Just This? Now??
"The key activity of modern Western psychotherapy is to enhance the experience of the observing self, discriminating it from the contents of the mind."
Arthur Deikman. “Meditations on a Blue Vase: and the Foundations of Transpersonal Psychology.” Fearless Books, 2014.
“What we're seeing ‘out there’ is the projection of where we're at - the projection of the clingings of our minds.
Everything changes once we identify with being the witness to the story, instead of the actor in it.” Ram Dass
Repeatedly, we hear the advice during meditation: "Let go of words. Let thoughts be. Gently return to the direct physical experience of just this."
Why? During meditation, we experience incessant intrusions of thoughts of every description. Yet there's a common theme: fear. We're afraid that we're not in control. And it's true. We really can't exercise perfect control over anything. But our common, default egoic consciousness is entirely designed to control our present situation. So we live with dissonance - the tension or clash resulting from the combination of two disharmonious or unsuitable elements.
At this level of consciousness, we commonly manage this alarming paradox by escaping the present and living in a story that we ourselves author. In this way, we (pretend to) reduce complex, ever-changing, uncontrollable reality into a simple, coherent story, with "me" as the central character in the universe. We continuously judge everyone & everything we perceive according to my needs & fears; tell ourselves a story about them; believe the story; remember the story; live in this story. Brief intrusions of reality merely activate relevant parts of "the story of me". Some of these stories are nightmarish, others more pleasant - but the critically important point is, we (sort of) feel in control.
However, thousands of years of meditators' experience as well as recent research strongly suggests that people are happier when being mindful - with reality just as it is than when off in any story, even a supposedly happy one - see: http://mindfulnessforeveryone.blogspot.ca/2012/11/216-worrying-is-painful-reality-is.html
It's fascinating to note the many different ways in which this unintentional self-delusion can break apart - often with strongly positive consequences! Some folks simply become aware of a lack of authenticity, depth or meaning in their life, often despite outward appearances of success; others briefly have a direct ("awakening") experience of a qualitatively higher level of consciousness & quality of life that transcends the usual, common level of understanding ("consensual reality"). This latter group is diverse, including those whose world has just crumbled & experience "post-traumatic growth"; extreme sports enthusiasts; and even those who've taken psychoactive substances - see: http://mindfulnessforeveryone.blogspot.ca/2015/03/650-effective-management-for.html
And just as when we're about to enjoy the company of our lover, nature, fine music, a great movie, a favourite book, our pet, our hobby, etc etc it all begins with gently allowing ourselves to relax our fearful grip on our illusion of control.
We let self-talk be, just let it do it's own thing, and we directly experience, feel ourself into JUST THIS.