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Meditation Changes Everything

Episode 3 5 Gateways to Awakened Awareness

Spiritual practice offers us various gateways through which we can directly experience the profound freedom of awakened consciousness. In this episode, Craig leads us through a series of “meditation experiments” that guide us beyond the mind’s obstructions into this remarkably accessible experience of inner freedom. He then shares how meditation practice allows us to access and express awakened consciousness more consistently in our daily lives.

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In This Episode…

“Meditation is not about having a profound experience every time you practice. It’s about consistency and openness to possibility. It invites an ongoing revelation that arises mysteriously until it ultimately overtakes us with its power.”

In this episode, we’re offering something experiential. As Craig leads us through several inquiries and periods of guided meditation, he encourages us to notice that meditation is actually always already happening. In any moment, we can recognize that nothing is ultimately missing and that nothing needs to be known by the mind for us to access the freedom of our true nature. 

Please don’t attempt to listen to this episode while driving or doing anything else that requires your attention. To get the full benefit of the guided meditations, we encourage you to listen when you are in a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted. 

If you’re interested to explore more of Craig’s meditation experiments, you’re invited to tune in to a 90-minute online workshop Craig will be hosting called Meditation 2.0 – The Miracle of Direct Awakening. Register for free at FreeMeditationWorkshop.com.

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Episode 3 5 Gateways to Awakened Awareness

Craig Hamilton: This practice is not about having to hit home runs every time you practice or have a profound experience every time. Really, it’s about consistency and openness to possibility. It just keeps inviting an ongoing revelation that arises mysteriously in some ways outside of conscious awareness until it ultimately overtakes us with its power.

I want to invite you right now, to just sit still, it doesn’t matter whether your eyes are open or closed, but just allow your gaze to rest in a single place if they’re open. 

I invite you to take a few deep, slow breaths, and with each outbreath, and with each outbreath, just let go of the cares and concerns of the day. 

Leave behind whatever happened, whatever is on your mind, whatever is weighing on your heart, just for this brief moment, let it all go. 

Allow yourself to come fully and completely into this present moment, with no concern for any other moment. 

One of the inner postures we work with in the Practice of Direct Awakening is a practice of simply noticing the meditation that is already happening. In this moment, there is a meditation that is already occurring. 

You aren’t generating this meditation, you don’t need to do anything to make it happen. It’s already happening. 

 

You Are Already Meditating

There’s a part of you that is always already in meditation, which means a part of you that is always deeply still and untouched by the comings and goings, the ups and downs of life. Allow yourself in this moment to just rest in this part of yourself that is outside of time and change, that’s already deeply at ease and at rest and unperturbed by anything. 

Notice that this doesn’t mean that your mind has to stop thinking. It doesn’t mean that complex feelings that might be arising need to go away in order to feel more peaceful. I’m pointing to a dimension of your being that is always already simply and deeply present. 

With this practice, it doesn’t even matter whether you can feel anything particular in yourself because often in meditation we look in ourselves to find a certain experience. If you look within, and you can’t see this depth then just notice the depth that’s here between us. 

Notice the meditation that’s happening in the field between us, that’s also always here. 

Notice what’s alive in the stillness. Notice what’s here in the space between us. 

You are not separate from this depth, from this aliveness, from this presence, you never were, never have been. Just allow it to continue in the background now. Thank you. 

So that was our first very brief experiment in Direct Awakening meditation. These are obviously very brief little tastes, but just take a moment to notice if anything opened up for you or made itself apparent to you or shifted, in your experience, even in those few minutes that we just did together. Notice the quality of your consciousness now. Is it at all different than it was before? Maybe so, maybe not. That’s okay. 


You are Already Whole and Complete

This practice is not about having to hit home runs every time you practice or have a profound experience every time. It’s really about consistency and openness to possibility. It just keeps inviting an ongoing revelation that arises mysteriously in some ways outside of conscious awareness until it ultimately overtakes us with its power. 

For our next brief practice, I want to invite you to just allow yourself to take a few moments to rest right now in the natural easeful recognition that there is nothing missing from this moment. There is nothing missing from you. Who and what you are in this exact moment that I’m saying these words is already it, already whole and complete. Your very essence is a luminous enlightened presence that has never not been here, you just couldn’t see it. Your practice right now is to just allow the truth of that which really means the practice is to not fight that, to not deny it, to not resist it. This is it. You are that one without a second.

This is a practice of no longer postponing your liberation. It’s a practice of not giving in to the temptation to put it off to tomorrow, to believe that there is some other time some other place some other situation in which you will find yourself that would be more adequate, more whole, more complete, that you would be more ready to let go and embrace the perfection that is at the heart of who you are. You’re just accepting it right now. 

 

Nothing is Missing from this Moment  

Nothing needs to change about this moment right now. It’s all already here. Realize that nothing that your mind could do in this moment could in any way take away from the wholeness, completeness of this moment. Your mind can’t touch it, even if the most disturbing, craziest thoughts were to arise. They’re just barely ripples on the surface.

You don’t have to worry about your mind. You don’t have to worry about your feelings. Your doubts don’t mean anything in the face of this. Your insecurities are irrelevant in the face of this immensity of who and what you are, always. 

So I want to invite you to just allow the fragrance of this brief practice experiment that we’ve just been doing for these last few minutes, just allow the fragrance of it to remain with you, in whatever way it does naturally. You don’t need to try to hold on to it, you can’t hold on to it, your mind can’t remember it. But you can just allow it to be here as we continue with our workshop. 

We’re going to work with three more practice experiments. 

One of the most refreshing qualities of awakened consciousness is the kind of innocence that comes with it. 

If you’ve ever encountered an awakened person, or even partially awakened, one of the things you may have noticed is that an awakened person does not care if they don’t know or if they do know. There’s not this kind of holding on to certainty, trying to have the answers, trying to figure it all out.


Awakened Awareness Invites an Open Curiosity about Life 

The way that awakened awareness naturally shows up it’s like an open, receptive, innocent interest. There’s this profound willingness to live in the unknown. You can see how the ego tries to grasp on, tries to have an answer or a solution, a good one or a bad one it doesn’t matter. The ego wants to know the outcome. This isn’t going to work, or this is going to work fine. It doesn’t want to stay open. I don’t know if this is going to work, let’s try! Oh, the ego hates that. It’s terrified of that. 

But awakened consciousness is just so free in the face of uncertainty. There’s just this open, innocent interest, leaning into the moment. What will I discover in the next moment? What is there to see? I think part of this is because when we awaken, we discover a context and a depth of being so immense that we see that the minds attempt to know and to have certainty in the face of the uncertainty of life, that we see it’s an attempt to put the immensity of reality into a little box so we can have control. And really, we see it as a kind of control. 

When we’re awake, we’ve let go of control. We realize we’re participating in something so much greater than we could possibly control and we realized that the only way that could work is to just move and flow and dance with life as it unfolds. That doesn’t mean we don’t make plans. It doesn’t mean we don’t try to solve problems or make decisions to answer. But there’s a fundamental ease in the face of not knowing and a fundamental recognition that whatever we can know and do know, what we don’t know is so much bigger. 

We become someone who’s able to rest in what Christian mystic in the Middle Ages called the Cloud of Unknowing. We live in a cloud of unknowing and we’re deeply at ease and happy in that unknowing. 

 

The Practice of Innocence

So for our next experiment, I want to invite us into this practice posture, often called innocence. So in this moment, again, just sitting here, I want to invite you to let go of the need to know anything. Give yourself the freedom to have no idea about anything. Just don’t know. There’s no need to figure anything out. No need to know whether you’re meditating or not, whether this is working or not, or even understand what’s happening. Just allow yourself to be here as you are, with no need to know. 

You might notice your mind comes up trying to know something. The mind is constantly interpreting what’s happening, trying to understand what’s happening. What does it mean? I just felt this, I wonder if that’s what Craig’s talking about? Oh, I’m not feeling it. I wonder why the mind is there. It’s trying to understand and figure it out. It’s also interpreting, it’s also always evaluating. This is good. This is bad. This is great. This is what should have been happening. Oh, this isn’t very good. I don’t think that should be happening. That’s okay. 

We’re not trying to control the mind. We’re not trying to shut it down. But notice that you can rest in this innocence, this freedom of not knowing even as your mind continues to try to get involved in the action. One aspect as this particular practice posture deepens, is we practice not getting involved with the mind. Not engaging with the thought stream. Thought arises, we see it, oh there’s another thought. But we’re not interested in it. 

 

Resting in the Freedom of Not Knowing

Why are we not interested in the mind, the thought stream that’s usually so interesting too? Because we realize it’s just churning out partial representations of reality, it’s just chattering away. It’s like a mechanical process, it’s just trying to know trying to understand trying to figure it out.

It’s actually much more interesting to not know. Can you feel all the openness and not knowing? The freedom to not need to know? The spaciousness? It’s possible to be here with no need to know and no engagement with the thought process. Thought arises of its own accord. We don’t give it any attention because we’re interested in that which is beyond the mind which is not approachable by thought. 

We just allow that depth to open up as we sit here not knowing anything about it, not trying to get a handle on it. 

I’m going to just move directly into the next brief practice experiment because it can just arise within the space of not knowing that we are already practicing. 

So, for this next brief experiment, we’re going to look at another of the natural postures of awakened consciousness. 


Awakened Awareness is consciousness that has discovered itself

One of the remarkable dimensions of awakened awareness is the profound contentment that comes with it. When we are awake to who and what we are, we find an unimaginable peace and ease of being and contentment. It’s not because we finally fixed reality. And it’s not because we finally fixed ourselves and perfected every little thing about ourselves. It’s because we’re no longer resistant to the way things are. We’re no longer in denial or avoidance or in a fight with reality.

I think it arises because we’ve discovered this inherent sacredness and wholeness and perfection that I was speaking about earlier. Because we now deeply recognize what reality is in its essence, we find ourselves fully able to be with what is, with no struggle against what is. And this too, is something that we can practice directly.

 

The Practice of Allowing

One of the simplest ways of practicing Direct Awakening is to simply allow everything to be exactly as it is in this moment. It’s to practice being content with what is. Which doesn’t mean feeling content, it means not struggling, allowing, embracing this moment as it arises with no need to change it in any way. No need to change our experience in any way. 

So, allow yourself to practice that now. Simply allowing this moment as it is. No matter what arises from one moment to the next, we still allow it, we embrace it, we include it in the wholeness of this moment. Nothing is excluded. Nothing is rejected. 

In this place of allowing, of contentment, I’m going to introduce the final practice experiment of the evening.

This has to do with the nature of awareness itself. One way of understanding awakened awareness is that it is awareness that has discovered awareness. Its consciousness that has become aware of consciousness. 

In our ordinary lives, in our ordinary consciousness, we tend to only be aware of things, of objects arising in awareness. We are aware of things in the outer world. We are aware of our bodies. We’re aware of thoughts, feelings, emotions, sensations. All of these are what we’re constantly aware of and paying attention to. And because of this, because our attention is permanently riveted on all the things arising in consciousness, we never become aware of that which is aware of the one who is experiencing all of this. 

Our fixation on things, including inner things, obstructs the recognition of who we really are, which is infinite consciousness. Infinite awareness. The boundless limitless self. 

 

Becoming Aware of Awareness

I want to invite you right now to notice first the things in your awareness. If your eyes are open, notice what’s around you in the room. Notice the sound of my voice arising. Whatever background sounds there are, whatever sensations are in your body; feeling the skin against your skin, feeling the chair you’re sitting on, or whatever you’re sitting on, thoughts that are arising, or not. 

And now, I want to invite you to simply become aware of the awareness in which all of this is arising. Become aware of consciousness itself, of the experiencer, that which is not a thing, but is experiencing all those things I just mentioned.

Don’t try to locate it in your head or in your body. It’s not there. It’s not in any place. Any place that you can become aware of is another thing. Just gently allow yourself to notice the subject of your experience. The space in which all things come and go in your experience. Notice that there’s a tendency to try to find it somewhere. To look for a particular feeling and call that awareness or particular quality of spaciousness or openness. Just allow yourself to keep looking beyond everything you can fixate on, directly into the awareness that you are. 

Now I want to invite us to come back to where we started this journey by simply noticing the meditation that’s already occurring. Just allow yourself to forget about all the specific practices that we tried briefly, or whether you got this one or that one, whatever happened. Just allow yourself to be here and be aware of the meditation that’s happening between us. We’ve all really given ourselves to these experiments in practice and now there’s just meditation, just consciousness unfolding one moment into the next effortlessly. 

And now I want to invite you to let go of meditation and just allow the fragrance or the taste of all of these practices to just remain in whatever way is natural. Not trying to hold on to anything that happened, anything you discovered, just allowing it to continue in whatever way it does naturally.

 

FREE MEDITATION WORKSHOP

Meditation was invented when humans still believed the world was flat. Is it time for an update to this ancient practice? In this free 90-minute workshop, you’ll experience a revolutionary new meditation process that gives you direct access to awakened consciousness.

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