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Vincenzo Santiglia talk on The Now Technique to an audience of medical doctors and disciples of Sai Baba, February 2013 in Bogota, Colombia.

Thank you for coming.

It is very important to understand the principle for which this technique is applied. The basic principle that we are investigating is the fundamental separation between consciousness and experience. I invite you to reflect for a minute on this.

All conflicts we experience in life are something like: what is right and what is wrong? What do I like and what do I not like? What do I want and what do I not want? What do I want and what do I fear? What am I attracted to and what do I reject? Recognize this?

We spend most of our lives trying to free ourselves from conflicts between likes and dislikes, between desire and fear. There is also a more fundamental duality that we are talking about today. In life we are basically spiritual athletes, struggling between good and evil, right and wrong. But no matter how good we are as athletes in this fight, we end up staying in the ring. We solve our issue for tonight, but we start again tomorrow. For example, we may have been in a relationship where there was a lot of struggle between what I want and what I fear. We think we are free because we have ended that relationship and started a new one, but we find ourselves again immersed in “I want” and “I do not want ” and ” I want” and “I am afraid. ”

What is suggested here is that there is a much more essential game that you must learn to master. And this game is to master the consciousness of what is, to collapse this game of duality, to exit this constant dynamic between good and evil, right and wrong and understand that reality is what it is, the fear is what it is, the doubt is what it is, the confusion is what it is, the shame is what it is, the guilt is what it is, the resentment is what it is, the repentance is what it is, the expectation and anxiety are what they are. These are the colors, the flavors of a human life, the textures of a human life. Without them, life has no texture, no depth, no breadth, no smallness, and no greatness.

So, since this is the reality of being a human being, why don’t we make peace with our human imperfection? Why don’t we learn firsthand the way of love? First, we could learn love for ourselves, rather than constantly comparing ourselves with models outside of us, with ideal values, dreams and visions, with the archetypal prince or princess, the hero or heroine. Why not begin to collapse the duality between consciousness and our experience of all this? When we collapse the duality between consciousness and our experience, then the whole structure of duality begins to fall apart, and we begin to be present at all times, present to what is happening within us and what happens on the outside.

The Now Technique is a contribution to a widespread effort to discover what it is to live at peace with ourselves, to discover the bridge between the idea of love and the experience of love, the path between the idea of knowing ourselves and the experience of knowing ourselves. You are all here motivated by the idea of loving yourselves, being at peace with yourselves, knowing yourselves. The invitation is to walk together on that path and discover what it is to live in peace, love, acceptance and understanding of oneself. This is not an easy journey, because we have centuries or millennia of struggle with ourselves, among us. Self-judgment is ingrained in our DNA, built into our brain structure, in the behavior of our immune system, in our emotional and mental architecture. But this architecture and structure are dissolved in the presence of consciousness.

Consciousness transforms everything it touches and everything touched by consciousness is transformed. A fundamental principle is to understand that all our dualities, all our fights, all our conflicts that take away the joy of living, that take away energy, that take away creativity and intelligence are the result of this fundamental separation between consciousness and experience. For people who have been inspired, touched and blessed by the teachings of Sai Baba this is particularly important, because consciousness and experience are Shiva and Shakti.

The meeting, courtship, and coupling of consciousness and reality is what transforms us. When we truly discover this flow, this attraction between our attention and our physical sensations, emotions, thoughts, imaginations, desires, and rejections in the present moment, it transforms us. The moment our rejection and our desire stop bothering us, our fear and doubt no longer make us uncomfortable; instead they become something to which we are passionately attentive. It is in this passionate attention to “what is”  where the transformation of all our schemes, our patterns, our conditioning resides.

Listening to this, it is very beautiful, very poetic. I myself am fascinated because I hear it in the moment I say it. I did not prepare it earlier; it just comes out. Why does it come and I hear it in the moment I say it? How is that this occurs? Can it be taught? The challenge of our time is to share the understanding of someone who has been blessed with the actual experience of this flow with someone who has only heard about it. Because if you think I am blessed that I am a channel, that I’ve been touched by God, then I am here and you are there. This reinforces the duality, and I have failed in my purpose here which is to share with you the possibility that what is needed is simply education and that The Now Technique is the alphabet, is the practice, is the basis of this education.

How many of you would like to believe that it is just a matter of education? Well, the important thing is the fact that I am not particularly gifted; I’m just more trained. My training tells me that if I really care what goes on inside, the distance between consciousness and experience collapses, and I don’t need to think before I speak, because consciousness is in the present moment.

What is the ego? It is an idea I have about myself which takes up space in my mind. That idea has developed out of my conditioning!

Some person comes, someone I believe I love, and she says that she needs to talk to me. Meanwhile, my mind is thinking about my morning activities, instead of being present with that person when she is asking for my presence. That idea of planning the morning becomes an element of separation. To plan, always try to control, that is a substitute for the direct experience of life, when in fact reality is about truly being present.

This activity of the mind in which I plan, try to arrange, manage, control, and attempt to build confidence and security, is in reality a substitute for the direct experience of love. It is simply an ancient and widespread conditioning, so widespread that we have whole magazines and newspapers talking about dreams and ambitions, “When you get married, when you get a better job…” The breakdown between consciousness and the experience of the present moment is the fundamental building block of our conflict.

It is important to make room for inquiry because when we are alone we have a number of conflicts with ourselves and with reality. How often do we fill our lives with activities that are simply a reaction? A reaction against anxiety, insecurity, sadness, doubt.

Instead of finding ways to avoid doubt, I am very interested in the nature of my doubt. Fear surges, and I get deeply interested in the nature of this fear, in the physical sensation of this fear, in the flow of energy that I feel through my body that is activated by fear. I am interested in the thoughts that I use to justify either my vulnerability to or my distancing from that fear. What I am saying is that that the fundamental duality is in the separation of our attention from what is happening, that we are constantly justifying it with endless activities and thoughts without end.

Imagine that this separation between consciousness and experience was built neurologically, genetically engineered. Then we would say: there is nothing to do; I’m doomed. Fortunately we now know that the brain is the most changeable (neuroplastic) of all the organs of the human body. It is probably the most flexible, the most adaptable in nature. It is just we do not know how to use it.

The fundamental nature of the brain is attention, what we call awareness. This attention has no particular preferences, unlike our conditioning. Awareness itself has no interest in paying particular attention to a pretty woman, a pretty flower, a car, or a building. Awareness itself is just attention, alertness. Our conditioning makes us especially sensitive to a beautiful woman or a handsome man, a car, a book, or any one of the many aspects of our life, of our culture. Our brains are conditioned to give special attention to and appreciate a particular aspect of reality and this conditioning becomes our limitation. Our conditioning can give us much pleasure, much enjoyment, but at the same time it is a limitation, because it assesses life from a structure of duality, of good and evil, right and wrong, pleasure and pain. This is what we inherited, a dual structure. Our morality is built on duality, our ethic is based on duality, our values are built on duality, our whole mindset is based on duality.

And we try to escape from this cage. We take many courses, read books, listen to gurus and teachers. I’m not saying this is wrong; I am just creating a context, so we can mature in an understanding of what it means to get to know ourselves directly, from moment to moment, without choosing.

I love myself when I paint watercolors, when I listen to Bach and Mozart, but when I’m in pain, please give me a painkiller. Please let me talk to someone about any topic, provided I do not notice the pain. What if we could hear our pain in the same way as we hear Bach, do you need to be gifted for this? Or be blessed by God for this? Maybe. Why? Because it is a blessing to be inspired by the path of peace, the path of unity. Perhaps this is the gift of God who has blessed and inspired us to follow a path of peace and unity. And there is our part: I can take responsibility to truly understand what this peace and unity is, not by reading Gandhi, but by reading myself from time to time. This skill of reading ourselves can be taught. We are blessed in this life today, because we now understand some basic neurological mechanisms that help us enter into that state of consciousness, that state of observation, where we don’t have to bow to a particular side where one party wins and the other loses. I call this the heart of equanimity, which we talked about last time when we practiced what we call the loving presence. It is our presence, our attention, infused with the quality of tender love. We pay attention not only analytically, to detail the causes and effects accurately, but we create at the same time a quality of tenderness inside ourselves.

Imagine the devotion that some of you have experienced to God, to the Master and to the Father. Feel the fascination and passion that you have had towards understanding an aspect of reality. By fusing the fascination and the devotion together you can use them to understand yourselves.

It takes 10 to 20 seconds after a feeling is recorded in short-term memory for it to be recorded in long-term memory. So, if you can capture the feeling of what you are experiencing here and now, you have the ability to re-integrate it before it becomes a permanent part of you. I have an image that I like a lot. Imagine a sponge that is absorbing water. It takes its time. When it is dry, the sponge takes longer to absorb water, but the more it gets used, the faster it absorbs water. Absorption then requires less effort and is faster, more effective, more direct. For our brains to absorb that feeling of equanimity, it takes a similar process to the sponge absorbing the water. As we absorb that understanding, we who have been fed doubts, insecurity and fear become like sponges that absorb new water and release those old feelings.


Audience comment: “Do we need to be trained or just understand?”

Our conditioning is built into our cells, our guts, our brain. We have a fundamental misunderstanding that fear is bad, that insecurity is bad, that doubt is bad, that it is bad to be vulnerable, and because we have this attitude towards ourselves, we cannot absorb and integrate the meaning of our experience. But we do not mature when we refuse to absorb the meaning of what is happening.

Audience comment: “The body reacts by itself when it receives bad news or when you feel fear and pain as physical. It is not so mental!”

The brain is spread throughout the body; the whole nervous system is the brain. All messages in the system ask only for one thing: attention, awareness. There is no need to take action to resolve anything, no need to take action to change. Of course, if you break a leg you have to go to the clinic; if you are giving birth, it is good to have someone accompany you. But if you are afraid – we are talking about the inner experiences of everyday life, such as “I love you” and “I hate you,” “I want” and “I don’t want,” “I feel very good about myself” – and one second later something happens and I say, “I feel very bad about myself,” then there is no need to take action. This is what we are talking about.

Audience comment: “Then that feeling of feeling bad about ourselves – where is it?”

Well, the first step here is to perceive that I am feeling very bad about myself. How is the body reacting to this? What body parts are stressing? What body parts are starting to protect me? How is my breathing? Am I continuing to breathe or have I stopped? Am I allowing myself to breathe despite being afraid? What truly is this fear? Is it heavy, strong, focused? How does it move? Or not move? Where is it located? How intense is it? I see something connected with this fear, do I get an image at the moment? Do I see my father telling me that I am worthless? Do I see my first husband leaving me, telling me I’m worthless? Do I see my schoolteacher telling me I’m not good enough? Do I see the priest telling me that I’ll never be good enough?

Then I need to ask myself what thoughts I have in relation to this, and I open a kind of book full of self-judgments, full of justifications for feeling bad, and I call all these justifications, all these images, all these feelings, all these sensations, all this protection Myself. Well, when I call all this Myself, there is no way out, because this is who I am.

But instead, I can feel, observe, hear, perceive, experience things as they are from moment to moment, from an attitude of being present and loving towards what I am experiencing, in spite of the voice telling me that I am a failure. And when I hear the voice that tells me I am a failure, with my loving presence I can ask – “Ahhh! and what else am I?”

If you’re feeling lost and alone, unsteady, unable to think clearly, always confused, you feel you need someone to tell you what to do. But then you ask: “Ahhh! And what else?” No, nothing more. Then go back to sensing yourself. As you observe yourself now, you may see that the world is no longer there, the images of your father, teacher, and priest are no longer there. All thoughts of judgment and self-criticism are no longer there, and you can ask yourself, how is my breathing now? Now you discover yourself breathing freely, your body is relaxed, you are emotionally at peace with yourself, the storm has passed, that little tremor in that little world is over. And you find yourself available again to see life as it is.

And some time after practicing this day after day, this becomes your great and best companion. It becomes increasingly easy, it becomes very natural, it even becomes interesting when fear comes: Ohh! let’s see what is there this time! Because you are the loving presence, no matter how you construct this loving presence. When you accept being the loving presence and don’t shut the door to painful experiences of life, all experiences are reabsorbed, consciousness and experience merge.

My experience is that in the beginning when you are under stress and you experience fear or anxiety, fear and anxiety are the dominant feelings. But with practice they begin to disappear and you can see them dissolve in consciousness. I can only speak from my personal experience. I still feel fear, but before it was a dominant experience, now it is a passing experience. It’s not that I live in fear, but at times I do, and when it happens, I am interested, curious, and open. I find again and again that everything that appears in consciousness becomes consciousness. Everything that appears in the loving presence, becomes loving presence.

And hence my confidence in practice. Over time we become more adept at this change from rejecting our experience to being interested in the experience. Imagine this: on one side of a bridge you reject experience, manipulate it, try to accommodate it, fix it, and on the other side of the bridge, there is an, “I’m interested in the experience and have built confidence in this curious, attentive love, and that is all that is needed.” We all are somehow crossing this bridge. Depending on the intensity of the experience, we can find ourselves more or less desperately wanting to get rid of the fear, pain, suffering. When there is a little suffering it is easy to observe, when there is much suffering, it is easier to try to find immediate relief. This practice of observing our experience from a place of loving presence teaches you to manage experience moment to moment as it is and build security and experiential confidence, so that when you truly stay as consciousness, when you really personify or embody loving presence, even the worst fears simply become the object of observation and the object of experience, of your feelings, of your attention, of your exploration.

Now I would like to play with an image: we are somewhere between 40 and 60 years old, and we are the result of a culture that has given no value to consciousness, the result of a culture where action and doing, knowledge, experience, and manipulation have been given to us as the way we have to live life, so we are making a transition from having confidence in action and manipulation, to trusting in consciousness.

Imagine a child born into a family or a culture that is inspired enough to recognize consciousness, recognize awareness. I had the good fortune of having an eight year old nephew spend fifteen days in the summer with me, just the two of us. For an eight year old, it is difficult to leave his home, his mother, his father and be with his uncle, especially when the uncle is a bit reserved: “Well, I need a moment to go to meditate” — “I’ll do a couple of hours of yoga,” – “Now I will study for a few hours.” An eight-year-old needs attachment, he needs reinforcement for self-confidence .

After the first day of being in my house, 200 miles from his parents, even though we had agreed that we would be together at least a week, he said after the first day, “Uncle, you’d better take me home.” I said, “Good, but before you pack up and go home, let’s see why you want to go home”. – “Oh I do not like it here, uncle. I like to be with my mom and dad”. — And I said, “How do you feel about this?” – “I miss them” – “Where do you feel you miss them?”- “Oh, here uncle,” he said pointing to a part of his body. – “Let’s see what it is really. Let’s truly feel this” – “I feel that I am suffering here, uncle” – “And what do you see?” – “I see a lot of dark clouds and see myself crying” – “Well, and how do you feel now?” – “Feels a little better” – “And look again to see what you see now”- “I see a little light passing through clouds” –“And how do you feel?” – “It feels good, I feel calmer”. – “Look again, what do you see now? – “Oh uncle I see the rainbow now” – “Ah, fantastic! And can you describe the rainbow?” – “Yes, it is a divine rainbow, very nice, the clouds are gone and I don’t want to go home, uncle. Let’s go swimming.”

We had a session like this every day of the fifteen days we spent together. When he left, I said, “Every time you become really angry with your teachers, feel where, in what part of the body, you feel angry. And then continue looking until you see that everything is dissolved, everything disappears and you do not have to go to school feeling angry with the teacher, or feeling frustrated because the teacher makes you do many things that you feel do not make sense.” He learned this and is now practicing it every day at school. And when I ask, “How are you doing in school?” he says, “Uncle, It’s amazing how stupid teachers are, but it is fine for me, no matter, it makes no difference. I do my thing and tell them what they want to hear.”

This is the power of our consciousness, the awareness of what is, the awareness of what is happening from one moment to another, the power to embrace our reality, to go beyond what we call right and wrong.

Audience comment: “What happens when you get bored?” 

I think that boredom is a way of protecting ourselves. When attention is stimulated, it is likely that what was dormant within us will surface, then as we are attentive, involved, we can free up and clean out our shame, guilt, resentment, and regret. We have self-protection mechanisms that are expressed as boredom. There is no reason to be bored, unless we have a reason to stop feeling, stop receiving, stop breathing, and stop being interested in life. Boredom is the result of a great affirmation that we have inside, which is the belief or many beliefs that life is not worth living, that life has no meaning, that life has no purpose.

Audience comment: “If I cannot do the exercise in the present, is it possible to do it at night?”

When a flood of emotions comes up, it permeates all our tissues, permeates all our inner landscape and little by little retreats. Unless there is an active intention to stay involved with an emotion and the content within the emotion, it will fade, but it will remain active in the system. You always can find it, at any time. Therefore we can always feel the presence and impression of emotions, of our judgment and criticism of what happened. All our body is a recording machine, each cell is a recorder.

Audience comment: “How does one make this transformation happen?”

There is a saying in Buddhist circles that says the state of consciousness in which we die is the state of consciousness we find when we are born again, the state of consciousness in which we go to sleep is the state of consciousness with which we will greet the next morning. The Now Technique is the practice of being aware, is the practice of mindfulness, the practice of paying attention, the practice of noticing. If you’re paying attention when you go to sleep, noticing, actually involved in the perception of your experience, you’ll wake up perceiving your experience. When you go to sleep and wake up involved in perceiving your experience, it is likely that you will be involved in the perception of your experience during the day. Those two moments, going to bed and waking up are the ones that put in motion the focus of consciousness, and when you practice this every day, then you will find yourself naturally involved, absorbed in reality.

Audience comment: “When something appears in reality and we believe that it has to be changed, we change it?”

Change is a natural expression of life. Life is the encounter between consciousness and experience. Where consciousness and experience meet, change happens more intelligently, more functionally, more lovingly, and more vitally. We are used to changing things before we realize what they really are. We eat the fruit too green. The old structure of taste is mainly based in anticipation and memory. Before you know what it is, it falls into the category of: I like it, I don’t like it, and since I do not like it, before I know what it is I get rid of it, I block it, I want to change it.

And there is a very delicate balance among this intersection of observation, inner peace, and alertness because very often there are indeed things to be cut out. But if cutting things out is a habit, a preventative, is based on prejudice, based on the already built inside structure of I like, I do not like, then there is no learning experience gained from the situation that is being experienced. When you really learn to be with experience, change takes no effort.

Audience comment: “The change comes from the encounter of consciousness and experience. How are children born? How is life originated?”

Changes are like births. Each time awareness and experience meet, something new happens in life. Creation, the universe, or God acts on each of us, gives birth continuously to new creations through the dance of awareness and experience within each of us. Shiva!!!

Audience comment: “I am asking myself if these experiences are not understood, not experienced, if they are somatized in the physical body and they show up as diseases that have to be operated or surgically removed, could a level of awareness and understanding of the experience prevent physical damage, prevent having to go to the operating room to have someone cut something out of you? If, for example, by being angry I create liver damage, when I understand and become conscious, can I become fully aware of the experience of rage and heal the liver?”

We are cells of a larger organism. Our biological instrument does depend on the biological mechanisms of self-regulation, self-awareness, and conscience. But the body also depends on the quality of the water we drink, the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the quality of the shifts that are taking place in the world. So, yes, there are aspects of our selves that regulate themselves and regenerate themselves and there are other things that depend on many other factors such as food, electrochemical pollution. All these things influence us; we are part of a very large system. The responsibility of the people who are developing a more clear consciousness of themselves, self-actualizing people, is also to understand and share with others an understanding of all the ways we hurt ourselves and the ways in which we can stop hurting ourselves and start to restore ourselves. What you are saying has partial truth as I understand it, but we are also part of an environment, which, if sick, makes it more difficult for an individual cell to maintain a state and a vibration of health.

Audience comment: “You speak of the importance of the old attitude of I like and I do not like, but how do we use the conjunction of consciousness and experience in a way that our brain’s great capacity to predict does not lead us to think that bad will happen instead of good? How do we use our predictive ability to lead us to better actions than the ones we ourselves expect?”

From an evolutionary point of view, when we lived in the jungle and our life was constantly in danger, our brain evolved in a way in which we needed to give much importance to risk and prevention. There is an example that I like a lot: our brain is like Velcro for pain and Teflon for joy. The pain sticks easily to us and the joy just goes right through. We know that our amygdala is responsible for recognizing whether a situation will give us pleasure or pain, is a storage site for the painful experiences, and is especially sensitive to suffering, but is little educated to feel appreciation, gratitude, joy. Apparently it takes five occurrences of good experiences or appreciation to balance one painful experience.

I give you an example: you’re with your beloved, and the between the two of you have been many loving acts of kindness and gentleness. They are presumed to be there, but if there is a little thing that does not feel right, it becomes the object of attention, resentment, grumbling to each other. Now we need to understand that our nervous system, our brain, is built that way. We are at a point of evolution in which we recognize that we can be the architects of our inner reality by understanding how the system works. If we understand the need to be aware of what is happening moment by moment, and if, instead of being educated and inspired to see the beauty or the order in this room, we are more conditioned to see that this table should not be here, in that instance, when the time comes to leave the room instead of remembering what it was beautiful and harmonious, we will remember that the table was in the wrong place. The conditioning of the brain to anticipate and plan for changes is based on the particular habit of seeing what is wrong, so when I emphasize what is wrong, the mechanism put in motion is how to fix it. But if instead I appreciate it -Umm! Yummy to be with these people, what a lovely room for us all! – I find the light very appropriate for this space, I love the window and the portrait. Five good things. I’m changing the mechanism of the mind from being focused on finding something to fix, to being more content, satisfied, grateful, with what is. When I am like that, I have no reason not to appreciate the present moment.

Audience comment: “That is true in the present moment, but how do we train the mind so that its predictive capacity is more oriented toward seeing good things for the future, hoping for the best and not the worst?”

Let’s talk about normal words like optimism-pessimism; if we have a point of view that something bad is going to happen, it is better to have fun, not to lose the moment.

Imagine a child who wakes up in the morning and wants to go out and play. He is not anticipating falling off his bike and breaking a leg. He is anticipating only happiness just going out to play with the bike. The anticipation of a painful event is the result of a series of traumatic memories, which act on the system as an alarm and continue to tell you to be careful because you’ll get hurt again.

The trauma must be addressed consciously, and when the trauma has been integrated, the alarm stops. You recover the natural disposition to enjoy life, you become a dreamer again and dream of peace and love for all.

Audience comment: “So being conscious moment to moment takes you to a point where you reach automatic consciousness, a perfect silence, just being. Is this possible?”

Yes, all the new skills acquired by our nervous system have a learning curve. When you learn to drive a car, you need to pay close attention, and you’re a little worried, a little tense. But once you learn to drive, you take your car, go out into the traffic, go along a very beautiful road, and you enjoy it. Being present is the most natural state, not being present is a disease. Now we are all experiencing varying degrees of this disease. The first step is to be aware. Be aware that we spend much time on things that do not matter here and now. And many times when you’re in that state, things get in the way of appreciating what you have, appreciating what you are, appreciating what you have in front of you. The first step is to be aware, the second is to be more conscious, and the third is to continue being aware.

Be aware that there is this tendency built into our system to amplify the danger, amplify protection, and amplify the separation. Every time you have a little difference with another, it reinforces the feeling that we are separate from others.

Every time you find peace, the possibility that in reality we are not separate but sharing this common life resurfaces. Then a suggestion might be that whenever you experience something that reinforces the idea of separation, do not let it go unnoticed. Become aware that the mechanism of being separated is being activated, and go back to appreciating what makes us closer to the other, closer to life, closer to the Creator of life, or the creation.

Audience comment: “When you say separate, that means separate from what?” 

It is something we feel, instead of feeling love, we feel rejected, without connection. The rejection is based on the conflict between two entities, two beings. I am one of those entities and you are the other entity; it is best if we stay apart. Or, instead, I’m really interested in what you say, and genuinely interested in what you feel, I am very interested in what you are expressing, in what you think and feel. Those feelings are also in me. Then I recognize that sense of separation is also in me, a recognition which can dissolve that sense of separation and bring a small doubt into my mind that says – Ah! Maybe we’re not so different, maybe we are not so far apart, maybe what I call my fear is not only my fear, and what I call my doubts are not just my doubts. Each of these thoughts is like putting out a virus that can spread this possibility that we actually have much more in common and where we are together, we find our humanity.

Consider this as a possibility. For many of us a lot of doors have been closed already. I find that more honest than going around saying we are one. But at bottom we don’t feel that, we do not feel we are worth that opportunity. But give yourself that opportunity. Allow yourself to contemplate, treasure it, nurture it and see what happens.

Audience comment: “With the Hands of Silk Breathing Technique , what is the next step? Raise that question or what?” 

Practically, be conscious of the body, breathing, emotions, thoughts, images. The technique is based on these three steps: First, enter a flow state, which takes you from a state of stress to a state of alert conscious awareness, receptivity, and observance; this is the first step.

The second step is to focus on the quality of loving presence so that when you face the emotion, the thoughts, you have a different outlook towards them, you have a fluid disposition, you have a heart-centered disposition and in that state of fluidity and loving presence, you discover the body as it is, the emotions as they are, the thoughts as they are, your imagination as it is.

It is difficult to encounter our emotions, thoughts and judgments as they are unless we are in a state of relaxed alertness, in a state of fluidity, in a state of loving presence, because the habit of fighting inside is very strong. These are the conditions that you can truly find yourselves in and then create a different possible outcome. It is an act of humility to say I’m going to look inward and create the conditions to look inward and really see myself without feeling guilty or ashamed of what I see, not feel completely uncomfortable about what I discover.

We have very heavy baggage, and we must be prepared to find it as it is and let it go. If we have the right attitude, we can begin this journey with humility, with a little courage and appropriate tools. If not, it is very likely that I’m going to cause myself pain.

The third step is to integrate the fundamental separation between consciousness and experience.

This discussion was about preparing the ground, digesting the possibility that there is a smart and loving way to meet yourself. We all think we are prepared to find ourselves, but actually it is a most demanding game.