The Buddha talked about how we are all Buddhas right here, right now; about the presence of nirvana in this very moment. We miss its presence; we are not attuned to enlightenment, we continue bobbing between the extremes of craving and aversion because we are not aware.
One component to unveiling enlightenment is to absorb the notion of and disconnect from duality. Duality is the concept of believing that there is a self and other—In the world, it is me and everything else. This projection leads us to thoughts such as this is mine, my feelings are infringed, my car is beautiful. We act to preserve and protect these projections as if they are boundaries threatened by enemies when the world is interpreted through duality. In this sense, it is not necessarily other breeches safety, it is holding onto the projection that creates divides.
Another tool for unmasking and realizing enlightenment is awareness. The aforementioned tool holds onto the belief that reality is divided into a self and other. Working with the power of awareness breaks apart the illusion and fosters connectivity. Awareness of the present moment guides us toward community. Because we “rest in just this,”1 there is no projection to grasp. Letting go of an ego, dismantling the attachment to a self removes the blinders blocking peripheral vision. A racing horse uses them to prevent distraction on the racetrack. Humans are not in a race. We are in a false belief that we are in a race. We need peripheral vision if our goal is to heal the world. We need to foster skills that help us see and understand the interconnectedness of everything (not the fictitious projection of what I need to advance my goals).
“It is (practicing) awareness in the ordinary moments of living that makes it such an extraordinary practice for life.”2
1—Inside Vasubandhu’s Yogacara by Ben Connelly, pg. 178
2—Awakening Together by Larry Yang, pg. 16