There is a beautiful story about the Buddha soon after his enlightenment. It is said that he passed a man who noticed something extra ordinary about him and asked, “Are you a God or a celestial being?” “No”, said the Buddha. “Are you a wizard or a magician?” asked the man. “No”, “Are you a man?”, and again he answered, “No”. “Then what are you?” I am awake”. This is where he got his name - The Buddha - which means The Awakened One, and it is this metaphor of waking up from the dream like nature of our minds, that is one of the primary metaphors found in the eastern philosophical traditions.
In the schools of Sankhya and Patanjali’s Raja Yoga, the Buddhi, which we can translate as, The Awakening Principle, is explained as operating all the time - even if we are unaware of it. As one of my teachers, Richard Freeman, so beautifully describes, and I paraphrase here, “If it were not for the Buddhi we would be trapped inside of a giant dream machine”. A good way to explain this, in a practical way is in the everyday habit of looking at our phones. We get drawn in to a dream world of our thoughts and stories that are pure fantasy and imagination. We become totally absorbed in this dream world and are unaware of the world around us. Then, and this is something to observe in your day to day, there is an awakening out of that dream, and we become present -perhaps we hear the birds outside or the sound of traffic, or whatever, and we are aware of the “Suchness”, as the Buddhists like to describe it, of life. The “IS-ness” of the present moment that is beyond thought, that is behind the story telling nature of the mind.
This awakening is happening all the time. The practice of Yoga is to become aware of this process and to choose to stay with that awareness of “What Is”, rather than repeatedly getting lost in our dream world.
We can do this with curiosity and do it lovingly. Not by forcing or pushing or trying hard. It is a kind of relaxed effort that we bring to all areas of our life. Try it. Put your phone down for a moment and experience the “Suchness”, the “Is-ness” of life in this moment, and then throughout the day continue to cultivate (continued below 👇🏼)