How to Cultivate Awareness
Awareness, in the spiritual sense, means taking into account the totality of the environment one is part of.
According to Merriam-Webster
Main Entry: aware Pronunciation: \ə-ˈwer\Function: adjectiveEtymology: Middle English iwar, from Old Englishgewær, from ge- (associative prefix) + wær wary — more at co-, waryDate: before 12th century
1 archaic : watchful, wary
2 : having or showing realization, perception, or knowledge
— aware·ness noun
synonyms aware, cognizant, conscious,sensible, alive, awake mean having knowledge of something. aware implies vigilance in observing or alertness in drawing inferences from what one experiences <aware of changes in climate>. cognizant implies having special or certain knowledge as from firsthand sources <not fully cognizant of the facts>.conscious implies that one is focusing one's attention on something or is even preoccupied by it <conscious that my heart was pounding>. sensible implies direct or intuitive perceiving especially of intangibles or of emotional states or qualities <sensible of a teacher's influence>. alive adds to sensible the implication of acute sensitivity to something <alive to the thrill of danger>. awake implies that one has become alive to something and is on the alert <a country always awake to the threat of invasion>.
Most of the time we are simply doing our habits. The life that we have or assumed we have is a consequence of the past. Past memories, programming, implants,suggestions, conditioning, giving us a sense of solidity. With solidity comes boundaries, and with boundaries, territories.
In the animal kingdom, the animals act by instinct. They do what they can to survive. Man, because of his assumed boundaries brought by his consciousness is still an animal by instinct, but the consciousness dictates that he protects his territory, his boundaries.
From this illusion of separation from the rest, I, me, mine arise. Some people are happy with what they have.They live their lives instinctively in this world without the need to dominate others.
Others feel the need to expand their territories and from this arises greed, envy, jealousy, hatred, anger.
The process of meditation allows us to relate to the moment as it is. No past or future, only now. From it comes the awareness that while we are part of a whole, the whole lives in us. This is affirmed by being aware of the breath. Very simply being aware of our breath is meditation. It allows us to go to the gap. In the gap, there is nothing. Going deeper into meditation we see the great void. Nothingness. No space, no time. In this gap, you realize, you are not who you thought you were. In this gap, there is peace. In this gap, there is only union.
To get there the first time, the ego will try to scare us into coming back. There is no way to get past that scare other than manual labor. You sit, sit, sit, whether you like it or not, and then, you know when you have reached past the ego when there is no longer a need to get up. You have no desire to get up and be active. You have no desires, period, and there is no memory of the past, nor a hope for the future. There is only now and you experience it. You are at one with the here and now, and with everything and everyone around you in this phenomenal world.
Sooner or later we have to go this route. There is no other way. We can do all kinds of self improvement techniques to bypass it, but those are simply sidetracks. We can prolong this sidetrack as long as we like. We can even go back to the point where we want to undo everything.
I remember this quote while Cypher was talking to Agent Smith in "The Matrix". He said "You know what I realized after nine years? Ignorance is bliss." It is true in the sense that with ignorance there is nothing to do. You feel no obligation to anyone. Except when we choose this route, we will always be in bondage, and we can repeat this process again and again, until we choose to work on it.
It is freedom that we seek. Freedom from the tyranny of the ego which allows us to justify all the things that we do to protect this assumed boundary between ourselves and others. If we knew how deeply intertwined we are to each other we would not even think of harming another.
There will be no wars, no crimes committed. There will be peace.
But because there are as many desires in this world as there are humans, the world will go on as it does. We will have the same history, only the scenes change, that is if we don't annihilate each totally.
One person asked me why the Dalai Lama does not rally all the leaders in the world so that the Chinese government will give back Tibet. The answer is that he can not and will not interfere, by choice. His silence, the cultivation of peace within himself is a far greater contribution to humanity. This is not so easy to accept, but it is so.
To cultivate awareness, we have to do it moment to moment. Simply be aware of your breath. It is what connects us to everyone and everything. Then you can ask yourself these things:
"Who am I?"
"What am I here for?"
Your first task is to remember who you are.
© 2010 by Melinda M. Sorensson