Securely seated on the afternoon bus the mind begins to drift and dream. The scenery meanders and the contents of the day flick in and out. People depart the bus and others step aboard, but the commotion is set way back in the recesses of the mind. Thoughts of our morning meditation, our mantra and our divine teachers are fleeting and fade into the melody of rubber and road.
Gently the mind is roused by an inner alarm, an intuitive inner ring tone alerts us to re-join the NOW. Groggily we regain our awareness and we realise something is array. Questions arise in an awakening mind. What am I doing here? How did I get here? It dawns in you that you have fallen asleep and missed your stop. Long past is the home you yearned to return to since you boarded the bus.
This paradigm can happen in our Souls awakening also. My teacher Ram Dass said to me that when I get overwhelmed by a negative thought, an unhelpful habit, a bout of judgment or faithlessness, to ask myself “What am I doing here”. As I began to explore his guidance, I felt that when I was lost in the past, yearning for the future, repeating an unhelpful habitual behaviour, that I was not where I was meant to be, I had missed my stop, I had fallen asleep.
What I deduced, correctly or incorrectly from Ram Dass’s teachings was that I had forgotten the higher being that rested within, the soul and the higher plane that witnessed the world through the eyes of union and unconditional love. I had fallen asleep to the Soul plane where I saw the material world unfolding with more peace, with less disturbance, with more connection to all and with an absence of expectation.
“What I am doing here”, is helping me when I forget that the divine play of life, of incarnation, is here to assist my awakening. When I can witness and respond rather than being overwhelmed and reacting, I can more gently walk the road home to the oneness. Each time the inner ring tone sounds that something is awry I ask myself: “What am I doing here”. This method is gradually extricating me from delusion that anything is wrong, and that everything, even the falling asleep and missing my stop, is to help me make my way home.
The benefits of the enquiry into “what am I doing here” are many. Firstly, it takes the intensity and drama out of what is occurring, out of what took me away from my peace, my soul, away from love. It allows me to re-centre and look past the superficial, recognizing that what is unfolding is for my advancement rather than my degeneration.
Asking “what am I doing here” instils a sense of the greater plan, a plan that is not understood by my thinking mind. A mind that is coloured by past, coloured by striving and attachment, a mind crawling with the six passions: lust, anger, greed, delusory emotional attachment, pride and envy. And asking “what am I doing here” returns me to the Soul Plane where a wise and karmically conducive choice can be made.
When the Soul is the principal and our beautiful and slightly deranged mind is assistant principal, we will have a swifter and smoother ride towards our true destination and not have us riding the bus of incarnation any further than necessary.
Becoming alert to when we have fallen asleep and then asking “what am I doing here” has several steps.
Hear the inner ring tone of Awareness:
Awareness that peace and connection to our inherent nature have left the body, mind and energy enables the question to be asked. It requires stillness and frequent, even, relentless self-enquiry.
Ask the question: “What am I doing here”:
The question prompts us back to the Soul Plane. We shake of the heaviness and delusion that comes from dwelling exclusively in the material plane.
Respond with Loving Awareness
When we have become firmly ensconced back into what Ram Dass calls Soul Plane we can act, speak, and think with clear and considered guidance from Soul, thus alleviating unnecessary suffering.
So, if from time to time you find yourself having fallen asleep on the bus, the train, or on your spiritual journey – wake up, shake yourself off, and ask yourself “What the am I doing Here?” and return to the Soul.
Clarity and strength