The most important key to awakening is to learn the art of being present. Being present is remarkably simple. Gently remember to bring yourself present with something that is actually here. If you can see it, hear it, taste it, touch it or smell it, you can be present with it.
When you first wake up in the morning, spend a few minutes being present with your body breathing. When you are having a shower, be present with the warmth of the water and the fragrance of the soap. Be present as you eat your breakfast. Be present as you wash the dishes. When you notice you have drifted off into the world of thought, memory and imagination, bring yourself back to the present moment.
It is only from Presence that you can be unconditionally loving and accepting of yourself. This includes all those things you would like to change about yourself such as jealousy, possessiveness, control, judgment, helplessness, inadequacy, blame, guilt, uncertainty, unworthiness, arrogance, expectation, resentment, anger, sadness, frustration, just to name a few.
To want to change any of these qualities in you is a subtle rejection of them, which is not unconditional acceptance. The key is to identify, own, acknowledge and confess all of these qualities, as they arise within you. Hide absolutely nothing from yourself. Own and acknowledge all of these things with love, acceptance and compassion. The more you own and accept whatever arises without judgment, the more you will relax and be released out of the past into deeper and deeper levels of Presence.
The second key to awakening is to come into right relationship with your feelings. This is only possible as you become present. There are many emotions from the past, which you repressed for good reason then. But now they want to be released, so it is necessary to find an opportunity to feel and express repressed emotions like anger, hurt, pain and sadness.
Just be present with the feelings whenever they arise within you. Allow them authentic expression, but do not identify with the story woven into the feelings. The feelings are from the past, which are projecting onto the present. Do not try to get rid of these feelings. That would be a judgment of them. Simply allow them to complete their journey through you. Once released, they will be gone forever.
It is important to take full responsibility for your emotional reactions. No one can make you angry unless you have anger repressed within you from your past. No one can hurt you unless you have hurt repressed within you from your past. As these repressed emotions are liberated from you, you will begin to feel a level of love, peace and freedom that you did not know was possible.
The third key to awakening is to own and acknowledge every aspect of who you have become. You are saying, “this is me, this is who I have become. I am possessive and controlling.” Or, “I am blaming. I get angry when I don’t get my own way.” Or, “I will not allow myself to get too close to people because I am afraid I might get rejected.”
By confessing and owning you have become, with love, acceptance and compassion, it is released. And you are freed to the level of Presence where none of these qualities exist. They cannot exist because they are not a part of the true nature of Being. They exist only at the level of mind.
The fourth key to awakening is to come into right relationship with the ego. The ego is not the enemy. It is your friend and protector in a painful world where no one is truly present. Once you know the ego’s true role in your life, you will come to appreciate it. You will befriend it, and gradually the ego will relax and it will allow you to be more present. As you become established in Presence, the ego will surrender and its role in your life will be transformed.
The fifth key is to bring conscious awareness to all the ways that you lose yourself in others. If you look to others for love, acceptance or approval, you are losing yourself in them. If you fear judgment or rejection from others, then you are losing yourself and you are giving away your power and your freedom. To awaken is to come back to yourself, and to release yourself from entanglement in others.
The sixth key to awakening is to accept full responsibility for yourself. This will release you from the world of expectation, resentment, blame and guilt. It will lead you into total freedom.
The final key to awakening is to let go. Dance, celebrate, lose control!
Excerpt from “Words from Silence” (Revised Edition) by Leonard Jacobson. pp.128-131.