by Gina Lake
The ego, the sense of me, disappears as soon as it encounters the Now, so it runs from the Now. It can’t survive in the Now. It is revived and survives through thought, particularly thoughts about the past and future, but also through thoughts about the present. The egoic mind tells a story about whatever is happening, and paying attention to these stories takes us out of the Now and into the mind’s made-up reality. When we are identified with the egoic mind, we live in the ego’s interpretation of reality, not in reality. We live in its explanations about what is, what was, and what will be. These stories take us away from the living reality of the Now.
To experience the Now, we merely have to notice what is happening in the present moment without our interpretations, opinions, judgments, beliefs, or concepts. This may sound difficult, but all it takes is a shift from being absorbed in our thoughts to noticing our thoughts. Noticing whatever else is present in addition to our thoughts without interpreting it, judging it, or telling a story about it will bring us into the Now and can keep us there as long as we continue to notice without interpreting or telling stories about what we’re noticing. However, once any judgment, opinion, or belief is considered instead of just noticed, we are back in the mind and identified with the ego again instead of with Essence.
Essence – Whenever we notice and become fully involved in what is without becoming involved in any mental activity, Essence becomes apparent. Noticing is a doorway to experiencing Essence because noticing is a quality of who we really are. Essence is often referred to as Awareness because who we are is the Awaring Presence that is conscious and aware of everything. Essence is joyously participating in its creation by being aware of what it has created, including itself manifesting as an individual.
When we stop and ask, “Who am I?” what we find is nothing. We find only Presence, Awareness, Consciousness, which is aware of the thoughts, feelings, sensations, and experiences of the individual that we assume we are. This Awareness, this noticing of everything, is who we really are! Once we realize we are Awareness, the Noticer, it makes sense that noticing is a way back to Essence.
Allowing – Once we have realized Essence through noticing, allowing is necessary to stay in contact with Essence. Our noticing must be infused with allowing and without any mental activity. Or if there is mental activity, then that is noticed. The ego, on the other hand, does the opposite of allowing. When it notices something, it labels it, judges it, and relates it back to how it will affect me. As soon as we become engaged with the mind, allowing stops and resistance takes its place. We become identified, once again, with the me, the false self that opposes life, rather than with who we really are.
The Awareness that is our true nature is aware of everything that may be part of any moment: thoughts, feelings, desires, sensations, energy, sights, sounds, inner experiences, intuitions, urges, inspirations, and much more. When we are noticing and allowing, we are also aware of these things. As a result of being aware, a knowing might arise about an action to take. Activity naturally arises from being aware of what is in each moment.
The ego has its own experience of each moment and attends to only a small portion of what is possible to experience in any moment. It acts in keeping with its limited perceptions and sense of separateness. These actions are likely to be very different from the actions Essence would take.
Essence allows us to follow the ideas and feelings generated by the ego if doing so doesn’t interfere with Essence’s intentions, because part of what Essence intends is that we explore the world and create according to our ideas and feelings. Essence is interested in seeing what we will create, but it also has intentions of its own and many ways of guiding us toward those intentions. It also participates in creation by inspiring spontaneous action, action that arises without prior thought.
So you could say there are two types of activity: activity instigated by the ego and activity inspired by Essence. Both are often going on simultaneously. As we evolve, Essence begins to live through us more, and ego-driven activity structures our life less.
Noticing is an important spiritual practice for getting in touch with Essence and with how it is moving us. Essence is very active in our lives and can be more active the more we acknowledge it as a motivating force. The less attention we give the egoic mind and its suggestions for how to live, and the more attention (notice) we give to Essence and its drives and inspiration, the more smoothly and happily we will move through life. Noticing and allowing are key spiritual practices that align us with our true nature and support Essence’s intentions for us.