience this as a feeling of lack, like there is something very important missing, which of course there is. Blindly, we turn to consumerism to try and satisfy this feeling of lack, but this cannot work because what is lacking is not missing from our physical being. It is missing from our consciousness. That is to say, we have lost awareness of it. The solution, of course, is to regain awareness of it.
This is where meditation comes in as the most vital spiritual practice we can include in our lives. It is vital because in meditation our awareness is given the opportunity to gravitate back to perceiving who we really are. We allow our attention to move away from all that seems to separate our consciousness (specifically thought) and we allow it to move to a deeper place, as we relax and open up our heart, and move to the centre of our being.
Relaxing our heart is just like relaxing any other muscle. All that is needed is an awareness of that part of the body, and when aware, we can be conscious of the degree of tension or relaxation. Whatever we find is okay, even if it feels like solid rock! Patient awareness naturally brings relaxation. The secret is not to force anything. Do not try to force any change, because this inevitably leads to resistance being created. Simply focus on relaxing the body.
It helps to be aware of the flow of your breathing as you do this. When we are thinking, our breathing is usually quite irregular and shallow, and it often stops altogether for brief moments. So we must be conscious that our breathing is flowing smoothly and consistently. When the breath is flowing consciously, it is impossible to get stuck in thought, because our breath is activating and energising a different part of our being. As we do this, awareness flows into that part, because oxygen and awareness go hand in hand; they both bring greater consciousness.
So with this simple basis of conscious gentle breathing and patient relaxation, you embark on a journey deeper within. It is a journey into greater Peace, spaciousness and light – the light that shines within. That which previously seemed to define and delineate you effortlessly fades away. It was but thought, and nothing else. Even if the mind gets temporarily tempted back towards thought, it requires no effort to bring awareness back to your breathing, back to the relaxation of the body, back to the sense of peaceful spaciousness.
In this space, the peace you feel is not really ‘your’ peace. It is the peace that comes from connecting to something greater. Like a computer that connects to the internet, you become receptive to a greater energy. Some people call this energy ‘God’ or ‘Source’ or many other names, but the name does not matter. It is the experience which matters. Experiencing this energy joins you with everything else that experiences this energy – all of creation. You commune, in a very literal way. You realize the Oneness.
This sense of deep Oneness cannot come from thought, it can only come from our heart. Therefore, this makes the practice of opening our heart the most important thing we can do, and whatever assists your heart to relax is precious. Beautiful and moving music, for example, or art in any form, as long as it carries an energy of beauty. Beauty speaks directly to the heart, and we live on such a beautiful planet that we need only open our door and go into nature to remember the beauty of our own heart. It has been made easy for us. But we have to choose it, we have to be conscious of it.
For example, it is very well to walk in a peaceful place in nature, but we need to do it consciously. Walking along staring at our mobile phone will not help us become aware of the peace around us. Neither will listening to aggressive or depressive music. We need to harmonise all the things we have in our life, so that they are things we encourage us to feel the way we want to feel, and help us to be conscious of life’s beauty. Why would we want to choose anything else? When you make a playlist of music to listen to, why would you choose songs that make you feel aggressive or sad or negative in any way? Life is like this. Living life consciously is about choosing all the things that encourage an experience of Peace, beauty, inner warmth and light.