In my first column I introduced a new evolution of relationship that I am calling “awakened relating.” For awakened relating to occur, one or both partners in a relationship must have some awakened awareness. I am choosing to call our basic nature “awareness.” Awareness is what I first understood it to be. Awareness and love are different words for the same unifying field that pervades all of life. You could say awakened awareness is awakened love. However, sometimes it can be easier to recognize awareness because that is readily available, yet its quality of love may not be apparent upon first glimpse. Its qualities of love, peace, bliss, wisdom, and so on become more evident as we deepen in our recognition.
It is important to know that if you have had even one moment of true recognition of the basic aware space that you are, that qualifies you for an awakened relationship. Once it is recognized, then there is the possibility of re-recognizing it again and again. By consciously attending to it repeatedly, it will become increasingly more obvious and continuous. This takes commitment and attention. For most people, awakening is not an event in time that happens and then we are done. It gradually unfolds on its own over time, but not without repeated attention. This is the paradox.
So, the most important first step towards awakened relationship is to recognize awareness. We need direct recognition of the awareness that is our basic state. Recognition is another word for awakening. Since I do not know if everyone who is reading this has recognition of awareness, I will point that out. Fortunately, it is easily and readily accessible at all times, and therefore easy to point out. The initial recognition can be quite simple. It is the commitment to re-recognizing again and again that can be challenging in the midst of life and relationship.
If you stop thinking for a moment….right now…you can see that there is an alert cognizance here in the gap between thoughts. There is an open, aware, spaciousness . . . If this is already known, or is obvious right away, great. If not, keep taking moments of relaxing the mind and noticing what is looking . . . until you recognize the awareness that is ever-present. Awareness is here whether thinking is or not, but it is easier to recognize when we stop for a moment. The awareness may be covered up by thoughts again right away, but you only need one moment of clear seeing. At first, we can only rest for a moment anyway, before it becomes a contrived effort. So, just stop…again and again…and simply notice the awareness that is alert and present, until it is directly recognized.
Once this awareness is recognized, or awakened, it is our task to continue to return to it in brief moments of resting as that awareness repeatedly. It is through attending to it in this way that it will grow stronger and more continuous in our experience. It is already complete and ever-present, but we need to consciously, instinctively recognize that. We need to root ourselves in this awareness in order for it to be knowingly present in all circumstances, especially in all of the challenges of relationship.
I invite you to be with this process of recognition until it is clear. Let me know if you have any questions about it. And, once it is recognized, I invite you to practice resting in it for brief moments repeatedly throughout the day. Even if we may know the ever-present background of awareness, we can still be focused primarily on thoughts. Give some attention to it directly through short moments of resting in uncontrived awareness. It is an effortless effort. This is a necessary prerequisite for awakened relationship. Let me know how it goes!