So I had what to me was a rather profound insight which has revolutionised my view on things.
I had been seeing the qualities of awareness and of embodied beingness (I am) as being at two ends of a spectrum of subjective experience. To me this spectrum was still within the realm of mind and body and I was striving to somehow transcend it and to experience what I have taken to be the Pure Self - Pure Consciousness beyond space and time.
I wasn't sure whether I should try to plumb the deepest depths of embodied beingness or to try to scale the highest heights of disembodied awareness or to try and do both at the same time!
I was somehow trying to push and pull and stretch this big elastic band of inner experience, attempting to provoke a break through into the Ultimate! I didn't succeed!
Now I can see the error of my ways and am reformed.
Since time immemorial, from the testimony of the Sages, this 'thing' we call the Self has been attributed with three essential qualities; that of Sat, Chit and Anand, or Existence, Consciousness and Bliss.
As above, so below. So we find these three essential qualities reflected in our human experience. Sat, as the sense of individual existence (I am), Chit, as the capacity to be aware and to know, and Anand, as the capacity to feel deep contentment, unconditional love and connectedness.
Somehow we have not been aware of our true nature and our sense of individual existence has become mixed up in mind identification; we have lost touch with our inherent sense of fulfillment and so we seek to try and find it through objective knowledge and the situations and circumstances of this apparent world.
What I realised was that the sense of embodied beingness (I am) is not a separate quality from the awareness of it. Nor are they two aspects of some kind of linear continuum.
No they are both inherent and inseparable qualities of the Self (in reflection), so my attempts to try and find the Self by trying to isolate, separate and transcend its essential qualities was doomed to failure.
The missing quality was Anand (bliss or concentrated happiness). The only good reason really to try to find the Self is because one is trying to find some kind of deep lasting happiness, so what if in my strenuous attempts I was actually short circuiting the possibility all along?
The three essential qualities of the Self are Sat, Chit and Anand so I had the insight that maybe the key is not in trying to separate or exaggerate the qualities of awareness and beingness but in the simple resting in the natural awareness of beingness.
Funnily enough that turned out to be quite blissful! Not the least because now my mind finally had a satisfying explanation and could let go. It was like letting go of an elastic band which one is stretching and it suddenly snaps back to it's own natural shape.
And the natural shape of our true nature is Satchitananda. I'm not saying that I realised the Self but I feel that I may have stumbled upon a key to relaxing in the mystery.
As above, so below. Satchitananda as the Self; Satchitananda as a human. My reasoning and intuition tell me that by naturally abiding in this experience then the process of whatever needs to happen will unfold naturally by itself.
Or rather Consciousness will take care of Consciousness for the revelation of Consciousness! If any deepening of being, heightening of awareness or intensification of bliss needs to happen then let Consciousness take care of it.
Anyway that's my latest theory and at the very least I think I have uncovered a bloody good meditation approach (it definitely won't be anything new but it is a new revelation to me - at least in its conscious appreciation).
P.S. 13/3/09 After the initial exhilaration of this discovery I will add that Ramana Maharishi cautions against becoming absorbed and plateau-ing in pleasant states. They are a good sign of progress but one should keep up the enquiry and transcend even these until one finally reaches to Pure Transcendental Consciousness beyond the sense of individual 'I am'. See postings 'down the road a bit' and 'towards the end of the road' 12th March.