Here is my first report: It is so damn quiet in here. More than three weeks ago, thoughts ceased. Well, ninety percent of them, anyway. What remain are functional thoughts: Turn the steering wheel, buy more milk, walk the dog. What has departed is the endless busy chattering of the thinking mind that I now see was habitually preoccupied and distracted by what happened and what might happen.
If you were to do a content analysis of your thoughts over a day, you might be shocked to find that very few thoughts are contextual to the moment. Rather they are worries or frets, daydreams or reminiscences. Few, if any, are simple mental observations of what is actually present.
When it’s so quiet in here, it’s also peaceful. I call this experience, luxuriating in stillness. It’s better than a vacation, a massage, a good nights sleep. Resting in Awareness rejuvenates the body and the mind. This vast emptiness simply is the quiet seabed of my being, and yours.
Yet I do not need to be physically still, on a mediation cushion for instance, to luxuriate here. This place is available always, in every moment of my day. It is where the vast majority of “me” resides as I go about my life as a soccer mom, a partner to my man, a friend to my girlfriends, a writer at my laptop.
I am in this stillness now, with a dog curled up beside me on a big armchair, laptop on my lap. The sun is rising on a cold wet Vancouver morning. Leonard Cohen sings softly from my iPod player on the bookshelf. I am living in the richly detailed existence called life, as are you. The only difference between us is the self that is here. The self that was Lori has not disappeared, but moved aside, so that what peers through and what speaks and what listens is Awareness. It’s a simple shift of point of view, this thing called waking up.
To taste it playfully, I invite you to an experiment. For the rest of the day, talk from the third person. Drop the word “I” from your vocabulary, as if it does not exist at all, this one word we use all day, every day. Instead, speak and think from the she or he point of view. From the third person of your name.
So for instance, instead of telling your husband or wife that “I am going to bed now,” speak it as “Jane or Joe is going to bed now.” Instead of telling your friend that “I will meet you at three pm” say out loud, “Jane or Joe will meet you at three pm.”
Of course, you might want to explain to those in your world that you have not had a nervous breakdown, but rather are experimenting with self-awareness. That letting go of the “I” for a day is a test run of what it feels like to be not-self.
My experience of not-me feels free and light. It’s as if the egoic mind was sand-bag heavy in comparison to the “incredible lightness of being.”
I’m guessing that if you choose to play the game of third-person self-reference for a day, the experience will be uplifting and surprisingly delightful. But more than a fun exercise, it will give you a deeper sense of what is real. Because in addressing everyday self from the sidelines of she/he, the truth can emerge: Who is the true eye witness? Who is the one that watches?