Take a close look at your present experience in this very moment. Observe what is happening around you in your environment as well as what is happening within. Notice the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and textures around you and the thoughts, feelings, emotions and sensations occurring within.
Now I want to perhaps give you a new and expanded perspective on the nature of your experience. Most people think that what they observe happening is somehow external or independent in relationship to them. We observe phenomena that occurs within our awareness and think that it is happening somewhere “out there”. Even our thoughts, feelings and emotions are seen as somewhat external to us and are usually at the mercy of what is happening in our environment.
But consider this. Everything that you experience, everything that occurs within your environment, is really just an interpretation of your nervous system. You brain must translate all stimulus into a picture that you can interpret and understand. So it would be more accurate to say that what you are actually observing and experiencing is not something happening “out there” but rather what you are experiencing and observing is the state of your nervous system.
With this in mind, you realize that you can never truly touch reality. There is always a filter. The same way two objects can never really touch in the truest sense because their electrons repel each other, you can never truly touch the external world with your awareness. Your subjective filter coats everything with it’s own paint, it taints the truth of reality through its own self-deception. Cultivating awareness is the art of removing the filter to the best of your ability and thus seeing reality for the truth of what it really is.
If you want to take this concept even deeper, the truth is that you are always observing your own subjective state of consciousness. All that is happening around you is simply a reflection of this state of consciousness. The environment certainly affects you and imparts itself onto your own subjective state, but this doesn’t occur until it goes through your filter. This is why two people can experience the exact same event, such as a sporting event, and have a completely different emotional response to the experience. So in actuality, all of reality is more of a subjective experience than an objective truth. Can you now understand why there is so much conflict in the world, both within and without?
So how do we get to the Truth. Simple, remove the filter. And how do we remove the filter? Through the cultivation of awareness. The only way that this can occur is through acute self-observation. Practices such as meditation work to improve your capacity for self-observation and thus enable you to cultivate greater awareness. Through cultivating awareness you develop greater responsibility, that is, the ability to respond to your experiences in whatever way you choose, as opposed to going into unconscious auto-pilot like most people. So this is truly the foundation of all of life, of all human experience. It is the catalyst for all true growth, improvement, and success. The cultivation of self-awareness.