When we think of "me", or "my identity" as a human being, we think of our body. In most people, the sense of I is consisting of the physical form we see in the mirror and of the thoughts we have about it.
We think of ourselves as being this or that; as small or tall, smart or stupid, beautiful or ugly. All these qualifications are messages from the surrounding environment that we have internalised and accepted as true. Our own thinking may have added to these definitions and we may have come to the conclusion that yes, I am not intelligent enough, or too tall or not meeting the beauty standards of this world...
As for the body, we watch it change constantly. What once was the form of a small child grew into a teenager and then into a young adult. Eventually the traits of youth transformed into an ageing adult who watches wrinkles develop on the face and whose body gets less agile and more fragile.
It is safe to say that all material or mental aspects of our life change constantly. Even seemingly solid objects, like a house or a car, are subject to the law of change. One day they are shiny and new, yet just a few years later they have become worn and outdated. In the end they will disappear, just like a vast area of woods can vanish to become an urban agglomeration. Even mountain ranges change and eventually crumble if we are there to watch over a long enough period of time.
Unless a deeper questioning awakes from within, we go through life with our attention focused exclusively on these ever-changing forms and thoughts in which our identity is embedded. This is how the vast majority of people live. But there is an ever growing number of seekers who are tuning in to the fact that there is truly more to us than a changing body and a wavering mind. They are beginning to explore aspects of their being that are beyond the sensory perceptions. Just like the sages and saints that have walked this path for millennia, they realise that at the back of all the appearing and disappearing forms is a space or presence that is unchanging and ever-present.
If we want to know this presence in our own being, we need to reverse the focus of our attention. Instead of following every thought and every sensory perception, we need to turn our attention inward by closing our eyes. At first we may notice the many thoughts and feelings that jump into our awareness when we begin to meditate. We get to see just how densely populated our mind is... If we choose to continue sitting and watching, we notice that even though thoughts continue to come and go, there is something in us that is watching and knowing them. This knowing Awareness is what we want to pay attention to. In cultivating awareness of this Awareness, we develop the ability to know the difference between the coming and going of thoughts and the ever-present Presence that knows them. In choosing to remain with the Presence, as the Presence, we have a chance to mature the understanding that it is who we truly are. No form or thought exists without or separate from the Presence that is our True Nature. Knowing this with every fibre of our being is the invaluable gift of Meditation!
If you would like to explore the gift of Meditation for yourself, you can join an Online Satsang, or sign-up for a free half hour session to explore the power of Online Meditation Mentoring with Sampriya. Check out Sampriya's travel schedule in the Fall for Meditation Seminars and Retreats in Switzerland and The Netherlands.