Finding Your Spirit:

An Awareness Exercise
Practiced by Christian & Jewish Believers From the Earliest Times

John Erickson

We are of two minds: Our original consciousness, through which we observed life from the time we were born... until we developed our second mind:

Our corrupted consciousness in which our thoughts are controlled by other people's reactions to us. This second state of mind dominates our thinking from the time we reach school age, and on through our adult years. It begins as children when we respond to an adult with fear. The kid is scared away from doing things spontaneously. Now he always imagines an internal conversation with a "parent-figure" whenever he plans to carry out a thought. The other person's reaction becomes more important than his own internal motivation! VERY DANGEROUS -- for this destroys our God-given instinct of survival. He now associates survival with pleasing others and denying his own intuition. His actions are now always a reaction to other people: either to submissively please them, or to rebelliously upset them: But he never acts out of neutral self-motivation.

This is a trance-like state in which a continuous stream of internal dialog, music, and caffeine seems impossible to live without. These distractions help us avoid looking at the corrupt person we've become: For if we saw ourselves clearly, we'd have to change! Because our ego needs to feel that we're in control of everything, it can't allow us to see ourselves objectively - for if we did, the ego would begin to die as we gravitate closer and closer to our inborn self-motivation.

We need to observe ourselves objectively, living in the "now" - not living in the events of the past or the fantasies of the future.. This is difficult, since after all these years we have come to think of this trance-like stream of fantasy thought as our own true thought, the stuff that makes up our "true personality." We need a device to divorce us from the lies so we can begin our journey homeward to our true self.

We first need to get into a higher state of consciousness, one which is more alert than our customary state of mind: free of the whirlwind of music, "urgent" projects and entertainment which all distract us from the pain of seeing ourselves as the world has made us. We need to observe our thoughts without getting emotionally involved with them or fearing them. We observe these thoughts from the security of being in the "now," aware that we are not a part of the thought that we're observing. There's a technique that helps with this, a prayer exercise practiced by Christian and Jewish believers from the earliest times.

  • Sitting normally, close your eyes. Notice your right hand until you become aware of its warmth, or a kind of tingling sensation. (This can be made easier to observe by holding both hands together, fingertips touching fingertips with a space between the palms). Being aware of this means we're in an objective state of mind. Whenever you notice a thought drawing you in emotionally, refocus on the hand's warmth to bring you back to the "now."

  • Simultaneously, observe the warmth/tingling of the center of the forehead. This spot can be observed as a sort of "eye" into the consciousness, by which you objectively observe your stream of thoughts without getting drawn into them.

  • Now observe a "band" running between the warmth of your hand to the warmth of the center of your forehead: A stream beginning at your right hand, up the arm, shoulder, and on to your forehead.

Once this is achieved, we can successfully "deny the flesh": our constant attention to the urgings of the body and our ego are put to rest as we unemotionally observe their meaninglessness. Then we can clearly comprehend God and communicate with him, without emotional reactions interfering with our understanding of him (as often happens in over-emotional church services and music sessions).

Do this for 15 minutes or so, then give your body a good stretch. It will give you a fresh start in managing your life from a more solid footing in the Kingdom of God.

© John Erickson


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