Hey guys, welcome back!
We have explored the quality of Emptiness. Awareness has another innate quality that is very similar in many ways. All of its qualities are very similar, because it doesn’t really have very defined qualities. All of its qualities are very abstract, very expansive. These include Formlessness, Spaciousness, and Emptiness. They are very undefined.
In fact, they are the opposite of “defined experiences,” which is why it benefits us in our experience. We have learned to focus so much and so hard on the things that appear, that we have lost sight of the Spaciousness within which all of it appears.
Even though these qualities are very similar, they are worth exploring individually for a couple of days on their own. This allows you to see which one works best for you, so you have a well-rounded sense of the ease that comes with Awareness and its qualities—the benefits that come with resting as Awareness.
So, the purpose of this lesson is to explore Spaciousness.
Awareness, as we have discussed before, is the container for the contents of life, for experiences, and for things (even though there is not really such a thing as a “thing”). We could more accurately say Awareness is the container for “appearances” or “experiences” or “perceptions,” but if we use the word “thing” for a moment, we can say there are things and there is the space within which things arise.
For example, when you look up at the sky at night, you notice there is space, and this space is the container for planets, for stars, for objects, for UFOs, for planes, and so on. In a very similar way, Awareness is like space. Awareness itself, that which is seeing the appearance of words on your computer screen right now, is the very container for that experience. It is the very space that holds “the thing”—your computer and the words on the screen. And this “thing” is itself also Awareness and it is spacious.
When you give away all thoughts for 2 to 5 seconds (and you can do this with me right now—relax for 2 to 5 seconds), you start to rest naturally as the spacious quality of Awareness itself. What happens is that you remove your focus from the objects that appear inside of the “container,” which is the spaciousness of Awareness. You take your focus off “things.” You stop focusing on isolated appearances as you normally do in your automatic daily routine, where it is one object of focus after the other, after the other, and there hardly seems to be any space between the focus on objects.
What we are doing now is deliberately inserting a moment of Spaciousness, where we recognize not only Awareness, but we recognize specifically (for the purpose of this lesson) the spacious quality of that which remains when we give away all of our focus, when we give away all of our thoughts and definitions.
So, take a deep breath and completely relax your reference point, your thought process, and your focus. Relax your focus. Completely relax your attention—shift from being focused to becoming expansive and spacious. This Spaciousness is one of the innate qualities of your natural state. To be effortlessly spacious is to be like space. When we relax as space, it becomes that much easier to let go of our focal points and to unwind the stressful thought patterns that we constantly project onto the things and the objects of our focus. We once again remember what it is like to simply be in our natural state of effortless ease, which we can now recognize, comes with a real sense of space, or Spaciousness.
Start seeing appearances as focal points, as points of view, as angles, as perspectives, as objects of focus, as dots within a vast spacious field of crystal-clear Awareness, crystal-clear ease, natural effortlessness, natural perfection. And start to notice the distinction—you can either enter the thought forms or you can remain spacious. You can choose to be really focused on certain objects, and there is nothing wrong with that. It is simply that we have done that too much, for too long, too consistently, with no breaks in between. With objects as our focus all the time, we have forgotten the space, which is the container for all of these objects—the space without which the objects could not even be here.
You could not even discuss or focus on the appearances you are focused on if it weren’t for the Awareness that holds the space; if it weren’t for clarity and cognizance and the power of recognition. This is necessary in order for you, at any given moment, to be able to focus on something, to be able to comment on something, even to complain about or relish in the objects of your focus—to enjoy them, to be delighted by them.
In whatever way you choose to enjoy or define your points of reference, your points of focus, for the purpose of relaxed, easeful, and immediate Self-Realization, it is crucial that you come to recognize the natural state of being, over and over and over again, through different means, through recognition of different qualities. One such quality, again, is Spaciousness, and it is delicious to simply give yourself permission, in the midst of everyday focal points, to take a 2 to 5 second break and recognize the Spaciousness in between objects. The Spaciousness is also inside of these objects, because space pervades objects. Scientists know that these days, and you can know this experientially, even more powerfully so.
Let go of the thought-stream of your life. Let go of those successive focal points for just 2 to 5 seconds, and place the emphasis on space. Start to recognize that “the space within which appearances appear” and “Awareness” are actually the same inseparable quality. Awareness has the quality of space, the quality of Spaciousness. Learn and discover that, at any given moment, no matter what appears, no matter what is going on, no matter what you are focused on, you can—just like that (snap!)—relax your focus and recognize the effortless Spaciousness in between objects—the space, the container, the transcendent quality of Awareness. There are few things as powerful as this: to be able to reconnect to your natural ease, your natural sense of effortlessness.
For some people, the understanding of Emptiness works a little better; but for many people the sense of Spaciousness is more immediately experiential, and it is somewhat easier to recognize. Spaciousness is seemingly more experiential or more sense-oriented; it is like we can almost get a real sense of Spaciousness. We can get the same sense of Emptiness and Formlessness, but it seems that many people are quickly able to equate Awareness with space.
So, try this out for yourself. It is a similar approach to that given in the previous few lessons of resting as Awareness and recognizing Emptiness. Since the purpose of this course is to realize yourself, the approach therefore is to continuously, consistently, repeatedly recognize what is always already the case—space. There is no experience where space is not there; where spacious Awareness is not here—already, already perfect.
We release our tension for the purpose of Self-Realization. We learn to release our focal points, our excessive tension on them, our excessive focus on them. We start to recognize the more profound natural state of our Essence, of our Beingness, of Awareness itself. We recognize the “I,” the I-I, as effortless, eternal, changeless Spaciousness itself.
For this lesson’s homework, utilize the 2 to 5 second exercise at least 25 times per day until you start your next lesson. Simply include this in your everyday life experiences. Apply the 2 to 5 second moments, taking a real sincere moment of at least 2 seconds of complete mental clarity, recognizing that what remains when you are not thinking is Awareness.
It has a spacious quality to it. When you recognize this and give yourself permission to enjoy it, I promise you it is one of the more powerful, immediate, direct, and accessible ways for you to realize your Self—the Unmanifest Self, the spacious, infinite, aware Self. Try this out and let us know in the Study Group what you noticed while you were resting as Awareness, with the emphasis being on the quality of space.
A side note to this: As objects appear, you can start to sense the space behind them, in a sense, or around them, or throughout them, pervading them, or even behind you. Extend this sense of space into the sky, into the clouds, into the heavens, into the Earth, into objects, around objects. In that moment of relaxed Awareness, see if you can—without striving, without creating effort or trying to get somewhere, but simply, in your natural state—recognize that space is all-pervasive.
To make it a little more expansive, you can try to include the sense of projecting your sense of being, your sense of self, into the space. This may not be what you are ready for at this time, but if you find yourself completely relaxed and you recognize space effortlessly, try it. Project your sense of self into the space that pervades all things, so you can start to feel yourself as not being limited to this physical-body-space anymore, but actually extending beyond your skin, actually moving out into space itself, recognizing that Awareness and space are synonymous.
It is very exciting when you get glimpses of the recognition of pure space—that your nature, your essence, your inescapable being, your inescapable Awareness itself—is exactly like space. This is very empowering, very liberating. It allows you to no longer have to focus so much on the things you thought were really, really important.
Now the space itself becomes really important. Enjoy!