"Muddy water is best cleared by leaving it alone. " (Alan Watts)
"The most significant thing that can happen to a human being [is] the separation process of thinking and awareness." (Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth, p. 261-2)
Muddy water is cleared by leaving it alone. Awareness is separated from thought by leaving thought alone.
Whenever there is awareness of a thought, there is a separation between that thought and awareness. This separation is clarity, it is freedom from entanglement in thought.
The separation process between thinking and awareness occurs when the muddy waters of the mind are left alone. Simple rest clears the water.
Water is always equally clear, whether mud particles are dispersed in it or settled at the bottom. Awareness is always clear, whether it is filled with thought or whether thought is absent.
However, when water and mud particles are mixed together, the clarity of the water is obscured. When water and mud particles are separated, the clarity of water is easier to see. There is no fundamental change, but the clear water that was always there is more evident when the mud particles settle to the bottom and are separated from the water. Similarly, the clarity of awareness is unobscured when the mind is left alone and the process of separation between thought and awareness is allowed to occur.
Why is the separation process of thinking and awareness the most significant thing that can happen to a human being?
Our true nature as awareness is unrecognized when it is mixed up with thinking. When the two are separated the clarity that has always been present shines forth unobscured. There is recognition of essence.
There is an art to leaving muddy water alone, to not resisting what is. There is an art to true resting and non-interference. Leaving things alone, letting thoughts settle down, requires a high-frequency energy of alertness. Leaving things alone doesn't mean inactivity; it means yielding to the life flow instead of resisting it.
Leaving muddy water alone means giving up the fight against what is.
There is a natural attraction to the ease and effortlessness in which freedom is recognized and the sense of being a separate self dissolves.
We are all one with the unfolding of reality in this instant, every instant, whether we are consciously aware of this fact or not. We can't do it wrong. Only thought says we can be wrong.
In the ease of leaving thought alone, in the ease of not arguing with thought, there is the clearing of muddy water and there is a separation of awareness from thinking. There is a separation of identity from the thought stream. In this separation is the clarity of freedom, the freedom that has always been here and is now enjoyed.