Beware of Being Aware
For far too long the spiritual recipe has been the same. The underlying message has been the exact same one. You… as you are, need to change. You need to make effort to shift, transform and modify yourself. Transcend who you currently believe yourself to be. In the east, pursuing this process is called walking the path of the monkey. When a baby monkey is born, it needs to hold on to his mom by and with his own efforts. They cling to their mom by holding on tight as the mom walks around. They are fed and taken care of, but it is clearly up to them to ensure they are found around the source of their nourishment. In other words, in order to grow and be fed they have to take the effort and stick around.
The approach of meditating, practicing, following a certain discipline implies that you not only can but also need to “work” on your spiritual evolution. That if you don’t, if you stop putting in the time and effort you will start “declining”, lose your stature of a spiritual being. Again, the implication being, that the self proclaimed spiritual “label” necessitates a certain type of doing in order to be considered valid. You might consider the opposite approach as well, the – un-doing. The cessation of certain actions. You have to stop drinking, eating meat, watching television or enjoying sexual pleasures in order to achieve that coveted status as well. These are two sides of the same coin. Do or Do Not, there is no try.
Walking this path is vey dangerous for one simple reason. If you’re not careful you’ll became a spectator and not an active participant in your life’s unfolding. You will live your life in anticipation of a distant future – for something and not here, present — with something. If you practice anything with a hope of a better tomorrow, of a more calm, spiritual, peaceful state of being, whether that is better health or even becoming enlightened; you are risking missing the point of being exactly where and who you are. Allowing life to enjoy and experience itself through you.
The awakened ones, at the moment of their awakening, for centuries have always responded in the same exact way. Laughter. How did I not see this before?! How simple it has been from the very beginning and yet, I just could not see. All I needed to do… is stop doing. Just witness and be aware that I already am, that I already sit on, in, and inside the target.
Alas… when the mind hears this message, even though it is loud and clear, almost obvious and direct; it takes witnessing and awareness as a project. As a goal. Since it is aware of its unconscious behaviors, its lack of awareness and clarity, obviously what’s missing in order to attain this desirable state the Buddhas have been describing is to practice awareness. To become more aware. That more… is where the problem lays. More implies less, less implies more. ‘You can always be more aware’ says the mind, and only when you’ll be aware enough, enlightenment will follow. As if there is an enlightenment-meter somewhere inside of you, and once the dial crosses the green line you’ll miraculously see the light. Seeking after that desired more, implies you’re lacking. You’re missing out and need to take further action.
If you’re lacking, if something is missing, the implication again, is that you, as you are, who you are, what you are — is not enough. If you believe that are not enough, you are suggesting that the universe, the divine, has mistakenly created an imperfect creature that has to change, shift and transform in order to become whole. Complete. At peace with its own reality.
Gautama Buddha, the enlightened one, prior to his enlightenment, was sitting under the Bodhi tree witnessing a conversation between a teacher and his disciple. The disciple was studying the art of playing the sitar, a beautiful yet somewhat complicated string instrument of Indian origins. ‘If you pluck too hard, the string will break, if you pluck too soft the sound will fail’. Buddha was stuck by these profound words. Being an ascetic for years and years, he realized he was plucking the strings of his soul far too hard. Being a prince of high descent, living in luxury and extravagance for most of his life, he considered that period as plucking his strings way too soft. At that moment, he held his soul just right. Not too hard and not too soft. He played the strings of his heart just right. And as he did… the divine artist, the melody of awakening could be reflected within and through his radiant spirit.
Awareness is a process of equanimity. A harmonious endless undulating wave of balance. From here to there, from there to here. Witnessing does not imply seeing something specific. It does not mean that your state of being is holy and that you need to hold a lotus between your fingers. You witness all that you are. The high and the low, the surface and the depth. Awareness to all that you are, jealous, fearful, benevolent, giving, happy and sad will invite a profound process of change, but that transformation will occur on its own accord. It will happen just as the seasons do, as clouds move from one place to another. Clouds do not rush. They are carried by the winds of change. The Buddha invited his disciples to become white clouds, allowing, accepting and inviting life to take them as it pleases.
My words are not an invitation to rebel against spiritual practices or drop your discipline. Nor are they a calling to pick those up and meditate. My words are an invitation to be an artist. To play your souls strings just right. When contemplative, sit and meditate. When restless – dance. Don’t fear that allowing life to flow through you will mean flowing against or away from spiritual practice. Live your life in such a way that any action you might take will be in harmony, will be a symptom of a spiritual being living through and by a material body. Matter does matter. Transcending form truly serves no purpose. Spirit within matter, matter through spirit.
Beware of being too aware. Allow your heart, your body and your matter – to matter too. If you really need to transcend your jealousy, sadness, please remember, that as you do, you’ll transcend your happiness, your giving heart as well. Look at a piano, the black keys do not diminish the lightness of the white ones… the strings of the guitar need the emptiness of space between each other to produce their miraculous sound. Beware of being too aware. As awareness might lead to unnecessary distance. Allow yourself to forget from time to time. To indulge so fully that you’ll forget you have forgotten, and in that, your remembrance will be sweeter than ever.
The dialog you’ll be having with life will be more full, more complete. It will carry more sound and color than you have ever imagined.