Really Alive

by Friends of Godwin


In one of the Buddhist texts, which is called the Dhammapada, there is a very interesting statement that says that if we don’t have awareness we are like people who are dead. We can understand from this that awareness is the opposite of being dead; with this quality of awareness we become really alive, fresh and innocent.

For instance, we ordinarily see work as something that we are forced to do, but if you use awareness you can see work as an expression of loving-kindness. Then you learn to see work in an entirely different way, and rather than suffer as a result of the work we have to do we can really enjoy it.

When we are eating together, unless we are aware and present we don’t feel the need to pass the butter or to help someone who needs something. It is only with awareness that we develop this kind of caring for people. To be present for other people, to forget yourself and to focus on others is related to loving-kindness. It only comes about when you are in the present moment, when you are aware of what is happening in any given situation.

Many things are happening in our mind and body. Only if we are aware do we realise what a lot of thoughts we have, what a lot of sensations we feel in our bodies. So many things are happening. Unless we are aware, unless we have space, it is as though we are living but we really don’t know what is happening. We don’t know what is happening externally and we don’t know what is happening to ourselves internally.