What’s Always Here

Excerpt from Natural Awareness: Guided Meditations and Teachings for Welcoming All Experience by Pema Chödrön:

There are various ways to say what we’re doing here. One of them is uncovering our natural wakefulness or open awareness. Not attaining it or achieving it, but relaxing enough to experience it—to tune into it. What’s always said is like tuning into what’s always here.

When you listen to sounds…

For just a moment, just listen.

Can you hear your heartbeat?

Or feel your heartbeat?

Can you hear your breath?

The idea is that your heart is hopefully always beating. You’re always breathing. But there’s no consciousness of it. In the same way, you’re not conscious of the sounds. We all know what it’s like to walk a city block or country street — or anywhere — and be so lost in thought that you don’t see anything that’s on that street — just enough to keep you from bumping into people or falling down. But you miss a lot.

So the practice is returning or tuning into this natural ability to be present and see and hear — to be conscious, really. You could call it a practice of being fully conscious as opposed to being unconscious. Which is a pretty typical state. Lost in thought. Wandering away.

The point I’m trying to make is it’s not about acquiring something, but uncovering or tuning into a natural wakefulness, a natural awareness, an open awareness that’s always been here.