Guided group thought yoga explorations on the essence of meditation and the nature of being alive. 

There is a place in every experience that lies beyond the objects we perceive and the feelings we feel. Yet, all objects we perceive and feelings that we feel are the expression of this place. This place is the heart of experience and the heart of life. It is called being alive. Some call it meditation, some called it consciousness, some call it love, others call it happiness. Every action we take, whether knowingly or unknowingly, is taking us to this place. However, Because we are already in this place, no action we take or movement we make can bring us any closer.

If this is so, then why do we seek it? Because we believe that being alive has a limit. Nature evolves in one direction, and that is towards unlimited happiness and peace of mind. To truly be alive while living.

It is the cause for science to seek knowledge. For philosophers to seek wisdom. The cause for romantics to seek love. The cause for religions to seek God. The cause for the world to seek abundance. The cause for artists to seek beauty. It is all to come to that place that we refer to when we say we feel alive.

Let’s for a moment, not desire something new, or a state that we can attain, and put aside the belief that we are a self that needs to help itself, change itself or evolve itself, and explore and get to know the truth about the “state” we are already in and the “self” we already are.

The essence of meditation and the nature of being alive are one and the same. How do we practice that? We don’t. We simply see that it is already the case. That is Thought Yoga. Deep meditative contemplations that give us direct, practical and experiential clarity to see that it is already true.

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What is the direct path?

The direct path is simply a direct approach to happiness. Unlike the progressive paths of discipline and practice that are undergone over years or potentially decades, the direct path is the undoing or end of practices. The direct path is a simple way of saying - the path of direct recognition of one true Self through the investigation of our self and our experience - Thought Yoga.

It is the esoteric approach that was given at the end of all perennial religious traditions. You would be born, taught to meditate, clean your mind and body over years and years, then when you were ready, you would receive the transmission of what's now known as the direct path. However, this approach was given primarily to those who were born into these traditions who needed certain methods and techniques that were given at that time and era.

Awakening is spontaneous, therefore they taught how to be ripe to awaken rather than what to do to awaken. It’s like meditating in order for the sun to rise. The sun will rise regardless. However we can stay awake and face the right direction so that we can be ready for when it does. Nowadays, in this age of mass information and suffering, people are recognising their true nature without any prior knowledge or ripening process such as meditation practice or yoga. Simultaneous to this, language and metaphors have developed in such a way, along with the collective mind, to be naturally ripe to hear these words. Decades of preparation is no longer necessary for this simple and basic understanding of the nature of our own mind.

Most commonly now, we come to this approach not because we want to the sun to rise, but because to some degree it already has. 

Why the direct path?

In some cases, awakening happens unnoticed. Or because of a lack of understanding and context for our experience, we look for a teacher who can help us ground ourselves in this experience. However, we make one fundamental mistake. It’s never the experience we want to be grounded in. Any experience would be a state of mind. And If we continue to look for a state of mind, that too will surely come to an end.

We arent looking for something that can end. Therefore we arent looking for something that has started. What in your experience right now has not started? Your perceptions have began and ended with each new sight or sensation. Your thoughts have come and gone with each new thought. But you have been alive, present, and aware through it all. Did you start being alive 10 minutes ago? 20 minutes ago? 5 years ago? 20?

The problem lies in the belief that that which is alive is only alive because the body was born. However, what came to birth was simply a thought and feeling. One animatted facet of infinite potential that we call the human experience. That which is alive in you was already alive before the human experience. True awakening or enlightenment is simply to understand and recognise that. This means that we lose the fear of death. We lose it as effortlessly as our belief in the tooth fairy. It doesnt take practice or progress. It takes one simple understanding. The rest is simply a recalibration process of the tendencies of the mind and body while it catches up with this recognition. 

Why do we seek teachers if we’ve already had an awakening? 

When we have an awakening experience, it comes as one. However, when looking back, we may not notice, we are seeing it as two. One that we completely noticed, hence why we feel as though we have “lost it”, and one that we believe was the whole experience - which we believe we have come down from. 

There is God and his parade. God in this analogy is the direct recognition or understanding that I Am infinite being or consciousness. The dancers are the sometimes, not always, exotic experience of our body or perceptions that may accompany that knowledge.

God comes with her parade of dancers. Because we are so used to be being absorbed in the objects and sensations in life, we believe the truth of reality is in the limited content of the experience. We mistake God for the dancers. And when we mistake God for the dancers, the dancers leave because they are only dancing for God. But when the dancers leave, we believe God has left too. However, God was already there, and God is still there. The part of the experience where you knew and saw clearly your true nature, a knowing beyond and non-inclusive of anything in the content of experience, was God in this analogy.

That is still there. You can't come down from that. It doesn't leave you. However, if you think that the real goal was the experience you could perceive through the mind, then you will believe God has also left. And you will then be striving again to a more or lesser degree to "get back" to that experience. So, this is why we look for a teacher. We have simply mistaken God for the dancers. A teacher simply points us back to God when we are lost in his parade. We then see that God is also the dancers, and essentially, our Self. The meditator and the object of meditation become one, so to speak. God is simply seeing that we are alive. Not “I” the human being, but “I” the formless consciousness that is animating the entirety of existence. We live in the knowing that we are alive while that knowledge is not limited to the belief that we are a body or a mind, but simply aliveness - pure awareness knowing itself as it is. 

We deem this knowledge insignificant because we believe to some degree truth should be acompanied with bodily pleasure or an altered state of mind. We then begin to believe even more deeply that the regular experience we have day to day and the self we already are is insignificant - which is simply not true. 

This knowledge is accessible not just to those who have experienced awakening but to those who haven't. Because ultimately we are already experiencing the truth. It should be normal, familiar, and for a simple mind, pretty easily recognisable. It is always accessible. How could it ever not be? It is what we are. The direct path is the directionless path that distinguishes God from the dancers, so that we may live with God, and enjoy the dance as one.

You said “Meditation and being alive are the same thing” - How is that so?

To exist is to have independent reality above all other non-real or impermanent things. In other words, when we use the word ‘exist’, we mean it to point to something absolutely real. Not real now and not real later. Not to exist now but not in a few hours. To exist whether or not there is anything else in existence.

We could provisionally break it down and say “being alive” is two things. To exist, and to know or be aware of that existence. But we must see clearly that the existing and the knowing are one. Existing is the knowing of it. Therefore existence is alive. It is conscious of itself.

A cat may not formulate it in the same way that we do, but non-the-less is aware or conscious of existing. But we must see that consciousness is the only thing - that is not a thing - that could be aware of its own existence.  

Therefore it is never a cat, a human, a dog or Frankenstein that is alive. Consciousness, that which is alive, is aware of being alive. Consciousness is alive. Life is the animated expression of being alive. 

The light brightens up the room. The room does not light up itself. The room may be filled with light but that does not mean the room is bright. Only light is bright. Only consciousness is alive. Consciousness is life.

Being the only non-objective and fundamental substance of all experience, since without it there could be no experience, it is something we would consider to be truly and ultimately real. Therefore it is truth. It is true for you, true for me, true for the cat, true for anything that could ever have or be having an experience of anything. So it is the reality, the truth and the substance of all experience. Even if there was an omnipotent God-like being in heaven, consciousness would still have to be the substance of that Gods experience. How could a God know anything without being conscious of it? If a God is limited to needing awareness in order to experience something, he is not a God. But if thats the case, then consciousness must be God. And that’s the situation we find oursleves in, and as. 

Therefore to be alive is to - by definition - know ones own inherently real and infinite (as in not limited by anything) nature. How could being alive be anything other than that? Being alive is all that we ever experience. We have never not been alive. That is the essence of meditation. The place all meditation practices lead us to. But the funny thing is it's all we’ve ever been experiencing. We couldn't experience anything other than being alive because we can't not be aware.

The problem is that we believe being alive is a matter of the lungs functioning well, the heart, the body, the mind. We believe being alive is limited to and born of the body. Our mind and body have been conditioned to make that our experience even though we might know in our heart it is not true. This is where we make the mistake that causes the desire for truth, which translates into our experience as the search for love or happiness, in the form of mental suffering. 

In this state, we believe we must practice something called meditation, and we take times out of our day in order to take off the jacket of the separate self. We believe that meditation is an abnormal temporary practice 1 or 2 times a day and that being ourselves the separate self is our baseline. We notice a distinction between “me” and “me when I am meditating”. We use a technique to quiet our minds and believe thoughts are a distraction. Because of this we then impose that the world is a distraction. Yet all there is to thought is the very substance we rest in. How could a wave distract us from the ocean? These are all the subtle symptoms of the separate self that are relieved through Though Yoga. Thought Yoga is like surfing consciousness. We make pure being our mantra and life our shrine.

What is the difference between being alive and being aware?

Ultimately, none. Being alive, being aware, they are essentially the same. But it’s kind of like asking whats the difference between peace and joy. Joy is simply the overboiling of peace. Likewise, if I was to ask you to think of a time where you experienced pure joy or happiness, what was more prominent to you, the experience of being alive, or the experience of being aware?

We will notice that in our happiest moments of love, joy, serene peace - all subtle variations of the same thing - we experience being alive, and we feel alive. We arent just aware, we are alive. This is a quality that cant be quite described just yet but is something a lot more fragrant than simply being aware. We are aware so that we can be alive. It is as if being alive is the animated expression of consciousness, however, consciousness is and always will be alive, and that which is alive is always and will always be aware. The raw experience of being alive is simply to know ones Self as they truly are. It is expressed as feeling alive - which as we all know is the most desired and sought out experience in life. This is because being alive is all there can or ever will be.

The reason life seems to be this search for happy or joyful experiences is not just because there are pleasurable and enjoyable. That is a side effect of the truth. They are enjoyable because they are a universal yes when we are in the direct experience of what we essentially are. So if we come away from what we are, just like the gravitation of the planets we will naturally gravitate back towards our true essence. That gravitational pull appears to us as the experience of suffering or the desire for truth.

If we believe to be a person, being alive does not feel like being alive. It feels like a doing, an effort, a movement from A to B. The raw experience of being alive can best be known when we look back at being a child. That was the raw experience of being alive. In our later years, we began to build a model of reality that when broken down, makes the essential claim that we are not real and that we don’t exist.

If we go by our earlier definition of what truth/existence is - a substance that stands alone and has its own independent existence above all other non-real or impermanent things - Then an impermanent body-mind organism that was created from a dead substance called matter does not fit as something that is ultimately real or exists. The resistance between knowing we are real and existing and living with a model of reality that we aren't creates a friction that we know as seeking and suffering. That seeking becomes the separate self.

What is fear? How is it linked to death? 

All fear is ultimately the fear of dying, which is essentially the fear of not existing.

Because of material science being the primary model of reality, we live the experience of non-existence. Fear is what it’s like to exist while our reality is built on a belief in non existence or unreality. This is what its meant by ignorence or Avidya in Sanskrit. The ignoring of the truth.

Death is not an experience that happens, it’s a state that we pass through while being alive. - When we awaken, we are simply seeing that the model of our reality that governs our lives is inaccurate. When someone is “unconscious” they are just a mind that is still functioning in an innacurate model of reality.

Truly no one is unconscious, and no one ever dies or is dead because there is no conscious or alive human beings in order to be coscious or to die. There is one unlimited field of consciousness, animating itself into every point of view that could ever exist. these points of view that it takes are what we call a finite mind. These finite minds are the vehicles through which one infinite eye can appear to have the experience of all eyes at once. Literally and metaphorically.

The death experience we all fear is never experienced. The fear of death is as close to the feared death experience that we can get. This is why fear is the experience of non-existence.

You can't have an experience of non-existence, but you can experience what it would be like to believe that there is. That is fear. Living the experience of not existing. But without that fear, we could have no motivation to be alive. - in the sense that as a finite mind we would have no reason to even consider the possibility that we are by nature infinite life.

Fear then kicks in to remind us that we are alive. How alive does fear make us feel on the contrary to how it also deminishes our sense of unity? It eventually pushes us, like a moth to a flame, into the truth. 

As we all know, what we believe we perceive, and what we perceive becomes our world. We don’t need to build a model of reality again, we just need to see the absurdity of the model we have already built. Gradually through thought yoga, it falls away, and since we are already in the place-to-be, we are left effortlessly in our true being.

The more this old jacket begins to dissolve, the deeper we fall into the palms of reality, the more grounded we are in being alive.