We are told over and over again that the enlightened state is one of awareness. So true! But if we are all awareness, then we isn’t everyone enlightened?
What do we mean by awareness? I think it comes in 3 overt flavors.
Dog Level (no offense to dogs): Level one can be called incidental awareness. We are aware of what’s going on around us, but we’re investing very little of our sense of self into what we are immediately experiencing. Sounds are there, things are in our field of vision, and that’s pretty much it. We are, usually, more aware of the thoughts that most strongly draw our attention. For the most part, we are led around by these thoughts like a dog on a leash. But within the field of thoughts that are those that emerge that glow with a special light – which leads us to the second level of awareness …
Settled in the now, we are a lot more aware of our immediate world. We see more clearly, we hear more keenly, we taste, we feel, we sense our thoughts and feelings coursing through “our” consciousness and we also more space around them. They don’t, necessarily, pull us around with the same force as level 1. But there is still “our” sensing within the larger story of “our” life. It’s personal and no matter how strong sensed experience may be, the larger story of our life trumps immediate experience.
In the Now: This level is very much level two, but the story of me no longer trumps direct experience. We are, literally, one with everything. And, I don’t know about you, but I love my hot dogs with everything.
p.s. – we will return to levels one and two – but don’t sweat it, once you have a taste of level 3 there’s no going back. Please pass the mustard.