There was a Brazilian teacher in Rishikesh in 2013 whose name was Prem Baba and he was giving free talks at a large ashram on the banks of the Ganga River. He was talking about Awareness as his main practice. He said Presence was the goal – “truly being awake right now, not lost in some fantasy of the past or the future.” The room he taught in was light and airy, with over 100 devotees from all over the world listening to him speak Portugese or listening to the translator’s English words.
He said the main obstacle to Awareness was Inner Dialogue, the mental chatter. This comes from the unconscious wishes and fears clashing with the conscious ones.
“We can say ‘yes’ as often as we like, but if our unconscious is saying ‘no’ then nothing will change.”
He said the remedy was to take responsibility for the suffering and abandon the stance of being the victim. This is not the attitude of ‘this is my fault’ (which is still victim thinking) but rather ‘this is my opportunity for freedom’. My freedom is my responsibility – because who else can free me from suffering?
“So I try to be simply Aware of what is happening, without blaming anything or anyone. Without blame there is no sense of injustice, no taste of bitterness or resentment.”
For instance, perhaps there is anger; be with that anger without identifying with the anger. Even if only for a few moments; this is being the witness, not the victim. If the justification for being angry arise try and witness that too. Be Aware of what is going on without believing any of it. If we don’t feed these sparks of madness they don’t become flames.
“Similarly, be with the inadequacy, the betrayal, the hunger, the despair. Accept their presence rather than look to assign guilt for their existence. Resist the habit of putting toxins in your mental environment! This is the moment by moment process of liberation.”
By witnessing – by being Aware – we see more and more what the real nature of these painful minds are. Before I avoided them by weaving a fantasy of blame: blaming myself, my family, my friends, society, God, the devil… an endless process of avoiding taking responsibility.
Now by accepting and being present – being aware – the nature of my pain becomes clear. I slowly bring what is unconscious into the light. And this awareness itself naturally leads to letting go.
It’s a moment of discovery of a world I am usually oblivious to because it’s so often drowned out by my internal soap opera. I am left with the simple reality of what I am actually experiencing, the unadorned and naked moment. The sounds i was too engrossed in ego to hear; the colour and pattern of the curtain in my room; the feel of water on my skin; the taste of a cup of tea.
Presence gives everything a feeling of sacredness.