Cultivating awareness is an essential discipline for being in the moment. As awareness deepens we become more receptive; we gradually discover the life process and move from the quantified aspects of things to their qualities. We perceive ourselves less as observers and more as integral parts of the process. Awareness leads to the sure knowledge that we are creatures among creatures and that the earth is always aware of our presence. Awareness cannot be realized without solitude and silence. Solitude enables us to become aware of the boundaries of the self, to experience aloneness as a prelude to the experience of at-one-ness. To be silent is to let go of that fear which drowns out every kind of awareness. Silence leads us into mystery. Silence means stilling self-reflexive chatter and adopting an attitude of listening. Listen to the silence of the earth -- it is deafening.
Life is a good teacher and a good friend. Things are always in transition, if we could only realize it. Nothing ever sums itself up in the way that we like to dream about. The off-center, in-between state is an ideal situation, a situation in which we don't get caught and we can open our hearts and minds beyond limit. It's a very tender, non-aggressive, open-ended state of affairs.
To stay with that shakiness — to stay with a broken heart, with a rumbling stomach, with the feeling of hopelessness — that is the path of true awakening. Sticking with that uncertainty, getting the knack of relaxing in the midst of chaos, learning not to panic — this is the spiritual path. Getting the knack of catching ourselves, of gently and compassionately catching ourselves, is the path of the warrior.