Normally our awareness is busy with body and mind experiences like thoughts, feelings, emotions, perceptions, sensations etc. Awareness is like a flashlight and when we point it to something that will be highlighted and that thing will dominate for some time. For eg. when you have a pain in the body then awareness keeps on bringing more info about that sensation. Then it becomes attention and that pain will dominate in your thoughts for some time.
Similarly when we highlight awareness to a past event stored in the memory that will become highlighted. Then we start thinking about it. Thought process will raise numerous thoughts about that event and that will give more and more energy to that. That incident will dominate in our mind for some time. That leads to emotions and feeling especially if it was an extremely negative event and finally even our mood changes for something happened long long ago! So everything starts with awareness. So it is very important to know, watch and understand how awareness works.
Since awareness keeps on jumping from one to another our mind becomes cluttered and we become emotionally unstable etc. So the best idea is to point awareness to something. All the things which awareness normally is aware of are changing things like thoughts, emotions, feelings, perceptions, imaginations, sensations. But there is no point in pointing to something always fluctuating or unstable. So you need something concrete, fixed and permanent, never changing and ever present thing to point the awareness.
There is only one thing like that – that is our Self or Soul or Atman – ever present, pervasive, eternal, permanent, unchangeable, indivisible and indestructible. The source of awareness. I am. Myself. So instead of wandering on changing and fluctuating things teach awareness to rest on its source. This itself a great meditation. That is why great Saints like “Ramana Maharshi” said, ask yourself the question “Who Am I”. Instead of keep on inquiring about the outside world, teach your awareness to inquire about the inside world which is controlling everything – “I am”.
So knowing the Self is the basis of all spiritual processes in any religion. Some advice to achieve it with Bhakthi or Prayer, some with Knowledge or Vijnana etc. Ultimate aim is the same everywhere. Instead of concentrating on ever changing things like mind and body, concentrate on ever present and unchanging things – Atman or Soul or Consciousness or I am. When you lean on a changing thing you also will be fluctuating but when you lean on something which is changeless, limitless and boundless you will become more stable and gain more strength – physically, mentally and spiritually.
But this is not an easy task and cannot be achieved in one or two days. It needs constant practice. We have conditioned ourselves from our childhood and changing it will take time. But with regular practice and dedication it can be achieved. Keep on trying to concentrate on the heart center. As per Ramana Maharshi our soul or Atman sits in the heart center – not the physical heart. But in the center of the chest. Concentrate on this area and visualize awareness is pointing to this area.
Forget about all other sensations, perceptions, thoughts, feelings and emotions. Thoughts will come and go but don’t give energy to it. Even if your concentration is diverted, come back as early as possible. Do practice this regularly. Then slowly things will change. Your life will become smooth. You will start enjoying the ultimate happiness and peace, irrespective of whatever is happening in the outside world. This is the true essence of all spiritual processes. Knowing and Experiencing the Self.