For most of us awakening is a process. There may be a glimpse or realization of our natural state but the unfolding of that understanding is often gradual.
This awakening often moves from the understanding of what we are, independent of form, to the understanding that what we are includes all form. Initially, there may be a period where our thoughts and feelings are ignored for us to more fully trust in the understanding of our formless essence – but this ignoring is only for a time.
For the stability of understanding to firmly take hold we must ‘face form.’ Awakening is not only about waking up to our formless essence but to the essence of form as one with our own.
The first time I experientially became aware of the significance of facing form was driving my car. Before then I would ignore my thoughts and feelings to sense what I knew to be my true nature. So if I noticed uncomfortable feelings or thoughts I ignored them and turned on a CD of a spiritual teacher – and was immediately transported to my natural state. And all of that was fine – for a time.
But on that car ride all of that changed. I was by myself and, as usual, started driving with the radio and CD player off. Maybe fifteen minutes into the drive I noticed some very uncomfortable feelings coming up and, as if in slow motion, watched my index finger automatically move to push the button on the CD player. But this time, unlike others, I paused – and in that pause noticed an urge to look closer at what I was trying to avoid. It was only a whisper of an invitation – one that I could easily have ignored – but the quality of this whisper felt true, so I followed it. I allowed those uncomfortable feelings fully and was amazed to find that they were not a problem at all. Later during the car ride I did listen to a CD, but it was not turned on robotically to avoid what was coming up in my experience – it was turned on out of sheer joy.
From that day forward there was no more avoiding. I was very conscious of meeting everything in my experience. Whatever came up was included. I knew Truth had to include the totality or it was not Truth – which meant that if I perceived anything as a problem I was not perceiving it as it actually is. And out of love of Truth I wanted to know all as it actually is – thoughts and feelings included.
If we misperceive a rope on the ground as a snake the light of clear seeing reveals the actuality of the ‘snake’ as a rope. The seed of understanding is there and discomfort dissolves. Fear or discomfort may come up again whenever we come across what appears as a snake – but once we start to use the power of clear seeing, then cloudy, veiled seeing is on a countdown. Misperception cannot stand in the Light.
If we suffer our thoughts and feelings and treat them like a problem we have to control, it is as if they are saying, “Just see me. See me as I actually am. Please look closer and see me.”