Choiceless Awareness: the Key to Non-reactive Presence

by | Jun 9, 2016 | The Guru's Blog

Knowing yourself is not the same as knowing about yourself. Whatever you know about yourself is a mental construct. Your entire past, your age, profession, acquired conditioned thoughts, feelings, self-image and karma body with all its content is not you.

You are the container, the “I AM.” You are the changeless, timeless soul that was present before you were born in the body you currently inhabit and will continue to be present after your body dies. Regardless of what is happening within you or outside of you, you are the “knower”. The “I AM” that is the immortal, timeless, formless being, the container, consciousness. The unconditioned “I AM” is the container for consciousness. The objects of knowing are the contents that you know about. But when “I AM” identifies with reactions, such as guilt, blame, shame, hatred, anger, jealousy, fear, and addiction; the “I AM” container turns into a colander pierced with holes. No matter how much content in the form of achievements of power, property, and skill you put into this leaky container; it the (ego-mind) remains empty, hungry and greedy for more. The ego mind struggles to fill up the container with possessions so it may feel full. But being a leaky container, it lives with an insatiable hunger that can not be fulfilled. The hunger of the ego is not real hunger, but rather like the horizon; a false union of earth and sky. What disturbs you the most is when you believe whatever your mind tells you about yourself. What you believe about yourself is not who you are. All problems you perceive are seen through your reaction as though they are coming from others, or from outside of yourself. Therefore, everything you do to solve the problems happens externally. But you have not let go of the internal reaction that was present before the problem you see outside. Efforts to solve problems by changing external situations without letting go of your reactive perception changes nothing but the content.

The ego that believes, “I am not enough” and “I am deficient” is needy, demanding and greedy. This is the real problem. This is what fundamentally makes the ego-mind a leaky container. The content of your facetious self-image (that we also call ego) is colored by your distorted reactive perceptions of all that happened in the entire journey of “I AM”. Everything you know through the reactive perception about yourself is “about” you. But it is not you.

All mental content conditioned by the past is waiting for a reaction to “re-act” in the present. You can’t enhance or diminish what is present; you can only acknowledge its presence and embrace it. But your ego-mind will fight with, run from, or attempt to modify what is present. The mind, being conditioned by social norms and personal likes and dislikes, lives in the service of the self -image in dualistic conflicts.

Presence is undivided. Choosing for or against what is present gives birth to the ego-mind. Choice separates us from the source of Oneness. Once your ego chooses for or against what is, it is required to do something about it. When you remain the choiceless witness, there remains nothing for you to do and ego disappears. What is revealed in choiceless awareness is who you are.

Presence is felt through a shift from thinking to feeling. Feeling activates the undistorted wisdom of the body in the form of vital life energy – prana. And the light of conscious awareness reveals the true meaning of what is right or wrong. When your movements are guided by the direct promptings of prana, you are moving on the pathless path, in action-less action, ego-less action. Where all questions are resolved through the promptings of pranic presence rather than the pre-conditioned ego-mind. That guidance from prana is not pre-learned. The biological prana body operates in the subconscious dimension that is self-regulating, homeostatic, self-balancing, and self-healing.

In the body, we have primal sensations connected to the sustenance and survival. Health and well being of the body operate according to complimentary polarity. In polarity, positive and negative are in complimentary interplay, such as with breath in and breath out, night and day, hot and cold. In polarity, there is unity and oneness.

Energy follows attention. When the body’s wisdom is dominated by thoughts and emotions, prana serves the whimsy of the ego-mind. This means the mind that operates in conflict, creating, stress-producing duality pulls the biological prana from its involuntary, self-regulated, balancing processes into conflict in order to support the energy demands of the ego’s “fight or flight” response. In conflicting duality, positive is for and negative is against something or someone.

When you are attached to what you like, you have fear of losing it. This engages your attention to maintain control or seek more of what you like. Any addiction to pleasure comes with the fear of losing it or not having enough. This demands a lot of attention; the stronger the addiction. The stronger the fear, and the greater the attention it consumes. The energy that follows this attention gets wasted in self-destructive ways.

In order to enter the presence that you are, you have to withdraw attention from your first reaction (pratyahara). Choiceless awareness prevents you from habitually, mechanically, unconsciously getting caught in the second reaction. The absence of reaction to the first reaction becomes a portal to freedom from your time-bound, ego-mind. In the practice of Amrit Yoga, your focus is to remain in choiceless, formless witness of all the physical, mental and emotional reactions that come and go. They are the forms; but the container that you are remains the non-reactive, contentless, choiceless witness. Beauty is not in the object. Beauty is imparted by the beholder.

The reality that God is, that presence is, consists of form that is present in manifest reality and formless in unmanifest reality. “Pinde so Brahmande” says the ancient scriptures. What is in the macrocosm is in the microcosm. What is without is within. Your center is the timeless container.

Within each one of us exist thoughts and thoughtlessness. Form and formless presence. Sound and silence. Action and actionless stillness. External reality consists of forms and formless space. Space is eternal, omnipresent, unmanifest, formless presence. All the multitudes of forms in space: the galaxies, stars, moon, sun and planets are all changing forms. Our body, senses, feelings and thoughts are changing forms contained within the formless silence and stillness of the space within.

In the practice of the Posture of Consciousness™, deliberate action moves you towards the non-doing integrative state of being. You drop into non-doing presence. In that state of content-less consciousness, you know who you are. When you empty your mind of reactive thoughts and feelings about yourself, what remains is the essence of your being. You are non-reactive presence. You merge into Oneness in the Zero Stress Yoga Zone.

By Gurudev Amritji Desai

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