Chapter 1: The Essence of You
(This is the first chapter of my book, Field, Ray (pen name) 2015, The Beautiful Essence of You: How to Stop Feeling Bad and Be Who You Really Are, Balboa Press, Bloomington, IN.]
ou are living your life in a world of form and change. The unchanging essence of life is everywhere, but hidden. The essence of life is a formless organising principle. It is not accessible to the senses or the intellect. It is spiritual, in the sense that it is deeper than the world of form. It flows through all things, all situations, all happenings. It is the inner life within all things.
As the formless organising principle within you, the essence of life is the essence of you. A drop of water is a uniquely individual manifestation, but its nature is the same as the ocean, as rain, as rivers, as icebergs, steam and frost. A spark is an individual manifestation, but its nature is the same as the fire from which it came. The essence of you, the real you, is the same formless organising principle that flows through all life.
The essence of life is not the forms of the people, objects, situations and events of the material world, which are apparent to the senses. Nor is it the mental or emotional forms that each of us constructs. The inner organising principle of life is formless.
The essence of you is deeper than your body, mind or emotions. You have a body, a mind and emotions. But you are not your body, not the contents or operations of your mind, and not your emotions. These forms have changed during your life. You are the underlying awareness, your deep sense of being, that has remained constant, if mostly hidden.
The essence of you, the real you, is formless. You are not a thing. You are not a concept. As a result, your mind is not able to know the real you as an object. The essence of you is a deeper reality than your intellect is able to fathom. You are not able to know the essence of you. You are able to be it. You are it. You are formless awareness, formless consciousness, being, 'awakeness', presence. This is the essence of you.
Try not to get stuck on these words as you read them in this book. They will frustrate the intellect, because they point to something beyond the realm of the intellect. Relax the grip of your mind. Words cannot capture, only point in the direction of the essence of you. From time to time, I will suggest that you allow your awareness to come out of thinking, out of any kind of form, and back to formless awareness. You might like to try it now.
Soften your gaze. On an 'out' breath, consciously let go and relax. Let your awareness be on the flow of your breath for a few moments, noting the sensation of air passing in and out of the nostrils. In that space of quiet presence, feel your aliveness. That's it. For a few seconds at least, your awareness came away from the contents of your mind, out of form and time, and into formless awareness, into timeless presence, into being, the essence of you and all life.
The essence of life is a formless organising principle that interpenetrates every part of the world we live in. Human beings have the ability to be conscious expressions of that essence. We have ordinary waking consciousness, such as when we are aware of a bird, or a thought, or an emotion. But human beings also have the capability of conscious identity with the essence of life. We are capable of being the formless awareness that is the inner reality of life, the intrinsic value of all things. We are, in essence, that formless awareness. We are wholeness, completeness, everything.
Would you like to do Activity 1 again?
Soften your gaze. On an 'out' breath, consciously let go and relax. Let your awareness be on the flow of your breath for a few moments, noting the sensation of air passing in and out of the nostrils. In that space of quiet presence, feel your aliveness.
Why is it, then, that most people have only sensed their connectedness with the inner essence of life occasionally, fleetingly, perhaps only dimly? If the essence of you, your true identity, is being, awakeness, the spiritual organising principle within all life, how did you come to lose that awareness? How did you come to feel incomplete? How did you come to feel troubled and dissatisfied?
All things that truly matter to us arise from the depths of life: things like inner peace, beauty, joy, connectedness, flow, playfulness, spontaneity and intuition. What is it that gets in the way of our experiencing those things all the time? What is it that blinds us to our own nature as being, awakeness, formless awareness?
(Note: I am considering a major revision of this book, especially of Chapter 4, 'Letting Go and Returning to Your Self'. I will retain some of that chapter, but I feel that what I've written in my 2018 article on peace and happiness is even more helpful.)