The Missing Awareness
January 23, 2021
Once upon a time, after he had studied Zen for a decade, a monk attained a Zen teacher’s rank.
The monk wanted to meet his teacher, the Zen Master, and convey his gratitude. So, one rainy day he went to meet his spiritual master.
When he walked into the house, his master greeted him with a question- “did you leave your sandals and umbrella on the porch outside?”
“Yes, master,” replied the newly anointed Zen teacher.
Then tell me, the Zen Master continued, “did you leave your umbrella to the left or the right of your sandals?”
The young teacher realized that he did not know the answer, and more importantly, he had not yet attained full awareness. He needed to practice more awareness !!
Awareness is a trainable skill, and like a muscle, it needs exercise. There is no end of line achievement for awareness. It is just a state of being more conscious of the actions we take.
Over the last few weeks, I have struggled with misplacing my reading glasses often. I use them when doing work, and I forget where I left them. Every couple of days, there is a scramble to figure out where my specs are. I forcibly volunteer my wife, my kids to help locate them for me.
That moment when I take my specs off and leave them somewhere is a blind spot in my daily existence. . I am missing the awareness of that moment.
I am like the monk in the story. There is a lot more work for me to do.
You might be wondering, what’s the big deal here.
There is no point aspiring for significant change if I am unable to fix a small annoying problem.
So, there is no big message here. I am aware that my awareness is weak when it comes to handling my reading glasses. Writing this down is a way to remind me to be more conscious and aware.
If you are also struggling with a similar problem, it’s as good a time as any other to start working on your awareness. Just remind yourself consciously that you will not misplace and practice present moment awareness. You will feel proud of the improvement you will experience.
There is personal growth in overcoming even the small and insignificant issues.