Q: Lately I’ve been experiencing a lot of anxiety and heaviness in my chest. It sometimes seems connected to events in the world. I’ve gone through and through my thoughts and emotions to see where it might come from and I can trace it back to a sense of separation from God. Yet after all that work, the anxiety is still here. What do you suggest?
John: The anxiety comes from your way of being within your self. If you have anxiety, particularly a deeper level of anxiety that’s difficult to pinpoint the source of, that tells you about your relationship with your self. You’re not clearly distinguishing between you and your self. When you buy into your self as being you, you’re caught into believing your experience. Your experience tells you much about your self; it doesn’t necessarily tell you much about you.
You get to know you much more when you lie down to go to sleep. Regardless of your levels of anxiety, what kind of past you have, what kind of day you’ve had, what kind of relationships you have, as you lie down to go to sleep it doesn’t take long before your past and your personality fall away and your day begins to disappear. Your familiar sense of self also dissipates. The more that you relax, as awareness, the more you’re naturally residing in what you really are.
Right before you fall asleep – just at that tipping point – is when you’re most easily being what you really are. Everything else is already gone. There is no sense of separation and there is no anxiety. When you begin to notice that, it shows you what you’re able to be in your day, but the sense of value that’s there is of a completely different level. The level of meaning within you doesn’t first relate to your past, your mind, or your self. What you really are is simply most quiet love and goodness. It’s there underneath everything, regardless of your past and regardless of the conditioning of your self. It really has so little to with what you’re familiar with in your life.
If you awaken to that difference between you and your self – what you really are within and everything else that you’re familiar with in your life – then instead of looking for meaning in how you experience your self and looking for it outside of your self, you realize that meaning is what you really are. That’s why you’re looking for meaning because you already know what it is: it’s you. Your capacity, then, to find meaning outside of your self is completely dependent on you realizing meaning within.
Meaning isn’t a ‘something’ to comprehend with your thinking: it’s you. Being that in the midst of your self, regardless of its conditioning and in the midst of your life regardless of its shape, what you’re coming from is already complete. It needs no fixing. Most quietly being that within in the midst of whatever kind of self and life you have, you’re beginning with what needs no change. When you’re rested in that and no longer looking outside of it for meaning, you begin to see depths of meaning in everyone and everything. Your seeing opens to what you’ve been deeply looking for.
Q: Is the willingness to see enough to enable seeing?
John: Yes. To have a delicate willingness within means that you are opening and softening. It’s openness and softness, that manner of being, which enables you to see. Openness and softness of heart is what you naturally rest in when you lie down to go to sleep. It comes so naturally because it is what you really are. Because you so naturally move through your own levels from the surface to the deeper, you, within, are most easily taken for granted. Your self and your life easily become a covering that you try to wade through, looking for a sense of meaning. The meaning is quietly just beneath that, as realizable in your life as you’re able to easily realize it when you lie down to go to sleep or when you hold a baby.
When you hold a baby, it’s a little bit like meeting what you really are. You naturally come from the same level of meaning that you see in a baby. When you’re quieted within, as you hold a baby, and the baby’s looking at you or right into you, what you are is known. You’re known by something that’s difficult to understand, but your response isn’t hard to understand; your response is love. You’re reached by what you see because what you see is the same as you really are, just devoid of your self, your past and your life.
As you become acquainted with these deeper levels of meaning within – deeper levels not of your self, but of you – what you first realize is the meaning of your own heart. As you continue in deeper realization you realize that your own heart is really the door to your being. When you’re quieted in your heart, you’re being the same as your own being. That’s your entrance to your being. Your real beingness is easily found in your self and in your heart.
For you to be free of your past and your self, simply live no longer taking your self to heart. What remains is you, meaning, that is pure and complete. Profound realization and awakening is simply you, uncovered: you, awareness, no longer covered up by your self and your past. Your experience in your self is innocence and happiness without a reason, just like what you easily see in little children.
What you’re really looking for is always so close. It’s just beneath your relationship with your self.