Unlike critical thinking, awareness should not be a goal. Awareness asks us to simply be who we are. As awareness grows, reactions will lessen and acting will grow. In awareness, the actions of life become an extension of ourselves instead of a reaction to the critical thinking buttons pushed by others.
Gaining awareness is not a contest or a seeking of ego glorification. True awareness is like true charity – it just happens. The harder you try to change an attachment, the more entrenched it becomes. The more you resist something, the more empowered it becomes. You do not combat evil by fighting it. Instead you strive to understand it. How do you cope with darkness? Do you hit it with your fists? The more you fight darkness in this way, the more the darkness envelops you and deepens.
Striving and fighting to be aware does not hasten it. Likewise, critical thinking does not bring awareness. Instead, the thinking and fighting just close the filter of reality. Critical thinking is seen as destination. The end result defines the action. This is contrary to awareness. The Japanese have a saying, "The day you cease to travel, you have arrived." Awareness exists when you stop judging every moment as it is. The judging creates a goal. True awareness has no destination and there is nothing to achieve.
To this end, the suggested approach to awareness is to state:
"I want to be aware, I want to be in touch with whatever is and let whatever happens happen. If I’m awake, fine. If I am asleep, fine."The acceptance of whatever happens requires faith. Faith is an openness to the truth, no matter the consequences, no matter where it leads you. Faith is not belief. Belief gives you security; faith gives you insecurity. Dogma, and the religion that relies on dogma, gives you security. Critical thinking seeks to provide security using the foundation of dogma. Awareness, and the faith that awareness relies on, gives you insecurity. Security is bondage. Awareness is freedom.
It is human to discern the world. While this is the lauded goal of critical thinking, the end result this thinking is inherently restrictive. True discernment is possible through awareness when you challenge everything with a sense of openness and not stubbornness. Have a readiness to understand, to listen, to challenge your entire belief system. Beliefs are religious, political, social and psychological. Beliefs are based on conditions. True awareness is about removing conditions to our happiness. Awareness does not involve piety, devotion, religion or orchestrated spirituality.
What are the results of awareness?
Aware People:Only a very aware person can refuse to pick up guilt and anger. Only they can say "You are having a tantrum. To bad. I don’t feel the slightest desire to rescue you and I refuse to feel guilty." The condemnation of critical thinking is replaced with compassion. From compassion comes the ability to counsel without attachment to the outcome, correct without condemnation, and rejoice in budding understanding instead of celebrating failures. The aware person acts where others react. The emptiness of honor and success are acknowledged, and in their place is a compassionate action towards the world.
react less and act more
are more energetic and alive
have no tensions created by cravings holding them back.
honor means nothing
disgrace means nothing
success and failure mean nothing
Being aware leads to:
living your own life
going your own way
thinking your own thoughts
follow your own inclination and tastes.
It is my preference that the talk of critical thinking, and the shadows spin from it, is replaced with talk of awareness. In awareness, the world becomes a place that is receptive to you even as you become receptive to the world. This is a good thing.