09 Jun Awareness of the Infinite
Being human is so interesting! We are the one species that we know of that can be self-aware; we can be conscious of ourselves being aware. We can say that all creatures are aware, that is how we are able to maneuver our environments and go about the process of living. Yet it seems that we humans are unique in our capacity to know that we are aware and thus can engage in self-observation. Not only can we be aware of something, a flower for instance, or a painful sensation in our ankle, but we can also be aware of being aware of these things.
Why, you might ask, is this so special? Well, when we put our attention on awareness itself, we notice that awareness actually is. Awareness is always functioning, always on so to speak. When you look, you will always find awareness to be underlying all of your experiences.
And again you might wonder what the relevance of this is. The key is to give attention to awareness as often as you remember. Just briefly noticing that awareness is always present when you take a moment to check. And it is this always on, always present, here before you look, quality of awareness that has the power.
It is this self-knowing of awareness that gives rise to our capacity to be the bridge between the infinite and the finite. We are a conscious blending of both, right here in our hearts.
Fundamentally, my spiritual practices are all ultimately about remembering this, that I am the intersection of the infinite/divine/eternal and the world of manifest form (as a body and character in this time and place). When I remember that the infinite wants to be embodied through me and that the divine is seeking to know itself through my human form, something inside relaxes deeply. I am reminded here of the famous quote by William Blake, “I myself do nothing. The Holy Spirit accomplishes all through me.” I don’t know about you but I can forget this small detail all the time!
Adyashanti, author of Falling into Grace, offered the following instruction in an online course he offered several years back – to simply look through the eyes of the infinite. This is a lovely practice that requires only a shift of perception. It is kind of like softening my gaze and personally stepping out of the way in order for awareness to be primary. I encourage you to try it right now! Words can be tricky in describing something this subtle. You will know what I am speaking of through your own experience, even if it is momentary. You might want to invite yourself over and over to experience the infinite looking through your eyes as your mind questions the value of this internal spaciousness.
And maybe do an extended practice by taking a walk with the intention of seeing through the eyes of the infinite, the eternal, pure unconditioned spaciousness. What I notice almost immediately is an effortless dropping of a background static and a soft, open perception of my senses. I have found this to be a very soothing practice as I can immediately sense the “all is well” which is really the fundamental reality (or as they say in Zen, the “suchness” of reality).
This is a delicate dance of embracing our humanness (the good, bad, ugly and beautiful) while at the same time, not identifying too completely with our human form as if this is all we are. I can give myself a broader permission field of being my quirky, imperfect, beautiful self when I remember that the infinite is here within me, to have the exact experience that is present for me, as me. Which also helps me to relax.
Life can be so busy. Do we have time to notice the infinite, eternal realm of presence in the midst of our experiences? How do we support ourselves in remembering we are this intersection between the divine and matter? The beautiful thing about a practice such as “looking through the eyes of the infinite” is that it can be done anytime, anywhere, whenever we remember to do so. Some of us can have a tendency to be making such an effort at living. This practice is like a mini break in the momentum of our day. What a relief it can be! And profound too, in the sense of being conscious for a moment that the infinite is always right here.
Awareness is really our closest friend, the subject in a world of objects, a way home to ourselves.