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Buddhadharma : Spring 2019
102 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER'S QUARTERLY so much so that if we allow for it, it has the power to wake us up from our habitual conceptual chattering. Eventually, seeing things as they are shifts from being an activ- ity or a process we engage in to a state of being, a stance of open awareness in relation to the phenomenal world, which returns its confirmation without words. We usually try so hard to understand, to intellectualize our experience. But we can learn to hear, feel, smell, and taste the world without needing to understand. While the natural world can be particularly helpful in developing this kind of experience, we can use the directness of any moment of perception to wake up to the greater space of our own awareness. If you live in downtown Manhattan, you can use your experience of the bitter cold on a winter morning or the radiance of the sun’s rays beaming down on the pavement as you walk to work as catalysts for awakening. Even the roar of a large truck rumbling past on the street provides an opportunity for direct perception. Such moments can serve to remind us of the preciousness of this human life, its fleeting beauty, and the need to awaken to a responsible life. As we learn to abide in natural awareness, with our sense percep- tions open, we come to experience the vast, ocean-like power of our deepest nature. When we connect with this part of ourselves, when we partake of the liberating wisdom of things as they are, everything is saturated with this spacious, open, warm, luminous, awake qual- ity. Taking the world as our guru, we can hear the inner language of nature and experience ever more deeply the reality of the present moment. This reality is nothing other than innate wakefulness, an unimpeded, flowing field of energy, a perpetual fount of creativity— and the fundamental quality of our life.