The basis of suffering is false identification. We firmly believe we are our body, thoughts and feelings. This is what we see and experience so we trust this to be the whole truth. This misperception causes us to suffer. Our body, thoughts and feelings are a very small wave arising from the infinite ocean of consciousness. We think we are a small wave and have forgotten that we are the infinite ocean of pure awareness.
Our misperception causes our ego to hobble together a created self that we live in. We say, “I am thin or fat. I am beautiful or ugly. I am well or sick. I am happy or sad. I am smart or ignorant, infinitely creating a shifting image we live as. Then we layer this with stories, stances and beliefs. We continue adding to it by saying, “I am a conservative or liberal. I am straight or gay. I am worthy or worthless. I am more or less of this and that identification. We mold it all together and play the role of our created self. It is basically a limited self that is full of very limited and changing identifications.
We experience it even when we meditate. We sit and repeat our mantra. Then the mind starts thinking and feeling. We get lost in these thoughts and say we aren’t good at meditating. This has nothing to do with our ability to meditate. The struggle we have just created is that we are identifying as the thoughts and feelings. The thoughts and feelings are waves of creative intelligence arising from the still ocean of consciousness that is the source of thoughts. The thought is a form, a wave, of consciousness. But we identify as the thought and believe we are the thought, giving the thought power. When we understand that the thoughts and feelings are minor waves of consciousness arising from the pure ocean of consciousness, the thoughts diminish because we no longer identify as them.
In day-to-day life, as soon as we watch and witness our thoughts, we become consciousness, presence, the awareness that is the infinite ocean. We free ourselves from all the created and limited identifications and stories that are creating endless chatter within the mind. When we get angry, if we pull our awareness back from the feeling and watch the feeling, witness the thought, we calm down. We become the ocean of consciousness and watch the wave. The wave then merges back into the ocean and we are peaceful again.
At first, witnessing is a practice. We have to recall and remember what we have forgotten – that we are the awareness. But as we meditate more and more, that Presence, that Ocean of consciousness, permeates our mind and never is hidden or forgotten. Then we permanently become the witness. We see our body, thoughts and feelings as minor waves arising from the omnipresent ocean. Then we always identify as the infinite ocean of consciousness, the true Self. Then there is peace and stillness.