We are all familiar with what we are. We may just not recognize it AS what we are. We see it as other, as context for our experiene, as inherent in the world, and so on. Awakening has a lot to do with finding ourselves AS this.
WHAT WE ARE
So what are we in our own first-person experience? What do we find if we set aside what thoughts, memories, and others say we are?
I find I am most fundamentally capacity for the world as it appears to me. I am what my field of experience happens within and as.
We can also label this consciousness. My field of experience – of my inner and outer world – happens within and as consciousness. It happens within and as what I am.
When we notice all of this, we also notice that this field of experience is one. Any sense of differentiation or boundaries come from an overlay of mental images and words. And since this field of experience happens within and as what we are, to ourselves we are oneness.
So some of the characteristics of this are…. Capacity for any content of experience. Awake. A kind of space for it all (including space for physical space). And also oneness since all our experiences is happening within the same field of experience.
SEEING IT AS OTHER
Most of us see all of this as other. As the context for our experience, and as something inherent in the world. It’s there all the time, and it doesn’t make anything out of itself, so it’s easy to take it for granted and see it as inconsequential and unimportant. It’s the background for all our experiences and all the different kinds of experiences.
FINDING OURSELVES AS IT
If we intentionally set out on an awakening path, we may assume that what we are looking for is something we are not already familiar with. We are looking for something new, different, and perhaps special.
Even if innumerable guides and guidebooks tell us that it’s not like that, that what we are is ordinary and already intimately familiar to us, we may still operate from this assumption. It’s one of the “dreams of the ego”.
The shift of awakening is really a shift from taking what we are as other, context, and inherent in the world, to noticing it’s what we already are. We are this capacity, this space, this awakeness.
And from here, we also notice the oneness inherent in it all.
IN HINDSIGHT, IT ALL MAKES SENSE
In hindsight, this all makes sense. It makes sense that awakening has to do with finding ourselves as something already very familiar to us. And it makes sense that from separation consciousness, we initially assumed it was something different and special, and we may have looked for that for a while.
We already notice what we are, we just don’t realize it IS what we are. And if we notice it’s what we are, we may take it as too ordinary and unexceptional, and not pursue it further. One obstacle of awakening isn’t that it’s different or exotic or found somewhere else, it’s – in a sense – that it’s too familiar and ordinary to us.
- We are familiar with what we are, just don’t recognize it as that
- what we are – capacity for the world, what the world happens wihtin and as etc.
- All familiar with this, but see it as “other”, context for our experience, inherent in the world etc.
- Can seem inconsequential, unimportant
Awakening isn’t really about noticing or discovering anything new or different. It’s more about seeing that what we haven’t paid much attention to is what we already are.