Contextual Awareness

I am reading Dancing with Life for a book club I am in, and with a few short words, the author gave voice to something I have spent a lot of time trying to understand over the years.

“[Awareness provides] deeper context for interpreting your experiences”

I always wondered how it was that I could keep having deeper and deeper understanding of the same exact thing. How could it be that I kept having “aha moments” around similar realizations of self?

To provide a basic example, one thing that I have worked on continuously is my need for acceptance by others. As I did my work of internal inquiry over the years, I am sure that there have been more than 10 times when I came to the conclusion of “Oh, I get it now, I need to feel acceptance by others”.

How can it be that I keep coming around to the same exact lesson on a deep internal level so many times? This is a question I have asked myself so many times with so many different life realizations.

And with his few words, I now have clarity on how this works. You see, every time I gained awareness, the context of my experience changed. And with that change of context, I was now living life at at different internal level – which I had noticed. But this deeper level also provided opportunity to understand the issue at hand in an entirely different light, which the additional awareness months, or years later, provided.

It’s a simple idea, really, but one that eluded me for a long time, so I thought to share it. Perhaps, I will get to learn it again sometime in the future. Ha!

Being Scrupulous with my Words

I think there is an old Jewish saying that said “Be scrupulous with your word”, and throughout my life have used this phrase as a mantra to remind myself to always be honest with others, and not say anything I don’t mean. Of course, like all practices I don’t always do it perfectly, but it is a guiding principle that I try to hold myself to overall.

I thought I did a pretty good job of that until Stephanie pointed out that I sometimes project what I want on her, instead of owning it myself. An example (which I have taken from a reading she shared) is if we are eating lunch and I am ready to go, I ask her “Are you ready to go?” But this isn’t scrupulous. The full truth is that I should ask “I am ready to go, are you?” but instead I am taking a shortcut, leaving out the expression of my own feelings.

The difference is subtle, but I do think that it is very important, since in the former (“Are you ready to leave?”), at best I am not expressing my own wants and needs, and at worst I am negating my own wants and needs, by giving her full power to say she is happy to stay. And more so, if I am honest, I’m really not asking. I’m telling her that I am ready to go, but not really being clear with my words.

Contrast that with “I am ready to go, are you?” or perhaps even more clearly “I am ready to go, can we?” This is much more is expressive and owns my own desires.

One is meek, one is bold. While they are both true, one is certainly more true than the other.

Awareness as Everything

The realm of the ego mind is recalling the past, judging the present, and planning for the future. But awareness of the present moment is outside of it’s realm altogether.

It seems to me that there is a direct connection between the feeling I get when I focus my observation on whatever is going on in the present moment, and the feeling I get when I focus my observation on my base Awareness. They both offer me a similar groundedness.

I’m guessing that the Teachers would say that it is because the present moment is one and the same Awareness as that which sits at our core. And that which is Awareness is everything.

Which is making me wonder if Awareness isn’t really more about how we somehow are aware of the world, which is part and parcel of the world itself. It’s more how we plug into things, but is really just another aspect of everything.

A rock doesn’t need awareness because it doesn’t have a mind that creates a separation between itself and the world. But we do; we have a mechanism for creating a schism between our individual self and that which we came from. In order for there to be separation, there must be a whole, or we would have no need to create the separation in the first place. It was only with the creation of awareness that an awareness of the separate individual was made possible. But this awareness itself is simply part of the world, so it itself is really the same thing as a rock, just another creation.

This is how awareness can serve as a portal to viewing the entirety of the world, and the same thing can be found by observing the world itself. Awareness is a real thing, just like everything that we see. But for us humans, awareness is the only real thing that we have internally. So we can either focus our observer internally at the only real thing, or externally to whatever real thing we wish. It is all the same.

So what happens when we die? Well, awareness is just as real as everything else, and as we know matter can not be created or destroyed, so the awareness is broken, but it becomes something else, since nothing is ever truly lost in this world, it just changes its nature.

Is this what is meant when Teachers state that awareness is everything? Not that everything is awareness, which is how I always understood things to be, rather that it is the same exact thing? I don’t think that is what they mean, but it does strike me as truth, so I guess we will see!

I Am

I am reading (skimming, really) the book I Am That by Maharaj, and he says to keep in mind “I Am” as a means of connecting with the inner source of all.

The last few things I have read have explained that our underlying Awareness and the observer are actually one and the same, with awareness being the base of who we are (and in some way, the base of everything) and the observer being an parsed off piece of this global awareness. As I understand Adyashanti’s meditation practice, it is actually focusing the observer on our underlying awareness, and in the process incorporating this Awareness as our own. In fact, he suggests asking “Who Am I”, and then when the I answers, which is our Awareness, we can observe that more easily. Which I have found to be true.

Maharaj reflects a similar idea, but he keeps harping on the idea of “I Am” as being the key to entering into this reflection. At first, I thought he was talking about the same “I Am” that Adya referred to. Finding that internal “I” of Awareness. {Side Note: The “I” of Awareness is not to be confused with the “I” which is a creation of the Ego. The difference being that the “I” of the ego has attributes that it has assumed, while the “I” of Awareness just is pure awareness of being.}

However, as I thought more about “I Am” which is what he said I should do, I ended up in a place of Decartes “I think, therefore, I am.” Which, though I don’t really know what Decartes meant by that, I always assumed to mean that I can prove I exist by the fact that I think I am, at least to myself. And that led me to another understanding of “I Am” which is one of the whole world being mine. Everything that exists in the world is mine, since from my perspective it comes into existence. This doesn’t negate the fact that the entire world is yours too, by the way, since you too can say “I Am”.

Having said all of that, I think that the truth is somewhere in between. I can taste it, but I’m not there yet. I was hoping that writing this post would clarify the connection between this outer facing “I Am” and the inner facing one, but the truth escapes me still.

Recapping, and hoping for an insight, I can use “I Am” to connect with my inner sense of Awareness of being, and I can also use this same “I Am” to give birth to my entire world, through awareness.

The Eastern Teachers claim that it is this Awareness of being is one of everything, and by tapping this awareness we are then interconnected to everything. There is a loose connection to using “I Am” to reflect the entire world that I can find.

Remember the other day in the postscript when I spoke about how we seek to know we exist, since we actually know we do, but sometimes don’t quite feel that way? The idea being that when we know something in our core, but don’t feel it in our mind, this dissonance forces a search. If I am correct, then what is the manifestation of the fact that we all know that we are the entire world, but don’t really know it? Of course, it must be wholeness. The fact that we don’t feel complete, and search for things that will make us feel whole or complete us.

One other thing that is important to note, is that when we look deep we see that we are everything (at least according to the Eastern Teachers, and perhaps my own experience as well), and when we look outwards, we can see that in many ways we are everything in our own world, but in between our mind sits upon it’s throne of separation, pushing us to approach the world as a distinct entity, and not really in line with how we intuitively understand the world and likely view the world. This is a very tricky dissonance and likely the source of much internal conflict.

Finding True Nourishment

The other day, I wrote that “it is one of my foundational beliefs that much of that we search for outside of ourselves is due to the fact that we know from subtle internal queues that there are certainly internal truths. Due to the fog of our mind, we can’t quite reach these truths, but we know intuitively that they are true, and since we can’t finding them within, we search outside of ourselves. One of these internal truths is that we exist. We look outside for self validation that we exist, until we can find that truth for ourselves on the inside. The other three that come to mind are wholeness, love, and oneness.”

I wanted to reflect on this idea a little more because I think that ultimately, this is an evasive truth.

I yearn for different things in my emotional life. Love, happiness, purpose, come to immediate mind. I think most people share these yearnings, and chase after them as well. Let’s take a moment and ask why.

In the past, I would have assumed that these were things that we either came to desire due to nature or nurture. For example, we want love since we have evolved (nature) to have someone who looks out for us, as a means of protection. Or perhaps because we had love growing up and it felt good (nurture).

While both of these may be true, it doesn’t really explain why love (and other things I seem to chase) are so very embedded. After all, I have evolved to desire food, and perhaps even told to eat healthy, but I don’t really chase food per se at the core of my existance. I mean, I do, but I don’t, really. Food doesn’t move me to manipulate life to get it.

Perhaps the reason that these yearnings are so deep is in fact because we know them to be true, in our inner essence but there is a dissonance between what we know to be true, and what we find in life. Of course, this is due to the fact that we are somehow cut off from our inner feeling of love (and happiness, and purpose).

It also explains why these are like buckets that can never be filled. As soon as they are filled we want more, more, more. Because we know that certain things are infinite, in the core of our being, so we are trying to find that infinite source outside ourselves, which never works.

And it is only by looking within and finding and connecting with the source of all love (etc), that we can fill this void truly. So think about those things that are insufficient in your life, that you chase after, and see if you can find them in abundance within. Perhaps that really is the answer.