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Published by Siddharth

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Categories:Types, Research, Science
Published by: Siddharth on Jun 22, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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(An excerpt from Catherine Ingram's Book - Passionate Presence)Published with the Author's glad consent
 Catherine Ingram is a compelling force in the western spiritual arena. She is a renowned¶Dharma¶ teacher. Since 1992 she has led Dharma Dialogues, which are public events of inquiryinto the nature of Awakened Awareness and its benefits in life. She also leads numerous SilenceRetreats each year and is the founder- president of LIVING DHARMA, and educationalorganization dedicated to spiritual inquiry and service. She is also the author of In theFootsteps of Gandhi: Conversations with Spiritual / Social Activists (1990). Her writing clearlyflows out of her realization.- Editor.In the deepest recesses of ourselves there is most familiar quietude. It has been through all ourseeking and craving, as well as all the other events of our lives. It is a point of peace, a silentwitnessing awareness that is fundamentally unperturbed no matter what happens. Stepping inthis awareness, one is at ease in the present, fully welcoming what comes and fully releasingwhat goes, feeling alive throughout. This awareness is not something far away and in anothertime. It is already occurring here and right now.For instance, while watching a movie, we may swirl in a sea of emotions - fearful, romantic,humorous or tragic. If the story is especially potent, we might feel all these emotions in a singlefilm. Yet no matter how swept away we might be by the movie or how gripped by emotions of the experience, there is within us a quiet witnessing awareness that knows perfectly well thatwe are sitting in a theatre all the while. If that were not so, we would surely flee the room assoon as any frightening situation occurred on the screen. We would run for our lives uponseeing the first weapon or firestorms coming at us, were it not for some part of our awarenessknowing that the visions on the screen are not our fundamental reality.In a similar way, there is a field of silent awareness containing all the events of our days.Although we may sometimes be gripped by emotion or lost in a particular story, there isthroughout each of our dramas a deeper reality of silent presence. This is a silence of the heartrather than an imposed cessation of speech or activity. It is a silence that is, we could say, thebackground of all activity. We don¶t need to find it because it is not lost.If this is so, why is there so much searching and craving? Seeking is compelling because itproduces a way for the mind to have a job. It seems that we are almost geneticallyprogrammed toward restless mental occupation with desire and avoidance, a desperatesquirming out of now. Perhaps nature has demanded that we keep on the move in order to stayalive, but this is becoming detrimental to life. We have evolutionarily outgrown the usefulnessof being in a prevailing state of fear and greed in order to compete and survive. We can nolonger afford it. It is driving us to disaster.Nevertheless, it is strange how much we resist the inherent peace and quiet that is alwayspossible. Perhaps this is because resting in simple presence is so foreign to a lifelonghabitof mental complication, and we may have confused complication with sense of aliveness. Wemight assume that having no particular mental object would result in boredom. Or we may beoverwhelmed by how vast and free life suddenly feels when our minds are not on the hunt. Asthe prisoner who, upon being released, quickly finds a way to land himself back in jail, or thebird who resists the flight out when its cage door is opened, we are sometimes dauntedbyfreedomand retreat into cramped but familiar closet of a busy mind.Yet in the awakened awareness the mind acclimates itself into an expansion in silence. It getsused to letting neurotic thoughts drift and fade into nothingness, and it gradually loses interestin them even as they continue to arise. Disinterest in neurotic thoughts limits their power. Whatbecomes interesting is the open expanse of awareness through which all thoughts and

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