Well, How Do You Know? - COTRUGLI
COTRUGLI Celebrates Successful Final Project Defenses by EMBA 19 ZG  and EMBA 14 BG Generations
Ancient Banking Functions: From Coin Testing to Commercial Mediation
COTRUGLI Celebrates Successful Final Project Defenses by EMBA 19 ZG  and EMBA 14 BG Generations
Ancient Banking Functions: From Coin Testing to Commercial Mediation

Well, How Do You Know?

The world around you is real enough. It’s visible, it’s tangible, it’s a sensual feast that is available 24/7. And most of us do, to some extent or other, indulge in the world. And many seem content to do so, living lives in what are generally perceived to be normal ways. Some however do stop occasionally to reflect and review. They sometimes ask is this all there is? Is ‘that’ world out there all there is? It’s a moment when they realize ‘real’ peace of mind and ‘real’ personal happiness cannot be found in that visible world… out there.

And so their journey to another world begins. A pilgrimage to a world within. An exploration of inner space, where nothing is visible, tangible, tasteable, or even smellable! They quickly discover there are ‘ways in’ to this parallel universe. Often referred to as meditation, contemplation, or self-reflection, the highways into consciousness are designed to rotate attention 180 degrees to face inwards. With practice, patience, and perseverance the inner eye begins to ‘see’ another world without looking, and the inner heart begins to feel another world without touching.

To the newly practicing meditator, it truly does feel ‘otherworldly’ for a while, but the habits of doubt and skepticism easily prevail. How do we know what is within us is real? What is reality in this silent yet busy inner space we call consciousness? We are all accustomed to having concrete solid proof of the ‘real world’ around us. We can see shape and form, feel hot and cold, know what it’s like to travel to another country, and we can smell the smelliest and most fragrant of smells. It’s all real. Isn’t it? We never doubt the solid reality of our physical world. But it doesn’t help us when we explore the land of our own consciousness. What is real and what is not real in the landscape of our mind and heart is much less clear.

Are there deeper, greater, more real realities?

Some people laugh at the possibility of anything real inside, apart from a brain that is little more than a piece of meat. But an increasing number, hearing a deeper, more intuitive call, are beginning to stand on the edge of two realities and are learning to turn equally towards both. But most struggle to verify the realities of their inner world. They attempt to meditate and find it difficult to sustain the redirection of attention, they try a little contemplation and find it hard to concentrate, they experiment with self-reflection and soon discover things within themselves about themselves they don’t particularly like. Many start but almost just as many finish soon! So how do we know what is real within? How can we prove that there are deeper, greater, more real realities awaiting our presence within ourselves?

We begin with one simple idea, an idea that has been shared by most spiritual teachers through the ages. It is the idea that our true nature as human beings is peace. Even the most peaceless person, they say, is peaceful at heart, which means that despite any mental agitation, despite any erratic behavior, they are always peaceful at the heart of consciousness. In other words, there is a place, an inner space, within the heart of consciousness that is always and forever at peace. It is peace. And it is the highest and most real peace that we can ever know. It’s just that right now it seems the vast majority of us don’t know. So how can we know?

You may ‘believe’ it’s raining outside but the only way to know it’s raining is to go outside and see and feel the rain on your hand. Then you don’t believe, you know. Similarly, there is only one way to test this idea of our ‘peaceful nature’ and that is to ‘go see’ if it is true, to see if it is real. If you ever wondered why your meditation practice did not get off the ground this may help. Or, if you ever had that nagging question after hearing what sounded like deep spiritual wisdom, “Yes but how do I know what you say is true?” This may help. If you ever wondered what to do with your busy mind when you contemplate and reflect, this may help. There are seven steps to discover and verify the reality of a new and yet ancient inner reality!

Hear it

Step one is to listen and hear the words and symbols that point towards a more real and deeper truth about the self. Care is required not to stop at the words and just be impressed by the idea, but to realize all words are simply symbolic signposts pointing at something, they are not ‘the something’ in themselves. The word fire cannot burn you. Sometimes we expect too much of words. We read the book, delight at the author’s creativity, and expect the book to change us, transform us, to save us. Not possible. So you have heard (in this case read) the idea – that peace is your true nature.

Think it

Step two is to consciously create the idea as a personal thought in your mind. Then quietly focus attention on that thought ‘I am peace, peace is my true and real nature’.

See it

Slowly at first, with a little gentle concentration, you will begin to ‘see’ this thought to the exclusion of all other thoughts in your mind’s eye. When you cease engagement with all other thoughts that may arise, when you are no longer tempted to go where they may take you, thoughts that used to come and distract you will simply pass on through, fading as they go. All the while all you can ‘see’ is the thought you consciously create.

Feel it

As you hold that thought gently, not graspingly or fearfully, in your mind, it becomes deeper and deeper as it takes you further into your consciousness. Gradually, just as the deeper you dive into the ocean the stiller the water becomes, even the thought ‘I am peace’ will slowly start to fade and you will begin to ‘feel’ peace. At that moment you are touching your true nature, which was awaiting your return.

Know it

And the moment you feel that peace within you will ‘know’ it. You have gone from a theory, a belief that peace is what you are, to a feeling that allows you to know and verify that peace is what you are. What are you feeling when you feel peaceful within? You are feeling yourself… again! You have just reunited yourself with the truth of what you are.

Be it

With continued practice, you find it easier to move into your natural state of peace. Your confidence grows in the knowledge that it is always there and can never leave you because it is you. You also realize that this peace is the basis of your stability, and from this peace comes the power to handle challenging people and situations in that ‘other’ world out there where you must act and interact each day.

Live it

As you become adept at being at peace, which is being your true and real self, wherever you are, whoever you are with, and during whatever you are doing, you will live in a new reality. You will be someone who brings a new and fresh inner reality to an old and tired outer reality. And as you do you no longer doubt, no longer seek proof, no longer entertain the ‘voice of the sceptic’. The splinter in your mind that gave rise to, “Is this all there is?”, will disappear. You will be in the company of the truth, your truth, the true you. And only what is true is real. Sounds simple doesn’t it? And it is. But paradoxically only when you don’t think about it, and just do it!

Question: What are the signs that you are becoming more aware of the fact that the ‘out there’ world is not all there is?

Reflection: As without so within. As within so without. In what ways can you see your inner world reflecting the outer world and vice versa.

Action: Take five minutes each day this week and practice the above.

Written by our professor Mike George.