By David Benner

Awakening always involves leaving our minds and coming to our senses. Awareness is the dynamic engine that drives this process. Awareness draws us into our bodies, puts us in touch with inner and outer realities, and mobilizes us for action, not simplyreaction.

In ordinary consciousness our awareness is primarily focused on our thoughts. These form the core of the intermediate world that exists between ourselves and reality. This is the world of our prejudices, pre-judgments, categorizations, and biases and it is through the filter of these things that we view the world beyond us. But experiencing the world through this filter is not the same as experiencing things as they actually are.

It is experiencing our thoughts about the world, rather than directly experiencing the world. The distance this provides from the raw reality of things as they truly are may keep us comfortable but it always leaves us out of touch with reality.

This is the state of being asleep that spiritual teachers in all traditions urge us to awaken from. Our senses are a portal through which we can begin that awakening process. Suddenly they bring us into immediate and direct contact with reality. They bring us into our body and they put us in immediate contact with our environment.

But full sensory awakening doesn’t just happen in a moment. It needs to be cultivated. As we begin to leave our mind and come to our senses we begin to notice that eyes do not just see, they can also feel – just as fingers can see and noses can taste. Look carefully at the above picture – letting your eyes touch it, not just see it. Feel the textures. Slowly let them guide you across the surfaces they present. Feel them with your eyes. And notice what you experience in your fingertips as you do.

The world is full of textures, harmonies, wafting aromas and presences, subtle changes of temperature and energy, and an infinite variety of tastes. Don’t be content with what you think you already know about the world. Dare to open your senses and engage the world afresh each day. This was what Jesus was encouraging when he repeatedly urged his followers to listen, keep watch, and be vigilant. And what is it that you should be watching for? The possibilities of new and renewed life that is within and all around you.

Prepare to awaken and see the world through new eyes, the eyes of your heart. Prepare to see new places where Divine is incarnate in the world which you have failed to notice. And prepare for the new birthings within you that always accompany fresh awakenings.