As all the authentic spiritual teachers throughout the ages have been reminding us, in reality you’re not a separate individual, not an individual ‘self’, not the story of ‘a person in a world’, but a vast ocean of consciousness in which every little manifest wave of experience — every thought, sensation, image, sound, feeling — arises and dissolves in this moment.
You’re not limited in space and time — you’re the loving capacity for life itself. You’re the wide open expanse of awareness in which the manifest world appears and disappears, leaving no trace. The non-separation of self and world — this is where all religious and spiritual teachings point in the end, and it’s now being confirmed by modern science too.
Everyone knows this Oneness, deep down. Yes, there’s something here, and call it what you will — for not being an ‘it’, it’s truly unnameable — right in the depths of present experience; something that doesn’t come and go, something that cannot break or rot or shatter, even in the midst of extreme sadness or pain or fear.
It’s a place that’s always deeply okay, even when things on the surface don’t seem okay. Being beyond the opposites, being beyond the dualistic world of thought and language, it’s beyond the cycle of birth and death. It was never born and cannot die. It’s life itself. It’s what you are.
Don’t just believe me — look for yourself. When you bring your attention right back to the present moment, to what’s actually happening right now, what do you find? Do you find a fixed, unchanging, solid entity called a ‘self’? Or do you find that everything here is constantly changing, moving, from moment to moment? Do you find solidity, or do you find a cosmic dance?
Thoughts appear and disappear, all by themselves. Images, memories, ideas all ‘pop’ into awareness, linger for a while, and then disappear. Thoughts of the past, thoughts of the future. Stories about what you should be doing, about what you should have done, about things you need to do tomorrow. Thoughts about what should and shouldn’t happen in the world.
All sorts of feelings come and go — sadness, boredom, frustration, anger, fear. Sensations happen all over the body. Sounds appear out of nowhere — traffic outside, a television buzzing, a door opening, the sound of breathing, a bird chirping, tweet tweet!
Everything that appears in what you are, we could call a wave of experience. And so, this thought is a wave. This sensation is a wave. This sound is a wave. This feeling is a wave. Present experience is the ocean of consciousness waving, dancing, playing.
Can you recognise that present experience is always simply this present-moment dance of waves, all happening in the vast ocean that you are? And for ‘ocean’, you can read the word ‘Consciousness’ or ‘Awareness’ or ‘Being’ or ‘Spirit’ or ‘Source’ or ‘Eenergy’ — or whatever word feels right to you. It’s all beyond words, anyway…
From the perspective of who you really are, as the vast ocean of consciousness, although all the waves (thoughts, sensations, sounds, feelings) are different in appearance, they’re the same in essence. They’re all water. The strong, violent, painful waves as much as the soft, gentle waves — they’re all made of the same ‘stuff’ as you. Thoughts, sounds, pain, sadness, fear — everything is made of consciousness. In this sense, everything that appears in present experience is deeply intimate with what you are.
Therefore, on the deepest level, who you really are doesn’t have a problem with any of the waves that appear. None of the waves can threaten who you really are. How can water threaten water? And so you could say that on the deepest level, who you really are accepts every wave — every thought, every sensation, every feeling.
The ocean doesn’t accept some waves and reject others — the unconditional inseparability of the ocean and the waves is the acceptance that I’m talking about. The ocean has no choice but to accept the waves — it is the waves! Acceptance is ‘built-in’ to your present experience!
A question asked by every spiritual seeker: “How can I, a separate person, accept the present moment as it is?” Well, now we see that it’s not a question of you trying to do this deepest acceptance — this acceptance isn’t a doing. In a sense, if you’re trying to accept, you’re already too late, because this acceptance has already been done. Every wave, if it’s appearing, has already been accepted into what you are.
In a sense, you have already accepted the present moment, exactly as it is. What you are has already said YES to these thoughts, these sensations, these sounds, these feelings — otherwise they wouldn’t be appearing like this. The floodgates are open — this moment has already been allowed in, in its totality.
And so, in my teaching, when I talk about acceptance, I’m not using the word in the way we’ve been conditioned to use it. I’m using the word in this new way, that points to this deepest acceptance of life itself, an acceptance, an allowing, that has already been done.
And so, when I suggest that you ‘accept’ or ‘allow’ what is – it’s a shorthand way of asking you to simply, gently, effortlessly notice what is present. To notice that in this moment, these thoughts and feelings have already been allowed in.
~ by Jeff Foster (From: Inzicht Magazine)
~ Jeff’s new book, The Deepest Acceptance: Radical Awakening in Ordinary Life will be published by Sounds True in May 2012.