Once you are aware of who you are or have at least had a clear glimpse of it, the practice in daily life is to stay awake and keep coming back when you wander off, as demonstrated in “Awakened Awareness in Everyday Life: A Guided Meditation” with Stephan Bodian.
After you first wake up in the morning, there’s often a space or gap between sleep and waking when your mind is awake and alert but not yet engaged in the usual content. It’s like being naked before you put on your clothes.
Resist the temptation to reach out and check your phone or computer. Instead, take a little time to enjoy these quiet, unfurnished moments before the usual story asserts itself. In this brief space or gap, you’re nothing and no one, just pure consciousness, prior to thought or identity.
This is your natural state of inherent wakefulness—the boundless, already awake awareness you intrinsically have. This inherent wakefulness is usually hidden beneath layers of conditioning, but it’s available right here and now. You don’t have to search for it; just stop and enjoy it.
As you start moving through your day, continue to stay awake and notice how the usual stories, roles, and identities keep trying to seduce you out of your natural state into the drama, the consensual trance. Instead, keep coming back to the open awareness that looked out through your eyes when you first woke up. Right now, in this moment, who are you really?
See the thoughts and emotions for what they are, just content arising in the boundless openness that you really are. Rest there, in global openness, and let life unfold as it will.
The Buddha likened the ego to a master builder, who constructs your identity again and again and forces you to live there. When the Buddha woke up, he said to the ego, “House-builder, you will build your house no more.”
You live in a habitual bubble of your own devising, a claustrophobic world that limits you on all sides. By returning again and again to your natural state of boundariless openness, you can wake up out of the bubble at last and abide in real freedom.
Keep returning to the silence and stillness beneath all the noise and activity. Let it be your home ground, where you return between moments of engagement. Rather than coming back to the familiar self-image and agenda, rest in nothing, in openness, without content.
Rest in a mind that’s unfurnished, without expectation or conclusion. Notice the tendency to search for some tidy narrative, a comfortable illusion of being a separate person in control of life, and keep returning to openness.
Notice what pulls you out—the compelling distractions, the core stories, the addictions and obsessions. Notice how your digital devices fuel and intensify the drama and reinforce the narrative. Notice when the impulse to control and resist arises, as it will again and again, and allow yourself to fall back into the openness, free of an agenda.
Keep returning to a beginner’s mind.
You don’t know what’s supposed to happen in the scheme of things, and you can’t possibly comprehend what the universe has in store. Let yourself be a vehicle for life to live through you.
Let go of the tight grip of fear and anxiety in the belly and solar plexus. Become comfortable with not knowing.
Don’t worry, you won’t die if you let go of control. Life has its own mysterious order that you can’t possibly comprehend. The heart beats, the lungs breathe, and the other organs do their essential work of keeping you alive and thriving without any thought or effort on your part.
The river of life is guiding and taking care of you. Let it take you, and rest in awareness.
When you get lost in the agenda, the narrative, the inner dialogue, and the identities, as you will again and again, just see them for what they are—more content created and perpetuated by a lifetime of conditioning. Then return to the boundaryless openness of your inherent wakefulness.
Live in openness and non-conclusion, with a don’t know mind, free of expectations.
If you like, you can use the mnemonic of the four Rs: remember, recognize, return, and rest. Remember your commitment to staying awake, recognize who you really are, let go of identification, and return and rest in awareness.
This is how you embody your awakening in everyday life. As Stephan Bodian teaches, this is the present-moment non-meditation of being who you are, guided by “Awakened Awareness in Everyday Life: A Guided Meditation.”