The world is awake and we are awake.
Awake is constantly bombarding us, reminding us that our separateness is just a bubble. For example, you see a yellow flower .. ! .. For an instant you are awake, just there, natural, yet indescribably alive. This aliveness is already there, we don’t have to create it. In a sense we are already awake. Since we are already awake, we don’t actually have to wake up. But still, we often fail to notice that wakeful energy in the midst of ordinary life, so some kind of effort is necessary. This special effort is the third aspect of practice.
Usually effort is laborious, but in this case, it is not so much a straining sort of effort. It’s more like letting down our guard and allowing the world in. There is a sense of being willing to appreciate our life. Not that we are just going to experience sweetness and pretty flowers all the time. Appreciation isn’t about blissing out; it is about being willing to experience life itself, however it manifests. With that sense of appreciation, sudden flashes of amazement take place in which we discover the world beyond our thoughts.
Popping our discursive bubble in this way is humbling. The world is vast; our fixations are small. It gives us a moment of perspective. Yet this humbleness is the tiger’s empowerment; we discover a sense of connection to a harmony beyond our conceptual grasp.
As Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche taught, we can work with these sudden moments of awake, “and do so with no effort in the effort,” and then our effort becomes self-sustaining. It arises as an ongoing, spontaneous discipline in our lives.