Listening Within – Lifting the Veil of the Authentic Self

“Just pause thought. In that space, do you disappear? What is there in that space? Obviously you are there. You are quite present and aware. That is all. You are, and you know you are. There is both the sense of being or presence and a knowing capacity. Is that awareness ‘over there’ while you are ‘here’, or are you that which is aware? Realize that you must be the presence of awareness….”

~ John Wheeler
contemporary American nondualist teacher
in The Light Behind Consciousness

We are so very much more than what we take ourselves to be. Like a water skeeter bug which skates atop pond water, we skate the surface of our lives, ignorant of the depths immediately below.

So why would we wonder why our lives seem barren of depth or empty of aliveness? Why would it puzzle us that despite our intelligence and best efforts, we remain entangled in seeming intractable personal problems?

The logic of our situation is impeccable. We live on the surface of our being buoyed by incessant thoughts and thinking. Yet we can enter the silent depths of our souls and Being, and there find sustenance, but only when – we stop thinking.

Said differently, thought veils the authentic Self, the soul, Being. To lift the veil of these mysteries, we need to stop thinking and come to rest in the silent, ever present experiencing awareness which then immediately reveals itself.

One practice which establishes such a relation to our depths is listening within which has sometimes been referred to as presence or contemplation.

The very act of listening establishes both a mind which is silent and also you in experiencing awareness. How simple is this to experience for yourself? Just take a moment to close your eyes, and listen attentively to every nuance of sound in your room…. To hear, the mind must be silent.

And, who hears when the mind is silent? The experiencing awareness which you are. That ever-present awareness which preexists any of your thoughts such as “I”, your name, identity, ideas, ideals, beliefs, images, reactions, memories, desires, hopes, prejudices, attitudes, assumptions, positions, etc. Why? Because you are awareness itself; you are not thoughts such as these which are only the content or objects of the awareness which you are.

The world which reveals itself when we establish ourselves in experiencing awareness was pointed to when contemporary teacher, Eckhart Tolle, wrote “Spiritual awakening is awakening from the dream of thought”. Your incessant thinking veils the mysteries of your Being.

Of course, “listening” within is a metaphor for an attitude of awareness with which we turn our attention inwards to engage the flow of our inner experience. Just as in everyday conversation, you can’t listen and talk to someone at the same time, so too you can’t listen within effectively, if you are thinking at the same time.

To listen within is to step out of the known and the ego, and to step into an inner process which already and ceaselessly now unfolds within. Because thought is the known, and the ego is constructed of thought, when we step out of the ego, we engage our experiencing (inner and outer) without the mediation of preconception, memory, the known, the mind. We open to experience the living immediacy of the unknown, which is the next moment. This is the “freedom from the known” which Krishnamurti urged, like Tolle.

When listening, we are receptive. We let experience come to us. We do not grasp or appropriate or interpret or make meaning of or act upon our experiencing. For without thought, there is no “I” to grasp, appropriate, or interpret; there simply is Being which lets experiencing unfold itself with unconditional acceptance and curiosity.

From the unfolding experiencing itself, meaning and significance may reveal itself as thought arising organically from our experiencing. We “listen” to feelings, images, memories, which arise spontaneously as may arise essential qualities of Being and other states of consciousness (Being). The experiences which unfold do so with an inherent logic which seemingly seeks to optimize our being.

As we become more skilled in “listening within”, we find ourselves becoming more and more skilled in simply living as experiencing awareness throughout the entirety of our daily lives within and without.

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