How Aware Are You?
In our retreats we teach a way to use language, Perception Language, which helps to ground us in the present moment. Using Perception Language minimizes our tendency to become reactive or defensive.
But, for those times when we do become reactive—when our “train has left the station”—we have recently incorporated another awareness tool that brings us back to the present so that we don’t get caught in obsessive thought, or find ourselves sleep walking through life . . . living (if you call it that) on autopilot.
This tool is called the “Mandala of Being”. It was created by Richard Moss. The following is my interpretation of his Mandala.
The Mandala gives us the CHOICE to be more embodied in the present moment, to reconnect to what is actually happening NOW, rather than lost in the ‘reality’ that our emotional mind is creating—a ‘reality’ embellished with stories about our past, our future, about other people, or about ourselves.
The Mandala of Being is a mindfulness map that shows us the way out of our unsettling emotions and into pure sensation. Emotions are driven by our thoughts but sensations are a present moment experience.
Richard Moss says: “…while thinking is an essential way of knowing—identification with our thoughts causes our thinking to become inferior. Once we believe our own thoughts and continue to unquestionably assume that they are true, we are no longer thinking clearly. Actually we are no longer even thinking at all; we are simply repeating an already-programmed mental construct.”
I see clearly that my well-being is ultimately determined by my degree of awareness—how present and aware I am—as opposed to being caught up in my thoughts and stories. Basically I perceive I am always in one of the following states: awake, on autopilot, or lost in story—and I prefer to be awake as much as possible.
The experience of NOW is not just an experience of bliss (though the bliss is my favorite part). There will at times be an awareness of pain or discomfort in the present moment. Stuff happens and I can experience emotional or physical pain as a result, but it is the ‘past,’ ‘future,’ ‘self’ or ‘other’ stories that I add to the present moment that creates my suffering.
For example, if I tell myself a story about the future, “This pain will never end,” I make my pain much more unbearable. If I take away the story, I can experience and feel my pain without needing to suffer quite so much.
When I am in the NOW, I am without thought, simply experiencing my senses: feeling, touching, seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, awareness of my breath, noticing everything through my sensory systems without holding on to or even labeling any sensation. Just spaciously open to what ever arises. I am continually reawakening myself.
I can also be dancing, singing or playing an instrument, reading to my grandson, attentively present in the retreat, even writing—like writing haiku without thinking, and still be in the NOW. The greatest performers, athletes in the zone, and samurai are all impeccably engaged in the NOW.
I am hoping that you will join us for a future Live Conscious Retreat so that you can experience the Mandala of Being. Learning this by experiencing it is best, but you can also read more about this in Richard Moss’s book “Inside Out Healing”.