Experience This

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This morning, I noticed the sunrise.

It was a gentle one, observed as well by the one cloud meandering past.


That's the word that kept coming to mind.

The more I repeated it, the more I started to feel it - this gentle ease - until even the words slipped away.  It was me and the sunrise.  But even that doesn't describe it correctly...

It begins with awareness.

On many mornings, it is a struggle to get my kids ready and out the door.  The walk to and from the bus stop might be .... do-able ... but that is the extent of my awareness.  One foot in front of the other.

This morning, I noticed the sunrise.

It became part of my awareness.  For whatever reason, my emotions started to seep in.  I wasn't just seeing the sunrise (as in, "oh, there's the sun"), but was expanding my awareness both outwards and inwards.

And here's what might be the crucial point, at least in my own practice:

It continues with experience.

Often, it is enough to become aware.  We zip through life, one foot in front of the other, one more day of work until we collapse into the weekend.

Often, the simple awareness of the sunrise is enough.

But without allowing that awareness to seep into experience, even that becomes trite after awhile.

Have you ever hung a picture on your wall - one that you originally loved?  Day after day you pass by it, until one day, you realize that you'd completely forgotten about it.  It was in plain sight, but it became part of the background.  Awareness - dulled.

Or perhaps you are familiar with photography - taking photos on a fancy camera or through the lens of your smartphone.  You notice things you didn't before - the way the light falls on the dew-dropped leaf, the interesting mustache on the man at the booth across from you.  Photo after photo documents your increased awareness.  But how many of those moments were actually felt?

To have an awareness of the sunrise is amazing indeed.

But to experience the sunrise goes beyond description.

To have an awareness of your life - of this moment, of your eyes as they scan this text, the feelings in your legs as you sit, the noises in your environment - this is often enough.  It is a practice that begins again in every moment.  Become aware, become aware, become aware....

And then, forget even the awareness. Experience whatever has arisen.  Go beyond the words, the labels, the illusions of knowing, and