By Andrew Cohen
If you want to be truly free, you will have to be aware. One kind of awareness is when you are consciously making the effort to be aware of everything that you are doing. But there is another kind of awareness that is more mysterious. And you will begin to discover this mysterious awareness as you surrender more and more to your own desire to be free.
At times there will be an unexpected movement from deep within you; a response will arise that moves faster than thought. You will do or say something that expresses the passionate intensity of enlightened consciousness, a consciousness that, a moment before, you had no awareness of. You will have the strange sense of not knowing who responded, even though it was none other than your own Self
So our True Self is always paying attention in a way that we are usually not conscious of. And when we discover this Self we find that which is miraculous. We discover who we truly are. It's the Self that we cannot see with the mind, but when we experience it directly we will understand what it means to be enlightened.
And when we liberate this Self that mysteriously sees and knows what we cannot see or know with our conscious mind, we will begin to respond to life in ways that, left to our own devices, we never could.
If we are true to the desire to be free, we will find that we always are paying attention, even at times when, in our conscious experience, it appears to us that we are not.
This happens to me often. Sometimes my own inner experience may appear to be, for a certain period of time, quite mundane. And then a response will occur to some event that is happening around me, a response that is so fast and so precise that it amazes me every time. I don't know where it comes from. I only become aware of it as its happening.
Usually when we speak about paying attention, we are only referring to that which engages the conscious mind. The problem is that it leaves the most important part of our Self out of the picture, which is that part of our Self that we can never know with the conscious mind. Enlightenment is about the liberating discovery of the profound mystery of our own Self, a mystery that we will never be able to understand only with the mind.
The true, spiritual conscience is experienced as caring. And this caring is a painful emotional experience but it's this caring that finally liberates us, slowly but surely, from the attachment to the ego and its endless fears and desires.
It is the emergence of this conscience that gives us the energy, strength, and inspiration to give ourselves to the most important task that there is. So if we want to be free, it's very important to ask ourselves: How much do I care?
The degree to which we are able to liberate ourselves from self-concern will be the degree to which we are able to recognize that our true nature as human beings is love. It happens automatically.
This is one of the miracles of human life. When you are ready to leave self-concern behind, your heart will expand and you will know a love that is impossible to imagine. The nature of this love is not personal; it does not have its roots in the personality.
Love is literally liberated from the depths of our own being and just emerges of its own accord. Anybody can know this miracle if they really want to. They just have to be willing.