The Invisible Ever-Present Ally

Consciousness is the key to developing and discovering who you are.

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The most important realization about practicing and developing awareness is that we can experience our feelings and emotions (avoiding the temptation to escape through objectivity, or getting lost in the story) while simultaneously, objectively, witnessing them.

This is a wonderful demonstration of spiritual paradox; of the holy.

Often, when we witness our interactions with others, we focus on how they are “making us feel” and “what they are doing to us” and on how “they” behave.  If we want positive change in our lives, it is vital to take the view that the lessons life is trying to teach us are found in our own behavior and reactions, not in the behavior of others.  As we focus our awareness; becoming more aware of our own reactions, and our own sometimes-unskillful behavior, we quickly realize we have plenty of work of our own to do; enough to keep us quite busy!  We begin to see that others are simply pushing our buttons, and that we are reacting, sometimes unskillfully, from our own reservoir of unconscious fear or sorrow or anger. The source of these emotions is our self; our reactions to incoming stimulus belong to us. No one can “make us feel” a certain way because we are responsible for our reactions and responses; we own the buttons.

One Caveat

As we develop awareness, there is a classic error we must avoid, confusing awareness with objectivity. Unlike awareness, objectivity denies the subjective, denies that our uncomfortable feelings exist.  Objectivity seems to stop the pain, but it actually just numbs it and buries it deeper. The cost is a simultaneous deadening of the joy and passion in our lives, and sadly, we also lose the lessons that are securely attached to our challenging, uncomfortable experiences.

Good News

It turns out that we do not have to wait until we cross the road to the cemetery, to discover awareness.  Later in No Room for Form Rumi tells us:

“No need to wait until we die!”
There’s more to want here than money
 or being famous or bites of roasted meat..”

In a world still motivated, as it was in the 13th century, by materialism, the desire for fame and money and personal comfort, we still have the choice for something greater.  Awareness, embracing consciousness, is the first step on the ancient, well-worn path that all mystics and saints have travelled into a more profound, joyful and fulfilling life.


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John Earle
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