Our autumn issue is out now. Regular contributor Sandy Newbigging shares what awareness means to him. Dive on in to find out more…
Access Peace Anytime
The Absolutely Lifechanging Art Of Being Aware
by Sandy Newbigging
…the awareness within you is already at peace, and therefore ‘peace is aware’ of your thoughts, emotions, body, life and world.
I once found myself stressed and suffering…while sitting on a beach in the Caribbean! I had travelled thousands of miles and paid thousands of pounds. I was surrounded by brilliant white sand and my view to the horizon was nothing but shimmering turquoise. And yet, despite the stunning setting, I found myself drowning in dread, despair and fear.
My moment was picture perfect, but there was still no peace. Why? My body was sitting on a beach, but I was somewhere else in my mind. My feelings were not being caused by anything going on that day. Instead, they were the result of what was going on in my mind. I was ‘feeling my thinking’ and because my thoughts were fearful, that’s how I was feeling.
Although it was a difficult lesson to learn, I’ve since discovered that by making the shift from my mind to the moment, and from unconscious thinking to being consciously aware, I can access peace anywhere. Furthermore, inner peace is always accessible, anytime, irrespective of what may be happening in my mind, emotions, body, life and world.
How is this possible? Surely, to access peace we must completely clear our mind or at least only have positive thoughts and emotions. To stop our stress and struggle, we must first heal our health issues and eradicate all of the ‘bad’ things happening in our life and world. But what if this is not the case? What if peace is possible now, and easier than you may think?
Consider this: How do you know you have a mind? You are aware of it, right? By that rationale, within you now exists a mind and something that is aware of your mind. Within you now exist emotions and something that is aware of your emotions. And again, said differently, there is an awareness within you that is also aware of your body, life and world.
Awareness is the common denominator; the subject, not the objects. Despite your thoughts and emotions coming and going, and your body, life and world constantly changing, the awareness within you remains untouched and ever present. And this awareness which – let me repeat – is within you right now, is always still, silent, spacious, and perfectly at peace.
The implication of this self evident fact is massive. It means the awareness within you is already at peace, and therefore ‘peace is aware’ of your thoughts, emotions, body, life and world. I recommend reading that again, as it can completely change your life.
For years I unnecessarily postponed my peace. I spent a huge amount of time, effort and money trying to fix, change and improve everything, in order to find some peace, when peace was aware of my mind, emotions, body and life – the entire time!
I was simply looking for peace in the wrong place. Like looking for it in a room of my house, when it’s in the garden. No matter how long I looked, I would never find it.
I was searching outside myself, instead of within. I believed I couldn’t experience any peace until my life was problem-free and perfect. As a result, it didn’t matter how much I changed my mind, fixed my problems and perfected my life – peace eluded me. I was seeking it from what I was ‘externally’ aware of, rather than what was internally aware.
This is not a new idea. St. Francis of Assisi once said: “What we are looking for is what is looking”, Rumi poetically wrote: “You wander from room to room hunting for a diamond necklace that is already around your neck”, whereas Papaji’s core teaching was always to “see the seer”. With these beautiful words, they were all pointing to the same source, where peace is always present, and inviting us to become aware of the awareness within.
To be self-aware is to be aware of the aspect of the self that is aware. Start to notice that inside you, right now, there is an awareness that is aware of this moment happening, including the words you are currently reading. Yes, your mind is reading, but the awareness is aware of both the words on the page, and the words in your mind, as you read.
See the difference? If you recognise that you tend to only focus on what you are aware of, rather than what’s aware, I invite you to make this inner shift of attention. Always remember: peace is possible – every moment – because peace is aware of everything!
Visit Sandy’s website for more on his online sessions, club and academy. sandynewbigging.com