As most of you probably know, the term mindfulness is associated with Buddhism and the benefits of meditation, and it is a practice of living meditation. It is an excellent practice for anyone at any time because it promotes neutrality, a state of mind you need to prevent distraction and maintain the priorities of being clear, appreciative, compassionate, non-judgmental, kind, and focused on Spirit. This is all greatly enhanced by maintaining a state of emptiness of thought while at the same time being aware of being aware, or aware of being supremely cognizant. All this is what we are going to focus on in this article because it is so simple and yet so difficult for most of us to accomplish. Let me strive to make this as simple to understand as possible.
First of all the key or foundation of this practice is very basic. Keep your vibration up and avoid it being dragged down into the toilet. What sends it down? Anything that discourages you, feelings of hopelessness, despair, anxiety, frustration, anger, distress, and stress. These feelings often come from being judgmental, comparing ourselves to others, maintaining unrealistic high standards, attacking self or others for imagined slights, feelings of inadequacy derived from disapproval of self, feelings of envy, feelings of superiority, feelings of resistance, feelings of victimization, and so on. These will all immediately lead to a downward spiral of your vibratory level.
Now, it is important to be clear that this is merely mechanical. You will find it very helpful to understand this fact. Much of life is actually robotic and totally mechanical. The minute you engage in any of the activities named above it is like flipping a switch and you will immediately head downward, no exceptions. This is not punishment but it may at times feel like it. If you turn on the cold water in the shower in the middle of winter by mistake instead of the hot water, are you being punished? No! You are merely experiencing the consequences of turning that cold spigot on. You can complain, scream, cry, rage but all will be of no consequence whatsoever until you turn the cold down and increase the heat. Turning on the cold water actually means nothing whatsoever except that it has made you uncomfortable and that itself is your own judgment because some people are okay with it. It does not mean a damn thing, not that you are stupid, not that you are victimized, not that you are a saint, nothing.
You have a choice with your amplitude, up, down, or stabilized somewhere higher or lower. From the low toilet bowl frequencies you cannot be neutral, cannot be grateful, cannot be loving, cannot be forgiving etc. just as with freezing cold water being poured on you it is extremely difficult to feel warm.
The only solution is to turn the cold water down and the hot water up. This is a totally mechanical process. You deliberately turn your thoughts to something that creates the feeling of appreciation. For me these are usually aspects of nature, animals, pets, and people that I love no matter what. You think of acts of generosity, acts of great kindness that people have directed toward you or the world. You move your mouth in a slight smile and begin to focus on anything that gives you a sense of having more space, greater freedom, more choice and so on. For me this is usually a focus on one of the great saints or deities that I admire like Yogananda, the Virgin of Guadalupe, Lao Tzu, Buddha, Jesus or Krishna who usually helps me to laugh with his bluishness.
Slowly and then more rapidly your amplitude will begin to rise and you will feel noticeably better. There is no particular need for you to feel ecstatic, passionately in love, wild or euphoric about anything. A mild sense of gratitude or acceptance will do wonders.
Each month, around the new and full moons, Jose, Lena or Anna leads a remote shamanic healing session. These approximately 30 minute sessions are designed to be experienced in a quiet, safe place free from distraction. Even if you cannot join live they can be very powerful, and always include a good clearing and beautiful icaros. Recording access is included for a short time afterwards. See the product description for dates and times.
Now you are ready for part two, noticing that you are supremely cognizant and that you are empty of thoughts. Most people practice this while sitting in meditation but I want to make a case for this while you are walking, hiking, riding (not driving) in a car, or in motion. The reason for this is that while you are engaged in these activities you are in a unique position to practice in certain helpful ways. In order to set the stage for this practice I want to ask you to consider a proposal. The proposal is this. What if in reality your experiences in this life were nothing more than having invisible and highly advanced virtual reality goggles on that also allow you to use your five senses to an extremely sensitive degree? You would have all the sensations of moving, acting, doing, interacting with your environment even though your body would be safely seated somewhere, not in motion at all. In short you would never have left your starting point and never returned from being away. Now, let’s transfer this notion to your actual experience.
The practice: Get yourself in motion. For example, go for a short hike. As you are walking looking around you, and moving your body, get the idea that there is a place deep inside you that is not going anywhere, that has never left, and is not returning from anywhere. It is always here, has always been here, will always be here. It is obviously not bored because it is aware of a more outer self-having a vast number of virtual experiences, dreamlike, highly complex adventures that have great consequence to the outer self but are of no consequence to this deep inner self. It is just observing, witnessing, but not being changed or altered by these events and phenomena because it is already complete and whole, perfect in every way. It is like a gentle loving parent who is watching the children in the playground, allowing them to play, being attentive and loving, but not interrupting or interfering for the most part. Continue and maintain this practice throughout the whole hike. If you are fortunate you will come across other people and perhaps dogs or wildlife that will make your walk more interesting. Say hello to people, dogs, or wildlife without losing the sense that a part of you is simply a witness, aware of being aware. Maintain a sense of being highly cognizant. After all you are an intelligent being, walking along a path, in a state of assimilation through your senses.
There is no need to have any train of thought other than doing the process outlined here. When your mind drifts off into its various tendencies to wander, just bring yourself back to the practice without any judgment whatsoever. Do this as many times as is needed. If you do this repeatedly over many months you will get quite good at it. Walking your own dog is a great help in maintaining this practice.
What does it mean to be aware of being aware? Well it’s actually very simple, you do it all the time. Notice that you are alive at this very moment. Normally you know you are alive by using your five senses. However even if we were to close down all your senses you would still be able to notice that you were alive. It is not necessary to have thoughts while you are noticing that you are cognitive, that you are an intelligent being, being supremely aware of your experience of aliveness. Consider the fact that this awareness that you might consider to be very personal, very individual, may in fact not be personal at all. Perhaps this awareness is absolutely universal. No matter where you go in the universe or the omniverse there is this sense of awareness of being alive happening anywhere and everywhere you could possibly imagine going. You could go 10,000 galaxies over in universe #160,000,000 and no matter how different visually and experientially you would still be aware of your aliveness in that setting and in that sense it would be exactly the same. There would be no change in your sense of your deepest core self, your essence.
Maybe we humans are really just creatively moving our consciousness through this sense of I Am-ness wherever and whenever it is. Perhaps this I Am-ness is outside of time of space and that this sense of being alive is everywhere and nowhere all at the same time. As another way of saying this, maybe what human beings really are, are adventurous, choice making, exploring points of focus in the omniverse, dense collections of awareness witnessing and pretending to move through itself. These are all proposals that you can contemplate as you wish. These contemplations will serve to shake apart limitations and obstacles to waking up, opening up vast vistas in the fields of consciousness. Discover and enjoy as you walk. Hiking will never feel so good.
José Luis Stevens, PhD is the president and co-founder (with wife Lena) of Power Path Seminars, an international school and consulting firm dedicated to the study and application of shamanism and indigenous wisdom to business and everyday life. José completed a ten-year apprenticeship with a Huichol (Wixarika) Maracame (Huichol shaman) in the Sierras of Central Mexico. In addition, he is studying with Shipibo shamans in the Peruvian Amazon and with Paqos (shamans) in the Andes in Peru. In 1983 he completed his doctoral dissertation at the California Institute of Integral Studies focusing on the interface between shamanism and western psychological counseling. Since then, he has studied cross-cultural shamanism around the world to distill the core elements of shamanic healing and practice. He is the author of twenty books and numerous articles including Encounters With Power, Awaken The Inner Shaman, The Power Path, Secrets of Shamanism, Transforming Your Dragons and How To Pray The Shaman’s Way.