There was a time when living in the country side, I would regularly find myself returning home in the late night hours traveling on a long and predominately empty highway from the nearby city.
Fringed by forests and with the ambience of unfettered starlight the trip had a mystical air and offered a wonderful opportunity where I could explore the practices I had learned of awareness and self-observation in Belsebuub’s self-knowledge course.
Practicing these components uninterrupted for long periods of time I was able to look into and explore them more deeply than I could throughout my everyday activities. It also made my night drives safer, as instead of going along thoughts and feeling sleepy, it helped me to stay awake and break the drive if ever needed as I found awareness helped me be much more attune to my body’s physical needs.
I soon learnt that I could become insipidly aware by relaxing and becoming conscious of my senses but holding onto it for any length of time was very difficult. Thoughts or feelings would soon overwhelm me and I would find myself on some mental or emotional tangent until I could bring myself back through remembrance sometime later to continue the process once again.
Ongoing experimentation taught me that to keep aware I had to be active within by finding a point of continuity and actively observing and pushing for greater depth in being present and conscious.
One evening I was once again on the journey home applying what I had already learnt and searching for that deeper level of being.
Observing within and removing internally any obfuscation to what ability of awareness I could perceive I found I could detect an element of peace, a sense of innate calmness and well-being from within that became clearer and more perceivable the more I continued.
Holding onto awareness and the sense of peace I discovered I could build on that point of continuity as any internal sensation that marred my ability to perceive it was something separate and able to be removed.
The sense of peace and awareness gained strength almost ‘like walking towards a point of light in a dark tunnel‘. If I missed or indulged in a thought or an emotion no matter how perceivably insignificant, the sense of peace dwindled greatly and the point of light retreated or disappeared.
Continuing this process intensely I followed the peace of awareness as it grew more permeable to a point where I felt as if I was just about to step out of the tunnel (of my unwanted thoughts) into the light (the inner peace).
The more I was striving and the closer I got I became increasingly cognisant of uncovering the workings of my mind and a tumultuous cacophony of more subtle and intricate thoughts until finally…stillness.
The exact moment that my mind became quiet and no unwanted thoughts or feelings existed anywhere within me the feeling of peace coalesced into a sensation of indescribable bliss centred within my heart.
I rested within a sea of tranquillity as if every ocean, wave, and waterway had become still at once and a blissful sensation of warmth permeated throughout my body.
There I sat, there I drove. Complete within a moment of time where every sense was accentuated and unimpeded. Where sound became symphonic and sight became crystallised all the while perceiving a veritable richness of well-being from simply being conscious and clear. For a brief moment I was free.
I wasn’t able to hold it for long and eventually a missed thought caused the light (the inner peace) to fade away but it was an eye opening look into the beauty and power of our consciousness, what impedes it and what it takes to experience it.
This is an astonishingly clearly and precisely described experience, Adam, not to mention totally inspiring!
It reminds me of how when taking the courses I used to walk instead of ride my bike to places I had to be, in order to have that long uninterrupted time to practice awareness. Looking back on it, it seems like such a wonderful time, with lots of activity.
I think what I got most out of reading your experience is that persistence is key in overcoming inner obstacles and reaching peace, but also very sharp attention and observation within, as you said how even a small thought could take the peace away.
It surprises me that the feeling of consciousness can be totally unexpected. I was similarly traveling in a car at night on a boring dark motorway some time ago. I was feeling unpleasant thoughts and emotions within that didn’t want to be aware, but I kept persisting with it anyway, trying to clear those inner states away and holding onto consciousness. After some time, without having perceived any significant change in my inner state, suddenly I felt this lift and I felt so fresh, awake and happy. It was wonderful to be free for a moment from those low states. It helped me to learn that I need to have faith in the effort, even when I can’t see it having an immediate impact.
Yes, it’s nice when that happens Laura. I’ve also had times when I’ve been doing a practice or trying to be aware and it doesn’t seem to have an immediate impact, but then I notice the results after persisting with it.
I like the way you expressed your fight for peace, Adam. I can relate to holding onto the feeling of peace while still fighting off the thoughts and emotions that keep coming up as well as growing in that sense that these obstacles to our awareness are separate from us. It seems this effort is always rewarded.
I wish you all the best in your journey to peace.
What a beautiful and inspired account Adam!
It’s really a bless when we have this kind of experience after a persistent practicing.
There are many advantages when we are in this kind of state, as your night drives became safer with a deeper meaning, without feeling the boring process of the traveling
This sounds beautiful and you described it so well, thank you very much for sharing Adam! It is amazing how no matter what activity we are doing, the power of consciousness can “kick in” if we persist in fighting our mental and emotional fascinations. And then, as you have aptly shared, a new way of being opens up for us…
How beautiful, Adam! Reading about the struggles you went through felt all too familiar, but as you got closer to that light and reached temporary freedom, it brought me a sense of joy and remembrance of the incredible light that can be found within. That sounds like such an incredible experience, even transformative, to perceive life so clearly then and there. Thanks for sharing this!
What a wonderful account Adam.
For a brief moment I was free.”
I went for a walk just now, just after reading your well described and inspiring article. Trying to also aim for this peace.
I had to struggle with, and be able to see within in order to separate, thing after thing! I wish I could just ‘whoom’ get to a peaceful and clear state from the start of the walk, but it wasn’t like that. I had to get a momentum of separating more and more.
At one point one big obstacle I noticed was my mind had goals that it kept trying to start, like a computer wanting to run/start a program. Unbelievably they were even things like ‘hurrying to make it to sunset in order to be aware’, ‘touch these wet leaves on trees to feel the awareness you want’, but even such ‘goals’ were also of the program, the one that incessantly operates the whole day through! One that’s virtually inescapable and one one should be so tired off, if they knew that there existed this freedom you describe.
At one point I managed to really let go of all the goals of the program that’s trying to ‘self-preserve’, and I could feel some peacefulness.
But there are different levels of that peace. The freedom you describe of momentarily stepping completely out of the program……. So blissful as you say.
Yes, I agree Karim. It can be so blissful to step out of that program and find some inner peace. I can relate to what you mentioned about how an external goal can sometimes interfere with the simple practice of awareness. For example, the mind tricking us into thinking that we need to have X, Y or Z in place, in order to truly appreciate the moment.
Thanks very much for sharing this experience of fighting to gain inner awareness Adam. I can relate to what you described – having moments of clarity, which are again lost within the daydream, but keeping on fighting to regain it, then gaining a much stronger sense of inner peace.
I’ve recently been going around some quiet streets on a small open vehicle and have been amazed at how powerful the sense of awareness can be, as I tune into the simple beauty of observing the trees and plants, hearing the birds singing, etc.
I think your example also shows how we can use everyday situations to practice awareness. For example, you could have driven back home on auto-pilot, with your mind focussed on the expectation of getting there and finally being able to relax, while not fully taking in the beauty of your surroundings en route. But it’s great that you were able to use that regular drive in order to feed the consciousness. Thanks again for sharing your experience.