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How to Rest as Awareness

When you know yourself as the space in which all things happen, you merge into oneness with life and discover your true home.

How to get the most out of these Wisdom Quotes:

  1. Put aside everything you think you already know.

  2. Open your mind and heart to receive something new.

  3. Take your time going through each point.

  4. Return to any points that particularly touch you.

  5. In the coming days, listen carefully to the wisdom within you.

1. Discover the Source of Your Experience

Rupert Spira Quote

"We were having a conversation about non-duality and I remember, at the time, hearing a dog barking. It was a distant sound of a dog and, immediately, a thought came up: that's the sound of a dog barking and the dog is in the distance, on the other side of the valley.

I said to him, it's so obvious to me that that dog is on the other side of the valley. It's so obvious that the sound is at a distance from myself and it's made out of something other than myself - it's a dog barking, it's not me.

He said, "Place your hands on the carpet." So, I shut my eyes and placed my hands on the carpet and then he just said, "Where does that sensation take place?"

It was so obvious, in that moment, that the sensation took place inside me, that it was not at a distance from me, that it wasn't made out of something other than myself.

All that was present was the experience of sensing, and sensing takes place in me - not in me, a body and a mind - but in this open, empty, aware presence. It was just so obvious that this sensation was taking place inside me, so to speak, and not only inside me, but made out of myself.

That was the end of the conversation but it was like a key. Suddenly, I reasoned with myself: if this is true about what I thought was this carpet - this dead, inert material called the carpet - it must be true about everything.

So then, wherever I went, I'd go out on the streets and I'd be looking at cars and people and houses and I realised, all I know of these so called cars and people houses is the experience of seeing and hearing. Where does seeing take place? Does it take place 10 metres away from myself or two metres or 20 metres?

When I look at the moon, all I know of the moon is the experience of seeing. Does it take place at a million miles from myself or is it intimate, close, made only out of myself? It just became so obvious that, wherever I looked, wherever I turned at, all I knew was the experience of experiencing.

All there is, all we know, is the knowing of our experience and that is what I am, that is what I, awareness, is, this pure knowingness, which is the substance of all experience."

~Rupert Spira, from the video: Enlightenment Stories


Our journey into resting as awareness begins with realizing where our experience is coming from.

  1. This account that Rupert shares about his insight guides us into a deeper understanding of ourselves. We are so used to going through life focusing on what we see as being separate from us, but here there is a shift in perspective from the object seen to the one doing the seeing.

  2. When you go out today, or look outside your window, notice that everything you see is only ever experienced inside you. It may seem obvious, but there is something profound to realize here.

  3. Your entire world is being experienced within you. There is nothing that you can experience outside of you. Don't try to understand this intellectually. Rather, as the image quote says, simply give your attention to the experience of seeing and you will find yourself everywhere.

2. Allow the Coming and Going of Everything

Ram Dass Quote

"Settle down into this moment. Don’t push against the bus or truck passing... Just let be what is.

The sensations that you experience in your body, notice them when they arise. Then, when you hear a sound, notice that, but keep letting go. As it arises, notice it and then be aware of the next thing.

Thoughts arise, memories, judgments, plans... See them just like the horns, the traffic, sensations in your body - they come, they exist and then they move on. No call to react, just note. Note sound, note feelings, sensations and thoughts.

Just as if you were sitting on a bank of a river and leaves were floating down on top of the river. You don’t follow the leaf with your eyes. You just keep centered and let the leaf come into your vision, come through and go on.

What notices all of this, you could call the noticer or the witness. It’s a little like a torch or a flashlight - it shines now on this, now on that. At one moment it’s shining on a thought, another moment on a sensation, another moment on an emotion, another moment on a memory. The images just keep coming, all the phenomena just keep arising, existing and moving on. But the torch, or the flashlight, never shines upon itself.

Just let the phenomena come and go in their own natural progression, resting more and more deeply in the awareness that notices all of these things. Thoughts of who you are, thoughts of anything at all that arise, just for this moment, see them as phenomena arising, existing and moving on.

The horns that sounded a few minutes ago, where are they? They’re gone. The thoughts you had a few minutes ago, long gone. What you were attending to just a moment ago is now replaced by something else. What is common to all of them is the awareness that is noting.

Just rest in awareness, awareness of all forms, feelings, thoughts and sensations. Each thing you experience is another leaf floating down the stream. Notice how certain thoughts and feelings and sensations attract your awareness and your awareness starts to follow the leaf down the stream. And then you hear me say, just let go, come back to the awareness."

~Ram Dass, from the video: Rest As Awareness ~ Guided Meditation by Ram Dass


How many times have you listened to a guided meditation and then gone about your day in the same way as before? This meditation, however, can usher you into a different way of going through life today - if you're open.

  1. Let the words of Ram Dass bring you into a restful state of awareness, where you spontaneously find yourself in the background of all the things that are constantly coming and going in your experience.

  2. Consider the shift in perspective from how you normally interact with life and the expansive awareness of your true nature. When you take your place in the seat of awareness, you naturally let things come and go without interfering with them. You don't push them away and you don't try to hold on to them. The energy of life passes through you freely.

  3. Zoom out and come to know yourself as the spacious awareness in which your experience is happening. Allow all thoughts and feelings to appear and disappear, without interfering or being carried away by them. Do this as often as you remember to.

3. Feel at Home in the Space of Awareness

Dicken Bettinger & Natasha Swerdloff Quote

"Pure Consciousness can also be called the meditative state. This state is not a doing or technique. It is your natural state of mind, free of your personal thinking. Realizing this allows you to relax into yourself as you are. Your natural meditative state of mind is relaxed, open and alert.

When you rest in this space, you may still have thought content passing through your mind but these thoughts are not paid attention to or listened to. It may feel like you are the sky and your thoughts are birds flying through. Your inner sky is untouched by these birds.

You see life directly, unfiltered by the distortions of your personal beliefs. You see life as it is, rather than as it isn't. It is a space within and beyond the personal, yet it is something that you already have and are. It is your true self. Some call it the impersonal self.

The more you touch this infinite, wide-open space, the more you realize the fact of its ever-present nature. It becomes more and more real to you. It becomes more and more familiar. It is a space where you can experience directly your true nature. It is the space where you feel most at home.

When you rest in pure Consciousness you are able to simply be. This resting is not a doing but a being. It's the most natural position you can be in. It's coming home."

~Dr. Dicken Bettinger & Natasha Swerdloff, Coming Home


Discover the joy and ease of your true nature, of simply being.

  1. Today, be like the sky and notice the "birds" of thought running through you. Remember that you don't have to pay attention to them. You also don't need to try and push them away. Just allow them to fly around freely in your expansive sky of awareness.

  2. If you haven't already, begin appreciating this state of awareness as being your natural state. Even though it may seem unfamiliar and strange at first, keep coming back to this relaxed and open state of mind.

  3. In this place of rest and openness, you will discover a natural clarity that exists and intuitive wisdom that is available to you at all times. "It is a space where you can experience directly your true nature. It is the space where you feel most at home."

4. Disidentify From Your Restless Mind

Adyashanti quote

"Resting in awareness is a state of being, not a state of doing. And so, you also surrender or relinquish the doer, that thing inside of you that’s made up in your mind and is always trying to get something right, understand it, do it correctly.

In order to just rest as awareness, there’s relinquishing the neurotic need to understand, and it’s also letting go of the neurotic need to do. There’s a time for understanding, certainly, and there’s a time for doing, certainly, but it terms of what I’m speaking of, those are the first two things that need to be relinquished: doing and the need, the desire to understand. And then there can be a resting.

For most people, it becomes difficult to rest for more than a few moments because their mind keeps trying to entice them, like a seductor or a seductress. "Just think about this one thing, solve this one thought and then it’ll be so much easier to rest as awareness." Isn’t that what thought is often doing? It says, "Well, you did a nice job of resting for 5 seconds, that was nice but, it could be so much better if you could just understand this or understand that..."

In one sense it’s obvious, but it’s also very subtle. The movement of mind that’s always tried to understand, tried to do, do, do, do, do. But, you don’t "do" awareness. That’s why the first word I use is rest. Rest as awareness. Because, you see, resting as awareness immediately gets your involvement out of the egoic mind state.

As I often tell people, if you did this one simple thing with any consistency, that would be amazing. Just not being lured into the mind trying to figure everything out, spiritually speaking. Because the hardest thing to do is to stay with one simple thing with any kind of consistency. It’s easy to stay with something very complex. But to give anybody something extraordinarily simple...

There’s the teaching and the method: rest as awareness. It’s a little more difficult to have any consistency with that. Why? Because there’s nothing for the egoic mind to do and it gets a little nervous when there’s not much for it to do. Does it not? It gets a little unsettled. But, nonetheless, that’s the core teaching and, if you want to call it a technique, that’s the core technique. That’s it."

~Adyashanti, from the video: Adyashanti - Rest as Awareness


Have you noticed that you're always being pulled away from resting as awareness?

  1. Notice the unsettled mind and the constant, seductive pull to think about things all the time. There's always something to figure out, to criticize and to improve.

  2. The mind wants to understand. This is its nature. It's a wonderful gift to be able to think and figure things out, but if we constantly live in a state of evaluation, we miss knowing the wisdom, love and peace that flow out from the stillness of simply being.

  3. As you notice this pull of the mind, be watchful that you don't fall into self-judgment or comparison. Remember, noticing is something to celebrate! In that moment of catching yourself, of realization, you return to your true nature of awareness and embody the oneness of the present moment.

5. Let Go of the Goal

Jeff Foster quote

"I think, in so many different ways, that's really what I teach and what I invite people back to, is just a place of rest.

I invite people to really slow down and reconnect with the present moment, with where they are, to feel their feet on the ground, pay attention to their breathing, notice their bodily sensations, and take time to just feel their feelings, even if they're uncomfortable - to notice the thoughts swirling through their mind instead of getting so caught up in them.

The core of what I teach is rest - how to rest. I've been asking the question, is it even a how? Is that even the right question, "How can I rest?"

Really, what I'm inviting people to is actually the place deep within themselves which is already at rest.

The rest is actually already what we are, on a much deeper level. It's not even the question of, "How can I reach this future place called 'rest'?" The mind even makes rest into a goal. Paradoxically or ironically, we start struggling to rest. We even turn rest into a place to get to.

What I'm suggesting is really that rest is our true nature. There's something deep within us that is at rest. It's always been at rest. Call it consciousness, call it awareness, call it our true nature, call it life itself, but it's what we are and it's always at rest. It's always been resting.

It's not a goal, it's our true nature.

So if we're talking about rest, we're talking about who we really are - something that's constant, present, unchanging, unmoving, always with us."

~Jeff Foster, from the article: The Way of Rest


Jeff is always inviting us back to this place of rest in our deepest being.

  1. "I invite people to really slow down and reconnect with the present moment." This is the simplicity of your daily walk - coming out of your mind and back into alignment with life.

  2. Yes, I hear you say, but it's just not that easy... Silence all the protests arising in you by listening to the wisdom within. It is always pointing you to the reality of that place deep within you "which is already at rest."

  3. "Call it consciousness, call it awareness, call it our true nature, call it life itself, but it's what we are and it's always at rest." How can you experience this deeper dimension of yourself? Realize it's not a goal. Let the "how?" become the NOW. Breathe into this moment and let life envelop you into itself.

6. Remember What You Are

Eckhart Tolle Quote

"You continuously overlook the most obvious fact: your innermost sense of "I Am" has nothing to do with what happens in your life, nothing to do with content.

That sense of "I Am" is one with the Now. It always remains the same. In childhood and old age, in health or sickness, in success or failure, the "I Am" - the space of Now - remains unchanged at its deepest level.

It usually gets confused with content, and so you experience "I Am" or the Now only faintly and indirectly, through the content of your life. In other words: your sense of Being becomes obscured by circumstances, your stream of thinking, and the many things of this world. The Now becomes obscured by time.

And so you forget your rootedness in Being, your divine reality, and lose yourself in the world. Confusion, anger, depression, violence and conflict arise when humans forget who they are.

Yet how easy it is to remember the truth and thus return home: I am not my thoughts, emotions, sense perceptions, and experiences. I am not the content of my life. I am Life. I am the space in which all things happen. I am consciousness. I am the Now. I Am."

~Eckhart Tolle, Stillness Speaks


When you know yourself as the space in which all things happen, you merge into oneness with life and discover your true home.

  1. It was from Eckhart Tolle that I learned to differentiate between life and my life circumstances. Life is what we are - the unchanging, conscious, aware, spacious presence. Our life circumstances, however, are always changing - this is the content of our lives, all the things that are happening. It's helpful to know the difference.

  2. Life is what we are. It's too wonderful and miraculous to put into words. Don't even try to understand it. Our intellectual mind will never grasp the enormity of it. It's a divine mystery. But we can experience it! We can experience the pure essence of life and the joy of simply being.

  3. I like to begin with my breath. Forget everything you think you know about breathing, mindfulness, and various techniques for present-moment awareness. Just breathe. Close your eyes and be the breath. Later, as you drink your tea or coffee, tune into the experience of drinking. Let all other things fade into the background. In every moment, whatever you're doing or not doing, you can instantly shift back to this state of rest, of awareness, and oneness with all of life.

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