Expanding Your Awareness

In meditation, we turn our attention inward and focus our concentration upon a single, inner practice. The whole point of meditation, however, is not the 10, 20, 60 minutes or more we might spend actually meditating. No, it is to live meditatively, to bring that focused awareness into every facet of our everyday life. We have probably seen in the fictional movies how Jedi are retain an awareness of all that goes on about them, no matter what they are doing, and have admired it. We may not be able to develop our senses to quite the degree of the fictional Jedi, but we CAN come quite close, by living mindfully.

Practice becomes life, and life becomes practice. Awareness may be thought of as whatever you notice on a moment to moment basis. Living without awareness is to sleepwalk through life. I'm sure most of us have experienced the strange sensation of arriving at a destination in a car with no memory of the trip there! Living in awareness is to be awake to life. It is quite different from relying on book learning, acquired knowledge, plausible explanations or any other intellectual construction! Direct awareness is just about looking and seeing without embellishment.

Look around you, right now. What do you see? You'll see what is in your immediate surroundings. These are most likely unsurprising to you, you've seen them many times before. so it is even familiar, you have names and concepts for these items. Yet is this tendency to take our surroundings and place them into pre-existing concepts that prevents us from seeing truly. Direct awareness is just looking, and just seeing without the interference of names, labels, concepts etc. This opens the mind to every moment and to every experience in the day. To quote from the movies 'Truly wonderful is the mind of a child', this is how children see the world. You need to unlearn what you have learned and return (at least in this respect) to the childlike wonder you once experienced.

The contemporary teacher Osho gives this simple advice:


'You look at a flower you simply look. Don't say 'beautiful' or 'ugly'. Don't say anything. Don't bring in words, don't verbalize. Simply look. In the beginning it will be difficult but start with things with which you are not too involved look at things which are neutral a rock, a flower, a tree, the sun rising, a bird in flight, a cloud moving in the sky. Start from neutral things and only then move towards emotionally loaded situations.'

You will receive many benefits from bringing your practice into your daily awareness. You will be more open to the Force, and more sensitive to others. It also assists with creating detachment and I find that it is good for creativity too, because when you simply 'see' something as it is and not within the context of your preconceived notions, you are then free to see it in an entirely different way, which otherwise you would not have.