I love a good tossed salad—especially during the summer months! Fresh greens, an assortment of chopped or grated veggies, some cheese nicely diced, all tossed with a vinaigrette and a sprinkle of raisins, pecans and/or chia seeds. Yum!
If I’m in a hurry or just feeling a bit lazy, the “vinaigrette” part of this recipe is simplified to a drizzle of olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar, applied separately. And while this is fine in a pinch, it really doesn’t substitute for a properly mixed formal vinaigrette (raspberry or pear-Sherry being especially luscious).
What makes a vinaigrette “proper” is, above all else, the emulsification of the oil with the vinegar (or lemon juice). The two main ingredients in the vinaigrette—oil and vinegar—don’t typically mix. In fact, they mostly repel each other.
But by adding a bit of mayonnaise or mustard—or another emulsifier that binds to both the oil and the vinegar—the fully emulsified vinaigrette comes to life. Now, the molecules of vinegar (known as the dispersed phase of the emulsion) become evenly and stably distributed within the oil (known as the continuous phase of the emulsion).
And this makes for very happy taste-buds! Instead of tasting the olive oil and vinegar separately, they form a single taste.
Awareness & Phenomena
And so it is with Awareness and phenomena. As our experience becomes knowingly aligned with Reality, there is an emulsified quality to sensory/mental phenomena appearing within Awareness.
Instead of toggling back-and-forth between awareness of Awareness and awareness of phenomena, Awareness remains knowingly continuous. And the variety of phenomena—appearing and disappearing—are experienced as being homogeneously distributed, in the sense of evenly pervaded by Awareness.
The Ever-Elusive Emulsifying Agent
If Awareness is akin to oil, and phenomena to vinegar, then what is the emulsifying agent that brings them together into a delicious vinaigrette?
We might propose spiritual practice, or an interest in Truth, to be the emulsifier …
But here’s where the metaphor begins to break down, because—in Reality—the experience of the simultaneity of Awareness with phenomena is not so much a creation (of something new out of what formerly were distinct entities) as it is a revelation (of a luminous no-thing that previously was veiled, playfully hidden within dualistic perception).