- Published: Monday, 20 June 2016 13:48
This is a concept the importance of which is difficult to overestimate as far as practitioners of spiritual path techniques are concerned. Because most persons think that they know the meaning of the word “awareness,” they may misunderstand the use of the word in the special context. To be aware, according to the dictionary, is to be watchful, on one’s guard, informed, cognizant, and conscious. It is in the sense of being “watchful” that it is used in spiritual practice, but watchful in a special way.
From our earliest years each of us undergoes a process of conditioning, or in modern parlance, programming. This is an essential part of our development, since we could not survive in any sort of society without conforming to the expectations of that society. Thus, without giving it thought, we respond in an appropriate fashion to everything that is happening around us. Not only do we respond automatically to happenings, but we tend to think, to a large extent, automatically. In the extreme, an individual who responds automatically in action, thought and emotion to all situations (highly unlikely), is not open to meaningful change nor receptive to possible input from “higher” sources. A number of references to the “automated” individual occur, such as: “Men who are living here, are in a dream; and when they die then shall they be awake” Hadis (A) — The Sayings of the Prophet Mohammad; “He who seems now awake is in deep dream; his wakefulness is false and worse than sleep” (Sūfī saying); “Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh . . . lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping” St. Mark, ch. 13, v. 35.