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Meditation for the Real World

Awareness in Nature

Another way to become more aware of your Awareness is to choose a simple focus from the natural world, a certain kind of tree, or bird or flower, or clouds in the sky, or whatever you feel connected with. Choose a common one, that you're likely to encounter throughout the day. Begin to notice them as you move through your day. Take a moment to connect with the raven flying overhead or the oak tree on the corner. It's just a moment of noticing, not a long involved communication.

A continuity of Awareness begins to happen, a thread you pick up throughout the day. As you notice the bird or the tree or the cloud in the sky, you become aware of yourself, and of the world you move in and are a part of. As you develop the ability to become aware of being aware, to remember that you are aware, to experience the Awareness already there in you, then you can stop and become aware of an old habit pattern about to take over, and you become aware that your Awareness has choice.

For example, you can notice an old habit pattern of self-judgment arising and recognize that you have the choice in that moment of Awareness to transform that judgment into compassion for yourself. An expanded Awareness, an Awareness of being aware, carries you into an expanded world, where at any given moment there are many more possibilities of how you can interact with the world around you or with your own internal state. There are more pathways to choose from, fewer walls, restrictions and limitations. Awareness dwells in a world where there are choices about how to respond, choices that are not only conditioned by your old experience, by your karma, your ancestry, or your childhood.

Greater Awareness does not necessarily promise you constant happiness and abundance, the fulfillment of all your desires. It certainly brings expanded opportunities for all these. The process of becoming more aware can at times be painful. You become more and more aware of what is in your heart, your mind, your soul. It gets harder to ignore your feelings, your intuitions, your knowings. You become aware also of those conditioned patterns of behavior running over and over again. Here one can get discouraged.

One asks, what good is all this Awareness if these patterns just keep right on going? Sometimes the old patterns are even more painful because one sees them so clearly. In one's inner work, this is a great challenge, to continue to be with oneself, to not abandon oneself, to bring not just an Awareness but a compassionate Awareness to one's own patterns, to oneself. It is also these times when the assistance of others can be helpful. New information helps to break the loop of old habit patterns and conditioning. That new information can from many sources, from reading, from teachers, counselors, therapists, friends, spiritual practices, visualizations, affirmations, travel, creative expression. It can come from body or energy work that addresses the old patterns of energy in the body or energy field. Awareness constantly brings you new information.

Becoming aware of your Awareness and living from that Awareness is an on-going process. There are two fundamental aspects of this process: one is to become more aware of how aware you are. The second is to allow that Awareness to transform and release your conditioned self. Awareness sessions assist in both phases of this process. They are not only for crisis situations, for solving problems. Awareness sessions help reveal the pattern of who you are, and help you continue to shift the focus in yourself from those old conditionings to your greater Awareness.

You can also do an Awareness session for yourself. Sit down quietly and meditatively with some questions about yourself and/or your life in the world, and a piece of paper and a pen. Meditate for a few moments. Invite the presence of Awareness. Sit quietly with your question (best to start with one at a time) and see what insights or understandings come to you. If you get involved in thoughts or emotions, simply allow them to arise, be aware of them, and allow them to subside, return to your meditation and see what insights arise. The essence of an Awareness session is to be in touch with the meditative consciousness and allow it to dialogue with the patterns and problems of your personal self. Your greater Awareness is compassionate and non-judgmental, so if the voice within you is making a lot of judgments and chastising or blaming you, that is not the voice of your Awareness.