Monday, December 3, 2012
WAKING THE WATCHER
Twilight Stillness, Grand Lake, OK
The founder of modern philosophy, Descartes, rendered a famous answer to the ageless question, “Is there anything I can know with absolute certainty”? He replied that “I think, therefore I am”. He was equating thinking with being, but he had actually defined our ego. The ego is constantly chattering about all the things that we need to be doing to maintain our survival and perceived identity. Three hundred years later Jean-Paul Sartre examined these words and concluded that the consciousness that understands “I am” is not the same as the ego that thinks. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be capable of knowing we are thinking. That discovery of awareness led to an emerging new dimension of consciousness.
Once we begin to exploit that voice in our head that seems to be constantly in the foreground, we can position our consciousness in the background and observe the voice. By waking the watcher, we are now beginning to comprehend our true consciousness apart from the ego that dominates much of our thoughts and thinking life. And we begin to free ourselves from our ego and its need for form and self importance. When we learn to listen to the voice we soon discover our own conscious presence apart from the mind. We are then on the true path of human beings, our essential identities as conscious beings.
It’s been said that stillness is the language God speaks and everything else is a bad translation. When we focus on being still and quieting the ego within, we can then become even more aware of our true conscious self beyond our ego. We cannot become aware of it through thinking, but silently observing. It truly becomes an “ah ha” moment when we are able to consciously observe the mind raising up another thought that competes for our attention. That’s the moment we comprehend the separation between our ego and our conscious self. When we are still, we become aware of the formless, eternal, consciousness we will be when our bodily form dissolves. The Psalmist knew this when he was inspired to write Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God”.