Asheville Sangha

Supporting Non-Duality and Awakening in Asheville and Beyond

We have been taught since we were old enough to learn that we are the body. But once you’ve had a glimpse of your True Nature as Awareness, that belief begins to get undermined. With subsequent realizations, non-dual moments, awakening experiences, etc., when there is a dis-identification with the body, the belief upon which the whole story of “you” was built begins to weaken. It can be unsettling when the “you” you thought you were begins to appear more like a figment of imagination. I’ve had many experiences of Pure Being, where Trey is seen to just be an experience of Awareness. As a result of those moments of clarity, subtle beliefs are being seen through. Doubt is falling away, leaving a growing acceptance of not being a person. The ripple effect of the implications of that fact are being felt in the form of waves of Joy and Gratitude. The effort it requires to be a separate self has become clear, as has the effortlessness of just Being.


One of the challenges for me has been around the sense of being Awareness housed in the body. I know it’s not true from direct experience, but there is a feeling of closeness to Trey’s body and mind and a sense that he is the focal point of experience. However, just because the body feels "close" to “you” does not make it who you are. I have been inquiring into the sense of being located in the body and would like to share some things that have helped “me” see through this illusion. We start by looking at where our current experience is being experienced from.


Notice where the hands are right now. That's not something you planned out obviously, but there they are. Close the eyes and see if you can feel the hands. Now try to get a sense for where they are located. When you do this, you might notice that you subtly (or even unconsciously) use a reference point in order to pick a location in space to assign the hands too. If you don't have a reference point for location purposes, then the experience of the hands is just there, in space somewhere. Check to see where they feel located in reference to nothing.


Now notice where the feet are. With the eyes closed try to get a sense of where the feet are located. Some reference point might tell you that they are further down below where the hands are. That involves another reference point. But take away the point of reference and notice that the feet are just where they are, in space somewhere.


With the eyes closed pay attention to the feeling of the face. If you can't feel the face, then smile and feel what it feels like to smile. See if you can get a location on the smiling face. Does it feel closer than the hands and feet? If so, that means you are using the body (head more specifically) as a reference point. But without that reference point, isn't the smiling face also just floating in space somewhere?


Now notice the thoughts. If you're not currently thinking any thoughts, then I recommend you think the thoughts, blah, blah, blah. As those thoughts arise, see if you can get a location on them. Where are they located? Do they seem to be higher up then the smiling face? Again, when you remove the reference point of something, aren't thoughts also just appearing somewhere in space?


Now, with your eyes closed, direct attention toward the whole body. Feel the aliveness in all parts of it simultaneously. Where is the body located? If we aren’t using the body as a reference point for locating it, it too appears to be floating in an aware space, with no particular location. Can you sense the body as just one more object being noticed in this aware space that contains everything? This aware space doesn’t have a particular location or reference point. Everything is just in it.


The only thing making something feel closer than another is that we have been taught to use our bodies as a reference point, which is necessary for practical purposes. However, the invitation here is to see what it’s like not to rely on the body as a reference point. Then, what we are noticing through the senses, with no interpretation of close vs. far away, is where it is. The idea of here and there disappears and everything is just here, in an aware space.


Now that there is an experience of space between and around the body/mind, pay attention to the space that all of these thoughts and sensations are floating in. It’s like a bowl of Awareness soup that has different ingredients floating in it (a chunk of meat, a tablespoon of thought and a few dashes of sights and sounds). See if you can get a sense that this Awareness soup feels more like what you are and that the body and thoughts are just floating around in it. Enjoy the yummy soup :)

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