' Awareness is Unconditional Love '...


Could the way we eat breakfast or drink a cup of tea actually touch and affect the war in Syria or Donald Trump or Kim Jong-un or the changing climate or the lives of the animals on factory farms?

To the thinking mind, that sounds like a ridiculous idea, and to the hardcore political activist struggling to change the world, it sounds like the worst kind of spiritual nonsense.

But I’ve certainly experienced in my own life how everything is transformed by attention or by awareness, which is the light behind attention, and I’m guessing most of you have experienced this as well. And when we truly realize the seamlessness and the unbroken wholeness of everything, doesn’t it become obvious that when any one of us wakes up, in a very real sense, the whole world wakes up? Is it possible that simple acts of attention actually touch, heal and inform the entire world?

I’m certainly not saying in some facile way that if everyone who reads my Facebook page gazes with total attention at a flower for the next hour, that this will bring about world peace. But when we really see that the world is not “out there,” that it doesn’t have any inherent, observer-independent existence outside of consciousness; and when we realize that every one of us sees a unique world, and that each of these worlds is an ever-changing appearance; and when we really see that “the others” are all showing up inside this awareness that I Am, that “I” contain multitudes, that we all refer to the same “I” beyond name and form, and that, like the jewels in Indra’s Net, we are all reflections of one another, empty of self and full of everything else—when all of this is truly seen or grokked, isn’t it obvious that when any one of us wakes up, in a very real sense, the whole world wakes up?

This realization in no way cancels out relative reality. In the movie of waking life, we will still (apparently) need to change a flat tire, take out the garbage, do our food shopping, earn a living, and do whatever we are moved to do to take care of our self, our family, our community, our nation, and/or the world as a whole.

But what I am suggesting here is that we shouldn’t undervalue or discount the power of simple acts of presence, simple acts of attention: feeling the breathing, mindfully drinking a cup of tea, feeling the bare sensations of a disturbing emotion or the pure energy of restlessness, listening to the traffic sounds, hearing the song of the bird—being fully awake to the sounds, sights, smells and tastes of this moment, just as it is.

Awareness is unconditional love. When we meet any single drop with unconditional love, we are meeting the whole ocean with that love. We are that love. And in that love, separation is dissolved—ocean and drop, seer and seen, lover and beloved are one whole happening without borders or seams. No separation remains. No independent “things” remain. We see that, truly, no-thing is happening.

Is it possible that the greatest gift we can offer to ourselves, our family, our community, our nation, the world and all beings is to start by waking up here and now, being fully present in THIS moment, right now, just as it is? Here / Now is timeless (eternal, infinite, ever-present). There is no end and no beginning to Now. In awareness, it is clear that there are no boundaries, that what happens to you, happens to me.

From awakeness (awareness, presence, unconditional love), action happens much more intelligently than when it comes out of old habitual conditioning and mindless reactivity rooted in the false sense of separation and dualism. Awareness is the great solvent. It dissolves illusions and enlightens what it touches. It is what we all truly are. It is at the core of every sensation, every sight, every sound, every apparent happening. It is what “the world” truly is. Awareness is the no-thing-ness being and beholding everything.

What I’m pointing to here is not a concept or an idea or a belief. I’m pointing to what is most real, most undeniable, most true, right here, right now.


- Joan Tollifson

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