Q: I feel small and what worries me is that it’s hard to tolerate all that is happening when the context of enlightenment is disappearing. What’s happening is just happening, and to see it as happening for a purpose doesn’t make sense. It seems to be calling for some real humbleness... and even that isn’t something I can do. It seems that the teaching of allowing is all that’s left, and yet I have nothing good to show for it. So there’s doubt about it. Can this be over some day?
A: If you’re feeling small, then your awareness is working perfectly. Fear and doubt are supposed to feel that way. Imagine if your body could be any size depending on what clothes you put on: If you put on baby clothes, you would be very small. If you put on a doll’s clothes, you would be even smaller. And if you put on a giant’s clothes, you would suddenly be huge. Awareness is like that. When you experience a small, limiting perspective like fear, doubt, or a desire, then your awareness contracts to fit into it. And when you are struck by a profound truth, your awareness opens into a larger field. Your awareness is working perfectly when you feel small. This isn’t a sign of anything wrong. And, of course, your awareness is also working fine when it opens up wide.
By the way, ideas about enlightenment tend to be as small as any other idea or belief. There’s nothing special about concepts about enlightenment. They are small truths, but they can sometimes function as pointers to a bigger truth, such as the enlightened nature of your awareness just as it is right now.
As you pointed out, the challenge is that it’s not up to you how big the truth of each moment is. There’s a dance between the bigger truth of your Being and the smaller truths of your conditioning. You don’t choose which one is happening, but you can learn to trust your awareness to show you which one is happening. Then, when a small truth arises, you recognize that it’s small and hold it lightly. And when a big truth arises, you recognize that it’s a profound truth and celebrate it while it lasts.
This is the way your awareness has been working all along. Your awareness has always been showing you, moment to moment, how big or small some truth is. Experiencing a big truth isn’t better except that the expansion shows you how big your experience of awareness can be (and how big the nature of awareness is). If you simply trust the smallness of your Being when that is what’s happening, you won’t suffer in the midst of that contraction. However, if you resist or struggle against the contraction, it tends to last longer.
Your awareness has always been working perfectly. Contraction is as natural to awareness as it is to your muscles. Contraction will never be over, and it doesn’t need to be over. Awareness loves the endless journey of its existence from the beginning that never happened to the end that never comes.