Awareness Meditation

Awareness Meditation

The Awareness Meditation (which you will find on track 6 of the Heartwork CD) teaches you to be present with your immediate experience in the moment—to open to the sensations, sounds, images, feelings and thoughts within your field of awareness in each moment—moment after moment after moment. This process strengthens your ability to face the difficult things you encounter on the journey inward; opens the mind to presence (pure awareness) and loosens the ego’s attachment to thoughts, feelings and sensations by shifting one’s identification from the ego to awareness. It dissolves the sense of a self that is separate from the world and creates a sense of inner spaciousness large enough to fully experience each and every experience as it happens, thereby ending the need to repress intense emotional events.

The Soft Body and Awareness Meditations are the two principal meditations that support the Heartwork process—in fact, they are the process. They are most effective when practiced together and, once mastered, can be practiced throughout the day. You can continually return to these two processes, checking in with yourself to see if you are present to sensations, sounds, images, feelings and thoughts and simultaneously letting go of any holding in the body. Practiced together faithfully, these two meditations will transform your life—guaranteed!

The worn shoes
rest on the doorway,
leather cracked and stained.
A thousand miles of wandering
has molded them to the shape
of your feet.

But now
you’ve stepped inside,
removed your socks,
and feel the yellow sunlight,
warm on the polished wood floor.

Wherever you walk now,
you are in your own body.

And whether on green grass
or sharp gravel,
Nothing stands now
between you and
the whole wide world.
—Richard Wehrman

Awareness Meditation used to be difficult for me. Every time I did it, I’d think, “I can’t do this. This is not working for me.” I was sure my thoughts were too diffuse and frenetic or too vague and persistent for me to focus my mind on a part of my body. But what I have learned is that struggling against your thoughts doesn’t do much. Letting them scatter and veer around is OK, as long as one thought (I imagine it as my breath sometimes or one part of my body, like my hands) has a single focus. Eventually then, it clicks and I’m present with myself. It may just last ten seconds or maybe even two minutes. There may even be some flare-ups of wayward thoughts here and there. But once I’ve experienced my body’s calm and focus, any wayward thought seems less like a challenge and more like a passing train—you hear it, and its sound is almost calming. And then it’s gone.
—Chidsey Dickson

In the Awareness Meditation, I reached the spaciousness. I felt like an astronaut floating in the vastness of space, able to do flips and freely float. Then Dale asked us to see our thoughts. I could see them, but I let them pass by. He then asked us to attach ourselves to thoughts, good and bad, to see and feel what happens. I noticed that whenever I did that, walls would come down around the thought to enclose it and I would go from this vast, boundless world to a constrained and bounded one. I noticed that the “walls” were my beliefs, prejudices, and feelings related to and attached to that thought. It happened with every thought I attached to—good or bad. When I attached to an anxious thought, I could feel my body tense up as if getting ready to defend itself. I could see how these barriers constrained me from seeing the truth as they tried to project their perception of the truth on me without allowing open assessment of what may or may not be different.
After the exercise, we discussed our experience with our partners. I expressed my concern to Karen that absolutely every thought I attached to was bounded by these walls and that I was afraid that it wasn’t something that we could change. Within a few minutes, Karen said something to me that would normally make me defensive. But I was open and didn’t take her comments as personal affronts. Instead, I heard what she said as statements coming from someone who was trying to understand more so she could learn. In that moment, I realized that we can indeed separate from thoughts without creating these barriers made of our limiting beliefs. I realized that the reason these thoughts had the barriers was that they were each from a past state of unconscious reaction, but when I could operate in a fully conscious judgment- free mode, as I was then, there were no barriers. It was incredibly enlightening.

–Brian William

Have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.—Rainer Maria Rilke

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