Awareness comes to us all, but it comes in small increments for most. Our AHA! moments are leaps of understanding. First you don't see it, then you do. First you can't figure it out, then you can. You have done nothing to arrive at these new levels of understanding, this new awareness of something not there before.
What we have done is ruminate over something for a time, sometimes a long time. What we have done is try to figure something out and not given up when we don't get it. Our brains are so magical that when we give them a task they work on it until a pattern is formed, a solution is found, an answer appears.
Enlightenment is like that. Not there, then there. Over here a bit of insight, a connectivity to something not there yesterday.
Someone asked an enlightened individual what they did before they became enlightened and they replied "chopped wood and carried water", and then answered the query "what did you do after enlightenment?" With "chopped wood and carried water"
I of course said to myself, then what is the point if nothing changes. But something did change. Something amazing happened. I did not understand this until my own bit of awareness appeared out of nowhere. I had a leap of understanding.
I will try to capture the significance of this understanding, its breadth and depth, and why it is so necessary that we all experience that Aha! moment. It is life changing in a most profound way.
Why Pursue such an elusive state of mind
I was having a discussion with someone that did not end the way I intended. This individual was sharp and had successfully resolved many issues in his life. At the moment he was deeply angry and it was coloring all of his world. I suggested he read Eckhart Tolle and/or this Web Site to get a different frame of mind. To discover what he was angry about. This advice did not go well.
There were several things I took away from the exchange, a couple contributed by him. The most important was I tried to fix him instead of completely listen to him. It was not necessary that I offer solutions. Next, I felt my concern for him over ride my own lessons of interference (Interfere as little as possible, allow another the space and autonomy to handle their own issues). Accept another person as they are not as you need them to be.
Why pursue such an illusive state of mind? So that you can interact with the world, at each moment, with peace and clarity. In the situation above, my clarity was clouded by my concern for his well being. After I listened carefully without interference or labels or judgements, I might then and only then asked if I could help in some way. And accepted the answer.
Our state of mind, our frame of reference, our world view, and our Ego/self image influence for better or worse every moment in our lives. It is important that we learn to be in the moment without our own baggage getting in the way.
To be special in someone's eyes feels good. It acknowledges us in a deep way and contributes to our sense of well being. To be special in our own eyes is also deeply life affirming. And yet it is not enough.
We continue to search for meaning. It is a driving force for all humans. Along the way some find what they need, many do not. As life takes its toll on all of us there comes a time when we stop and reconsider. Who are we really, what do we want out of the rest of our lives, what is really important in our lives, can we find what we are missing, do we even know what we are missing?
A part of us has always had the answers. It is called by many names and for the first segment of our lives it protects us, guides us, rules us. It is our Ego. Although wonderful to have one around so that we can grow up, intact and sure of ourselves, there comes a time when it is more of a liability than an asset. Through our Egos interpretation we relate to everything not us as separate, not us, something outside of us. Everything not us either approves of us, disapproves of us, or is there for our convenience (to be used and discarded).
As in all generalities there are exceptions. A mother's bond with her baby child, two people in love, and all relationships that exist without strings or agenda. However in almost all cases, our Ego, with its agenda for the protection of our self image, reasserts itself. The relationships are then interpreted differently. What do I expect, what enhances my self image (your total approval does), what diminishes or tarnishes my self image (your criticism, abandonment, or disapproval does).
Rarely do we interpret the moment as it is, rarely do we see the moment as it is. Our Ego filters out a great deal. and uses our personal history (mostly our pain) to guide our behavior and our response to any situation. Whether we like it or not our past pain has much to do with where our attention is at any given moment. Angry, guilty, fearful or sad over the past. Fearful, suspicious, or cautious over the future.
Why pursue such an illusive state of mind? It allows us to let go of our past, let go of our self images, and to live in the moment. We then respond to this moment with a clarity and honesty never before experienced. We then experience our relationships differently. We "see" a being behind their projected self image, we listen carefully, observe with honesty, and accept what is or is not or challenge appropriately. We become part of the Web of Life, not separate from it. This makes all the difference in the world. Speaking of the world, our world view has a great deal to do with where we position ourselves in relation to everything else.
It is our world view that places us in a relationship with what we see and understand. Only our world view allows us to translate our everyday life into a relationship with a more encompassing view of everything not us. Can we can imagine 20 or 40 Trillion Stars spread across 100 Billion Galaxies. Can we imagine 15 Billion years of an evolving Universe or 200 Million Light years across our Milky Way Galaxy. Can we grasp that Dinosaurs dominated this planet for millions of years. Can we know not just "intellectually" but deep in our being the unique, very special, conditions that had to occur to allow our creation and continued existence?
If we can really absorb these we can begin to understand our role is no longer to simply consume stuff or to use up the vast resources of this planet while leaving an enormous trash heap behind, toxic and deadly. It is clear to most our living presence has to integrate a level of Guardianship, Accountability and Responsibility to the only home we have at this time.
The Space Within
If we enter a state of mind that is restful but alert and aware of our immediate environment, internally and externally, we are in the moment, we are in the now (Tolle).
The reason this state of mind is so illusive is because our Ego, our self image, dominates how we interact with each moment. It interprets everything from an "I" point of view. What might benefit us, what might harm us, what might polish our self image, what might tarnish our self image. While this has benefited us for our entire evolutionary history we are now at a turning point. Our Ego must no longer play a dominant role in our day to day life, but must be placed in the background. Notice I did not say eliminate or get rid of the Ego.
Further on we will demonstrate how this can come about.