Ask yourself the question: am I alive now?
How do we check that? We move immediately to the organs of perception. We feel the weight of the body on the chair or bed. We feel the temperature of the air on the skin. We glance around, and see that we are seeing the physical space in which we are positioned. We listen, the sounds we hear confirm that we are here. Spiritual teacher Russel Williams calls the physical senses “the organs of consciousness”. Somewhere between hearing the question: I AM ALIVE? and the answer YES, there is a flow of information, and an awareness of that phenomena.
It is through the five senses that we experience what we could call physical life. The five senses are not “things” though, in Russel’s teaching, they are channels through which consciousness is able to access the physical dimension and through which the physical dimension enters consciousness. They are doorways through which feeling vibration passes.
The first physical phenomena to be sensed through the organs of consciousness is the body itself. When we ask the question: “Am I alive now?” we can direct our attention to the world outside the body, but we can equally allow our consciousness to begin to penetrate the body itself: Inside the body, the sensations of physical comfort or discomfort, temperature, movement, gravity. Even the more subtle sensations of thoughts, feeling and emotions are filtered through these organs of consciousness.
With touch, we feel a feeling. With listening, we hear a thought. With sight, we imagine a picture in the future, or we remember a scene from the past. We can even play with it. We can “listen” to the music of our stress or sadness. We can “see” our grief as an image. We can “taste” nostalgia. We can “smell” the vision of the future.
In the end, says Russel, it doesn’t matter if you contemplate a particle of dust, an angelic vision or a biscuit with your tea. It all comes to the same. The absolute is contained within every particle of creation, through every vibration.
18 months ago it was a tremendous affirmation to receive the gift of being introduced to Russel. Now over 90 years old, Russel has no agenda beyond truth. Meetings with him are free of charge and he is not trying to make anyone believe anything. He demands that questions be asked. “I am totally empty, if you don’t put anything in, nothing will come out,” he says, when there is an expectant silence.
“As empty channels, we can relax into our natural purpose – as a living bridge to worlds beyond our perception, yet shockingly close to home.”
Part of the magic in meeting Russel was the discovery of a teacher, who has found freedom and a precision of understanding of our true nature through direct experience – without education, training, dogma or any pretence. Life itself has been his workshop. Through the years, he has found the language to describe this deeper knowledge, driven by a feeling that “it’s worthwhile”.
It is a celebration for us that Russel’s teachings flow easily the teachings of I AM HERE that also emerged without background or even knowledge of this world we now move in called “nonduality”.
In the I AM HERE teachings, the “I” is all about the sacred and sacral need to identify and develop individuality (the .00000000009 % of us which is temporarily and spatially differentiated).
The “Am” is the meta sense of sentience, being, or feeling, through which we feel ourselves to be alive – whether physically or in more subtle dimensions.
The “Here” is the vast, potent, non-exclusive emptiness which pervades before, through and after every particle of physical or energetic form. It is the home of that which is able to experience and which is here unconditionally to the quality of any experience or impression.
These three layers of perception expressed by the I AM HERE are differentiated according to the given terms of the English Language as three layers of perception: consciousness, awareness and emptiness. In emptiness, consciousness and awareness dance and blend.
- We are opening the nature and purpose of human form as conscious (awake), aware (sentient) and empty (transient and temporary).
- To put it physically, consider the layers as mind, heart and body. The body is the container through which mind (thought, language) and heart (feeling, emotion) connect, conflict, dance together and find peace.
- To put it more universally, the human is the expression of a perpetual creation through which spirit, consciousness or universal intelligence is determined to reflect the nature of being, soul, and unconditional sentience.
- To put it biblically, the “Here” is the ground of the Garden of Eden, which nurtures both the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge.
To open the senses, or the organs of consciousness, we need to rest back beyond experience. We need to be still, not grasping at thoughts, feelings or physical impressions nor rejecting them. We need even a space between who we are and any state of mind, state of being or state of consciousness.