Awareness Part 8, Conclusion

There is a famous optical illusion that simultaneously depicts the face and shoulders of a fashionable young woman and a decrepit old woman. Most people immediately recognize one image but have difficulty seeing the other.

The illusion reminds me of our current political environment. Opposing sides see different worlds, proving the adage that the world appears to us not as it is, but as we are, which is an essential theme of this series.

Awareness defines our life. Most assume it is fixed. My experience is different.

We spend our lives trying to make things turn out like we want them to. This may work for a while, but it’s not sustainable. As Snoop Dogg says in the Corona beer commercial, “Down the hole, we all go.” Ultimately, we suffer. That’s not being morose; disappointment and loss are simply a fact of life.

In a nutshell, this is why “Self” is incompatible with joy. “Self” views happiness as a consequence of circumstances, whereas joy ensues from within.

The proposition I advance in this series is rather than being fixed, awareness is malleable. This is not merely “choosing your attitude”; instead, it’s learning to change how we experience life, i.e., adopting perspectives other than “Self.” This is not a new idea. The world’s wisdom traditions describe it as the gateway to enlightenment or salvation.

Over the past several weeks, I covered five alternatives to Ego for centering awareness; Flow, Presence, Resonance, Radiance, and We. These perspectives open doorways to new ways of experiencing the world!

Changing baseline perception is not easy. It requires learning to watch awareness moment by moment to understand what is happening. As strange as that sounds, it is the beginning of wisdom. If we watch awareness long enough, we discover the power to choose its reference point.

An example is pain management. One technique offered to chronic pain sufferers is to stop resisting the pain and simply notice it and accept it. That sounds crazy, but I’ve practiced it when experiencing knee pain on long walks. Surprisingly, it helps!

Change presents challenge. When we need it most, we want it least! We aren’t motivated to change when suffering. At such times, most of us shut down and draw ourselves inward. For some reason, “Self” is hardwired to repeatedly touch its painful wounds. I’ve noticed I’m far more receptive to watching awareness when not under direct stress. Luckily, benefits from regular practice carry forward, making it worthwhile!

Thanks for hanging with me on this journey. I hope this series pointed in a useful direction. Practicing mindfulness and watching awareness over the past twenty years had a significant impact on my life.

If interested in pursuing this further, two books I found helpful were: Eckhart Tolle’s “The Power of Now” and Sayadaw U. Tejaniya’s “Relax and Be Aware.”

Fundamental Principle: Discovering the role awareness plays in life
Essential Question: Could a change in perspective change your life?

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2 Replies to “Awareness Part 8, Conclusion”

  1. Thanks Tim for all your insightfulness and wisdom —- and especially for sharing it with us. It takes a wonderful sense of personal courage to do so. You are both a good and responsible friend !!!


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