Returning home again and again

As a spiritual teacher, counselor, and mentor, I have the opportunity to work with people who are committed to waking up to their essential nature and living from this awakened awareness, as much as possible, in everyday life. But no matter how committed they may be, everyone finds themselves getting embroiled in the personal drama from time to time. They key is to notice it, without judgment or self-recrimination, and return home to rest as awakened awareness.

In order to do this, you need to be familiar with your homeground of unconditional presence so you can locate it amidst the turbulent emotions and stories the drama churns up. Imagine being lost in a storm at sea and not being able to find land until you see the bright beam of the lighthouse flashing on shore. If the light is just a weak flicker and the clouds are thick and the water rough, you won't be able to identify it and turn toward home.

The more you rest as unconditional, welcoming presence, not only in meditation but throughout your day, the stronger this presence shines. In fact, it becomes more like a magnet than a light, drawing you inexorably toward it again and again until you no longer wander often or far. The deeper your commitment to living from the truth of who you are, of course, the smaller and smaller the gap, until you become a beacon yourself, shining with the radiance of your natural state of unconditional presence, awakened awareness.

But it's often difficult to realize that you've strayed to begin with; the story can be so compelling, so convincing, so seemingly solid, that you've lost track of home. The first step is to notice when you're caught, contracted, suffering, and to stop and be attentive. Notice the thoughts, the sensations, the emotions, without trying to get rid of anything, which just feeds the pattern. Let everything be the way it is without indulging or struggling. Then step out of the story, as you would out of a crowded, noisy room, and back into the boundariless, unconditional presence of your natural state.