What is awareness?
The disciple asked: “Master, It seems like awareness is the solution to every problem. What is awareness? I gather it deals with being awake and to realize the underlying thing as it occurs, but is that all?
The master listened carefully and responded: “ Many times our conditioning is so strong that it will not allow us to consider other ways of looking at Life. To begin, when we refer to the word ‘problem,’ we have the conditioning of society, where Life is about solving problems. If there is something that we do not like, then we have a problem and we put our efforts to resolve that. Anything which doesn’t fit our vision of Life becomes a problem to solve. We usually do not believe in changing ourselves to fit the setting. Awareness inside society, is about the perception of a situation or a fact. However, the very act of perception is colored with our own conditioning. Therefore, there are many degrees of perceptions, some closer to the fact than others.”
The disciple asked: “could you be more specific, master?”
The master continued: “For example; for many individuals, Life is about survival. The economy has great importance even though that is a man made game. Nevertheless, we take that as a fact of Life, and many individuals could suffer if we don’t. For instance, if someone is hungry that is because she has no money. Money is a human creation, we are stuck in that mind game. Similarly with political systems. Individuals believe that there is a system which is the best. However, human beings run those systems and ultimately, human moral values have utmost importance behind any system where the common good is the objective, rather than group or party loyalty.”
The disciple said: “ I understand now. We have a socio-economical, political, religious conditioning which act as reading glasses and we see the world through those. We see problems there, and we try to solve those but we cannot take those glasses off.”
Then the master said: “It takes awareness to take those glasses off but at the same time, to be able to wear them when dealing with the world of those wearing glasses. They call that world ‘reality.’ That is the irony of Life to live in a ‘real’ world of individuals wearing distorted glasses.”
The disciple said: “ I understand master. But, is that the extent of awareness?”
The master looked at the disciple before responding to assess his readiness. The master said:” There is way more. That is just the most superficial layer. Greater awareness will take you into self knowledge and the nature of being and reality. This is not a study. This doesn’t deal with picking up a book and be informed with someone’s ideas. You need to experience all of those things under a setting of tranquility and silence, away from the conditioning of any system. Great deal of unlearning needs to take place first. The idea that “I know” will dissolve into oblivion. As you change, you will be wearing a different set of glasses, which others will not understand. Even though you will suffer a much lesser degree of nearsightedness, you will need to be aware that glasses are still being worn.”
The disciple said: “ Ah! The goal is to take those glasses off.”
The master smiled and said: “There is no goal. It happens when we are ready. Remember this riddle: The ‘problem’ is not the glasses being worn but the belief that there is someone wearing them. Awareness is required to figure that one out.”