Why be aware? Because awareness is what we ARE. There are many names for it: the truth of who we are, consciousness itself. You could call it mindfulness, being-ness, silent alertness, that-which-isn’t-subject-to-dualism. When we bring awareness into our lives, we bring presence, love. We bring WHO WE ARE, consciously, into our lives: We are acknowledging the OCEAN of consciousness. When we bring our unique gifts and talents and roles and expressions and perspectives into our lives, we are offering up the unique DROPS that are part of the ocean itself. The tentacles of God.

These drops—these perspectives or lenses through which consciousness permeates, these personal expressions—are our unique offerings to life. When we seek to become aware of awareness, it is like a piece of life turning back to its very SELF to say, “Thank you.”

All of these roles and identities and waves of feelings and circumstances dance WITHIN that awareness. That awareness—that stillness—is the CONTAINER IN WHICH the colorful identities and expressions take form. It is that awareness that is WHO WE REALLY ARE.

Have fun within the drops that temporarily feel separate from the ocean. Enjoy (or don’t!) the illusion of individuation from the source. But know that you are welcomed home at any moment—whenever you want to be reminded of the love you are. The ocean is always there. Just like the SUN BEHIND THE CLOUDS. It never leaves, although it can seem torturously cloaked, hidden, beyond our reach. But the SUN is unwavering, ceaseless in its presence. It is the ONE PERMANENT. And you are inextricably one with it. You are made up of the same light that makes up the SUN. Everyone, and all of life is. The degree to which we REALIZE this is a whole other matter.

I believe the degree to which we are aware of it lies in direct proportion to the degree to which we loosen the needless suffering we endure as human beings. Suffering and pain are different. Pain and grief and emotional ebbs and flows are part of being in the body. Part of being in a relative realm. Part of being a human being. Part of being in the dualism of continuums: hot/cold, sad/blissed out, lost/grounded, any place on this continuum that is life. Every point on this continuum is a colorful drop from the same ocean. Sometimes fun. Sometimes harrowing. The suffering, however, comes from truly believing we are separate from the ocean. The suffering comes from resisting—resisting anything: resisting the point you are at on the continuum (aka the truth of where you are and what is happening now), or resisting what is, resisting the truth of a circumstance, even resisting the idea of being a part of the ocean itself. And while this resistance has served us well in so many ways (I am grateful for how my denials have served me in my survival, especially when I was younger… of this there is no question), it is a deep and painful existential loneliness … that echoes through like hollow cold in our very bones. It does so for the fact that it is so wholly UNTRUE. To ongoingly deny what we are is an exhausting pursuit. One that is not good for our emotional, relational, spiritual or physical health.

For the times when it is hard to remember that who we are IS the ocean (sometimes experiencing itself as drops, sometimes experiencing itself as one with and AS the ocean—ahhh, the bliss of consciousness meeting consciousness!):

1. Let your breath serve as a portal, a focus point that denotes aliveness, a core evidencing of consciousness itself.

2. Step into a lens-ful-ness. As a witness to life as it unfolds. Finding liberation in the stepping back, the dis-identifying from the stories and the roles and the thoughts and emotions, allowing this process of getting a bird’s eye view to serve as your gentle invitation back “home.”

3. Allow yourself to perceive life and its ephemera as though it is a movie on a screen. A movie that consciousness or awareness is watching and holding and animating all at the same time. But is a movie nonetheless.

4. Tune into the body. By noticing and being curious about different sensations in the body, we bring awareness to the drops that are localized in the physical. We can help dis-identify from the feelings that seem to take us over by noticing where they are felt in the body.

5. Seek to understand the stories (not dwelling in them) that make up our traumas and wounds and colorful histories. Seek the empowerment of clarity—the sweet balm of illumination and understanding. There is a distance that can be achieved by the act and art of attempting to bring understanding to that which has been blocked from our awareness or relegated to our unconscious. It can liberate us to return home to our SELF. It can free up our energy, our attention, our clenched-ness to do so.

6. Relationships can serve as a way to remember who we really are. The act of connecting, functionally merging, honoring, and opening our hearts more and more and more (even when what we are hearing can be hard to swallow for how much it is awakening a slumbering part of us) can be a reminder of the ocean in which you and your loved one(s) spring forth from and are held by, and can return to in these moments of connection.

All of the above are wonderful potential ways to access awareness. And the degree to which they lead you back to WHO YOU REALLY ARE: kudos to these sacred investigations and processes. There may be some or many others that are unique to you, that catapult you into awareness, that are not mentioned above. Enjoy those that you see working for you to this end.

In those suffering-filled moments where we feel locked in the illusion that we are these separate drops, that the sun has ceased to exist; when we over-identify or over-merge with these roles and feelings and thoughts, and even as we plumb the depths of our psyches and bodies and stories and experiences, lest we never forget that we ARE the awareness that is watching and plumbing and inquiring.

Lest you never forget that you are the silence that holds all sound. That you are the goodness that holds all light and dark and all in between. That you are the warmth that holds the sacred experiences as well as the profound. 

I wish you access to this tender and eternally available awareness. To this warmth. To your SELF.

In those milli-moments between information coming in and information coursing OUT of the many parts of the self…in and out of the filter-that-is-you-in-your-identity-self. It is in the silence spaces in between these seemingly constant movements that we feel the fluid benevolent intelligence of the ocean and the steadfast warmth of the sun. When I briefly and gently suspend the rain, the torrent of resistance and movements-away, the density of the clouds…then I can access the radiance of the sun…the sun that I am.

And when I can’t feel this ocean, the silence reminds me—but only if I tenderly ask all droplets, all of the parts of the “me” that are most known in a human sense (no matter how funny or entertaining or compelling or seductive or overwhelming they are) to step back for a moment. To know they are honored and loved and will be tended to by the ocean itself, by the SELF that emerges in those moments when I drop my arms and drop my airs and drop my defenses and drop my survival-contraction. And in that vulnerable moment: for the ocean to be what I pay attention to, what I allow myself to merge with. And for the breath or the candle or the verse (by whatever means above or otherwise) to lead me there.

To let the sun have the floor. Letting the precious clouds know that they will receive their due care, their due movement, their due attention. Yet to remind myself that the clouds, the drops…all are springing forth and curving away and hurtling up or crashing down within the arms of awareness itself.