Many approaches leads to awareness (mind, consciousness) becoming aware of itself as distinct from its content. When this stabilizes, clarifies and deepens, this is how awareness functions in more and more situations. Instead of being identified with the specific content (sensations, emotions, thoughts), instead of being caught up in the habitual processes of the personality, it now has space, overview, clarity and more of a choice of how to respond to inner/outer situations. There is an nonattachment to particular ideas, emotions, sensations – they all just arise, unfold and dissolve back into clear, spacious awareness.

Of course, the concern is that letting go of attachments to ideas means nothingness, paralyzation, no direction, no guidelines for behavior. That it leads to distancing, to lack of concern, lack of engagement in the world.

But for anyone who has experienced this shift, and clarified and deepened it, the effect is quite different – and often surprising. Instead of being attached to a particular idea, and wrapped up in emotions created by reality not conforming to the idea, we can experience the situation more as it is – with fewer filters. And we are freer to make a conscious choice of how to relate to the inner/outer situation. We respond with more fluidity, and out of a realization that there is no separation. As the left hand comes to the aid of the right when needed, we come to the aid of other beings when needed. Compassion comes up, not as an idea but an experience, guiding our actions.

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