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We are not our bodies, our thoughts, or our emotions. Before we are born, we do not decide on the body we will have. Our thoughts are reactions to stimuli and sometimes reactions to those reactions. Our emotions are responses to stimuli and sometimes responses to those responses. Our names are words to identify ourselves and can be changed with the flick of a pen.

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So, what makes us us? If we were to say we are the sum total of a body, emotions, and thoughts, that would be incorrect. They are subjective components of our existence. What is our objective existence, then?

Above all, we are the witnesses of our existence. We are conscious of our body, emotions, and thoughts. This consciousness is our objective self. Without it, we might as well be machines.

But as per usual, we are not in touch with this consciousness fully. Instead, we run our lives autonomously, as if our existence is a series of reactions and responses. Our true nature is not to act like a configuration of silicon, but to be free in the opportunities and possibilities of the moment.

How do we base our lives on consciousness rather than on thoughts, emotions, and our body? It is not easy to detach oneself from what appears to be who we are. The most effective way to distance oneself from the subjective parts of life is to not take them so seriously.

This does not mean you should not take showers, should not cry at funerals, or dismiss thoughts altogether—just take mundane existence with less graveness. When we look in a mirror, most of us identify with an image. Our bodies, emotions, and thoughts are tools–though they are misused to a great degree.

What is the use of our bodies, emotions, and thoughts? Our bodies provide conveyance and expression. Our emotions can give way to compassion and understanding. Our thoughts can be expressions of inspiration. The key component in the use of these three is construction. When guided by these three, we should base our actions on whether we are doing something constructive or destructive.

When acting through pure consciousness–devoid of attachment to thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations–the choice of construction or destruction is no longer available. Thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations are dualistic, whereas pure consciousness is not.

When we experience reality through consciousness alone, each thing we perceive simply is, without branding or conditions. Ironically, the highest state we can achieve is the state of being ourselves. The utter simplicity of it makes it difficult to attain.

We want to hold onto something: our name, our profession, our family, our memories, our aspirations, and so on. We want a sense of comfort and security of identity. Not knowing oneself is scary for most individuals.

But the most frightening of all is knowing that you have been living a lie and that your life thus far has been trivial. When we realize we have been conducting our lives based on a subjective existence, we feel like we have been a slave of our senses–which is true. And what can be more degrading than being a slave?

We are slaves until we can witness our thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations dispassionately. Even if we have attained pure consciousness for a few moments, it is not enough. As soon as we direct and delve our attention into these three elements, we have lost the state of pure consciousness. Therefore, one must be alert at all times in order to not get absorbed into illusion.

Is it possible to be in the state of pure consciousness at all times? Yes, it is. Even if you have been in this state for one moment, you will know when others are in this state. You can meet people who are in this state continuously. These people are usually recognized as enlightened people, but there are people in this state that are not recognized as well.

Throughout history, the experience of pure consciousness has been termed as “self realization.” Self realization is a spontaneous happening, despite some people trying their whole lives to attain it. It is a spontaneous happening due to its unconditional state. Someone can get self realization by watching cars go by, and on the other hand, by doing something traditional like penance. The only thing required is the pure desire to realize one’s true self. No one can be forced into having their self realization. If one is forced into getting self realization, without personal consent or desire, it will not be achieved.

If your desire to achieve self realization is strong enough, it can outweigh the negativity you hold onto. But, it does help before trying to get self realization to let go of your past. The past is finished and in a sense, you are born anew each moment. The history of your identity is a story you continually tell yourself and others. With each moment, that history is obsolete, as you have to face the present. Each moment is a choice: either to be in objective reality or not–whether to be the consciousness that watches the play of existence in self-contentedness, or to be a slave of your senses.

When following and being absorbed in our subjective existence, we can feel pleasure for a few moments, but not a continual satisfaction. This is because if we run our lives on gaining sense pleasures, we will have a period when we do not have the opportunity to have the pleasures we want, or we will grow tired of the pleasures we have.

Also, the more we focus on sense pleasures, the more dissatisfied we are. This is due to getting further and further away from the continual satisfaction that is pure consciousness. Some people get to a breaking point where they have indulged so much in mundane pleasures that they feel like renouncing pleasures altogether. They become tired of seeking satisfaction in something temporary and addicting. The state of pure consciousness, on the other hand, does not give pleasure in bursts and fits. It is a subtle, balanced state of sustained contentment. All problems arise in a dualistic reality, and since it is without a sense of identity or separation, the state of pure consciousness contains only peace–a complete sobriety that carries no worries with it.

To be in this state at all times is not the easiest thing. Usually, people who get in this state swing in and out of subjective existence and objective existence. But even getting into the state of pure consciousness only once per day can have a profound impact on one’s life. Once you touch that reality, for whatever duration, it changes your view of mundane life. But first, the initial experience of it, self realization, needs to be achieved.

Despite the process of self realization being spontaneous, there is a method we can use to allow pure consciousness to enter into our lives: 1) have a pure desire to get self realization 2) affirm that pure consciousness is the reality 3) and to ask for self realization.

In this method, we use our own body as a tool to allow pure consciousness to be realized. In order to go above our physical state, we need to use our physical state as a stepping stone. We have not experienced the state of pure consciousness yet, so we must start with what we know: our physical self.

First, ensure you have a desire to achieve self realization. If you feel a desire to know objective reality and to go beyond subjective reality, then you are ready to get self realization.

During the process of self realization, we use our hands. The right hand is used to do actions, as it relates to the side of our nervous system that is responsible for action. Our left hand is placed on our lap, with the palm open. The left hand corresponds to the left side of our nervous system, which relates to desire. Therefore, we are leaving our left hand open to express our desire for self realization. The right hand is placed first on the area of the heart and then on the top of the head. When we want to make a declaration of truth or want to show our honesty, it is a common gesture to put our hand on the heart. So, when we place our hand on our heart, we affirm that pure consciousness is the reality–not our thoughts, emotions, or bodily sensations. When we put our hand on top of our head, we are recognizing that reality is beyond our mind. While placing our hand on top of our head, we ask for our self realization.

After the process of self realization is done, it is common to feel a subtle, cool breeze flowing from our hands and above our head. This is the sign that we have gone beyond our subjective self and that the reality, the pure consciousness, is now flowing through us. When we are engaged in our thoughts, emotions, and bodily sensations, the flow of energy will subside. But as soon we reenter the state of pure consciousness, the energy will flow once again.

Feeling this energy is only possible after getting self realization. It is your guide to know what state you are in and what state other people are in. After self realization, through the changes in the energy flowing from your hands and the top of your head, you will know what is constructive and destructive. Whatever you experience as constructive, the energy will flow. Whatever you experience as destructive, the energy will lessen, heat up, or stop altogether. Through this energy, you can guide yourself and others towards a constructive life.

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