Detail of one of the watercolor paintings.
In many circles the senses are considered to be hindrances or blocks to the development of higher states of awareness. This has not been my experience. If the always changing senses, the wandering mind, the too active intellect or the raging emotions are our only focus then it behooves us to look for a state of steady, quiet inner contentment that first underlies and eventually saturates and enhances all these layers with its influence. Now keep in mind that the purpose is not to get rid of anything, but to not be consumed by them. The purpose of life is not to get rid of it but live the full value of each and every aspect of it. Fortunately for me and everyone else this is not only possible but a fully awakened consciousness is the source and full value of every stream of experience.
As I moved through the various periods and states of awareness that I been and will be describing, every aspect of my life has come along for the ride. I have become more exuberantly talkative, exited and out-going, which for Finnish born fellow is quite extraordinary. (Here again check with my wife.)
Here is a typical Finnish joke to clarify this. (A very out-going Finnish man in a lively conversation with someone will look at the other person’s feet rather than his own while speaking.)
The senses independently and altogether are very interesting. We all know five of them, they do not compete but work together to convey all kinds of useful, enjoyable or unpleasant information. And who is the recipient of all this streaming info? There is an individual experiencer who naturally does the processing and has a choice in choosing what is useful and what is not. Now this experiencer is our overall consciousness which is flavored by our intelligence, personality, our feelings and our limitations. The thing is, most people lose pure-awareness when they are engaged with any of the senses. The question is how to influence self-awareness to clearly step out and become a conscious perception.
There is an expanded, abstract location or experience where every feeling and every thought sits at its source. Where even the senses are in their quietest state. This where the mind is naturally attracted to go because it is enjoyable. Where obstructions and limitations have not yet arisen. The pure-awareness of everyone as a conscious experience is this state. Meditation techniques are the simplest way to have this experience. With repetition this unbounded state gradually become permanent. Then the activity of the mind, heart and senses do not obscure realization. Deep understanding step by step makes it permanent and integrates pure-awareness with daily awareness in activity. The great thing is that the heart and mind are already configured to move in this direction since this is already their very idea of existance. In fact the reality is that the main purpose we have a life is to uncover this fundamental truth. The human heart, mind and body are the reservoir of this fundamental experience of truth. Like any treasure we have to desire to find it.
Imagine if even the senses were aware of and always in the presence of unbounded consciousness. Then it’s most basic quality, expanded happiness would also be lived in daily life. Hard to argue with happiness. There is not much of a jump from happiness to love. In my experience they are so similar that I do not differentiate between them. I could however say that, purely for the sake of understanding, that happiness is a general feeling and love is a specifically directed flow of happiness. We all love that which is closest to us most, then our friends, our community, our country, the whole world and finally if possible even the entire universe. My experience has all these different gradations of the heart-felt feeling of love. The main quality that has developed is that all the layers of love are experienced continuously as abstract universal love and constantly flow as specific streams of love within it. I will of course at any time take either one.
I am accepting and cherishing the outside as the inside and the inside as the outside. When this unity of experience where everything feels as familiar as ones own awareness, when it has become permanent is the mature experience of enlightened-awareness. The senses when they are known as and deliver nothing but qualities of pure-awareness then they do not disturb the experience of unbounded awareness and unbounded awareness does not disturb the senses. Then pure awareness has become the ocean in which all aspects, all layers of consciousness reside. This would be a very happy person.