If you do not already do so I suggest that you initiate a daily practice of meditation. Even a short meditation for only 10 to 15 minutes a day can be of value. Stilling the mind will serve you well at the Enlightenment Intensive Retreat and in your daily life.
BREATHE, RELAX, STAY OPEN AND WITNESS
Keep your meditation simple. I suggest using the breath as a meditative focus. The breath as a meditative focus is ancient and profound and can be very simple. This breath technique has been called by many names one of which is 'mindfulness of breathing.' It allows for access into deep awareness and it helps free yourself from the reactivity of fear, anger and confusion.
GENTLY FOLLOW THE IN-HALING BREATH
AND THE EX-HALING BREATH
WITH YOUR ATTENTION
Following the breath can be done lying down or sitting comfortably with your eyes open or closed. As you do this stay open to witnessing reality, existence or just what you become conscious of just as you find it. This is not a process of thinking, trying to make changes or trying to figure anything out. You are just witnessing…witnessing the breath and observing what you are conscious of. There is nothing complicated about observing what you are conscious of. Simply observe without trying to do anything about what you are aware of.
You can do this breath awareness meditation wherever you are. You may be sitting at your desk, or taking a walk, or watching a sunrise. Your eyes can be open or closed, whatever is appropriate at the time. Eyes open or closed, either is OK.
KEEP YOUR ATTENTION ON THE BREATH
If thoughts arise, just bare witness to them as if they were the clouds passing in the sky without chasing after the thoughts or resisting them. Non-attachment. You need not try to make the thoughts go away. Simply bring your attention to witnessing what you are conscious of while following the breath. Let go of any inner struggle or anxiety of trying to make anything happen. If you become aware that your attention is following thoughts instead of your breath, gently bring the attention back to the breath.
If you will keep your attention on the inflow and the outflow of the breath for fifteen to twenty minutes twice each day, modern science and the ancient sages say that you will teach the body-mind to elicit deep relaxation whenever you put your attention on your breathing.
As you become comfortable and more familiar with this simple breath awareness meditation you will be able to use this technique anywhere and at any time. You won’t need to only be in a quiet environment to relax and elicit the relaxation response in the body. You can be driving in your car, sitting at your desk, or engaged in any activity.
'Who Am I' is not a Question
The self enquiry meditation that we use at the Enlightenment Intensive Retreat is either 'Who am I' or 'What am I'. This self enquiry is NOT A QUESTION. It is a self reflection and a witnessing of your Self.
At first it seems like it is a question because the first stages of self enquiry are intellectual. And an intellectual response to the 'Who am I?' enquiry demands an answer. But there are no answers, neither right nor wrong, to this enigma.
The Enlightenment Technique of contemplation on 'Who am I' is born of advaita (non duality) Yoga and the Zen Buddhist traditions of meditating upon a 'koan.' A 'koan' is the Japanese Zen self enquiry riddle.
There are hundreds of Zen riddles such as 'What is the sound of one hand clapping?' The riddle is meant to collapse or implode the intellectual mind. It brings you to what Hui Neng, an enlightened Zen master, wrote several hundred years, "Your original nature cannot be understood by logic, spoken by words, explained in writing or measured by reason."
ENLIGHTENMENT IS YOUR SUBJECTIVE TRUTH
In the same way, the Enlightenment Intensive riddle, 'Who am I' has no logical or intellectual answer. It's fulfillment is the conscious direct knowing of who you are. And that is not intellectual, it is DIRECT and absolutely subjective. You will make more progress if you do not 'think' of the contemplative riddle, 'who am I', as a question. It is a self-enquiry. A wondering into the nature of your self.
BREATHE, RELAX, STAY OPEN AND WITNESS THE PLAY OF CONSCIOUSNES Who are you?asked the caterpillar in the novel, Alice in Wonderland. “I hardly know,” replied Alice. Many people, like Alice share that state of uncertainty.
When you know who you are, you stop trying to become someone or something. You are content to be yourself.
When you know who you are, you stop running from the past and chasing the future. You live your full Presence, NOW.