Meditation as the Practice of Present Moment Awareness
Meditation in its essence is the practice of present moment awareness. In fact, if you live every moment of your life with present moment awareness – your entire life is meditation.
Regular meditation practice ultimately crystallizes our experience of being, so over time, we are gradually getting closer and closer to a state of pure awareness.
But meditation and present moment awareness are not about attaining a goal. The Bhagavad Gita, the ancient Vedic text, also tells us to lose all desires, even the desire of enlightenment. When we let go of expectations, we stop interfering with the process. When we step aside and surrender, this is where we let the magic unfold.
Thus, the practice of meditation and present moment awareness is, in its essence, a practice of letting go. No expectations. No purpose. Just immersing in the in the “now”, which is all there really is.
And this is the beauty of meditation: The principles that apply to the practice itself also applies to our daily lives and thereby igniting change and personal transformation. For example, the principle we just mentioned of letting go: we train our mind to let go of past experiences (memories and fears) and of thoughts about the future (worries about the unknown). It is the practice of the “now” that teaches us to be fully present in our lives and allow us to excel in what we do. And from that, another principle is derived – the wisdom of the process.
Expansive Present Moment Awareness Teaches us to Pursue Excellence, Not Perfection
Perfection is the mountain in that has no peak. It is an endless, futile pursue it is unattainable in human terms and is beyond our control. So according to the wisdom of the process, we should instead invest our energy in what we can control – which is what we create and do at the present moment – and let go of worries and fears about the outcome of actions, which can only overshadow our mind and undermine our performance.
When we pursue excellence, we act with the knowingness that we are giving it our all, so then whatever the outcome of these actions is, we will be OK with it. We are free from worrying about the future and are open to the lessons of the present – we see any outcome that is attained as a teacher, and we ask ourselves what can we learn from it?
Witnessing Awareness and Self-Realization
Over time, the regular meditator cultivates what is known as “witnessing awareness”. As explained by Dr. Deepak Chopra, regular meditation practice cultivates equanimity and compassion, allowing us to be present with others and really listen to what they are saying and what they may need. And, with regular meditation practice, we also develop witnessing awareness, which is the ability to calmly and objectively observe a situation and consciously choose how to respond.
Further, with regularity of practice, we move even deeper beyond the role of the witness, and realize our true essential nature as infinite Spirit, the light of awareness:
"As you watch your mind, you discover yourself as the watcher. When you stand motionless, only watching, you discover yourself as the light behind the watcher."
- Nisargadatta Maharaj
This is where the magic of meditation and self-realization begins to unfold; when we realize our true nature, our interconnectedness and one with all of creation, and the illusion of separateness. See the following quote from one of the most notable scientists of all times:
“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
- Albert Einstein
And Dr. Deepak Chopra further illuminates on the illusion of matter, as follows:
"Physical body and physical universe are human constructs for formless awareness modifying itself as shapes, tonalities, textures, colors, sensations, images of awareness"
Indeed, meditation is transformational at all levels. Zooming out of daily life allows us to delve deeper into ourselves and realize the interconnectedness of everything in the universe and that the true essence and the source of reality and all experiences is one – creative intelligence, pure awareness, or Spirit (or Self, Higher Self, God, or Consciousness—the terminology greatly varies, and rightfully so; each one of us is unique, and the path we stride on in our spiritual journey should truly speak the language of our hearts, and therefore, there are many paths).
Awareness is the Greatest Agent for Change and Self-Transformation
Awareness is the greatest agent for change, as Eckhart Tolle eloquently expressed. Setting ourselves free of old conditioning and breaking free from limiting beliefs and thought patterns can only happen in the realm of awareness, when we transcend thought level.
Echoing this principle is the following affirmation by Dr. Deepak Chopra for igniting change by letting go of that which no longer serves us:
I LET GO WHEN I REST IN SILENT AWARENESS
How does that work?
Every time we meditate, we continue the process of exponentially expanding our awareness and, as an accumulative effect, further evolve and elevate to higher states of consciousness. Practicing meditation and cultivating witnessing present moment awareness bring our bodymind to a deep meditative state called restful alertness, or restful awareness.
When we rest in silence, in awareness, we are at a level where we are able to realize and identify what doesn't serve us and let go of it, thereby empowering self-transformation. We can then make new conscious choices and break free of our habitual thought and action patterns.
Meditate and Find-Free YourSelf
- Maya Bitton