By Sharon Bauer
Sharon Bauer, M.S.N. Author, Erin Johannesen, M.A., M.D Editor
As we enter into the awareness of awareness today, we will begin with the mantra AHAM-AH, “I am becoming who I am.” As we sense the mantra AHAM-AH, we begin to feel that space of awareness opening in the body. We begin to extend that space up and down through the whole body and into the field around us. As we open into the field around us, we can feel the mantra becoming more subtle, and we sense the vibration of the mantra in the field around us. So we can let go of the words of the mantra and simply focus on the energy of the mantra. Sensing now the energy of the mantra, we pull it into the top of the head and down through the forehead, through the heart, and down into the lower body. We amplify the energy by extending it from the back of the head into the forehead, from the back of the head into the heart, and from the back of the head into the lower body. And then we focus in the heart, opening into the light. Having established ourselves in the field, we now extend to each other, feeling that resonance, and [we extend] to the generational field – the field of the ancestors, the family and friends who have helped us become who we are. We also extend to our teachers, those great yogis who have initiated us into this field of light and oneness, and over and over have pointed out this awareness to us. So we feel that resonance with our teachers and extend also to all our traditions, in which we have participated in our life. We understand them as fields of knowledge and light and are not focusing on the political systems. And finally, we focus on the great archetypes of light and feel that resonance with them. Right now, it’s easy to hold the awareness field. Everyone here is holding the field, making an effort, [and] feeling the support of each other. Other times, it may be more difficult; sometimes we may even be filled with energy, but our minds control the energy. We are led by our thoughts and our feelings, so we end up feeling fragmented and not centered. The great myth of Orpheus describes this dilemma very dramatically:
The wife of Orpheus is bitten by a snake and dies. Orpheus is in despair and decides to enter the underworld and bring her back. He encounters great difficulty, but his intention is clear, so he finally succeeds in pleading with Hades, God of the underworld, for her life. Hades recognizes the true love and grants his wish with one stipulation: As Orpheus ascends from the underworld, he must not look back until he reaches the bright light of the living world. So Orpheus begins to ascend out of the underworld, and a twinge of a thought arises, “Is she really in back of me?” The thought grows and grows. He forgets about holding awareness; the doubt takes over, and the inevitable happens. He looks back, “Is she there?” Yes, and then suddenly NO, she is gone forever! Orpheus is doomed by doubt, by the power of his own mind.
How often are we lost by the power of our thoughts? We have the best intentions to hold awareness, and yet, we get lost in a sea of thoughts and affects. Fortunately for us, we get another chance at being in awareness.
Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras suggest that the way to enter the awareness state is by stilling the thoughts: “Yoga is the inhibition of the thought waves of the mind. Then the seer rests in his own essential nature.”
So we pull our awareness from our thoughts, our feelings, our images and stories. We focus our awareness on our essential nature, on the awareness of awareness. In this way, we come to rest in being itself. But because of the power of thinking, the power of past impressions, the power of pleasure, of pain, and the demands of the environment, it is not easy to rest in one’s own self unless the power of attention is highly developed. Patanjali describes 3 stages of concentration:
The 1st stage is called Dhāranā. In this stage, it is suggested we confine our mind to a particular object. It can be any object. Any object can ultimately lead us into the field of awareness. Commonly used objects are the breath, mantra and music. Other commonly used objects are focusing on the actual qualities of the awareness field: Spaciousness, energy, light and compassion. Today, we focused on the mantra AHAM-AH, and then the qualities of the awareness began to appear: Spaciousness and energy and light. We entered our essential nature, that awareness of awareness. Then we began to rest in the field. So as we did that, we entered the more subtle aspects of the field, entering Dhyana, or the 2nd stage of concentration, which is being able to penetrate through the itches, the thoughts, the desires and experiences – a kind of union with the field. In the 3rd stage, which is called Samadhi, we now enter a state of being totally absorbed in the field – complete union, and the field of being is opening more and more. We open to the light, into oneness. We begin to know intuitively the truth of a situation… We now gain knowledge from within. So if Orpheus had known this exercise, he could have saved himself a lot of trouble and sadness…
I am going to replay the myth: Orpheus goes to the underworld to recover his wife. He’s told not to look back as he’s leaving the underworld, and she will be returned to him. He begins to have a twinge of a thought, “Is she in back of him?” He tells himself, “Hold awareness – say your mantra.” So he says, “AHAM-AH.” He feels stronger and begins to relax as he enters the awareness field. As he relaxes, he senses his wife; he extends to her and feels that resonance with her. When he arrives at the bright light of the living world, he is filled with energy and light. He turns around, “Of course she’s there!” YES! His beloved is with him… a much happier ending!
Consider for yourself, how doubt, or some other negative emotion, has interfered with your happiness…. Allow yourself to consider a happier conclusion as you utilize the field in becoming who or what you are! AHAM-AH, I am becoming who I am! …Feeling the mantra in the body.
The mantra calls the awareness to arise within the body, [and] as one rests in the vibration of the mantra, we enter into the next stage of practice called Dhyana, and then finally, as we merge into the light of the mantra, we become one with the field of light and enter [the] oneness of Samadhi with ourselves and every living being.