Finding the divine world cannot be an intellectual exercise. Because we need to see it directly, for ourselves, let's explore an experiential exercise. This exercise is an experiment in the mystical consciousness. Don't worry about doing it perfectly. Don't worry about whether anything is happening. Don't try to figure it out. Just follow the directions and notice what you notice. Take all the time you need, go slowly, and try to experience the sensory qualities described in the instructions Ready? Here goes…
1. Find a relatively quiet and peaceful environment free of interruptions for at least fifteen minutes.
2. Keep your eyes open throughout this exercise. You can't see the divine world with your eyes closed! And remember, this is not meditation, guided imagery, or spontaneous fantasy. In fact, it may be different than anything you've done before.
3. Take a moment to quiet your mind. Let your thoughts slow down and unwind. Get comfortable in your chair, centered in your own personal space and physical being. Focus attention on the sensory perception of the immediate here-and-now.
4. Now, slowly, consciously and deliberately, focus your attention on something near to you: you hand, a watch, a pencil, the fabric of your pants. Let it be your visual focal point for the exercise. Just keep gazing at whatever you've chosen.
5. While you're looking at this focal point, listen to the silence and sense the stillness of the present moment that is everywhere. Any time your thoughts resume, remind yourself to stop thinking and return to silence and stillness as you gaze ever more deeply at your chosen point.
6. Now in this still and conscious moment, I want you to heighten and sharpen your senses even more. Become as alert, awake and aware as you possibly can. Wake up!
7. Heighten this awareness even further by opening the awe response. You already know what awe feels like. You felt it when you stood in rapt attention as a child gazing up at the night sky or, as an adult, down at your newborn infant. That intense, wide-eyed, breath-catching, thought-free awareness. Awaken that intense consciousness and you expand your sense of awe as you continue gazing at your focal point.
8. Now carefully examine its visual properties of your focal point: its colors, pattern, and texture. Experience its depth, beauty and perfection. Notice how the light plays on it. Smell it. Touch it. Look deeply into it with your soul. Love it. Merge with it. See it exactly as it is without thought. This is pure perception. See it as if you've never seen anything so clearly before. Be amazed.
9. Keep looking at the object. As you gaze at it, become aware of your own consciousness, in other words, become conscious of consciousness itself, remembering that all consciousness is divine consciousness. Keep gazing at the object with this pure awareness. See if you can sense that divine consciousness now exists all around you, as if space itself were becoming alive and aware. Just notice.
10. This heightened state of mystical consciousness may further change your perception. Leave your focal point and begin to look around you. Notice that your environment may seem brighter, more beautiful, interesting, radiant and alive, and it is because you are dissolving the lens of thought that separates you from the divine world. In this consciousness, everything is incredibly beautiful, infinitely precious, perfect, enchanting, radiant, shimmering with light, conscious, alive, and full of love. The divine world is still here, you are looking at it, you are looking into it. You knew this world as a child, you can find it again as an adult. Be amazed. Be grateful. Take your time to absorb this profound revelation. You are in deep communion with divine being as the world itself. Just experience it.
11. When you're ready, bring yourself back to normal everyday consciousness. Move around a little, sit up, and reconnect with your customary self-experience. Get the operating system of your mind back on line, as the computer folks might say, so you can reflect on this experience and perhaps write in your journal.
What did you experience in this exercise? Reflect on the little or big things that surprised you and any curious intuitions you had. Understand, too, that mystical consciousness, like any skill, will develop with time and practice. As you practice this exercise again and again, try to keep track of what did happen, not want didn't, in order to continue developing your mystical awareness.
One of the wonderful things we can learn from the practice of Finding Heaven Here is the extraordinary beauty and freshness of everyday life. It heals us naturally because thought-free sensory consciousness is where the divine is found, where wisdom arises naturally, and where our hearts come alive. It is literally the threshold of Heaven on Earth! Because conventional reality beliefs are so deeply ingrained, however, we often cannot even conceive that the world is more than just a collection of material things and processes, so here are some additional suggestions for transcending our collective blindness.
· Start with positive expectations for seeing Heaven on Earth. We see what we expect, so expect it. Remind yourself, "This is Heaven on Earth" or "I am in Heaven on Earth" and see what happens.
· Feel the joy of this potential revelation. It's like saying, "It's an amazing day" and then discovering that it really is.
· Look for beauty everywhere. The mystics have long said that beauty is a doorway into the divine world.
· Practice seeing your environment with gratitude as an incredible and sacred blessing. Practicing gratitude will further awaken the perception of the imminent sacred.
· Practice loving the world unconditionally just as it is. Love is itself a channeling of divine energies and a transformation of consciousness.
· Practice awe, for awe is always related to the sacred.
· Practice happiness. You already know how to feel happy, just do it. Happiness also profoundly affects our perception of the world.
· Practice silencing thought-driven consciousness in thought-free awakened perception.
· Practice often. Remember the adage, "Practice makes perfect"? It works here.
Coming Next: The Ultimate Choice