In prayer, or when I meditate, my mind wanders incessantly and I have to keep bringing it back.
This is the human experience. The ordinary mind is continuously turning over with mostly meaningless content. I’m not aware of it during the day because my activities and body sensations are dominant. Ordinary life is grounding. When I am tired or sleeping, the ongoing mental content becomes more evident. It’s a kind of ongoing ‘subvocalization’ or commentary often entirely disconnected from my life. I call it the ‘backdrop’. It’s a whole fantasy dream world exposed when I become inactive.
This backdrop can be exposed in meditation or prayer.
The first remedy is always to place attention on sensation. Voluntary attention cuts the backdrop’s power cord.
But there is more. We are three part beings…body, psyche (thought and emotion) and presence. The psyche is in disorder so I cannot remain in the present. I am therefore vulnerable to being drawn into the backdrop. Entering the present with voluntary attention on sensation is a partial remedy. A further remedy is to encounter my timeless identity, the true ‘I’ that is found through the doorway of presence, where I meet myself as I always was. My original face before time began.
Prayer can enable you to meet your real self. The One who is remembered in prayer enables me to remember myself. I am called to my true identity, as I was created in the beginning. When this happens, you won’t be satisfied to live in the unstable, inexhaustible churning of the psyche. You will sense that something is missing.
Is this what it means to be present?
It fulfills presence. I can ask to be present in the present and dis-identify from my personality. That’s stepping up to the threshold. Someone or something calls me through to the other side where I am who I always was. I am re-membered. It may make you uncomfortable to think of this someone as God but this greater presence needs no name.
How do I know if I am having the experience of my original face?
This is hard to express in words but I’ll try. There is a deep feeling of familiarity with myself that is wordless and timeless…a feeling that is direct, not mediated or derived from something else. The state recognizes itself. There is a sensation as if my face is shining. And there is a sense of being seen, as if I am facing in the right direction for an intimate meeting with an honored guest. There is nothing grim or forced. It’s a feeling of perfect security as if I have come home.