I had always been very intellectual. When coming across Belsebuub’s courses, it was the first time I encountered a practical approach towards spirituality. This turned out to be a hidden obstacle for a long time – the only way I was used to living life was to think about it and block feeling it.
Especially difficult ‘to get’ for me was awareness. Just focusing on the information from your five senses and being in the here and now is quite simple; too simple for me to believe there could be something profoundly spiritual about it, so it must be more complex than that, I unconsciously thought.
I remember trying really hard to concentrate and be aware, whether I was walking outside, grocery shopping, traveling on the subway, visiting a museum, etc. All I was doing was thinking about it, but I couldn’t see what I was doing wrong. I simply wasn’t able to hear, see, feel, smell, taste, or relax – I couldn’t perceive with the consciousness. In a sit-down practice maybe, for a second or two, but I couldn’t bring it to my daily life.
Luckily, there were various little experiences I was given as a help to get awareness right.
Helped to Be Free
A year or two after learning about awareness, I had been working in town and was heading home for the day. It was a long walk, a couple of hours, and I could have ridden my bike instead, but I relished this opportunity to try to practice awareness and enjoy the movement. However most of the walk went by in the usual wanderings of my mind, wondering how to get it right, etc.
I was about 10 minutes from home, getting a little tired but happy to enter my familiar forest path, when suddenly something happened within me. I felt a weight and heaviness fall away from all around my body, especially my back and shoulders. I hadn’t realised I was carrying so much weight! For a few moments I felt wonderfully calm, light, free, joyful, energetic. Especially the lightness in my physical body was amazing where I had been feeling tired before.
Helped to See
During the same summer one night, I was taking my evening awareness walk around the neighbourhood, being mostly stuck in the mind again. I was coming back, just about to turn the corner to my house, when I suddenly felt a similar energetic freedom and lightness replace the tiring thoughts and emotions.
It was joyful and exciting. I went back in and into the kitchen.
I was trying to hold onto the clarity and strength, and was looking at the reflections in the pots and pans, which I had never noticed before. I could see them crisp and clear now, because I was shown how to look with awareness.
The clarity faded after a while, and even when I tried, I couldn’t get it back. There was some way to go still before I could get to awareness on my own.
Helped to Hear
One day I was walking through my university campus, going to my next lecture. I walked through the doors in the corridor and towards the cafeteria, which was full since it was lunch hour.
I was just passing by when it felt like my ears popped, but it was like they spiritually popped. Suddenly I could hear all the sounds coming from the cafeteria – chatter, clinking glasses and plates, scraping chairs, etc.
It was incredibly loud and clear, and I was surprised – I felt like I had never fully heard a sound before, simply perceiving it and allowing it to flow through my consciousness, without commenting on it or reacting to it but just relaxing into it.
How couldn’t I have heard something so loud and obvious before? I walked by holding onto this sense of hearing, and it was a joy to perceive how the cafeteria sounds got quieter and other sounds arose as I walked to a different area.
On another day I was walking home from the university. I had my bike with me and it would have been about a 20 minute’s ride, but I chose to walk the bike instead because 20 minutes felt like too short to take in my surroundings and enjoy the beautiful forests the road wound through.
I was about midway through the walk, trying to be aware but stuck within my mind, when suddenly everything changed in my perception. It felt like entering a magical world. Everything felt different and wonderful – it’s hard to explain how, just the flavour of everything around me became powerful and magical. I was looking at the clouds and the forest in awe, feeling like I was walking in a different dimension.
Dispelling an Obstacle
I had read about a technique for spiritual protection in Belsebuub’s Secret Knowledge, Hidden Wisdom book, so I decided to try it. As soon as I did, I remember standing in the kitchen and trying to be aware, and amazingly it felt very light and expansive, like I could freely extend my perception and hold it there. It was a clear contrast to how difficult awareness had felt before – every time I had tried to be aware, it was like something had been pushing against my efforts, quenching my awareness. I hadn’t seen it before but now it was evident – the pressure was gone.
Now, years later, I know more about how awareness works. I’ve slowly trained my mind to relax and let go, trained my consciousness to perceive and hold onto the senses. I feel like what was incredible and impossible for me back then, seeing those reflections on the pans and hearing the sounds from the cafeteria, is something I can do now when I make the effort. Back then I couldn’t, even when I did make the effort. The help I received along the way has been an invaluable encouragement to continue trying and learning.