Being Mindfully Present
People do everything in a state of slumber. They transact business, perform daily chores, make friends, and even make enemies, all in a state of slumber! They live in this state all day long. They even practise religion in ignorance. They turn the beads of the rosary, they worship in temples, they practice vows, but mechanically. Every action is carried out in a state of stupor! But dharma cannot be practised in such a state of unawareness; only adharma can be practiced in unawareness. Thus in the name of dharma, it is adharma that prevails.
Once you realise that you are in a state of unawareness, the next step is to find out how to awaken from this sleep, this unawareness.
Start by becoming aware in the small acts in which you do not need to involve yourself too much. For instance, walking on the road, eating, dressing up, etc. To become aware of intense emotions like anger, you will need to delve deeper, whereas all these acts are superficial. Therefore, you will find it easier to be aware of them. You will be surprised to see the results of performing simple acts like dressing up and wearing shoes with awareness. It will be an unprecedented refreshing experience every time.
Whatever you do, do not do it mechanically, do it with awareness. For instance, when you are walking on the road, your body is walking and your mind is wandering elsewhere. The day your mind is where your body is, awareness of the Self will begin. When the mind and the body are together, at the same place, at the same time, you will understand that you are beyond the body and the mind, and you will become aware of ‘That’ essence which is the observer of both.
After beginning with developing awareness in small acts, bring awareness towards emotions like anger and hatred. Try to be angry consciously, with complete awareness and you will find that to be an extremely difficult task. The matter is slightly profound, but try it out. Someday, try to act as if you are angry, then you will easily be able to keep your awareness in it. Decide that you want to get very angry at a particular person, say your wife, even though there is no apparent reason to do so. You only want to act as if you are angry, so you will easily be able to keep your awareness. You will be able to ‘see’ your act of anger. On one hand, the anger will continue, and on the other, you will be able to witness that anger. And if you are able to ‘see’ this acting, with awareness, the next time anger arises, it will automatically turn into acting! If you are able to enact anger even once, you will never be able to actually get angry. In the name of anger, you will only be acting. Your internal bond with anger will just snap.
If you are able to attain awareness while awake, you will start maintaining the same awareness even while asleep. It is said in the Gita that the yogis maintain their awareness even when they are asleep. If you are able tomaintain awareness when you are asleep, you will be very surprised.Your whole life will change. If you can sleep at night with awareness, then it will be a miracle. You will be asleep outwardly, yet, awake within. You will wake up with an unprecedented freshness. This freshness has nothing to do with the body, for it is connected deep within, with the soul.
So long as you are asleep, so long as you are unaware even while you are awake during the day, it will not be possible for you to sleep with awareness. Therefore, be alert, and consciously cultivate awareness. As your love for awareness matures and your practice becomes intense, your awareness will bloom, and when awareness blooms, you shall attain a state of enlightenment.