Q: While I have a general understanding of surrender in abiding as Awareness, there's something in me that is terrified of going deeper into the practice and I want to ask you: is there anything that I should be fearful of? Should I only abide as Awareness for small amounts of time? I just have a fear that one day I will not be able to relate to the world anymore, I will not be able to relate to anybody else, and that's the only fear that stops me from going deeper into the non-dual practice.
I have had powerful experiences of non-duality, but they came and went. I still remember them, but in some ways they seem like a far-off memory or a dream. When I say 'I', there was no 'I' present in those experiences - it was as if there was a merging between subject and object and no personal self to be found anywhere. And while they were beautiful, they were scary.
Is abiding in that non dual experience permanently enlightenment? Or is that experience a byproduct that comes and goes and is rather a confirmation of the Truth but not the Truth Itself?
A: Yes, abide as Awareness for small amounts of times - as much as you can. At first, Awareness seems like Peace / Oneness that comes and goes, and as such is known to be at the background of experience. After some time, the periods for which you can abide as Awareness become longer and longer, until Awareness is known to be permeating all things.
The fear comes because of the old belief 'I am the mind/body', i.e. I am limited and finite. When you abide as Awareness, you know that is not true. There is nothing outside of You, Awareness. As such, all these old beliefs and fears slowly begin to re-align with Truth. I would recommend doing the meditation 'Consciousness is the Source and substance of all things'. With some practice, it will take you 4-5 minutes to do the entire meditation.
In terms of relating to other people and the world - it is the opposite of what you think. The more you know yourself as Awareness, the more compassion, love, beauty, and freedom you will experience in your relationships. They become an expression of Truth. And speaking about non-duality is not necessary - any conversation is seen from the non-dual perspective. It may take a while to drop all the judgements of others (which are really only judgements of oneself), but ultimately all relationships become an expression of Love.
Enlightenment is the recognition 'I am pure Awareness'. Please note that it is Awareness itself that recognises this, not the separate mind/body. As such, no one really becomes 'enlightened', as Awareness is pure Light. After this so-called enlightenment, there is the process of re-aligning the mind/body that I talked about earlier. In Truth, abiding as Peace is effortless, natural - it is simply being. As such, it is not possible to not permanently be our Self - there is only the occasional illusory veiling of this knowing, which - when questioned - dissolves.