Hide and Seek: The Power of Awareness
Once in a bustling city, there was a wise old man named Samuel who was renowned for his remarkable awareness. He had a special ability to see beauty and meaning in the most ordinary things, and he often shared his insights with those who sought his wisdom.
One sunny afternoon, a curious young woman named Emily approached Samuel and said, “I hear you possess an extraordinary awareness. Can you teach me to see the world as you do?”
Samuel agreed to be her mentor. He handed her a small, plain-looking rock and said, “Hold this rock and look closely. Tell me what you see.”
Emily examined the rock, finding it to be unremarkable. She said, “It’s just a plain rock, Samuel.”
Samuel smiled and replied, “Ah, but look deeper. Notice the intricate patterns on its surface, the subtle shades of color, and the way it feels in your hand. This rock has a story to tell if you listen with your heart.”
Over the following weeks, Samuel guided Emily in cultivating her awareness. They observed the city’s bustling streets, the chirping of birds in the park, and the laughter of children playing. Samuel taught her to appreciate the beauty in each moment, to feel it deeply, no matter how ordinary it might seem.
One day Samuel turned to Emily and looked at her deeply. He said, “Emily, who is it that sees? Who is it that watches? Who is it that observes? This watcher is awareness. That is who you are, the awareness who empowers the eyes to see. Knowing awareness is true seeing.”
Awareness, the Only Power:
Awareness stands as our most potent force, transforming into our greatest asset through the lens of focused attention. Focused attention is the practice of harnessing the transformative power of awareness by directing our attention to reshape our experience.
When there is a room filled with darkness, we can analyze the darkness, attempt to fix the darkness or fight the darkness – or we can introduce light. Consciousness is the light of awareness.
Awareness is the only power. Just as our four bodies are one consciousness operating in four states, all power is the one energy of consciousness operating at different levels of reality, in different states.
Resolution of Dissonance:
As we said earlier, thoughts hide pure awareness, the source of thoughts. Thoughts are the veil that allows us to forget who we are. For most of us, if we are always thinking, this means we are never realizing that we are the witness of the thoughts. Think about those times when we become angry. We become the anger. We become the thought and the emotion. We become consumed by the anger and the “I” is lost. We forget the Self and the subject becomes lost in the object. This happens all the time as our senses reach out and bring objects into our awareness. We look at a bird and we become that bird. The watcher is lost.
Resolution of suffering begins when we make conscious what was unconscious. True resolution and lasting peace require us to bring awareness to the situation – to practice awareness. Our tendency of ignoring, suppressing or distracting ourselves from dissonance perpetuates suffering. Our inner dissonance can be ignored and we can distract ourselves from it for a lifetime, but to achieve resolution requires we see it deeply and hold it in awareness.
Seeing deeply requires that we accept that the dissonance is there, as it is, and turn toward it. Witness it, observe it, and watch it without losing Self-awareness and becoming the object of awareness. This keeps discordance from overwhelming us.
Resolving our dissonance is not about a deep psychoanalysis of the causes of our pain and fear. Resolution is not about others and what they did to us. Holding dissonance in awareness does not mean we wallow in the emotions or recreate the fearful and painful experiences. It means we turn toward what is inside us – remaining the witness – and hold our energy, emotions and thoughts in compassionate, neutral acceptance of what is – with attention: focused awareness.
The present moment is ‘what is.’ Resolution requires acceptance of ‘what is.’ It revolves around being in the present, not dwelling on past events. It involves understanding the crash of the dominos that has become our suffering and accepting the core fear that has grown around our pain and separateness. Allowing and accepting ‘what is’ requires we end the resistance of grasping for something different or pushing away what is present.
This process is completely about us and our pain and fear. We don’t have to forgive anyone else. It’s not about another person. We are resolving it within us. We don’t have to say it was the best thing for our expansion or that there is perfection in it. We don’t have to make it different or change it. We don’t have to love it or hate it. It is painful. It is real and it causes us to hurt and feel fear and separation.
When our fear is unconscious, rejected or ignored, it is empowered. When we bring it into awareness, remain neutral and accept it is there, we begin the process of disempowering it.
Resolution is not about loving or forgiving the other person. It is about loving ourselves. Resolution arises out of the experience of Self-love, Self-respect, Self-honor, Self-recognition and Self-acceptance. The true Self is awareness. When we bring awareness, we bring Self.
Each time we attribute our bad feelings to external sources, we cast ourselves as victims, relinquishing our authority, responsibility, and power. This only deepens the dissonance we’re feeling.
When we acknowledge that bad feelings are ours, created by us and sourced within us, we can put awareness and attention into practice. Awareness is our essential and only power. Here is one example of practicing awareness to address strong, negative emotion. It is a process where we stop, look, feel and accept.
Step 1) Stop:
When gripped by negative emotions, our sense of Self becomes overwhelmed, and we find ourselves in the emotional grip. We become the feeling. It’s vital to become aware of this emotional upheaval as soon as it arises. “Stopping” entails regaining our sense of Self and halting the dominance of the emotion by recognizing that we’ve been triggered or that a negative feeling is active.
Restoring awareness begins with space. Space allows distance between subject and object. Space is the beginning of restoring the subject – awareness – and releasing it from the grip of the object – the dissonant feeling. In situations where we experience resistance, fear, anger or dissonance, we can create space by bringing neutral, non-judgmental awareness to the situation.
Stopping offers us the space and time to respond thoughtfully instead of reacting impulsively. Being caught in dissonance is an outward movement. To continue this outward movement results in the dissonance manifesting into reactivity. ‘Stopping’ is ending the outward movement by becoming aware we are in the grip of dissonance and then we can begin to separate the feeling from our awareness. It is the simple act of realizing, “I am experiencing dissonance.” With that simple shift in attention, we stop the outward, expanding momentum.
Step 2) Look:
‘Looking’ takes awareness and turns it within, to the mind. We begin the journey inward.
Our natural instinct is to avert our gaze from negative feelings, to resist or suppress them and seek distraction. We often shy away because looking within might reveal not a serene ocean but a turbulent wave of emotions. Confronting our internal turmoil can be unsettling, and it’s far easier to distract ourselves with various external activities. It’s simpler to reach for a drink, a drug, engage in escapism through sex, over-activity, binge-watch TV, dive into social media, bury ourselves in work, or resort to countless other distractions than it is to confront our inner turmoil.
Bring insight into the situation. Look deeply within ourselves. A negative emotion is born from the activation of energy stored within an impression within us.
Once we have stopped and are able to separate ourselves from the grip of the feeling, we can watch, witness, and observe the emotion. Looking, in respect to emotions, is turning toward and bringing the emotion into awareness. We make conscious what was unconscious. ‘Looking’ is once again shifting attention and simply saying, “I am neutrally watching the dissonance inside me.”
Step 3) Feel:
Feeling takes our awareness one more step within, to the level of emotion.
Resolution necessitates turning toward the emotion (looking) and accepting that it resides within us as it is, without judgment, in a state of neutrality. Recognize that the feeling is an energy, a vibration.
This recognition requires us to feel the dissonance. But ‘feeling’ is holding dissonant energy in a state of neutral, non-judgmental awareness. We are placing attention on the feeling with neutral, non-judgmental awareness. This isn’t about fixing or forcing change; it’s about immersing the negative feeling in awareness, observing it, witnessing it. Awareness possesses the power to neutralize and harmonize. We are, in effect, immersing dissonance in pure resonance.
Step 4) Accept:
Acceptance doesn’t condone or condemn past events. Acceptance doesn’t mean what happened to us was OK. It acknowledges the thought or the feeling exists, as it is, in the present moment, in neutral, non-judgmental awareness. We accept ‘what is.’
Acceptance takes us to the level of non-resistance and intuition. This is one more step inward. It opens us to resolution.
Allow ‘what is’ to exist, as it wishes, without resistance. Let it be where it is, as it is, allowing it to evolve and change. Allowing alleviates resistance and releases what was previously trapped in darkness. Accept the feeling as part of our current experience, accepting ‘what is.’ Remember that acceptance and allowing are not judgments of good or bad, not fixing, not analyzing; they are the act of ending resistance, permitting the energy to be held in awareness in a state of neutral, non-judgmental awareness. In acceptance, we relinquish the urge to control, analyze, change, fix, or fight the energy. Instead, we permit the negative energy to be as it is, held within awareness. In this process, held in awareness, without resistance, the negative energy begins to neutralize.
Through this process of stopping, looking, feeling, and accepting, we can calm our negative emotions, fostering inner peace and balance. This process is putting awareness into practice.