The qualities you associate with spring center on renewal. Just as nature renews itself with the awakening of spring, so can you. Renewal is a quality of consciousness that permeates body, mind, and spirit.
- In the body, renewal involves feeling fresh, energetic, and youthful.
- In the mind, renewal is about new creative possibilities.
- In spirit, renewal is about living from your source in pure consciousness.
There is no specific season for these qualities to emerge in you, but spring, as part of nature's annual cycle, triggers a desire for renewal and motivates you to shed the past. Every awakening is like inviting springtime into your life.
Body, Mind, and Spirit
Body, mind, and spirit can all be traced back to the same source in pure consciousness, which is why meditation has a powerful influence on all three. When pure consciousness wakes up within itself, its expressions in the relative world are different modes of consciousness. They are labeled separately as body, mind, and spirit, but as viewed from the vantage point of pure consciousness, these distinctions vanish. Body, mind, and spirit are united as excitations of consciousness as it wakes up and enters the relative world.
Therefore, any experience of waking up is a renewed connection with your source. By waking up, you renew your whole being. In the natural world, spring wakes everything up, and this is how you can approach personal awakening. Going to the gym is good physically; learning new things is good mentally; being inspired by reading the world's scriptures is good spiritually. But for a holistic effect, these activities need to come from consciousness.
The 3 Phases of Awakening
When awakening begins in meditation, it starts out silently and subtly. Many people experience peace and inner quiet in their meditations, in contrast to the restless mind and the rush of everyday life. But in itself meditation doesn't feel like anything specific, and in deepest meditation the experience is of pure being, pure potential.
The second part of awakening happens when you leave your meditation and re-enter daily life. There is now something now to notice. Increased alertness, seeing brighter colors, feeling more vibrant, sensing an effervescence in the body, looking upon the world as suddenly fresh and interesting--the possible outward effects of meditation are various and endless.
The third part of waking up detaches from these enjoyable benefits in order to appreciate where they come from: awareness itself. This is the phase sometimes called "being aware of awareness." Instead of experience A or B being enjoyable, you appreciate simply being here. Existence is enough, because you see every experience bubbling up from its invisible, silent, unbounded source in consciousness.
Think of renewal in the three phases just mentioned:
- Meditation to deepen one's consciousness, getting closer to the source.
- Experiencing the world as fresh and new.
- Appreciating the experience of awareness in all things.
There are choices that you can make to get the most out of each phase.
The First Phase
To maximize meditation is largely a matter of commitment and technique. The commitment is to meditate twice a day every day. The technical side refers to mediating under the proper conditions: Being in a quiet place without interruptions, settling down for a minute or two before starting the practice, and resting with eyes closed, preferably lying down, for a few minutes after the practice is over. In this way you give meditation the significance and respect it deserves.
The Second Phase
In the second phase, experiences don't change unless you make room for them. The most beautiful sunset isn't an experience for someone watching a video clip on their smartphone. Experiences are only as deep as the consciousness through which they are perceived. If your mind is restless, scattered, distracted, or unfocused, so is your experience. Meditation doesn't automatically change the scenery unless you, the seer, are open to change.
We all live according to set habits and routines. We have developed over time a self and a story that propel us through the day. But despite this, you can put yourself in an open, appreciative, receptive frame of mind. Part of being renewed is the receptivity to the new. You only need to set aside some alone time or walk outside in nature or stand up, stretch, and take a few deep breaths. A relaxed state of mind and body leads easily into a sense of freshness.
The Third Phase
The third phase, being aware of awareness, is subtler but not mystical. The term mindfulness has recently become popular to describe this state, and any moment where you sense yourself as open, free, alive, and alert is a moment where mindfulness is emerging. Again, there is no need to expect a dramatic shift. You can begin simply by seeing that your whole life, including mind and body, are a flow—a continuity of experience. This flow is occurring in one place only: in your awareness. Just by attuning to the flow, you are bringing awareness to the forefront.
This small shift isn't difficult. Try this all at once:
- Tune in to your breath as it flows in and out.
- Touch your chest and feel the continuity of heartbeats.
- Look at clouds passing by and leaves fluttering in the trees.
These experiences are not chopped up into tiny separate snapshots; they flow seamlessly together. Who is experiencing the continuity? The experiencer, who is always present. You aren't the same collection of thoughts and feelings that you were at age 5 or 15, but at any age, the experiencer who takes in clouds, heartbeat, breathing, and fluttering leaves is the same, just as a camera is the same no matter how many different photos its produces.
The aim is to renew yourself by beginning in your meditation. But the bigger aim is to always be in the meditative state, when you are continually aware of awareness. It's more than renewal; it's complete freedom from the burdens of life. Let spring's awakening inspire you to make this your goal, because nothing is more rewarding.
Learn a natural, effortless style of meditation that helps invite renewal and freshness into every day with Basics of Meditation, a self-paced online course guided by Deepak Chopra. Learn More.