Embracing the Ordinariness of Life

Posted on by Sen.

To be grounded in “reality” is to be fully cognizant of what the experience of “Now” really is like. Take a few minutes to really gauge your experience of your present moment while you read these words. There are thoughts fleeting through the mind and there are feelings in the body – this is what appears as the “surface” experience of your present moment. But what happens when you look just below this surface, what is present below the surface layer of feelings and thoughts?

Your awareness is so mesmerized by the “moving” parts (like thoughts and feelings), that it becomes completely oblivious to the vast space of stillness which is permanently present around these moving parts. Just like your senses pick out the various objects and noises in your surrounding but always fail to see the silence, and space, in which all these objects and noises arise – until you consciously shift your awareness from the “movements” to the “stillness”. (Just like when someone puts a few black dots on a wide white screen out attention immediately goes to the black dots while being oblivious to the vast white screen)

Thoughts create an illusion of extra-ordinariness

The space of life is very “ordinary” because it’s always still, it has no movements – but it’s not a dead space, it’s a very alive space even if it’s still. Since your awareness is so habituated to being enamored by the thoughts and feelings that are constantly flowing on the surface (as soon as you wake up from sleep), it’s hardly ever interested when it’s told to move its attention to the “stillness” present below, and around, the movements. But anyone who spends time accessing this stillness, will soon realize the aliveness which is present in this space. It’s not “dull” or dead, it’s life itself, full of aliveness and fullness, though it’s still. This “fullness” is what you’ve been seeking all your life through your “pursuits” (through your relationships, achievements and desires) but you finally find it as who you are in this stillness.

The reason your “mind’s awareness” does not rest, or give attention, to this “stillness” is because it appears very boring and ordinary, compared to the “extra ordinary”, and dramatic, imaginations and projections of the mind. The mind constantly keeps feeding you stories about how all your problems will be solved if you just meet the right person, if you just make enough money, if you just had the best government, if you had great friends, if you had the right looks etc. Your mind also imagines that some rich people and celebrities are living ideal lives, the media projects these personalities as being “larger than life” and the mind believes these stories and imagines that somehow these people have elevated levels of happiness and fulfillment, owing to their fame, looks, lifestyle and money, which you don’t have access to. So the mind keeps constantly waiting for that “extra ordinary” experience to come about that will make it happy permanently – and such an experience never comes about, because it’s an illusion of the mind about reality – in truth “reality” is always ordinary, because the “Now” moment is always simple, it’s only the projections/imaginations of the mind that seem to give “extra-ordinary” interpretations to what happens in the Now.

Craving experiences like a drug

Have you noticed how your reality is never what your mind imagines it to be. The mind which imagined that finding the right partner would solve all its problems and would make it feel “blissed out” in love, soon finds that relationship has its own responsibilities and it’s not always about looking into each other’s eyes in love and wonder. There is an “ordinariness” which comes into all relationships as time passes, and the “deluded” mind interprets it in a very “negative” way thinking that the “music” is lost and tries to recreate the music by getting rid of the present relationship and hunting up a new relationship, trying to re-live its “extra ordinary” imaginations of love only to find that everything comes back to ordinariness quite soon. Just like how taking some drugs can create an illusion of extra-ordinariness but its effects, when they fade, brings you back to the ordinariness of life, and anyone who doesn’t want to rest in the ordinariness of life becomes addicted to drugs only to reach a fatal end.

Everything can become a “drug” that you use to avoid having to bring awareness the ordinariness of life/reality – your relationships, parties, luxuries, sex, shopping, achievements, make-up, status, spirituality, anything can be used as a drug in a movement to perpetuate the illusion of “extra ordinariness”. But as we “grow up”, and become insightful, we see through all these “illusions” of extra-ordinariness and finally realize that the fullness that we have always wanted to experience was always present in the one place we never looked at – the “ordinary” stillness within, which reveals its aliveness only when you bring your awareness to it. (That’s why there are so many parables, written by enlightened people, which talk about how a person seeks riches outside only to come to home to find it – because in their own life experience they’ve seen how the fullness they were seeking outside was always within them).

Enjoy the surface but rest in your depth

As a physical being, you are here to enjoy physical experiences. But these experiences can become “addictive” causing you to become a prisoner to them, causing you to “crave” them, causing you to create “illusions” of fulfillment around them. They become addictive because you start looking towards experiences to connect you with your wholeness. And experiences by their very nature are “fleeting”, and something that’s fleeting can never give you a sense of “fullness” – it will always leave you with a feeling of lack when you “depend” on it for your happiness.

The fullness that you are looking for is already who you are in your being, and it will become obvious to you when you shift your awareness from the pull/drama of feelings/thoughts, and allow it to rest in the ordinariness of the “still” space that exists around all these movements. This “space” is eternal, it’s boundary-less, it’s permanently “still” to the core and it’s not affected in anyway by all the experiences that fleet on its surface – this “space” is really who you are, it’s your real body. As long as you keep avoiding this “real you”, you will constantly feel incomplete, with a feeling that something is missing, and you keep looking to fill up this emptiness through your physical indulgences, that just leave you feeling even more confused and lackful.

The journey back home

Having spent years being enamored with your feelings and thoughts, being addicted to the drama of experiences, being disillusioned into looking for “extra ordinariness” – it can take a while before your awareness can really start resting in the space of your being, in the stillness, and start sensing the deep aliveness which is present in this space constantly on permanent basis. When you find rest in this space, the surface can be enjoyed without any attachment, there is no craving, there is no disillusion that something or someone is going to make you fulfilled.

This end of craving, or seeking, brings an end to 99.9% suffering (what is basically the psychological suffering) and all that remains is the 0.1% suffering of being physical (created through thirst, hunger, aches & pains as a part of physical degeneration, physical movements etc). It’s quite a revelation to know that 99.9 % of our suffering is created through the thoughts in our mind which have no base in reality, and only 0.1% of our suffering really comes from the actual physical limitations. Imagine the immense lightness you will feel in your being when you let go of all the psychological suffering created by your own thoughts of misinterpreting reality.

Shift your awareness to the stillness that is present below all the movements of your mind. This stillness will start revealing its aliveness as your awareness keeps resting in this place. Initially, when you move your attention to this stillness, the mind will label it as “boring”, dull, inconsequential, waste of time or dead space – since the mind is more interested in the feelings/thoughts (which supply its dose of drama). But if you don’t take the mind’s initial resistance as your guiding principle, and allow yourself to keep bringing awareness to this still space, and resting there, you will start noticing the “aliveness” and fullness which is present here. You will sense that this aliveness/fullness is permanent, it’s not going anywhere, it’s “free” and it can’t be taken away from you by anything that happens on the surface – this is when you finally return home (Jesus, while talking to some fishermen, explained this process excellently in his parable about “the prodigal son” who returns to his father).

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  1. Samir

    Sen, those are good parables. For many, knowing the “outside” riches are not the same as the riches within, this can only be known by experience.

    Many people have this “grass is always greener on the other side” mentality (in American parlance), for the same reason. We must go to the other side to see it for ourselves. And once we go and realize grass is just grass, it makes it so much easier to maintain a conscious distance from the thought the next time it arises.

    (I’ve noted the same pattern applies when we compare ourselves to others, using incomplete facts about their lives, and when we discover more, we realize how dumb this comparison was in the first place. Then we learn to stop comparing.)

  2. ceci

    thank you.

  3. nvibes

    When there is suffering that can swallow a person whole, a race, a group of people up so they find it hard to function, become oppressed by it and there seems no end – poverty, oppression, torture, racism, sexism, rape etc and these are real experiences and the pain is so deep. And people are struggling to come to terms with these experiences and become ‘victims’ to it – mental health issues, lack of trust, an acceptance that suffering is ordinary and ongoing and there’s no way out…is it not denial to move away from this to seek the still space within? If I’m able to discover this still space say, but suffering (real experiences of suffering) still continue around me, is that not a form of denial as a way to cope? Beacuse I feel helpless to be able to stop it?

    1. Sen Post author

      As awareness becomes stronger in you, it’s bound to touch upon all aspects of human consciousness (because you are part of this human consciousness) including its suffering, its fears, its problems and its unconscious behaviors. Staying as a space of awareness is anything but a state of denial, it’s a movement of deep “acceptance” first and then allowing the wisdom that comes forth from within to inspire the right action. The wisdom of awareness is not rooted in “fear” because it comes from a place of wholeness and does not come from a place of worry, anxiety or helplessness – this is the reason why actions coming from this place of wholeness have so much power to bring a “positive” change. Actions coming from a place of worry, anger, lack, fear or frustration will always directly/indirectly manifest a reality that carries that same reflection – you can’t really bring any real solution from a place of fear. It’s not possible to manifest a positive reality while moving from a place of negative vibration (fear, anger, helplessness are all forms of low vibration) – this is how creation works on the basis of law of attraction.

      I’ve mentioned in many of these posts that staying as a space of consciousness, or awareness, is not about “running away” from life but about embracing life fully. If you are trying to hide somewhere within yourself, in some place of stillness, out of fear, because you are unable to face life, you will soon be brought out of it by your life’s movement. Trying to hide from life, to stay in denial, to try to ignore reality, are all “mind games” played by a fearful mind that’s looking to escape life rather than involve in it fearlessly. You can read my post – positive thinking vs fearless awareness where I discuss the difference between trying to “fake positivity” vs bringing a space of open awareness to the negativity in human consciousness (rather, your “mind” which is connected to the human consciousness).

      The mind cannot “replicate” the wisdom of wholeness, it’s not possible. The mind can only have a lopsided perspective on reality because it always looks at reality from a narrow perspective. To truly understand reality, you need to understand who you are first – unless you understand your own wholeness you cannot be “effective” in bring any real solutions to the realities outside you. When you start dis-identifying with the mind to allow yourself to shift to a position of deep awareness, it’s very common for the mind to throw up arguments that its a state of denial (as if staying in a state of worry and anxiety is a state of great productivity). People who move from fear perpetuate the very fear they feel, even if it seems as if they are being very “active” in their services. Whereas, a person who moves from a place of wholeness has the capacity to really bring a positive change in the reality because he/she is able to emit their wholeness into their actions and hence the realities that get created from these actions reflect this wholeness. If you don’t feel wholeness within you, you cannot express/manifest wholeness outside you – this is the simple law of creation. So if you are really wanting to alleviate suffering in your reality, it has to start with yourself first, alleviate your own suffering first and come to a place of wholeness and from there you would be in the right position to bring positive influence to the world to the best of your capacity.

      What is your state of being when you are overwhelmed by the suffering around you? If you’ve understood law of attraction, can you ask yourself what kind of reality would you be attracting, or creating, out of such a state of being? If you are overwhelmed by anything (be it excitement or worry), you are not rooted in “wisdom” and no real solutions can ever come this way, only “reactive” actions come from such a place. Bring wholeness into your life first, and you will be able to transmit wholeness into the outside reality also – or else this whole mindset of wanting to stop suffering for the outside world can become an excuse/argument that your mind holds against your movement of wanting to experience wholeness within. Before you can even influence the suffering of others, the question is are you free of suffering? How can you give to others what you don’t feel yourself – a person who is rooted in suffering cannot really alleviate the suffering of others in any way, their actions only perpetuate suffering in the external reality. When you are truly rooted in awareness, you will understand the ordinariness of who you are, of all fleeting experiences, of the wholeness of life, of physicality, but this does not prevent you from taking actions to bring solutions into your reality (in fact you move more freely in this world because you are not overwhelmed by fear), in the external world, the only difference is that from this place of wholeness your actions are not rooted fear but in wisdom.

      It’s only the fearful mind that wants to live in denial, awareness by its very nature is all “embracing”, it’s not afraid to embrace fears and touch it with its wisdom. You can see in yourself, that there is a space within you, beyond your mind, that’s not fearful, it’s stable, it’s aware and it’s not trying to deny life but wants to express its wholeness into life.

  4. nvibes

    Thank you – I guess this is an area I am still exploring – as I seem to swing from being still and a finding a deep acceptance of reality and suffering to more fear based thinking which makes me feel that I am too detached/not empathetic or compassionate enough/simply listening and observing but not really doing anything.

    1. Sen Post author

      It’s important that you understand the two movements in you – the mind and the you as the awareness of the mind. The attributes of “compassion” come from you (as this aware energy/being), but the mind/brain of your body also needs free movement to express its creativity, manifest its desires, and thus take care of its survival in a harmonious way, aligned with its natural make-up. Don’t try to resist your mind’s natural way of being by trying to impose certain “attributes”, or codes of conduct, on it from your nature as this aware energy. Unless you allow free expression to your mind, you will constantly feel a sense of “suppression” within you. You can read my latest post on – the two voices in your head, for a more detailed explanation on the two movements going on inside you. A balance automatically gets restored between the compassion of you as the awareness and the natural expression of your brain/heart when you let go of the “resisting”, or controlling, the mind’s natural movement.

  5. Funmbi Aransiola

    Hey Sen.

    I love your articles and they’ve been guiding me. This one piece, as much as I love it, the last sentence in parenthesis, as simple or funny as it my sounds, destroys it for me. There are are of your readers that are atheist, so please try and not reference God or christianity in your article if you could. It cheapens it to be honest and really takes away from the validity and flow of the message you’re passing on. I know this one is an old article but I still love it regardless. Thanks. Great work. I’m a fan for life.

    1. matt

      maybe you should be more accepting and not let one sentence destroy an entire article.. Im a christian but just because this website is not christian based does not mean I let it affect me.. like sen says , you can take some and leave some..please dont try to affect what he is doing..he writes very natural and flows from the heart..besides he mentioned jesus as a historical figure and just an example… not like he is teaching what jesus taught..

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