Have we ever wondered how our reoccurring circumstances, relationship similarities and challenges enter our lives without us really trying to find them again? By reviewing the state of our emotional body and examining the principles of "Pristine Awareness," we can begin a journey toward uncovering what in our lives has been left to be attended to and why these situations are resurfacing.
How does one come to examine the emotional body?
Our emotions are like bubbles in the air that float and then pop from the trigger of an outside force. Our emotional body is one that holds on to pockets of unexpressed feelings and desires. The inability to express ourselves in a vulnerable, yet healthy manner, creates an imbalance to this structure. In order to heal, we are to create an open space to release a myriad of sensations which gravitate from emotions that have been left unattended. These internal disturbances create movements toward the actions that show up in our external lives. The driving force behind these reactions are stimulated by dormant pain and suffering.
When we deny the existence of these bellowing memories and feelings they then generate the patterns we see in our lives to awaken us to what we are to face and open up to as truth. Yet, when we look away, due to fear or ignorance, they once again find us in another relationship, job choice, friendship or circumstance. Here is where we can begin the journey of becoming an enlightened being; one who takes responsibility without judgment, and pauses to reflect the actions that are causing the current displeasure.
In Buddhism there is a concept called “Pristine Awareness.” There are 5 qualities to consider when examining our awareness according to this concept and we are going to use this example of practice to discover our own patterning:
To know clearly
To know without judgment
To know the particulars
To know what to do
To know the totality
How do we come to know?
Many believe that we are born with all the knowledge we need to survive and remain peaceful in our hearts and lives. Yet, through society and familial programming, we are told we know very little and need to conform and listen to others. Secular religions and educational institutions are based on this very concept of us knowing nothing until we are told. We have become sponges to our perception of who has authority and enlisted ourselves as pupils of their thoughts and belief systems. In our awakening as a community and global family, we are coming to realize these thoughts and structures for learning really are insufficient and demeaning to our most authentic power. As worldly consciousness arises, we are creating a recalibration toward social movements for change and freedoms. Over time, the intricate systems of reality comes to the forefront forcing us to question what we really know to be truth. Personal experiential knowledge then must be harvested and examined to define, what is true for us.
"One does not become enlightened by imaging the figures of light,
but by making the darkness conscious." C.G. Jung
As individuals, we will come to a place in our life and ask the question: What life am I living and for whom? For many this realization comes at a time philosophers and theologians call the “dark night of the soul.” This destination appears when the trigger of something in our lives dismantles our belief systems and we crumble from a loss, a relationship break-up, a career failure from being fired, trapped and bored in our profession, or an unknown factor that pops into our lives when we feel we are living a seemingly workable plan. We, at this time, have or can feel we have nothing or no one to turn to so we create a new space, one of singularity and find our relationship within the shadow (darkness) of our light (the soul).
In this period of darkness nothing is hidden – we are naked and without excuses. We start to feel into the depth of our experience and weave through the chaos bringing the epiphany of a new understanding. This starts our route to come to know, like the Buddhist exercise of bringing in “Pristine Awareness” to our lives in this time of dissension or disappointment. We have arrived to the place of interior knowledge and are to find the particulars of how and why our transgressions have brought us to this moment so we can move forward in time with new perceptions and insightful conclusions to its totality and reason.
"One instant of total awareness is one instant of perfect freedom and enlightenment." Manjusri
Once experiential knowledge is seeded through our lessons, the actual difficult life task is to come to terms with our free choice to go back to the old ways (our patterning) or to keep moving forward. Making the choice to go back will put us into the position of knowing what to do and doing the same thing but expecting different results. This idea, according to the popular quote by Albert Einstein, creates a picture of insanity. If experience taught us to not do something or to perhaps tweak the way we communicate, show affection or bring balance to relationship, how could we go back to the old way of doing things? If this does happen and we “fall back”, we are to realize that there is still work to be done and emotional healing to commence through this regenerated pattern.
The patterns appear when we walk through our challenges and choose to release only a portion of the emotional disturbance. As we make decisions on what to fully feel and experience, we have to also realize we are continuing an imbalance to our emotional body and should expect to see a return of a person, circumstance or condition to heal what has been left untended.
Is this really what we want our path to look like?
Are we spinning the hamster wheel that never moves forward?
The opposite then transcends with experience when we do awaken to the patterns that have kept us in a victim or desolate cycle of living. As we awaken to truth and responsibility for our thoughts, actions and reactions we can have and create healthy relationships that are satisfying for all involved. Our journey becomes less burdened and the sense of everyday freedom becomes natural, not a surprise. As we come across something or someone that brings to light an old pattern, we will be more gracious at seeing the situation as a new opportunity to expand our awareness and create a totally new experience from our knowledge. Our choice will become more heart-centered and we will be less likely to compromise our value or belief systems to create harmony within a disharmonious situation. Our maturity will bring us to a place of new detachment to all probable situations and expectations.
The wisdom we need comes through the foundation of connection to who we really are and the experience we create by the discovery of the answer. We all have a distant calling to retrieve information about how we got here and why – not from a biological sense but a spiritual and metaphysical responsibility to carry out an unknown journey. This life quest is one that causes us to become aware of the imbalances we create by not giving our emotional body a chance to find its place of importance within the journey. We can see that we sometimes push away or even shutdown this part of our sensory experience from a fear we will be rejected or ridiculed.
The heart doesn’t deny reality’s intentions as it has a lineage of wisdom and defined purpose; the mind constantly tricks as it is more governed by the Ego and keeps us in a state of illusion. Truth speaks through the heart.
Working on balancing our emotional body is a lifetime journey to itself. As we continue to dive into our emotional structure we need to include the dismantling of belief systems that tell us, we as mere humans, are not powerful enough or saintly enough to hold a piece of the Divine spirit within. Taking steps to acknowledge our infinite presence and relationship to everything will create experiences that shift our lives from those being known for anxiety, personality disorders, addictions and depression to a grounded life of personal freedom, rewarding loving situations and relationships.
The key phrase to use to energize this pathway is: Take time to take to task our own awareness. Create the space needed to heal after our challenges have shown up and show up for us by cultivating a new understanding and creating knowledge from our experiences. Stop wallowing in pity or shame from our past challenges and acknowledge the patterning in our lives as a mirror to our needed growth. Find comfort in re-entering or creating new experiences with our proven know-how and acceptance of who we truly are. The center of all experience is through the heart’s open channel of unconditional infinite love; one that holds the keys to expose our lives to peace and true prosperity. We are to withhold any judgments for the experiences we have journeyed. As innocent as a seed blown from a flower, we grow where we land and become nurtured by our natural world.
For more information and deeper interpretation of this Buddhist concept of “Pristine Awareness” check out the author Ken McLeod and his book titled: Wake up to your life. As always enjoy your life to its fullest and live with an open heart.