Four Expressions of Awareness

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Four Expressions of Awareness

Postby rachMiel » Wed Oct 04, 2017 3:30 pm

As pointed out by Rob X the term "awareness" is used to mean two quite different things:

1. The act of a subject (the awarer) seeing/perceiving/knowing some object (the awared).

2. The nondual, subject/object-less ground, truth, source, etc.

Loch Kelly, in his book Shift into Freedom: The Science and Practice of Open-Hearted Awareness, posits four "expressions" of the second (nondual) type of awareness. From the book:

Four Expressions of Awake Awareness

Local awareness is one of awake awareness’s four modes of expression, along with spacious awareness, awake awareness embodied, and open-hearted awareness. Local awareness is a vehicle that is already here and can take us home. Over the ages, people have tried many methods of going beyond the mind, including using the five senses, the conceptual mind, the ego, and our will or attention— none of which can find awake awareness. The five senses can only know what they’re designed to know. Thinking is not designed to know awareness either. In order to find awake awareness, we must learn how to unhook local awareness from conceptual thought. In this way, we discover that local awareness can shift into and know awake awareness.

Local awareness is the dynamic, interactive dimension of awake awareness that can unhook from thought. It is the skillful means to immediately know our ground of being. Local awareness can shift into and know spacious awareness as itself. To understand local awareness, it’s helpful to understand the other three modes of expression of awake awareness as well.

The second expression of awake awareness is spacious awareness, which is timeless, boundless, changeless, contentless, formless, and knowing. Spacious awareness is our ground of being, the source of our identity. Spacious awareness as pure awareness is the nature of mind like the clear, open sky that’s behind and within the clouds of our body and mind.

The third expression is called awake awareness embodied, or presence, which is the realization of nonduality, when formless spacious awareness realizes that it is also form. Spacious awareness is innate within the body, the way atoms are within molecules and space is within every atom. Presence recognizes that the atoms, molecules, and our bodies are a unified expression of awake awareness. From presence, all energy patterns, forms, appearances, and matter are experienced as waves arising from the ocean of awake awareness.

The fourth expression of awake awareness is open-hearted awareness, which knows through unconditional love, interconnectedness with all things, and relationship with others. From open-hearted awareness, we have the capacity to be creative and compassionate.
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Re: Four Expressions of Awareness

Postby Rob X » Fri Oct 06, 2017 6:17 pm

rachMiel wrote:As pointed out by Rob X the term "awareness" is used to mean two quite different things:

1. The act of a subject (the awarer) seeing/perceiving/knowing some object (the awared).

2. The nondual, subject/object-less ground, truth, source, etc.

Loch Kelly, in his book Shift into Freedom: The Science and Practice of Open-Hearted Awareness, posits four "expressions" of the second (nondual) type of awareness. From the book:

Four Expressions of Awake Awareness

Local awareness is one of awake awareness’s four modes of expression, along with spacious awareness, awake awareness embodied, and open-hearted awareness. Local awareness is a vehicle that is already here and can take us home. Over the ages, people have tried many methods of going beyond the mind, including using the five senses, the conceptual mind, the ego, and our will or attention— none of which can find awake awareness. The five senses can only know what they’re designed to know. Thinking is not designed to know awareness either. In order to find awake awareness, we must learn how to unhook local awareness from conceptual thought. In this way, we discover that local awareness can shift into and know awake awareness.

Local awareness is the dynamic, interactive dimension of awake awareness that can unhook from thought. It is the skillful means to immediately know our ground of being. Local awareness can shift into and know spacious awareness as itself. To understand local awareness, it’s helpful to understand the other three modes of expression of awake awareness as well.

The second expression of awake awareness is spacious awareness, which is timeless, boundless, changeless, contentless, formless, and knowing. Spacious awareness is our ground of being, the source of our identity. Spacious awareness as pure awareness is the nature of mind like the clear, open sky that’s behind and within the clouds of our body and mind.

The third expression is called awake awareness embodied, or presence, which is the realization of nonduality, when formless spacious awareness realizes that it is also form. Spacious awareness is innate within the body, the way atoms are within molecules and space is within every atom. Presence recognizes that the atoms, molecules, and our bodies are a unified expression of awake awareness. From presence, all energy patterns, forms, appearances, and matter are experienced as waves arising from the ocean of awake awareness.

The fourth expression of awake awareness is open-hearted awareness, which knows through unconditional love, interconnectedness with all things, and relationship with others. From open-hearted awareness, we have the capacity to be creative and compassionate.


Hi rachMiel

I was going to comment about this sooner but couldn’t think of anything positive to say. The thing is that I read this book last year and wasn’t very impressed. I hardly ever buy spiritual books these days but this one initially appealed because of the great reviews and the blurb said something about a neuroscientific approach (I'm always curious about the interface between science and spirituality.) But I found the book to be more of the same old awareness teachings - containing the same old unsupported suppositions. For me reading this sort of stuff can be like wading through treacle (though I’ve never actually done that.)

Also it was full of lists - which is never a good sign. I reckon that it’s in the contract with Sounds True. You get a bonus for every list you include. :D Thanks for posting anyway.
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Re: Four Expressions of Awareness

Postby rachMiel » Fri Oct 06, 2017 8:26 pm

Wading through treacle ... ! Good one. ;-)

I used to get the heebie-jeebies when I read Awareness books. Couldn't get past the first 10 pages without the gag/vomit reflex coming up. ;-)

Then, lo or behold, I found a teacher whom I really like who's spent 30+ years doing different forms of Buddhism and he ended up with a very eclectic approach with awareness (rig pa in Tibetan Buddhism) square at the center of it! He recommended this book ... and I found that it spoke to me. Greg Goode's book on Standing as Awareness too ... which I had previously tried to read then run away screaming.

What do ya mean by "same old awareness teachings?"
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Re: Four Expressions of Awareness

Postby Rob X » Sat Oct 07, 2017 12:48 pm

rachMiel wrote:Wading through treacle ... ! Good one. ;-)

I used to get the heebie-jeebies when I read Awareness books. Couldn't get past the first 10 pages without the gag/vomit reflex coming up. ;-)

Then, lo or behold, I found a teacher whom I really like who's spent 30+ years doing different forms of Buddhism and he ended up with a very eclectic approach with awareness (rig pa in Tibetan Buddhism) square at the center of it! He recommended this book ... and I found that it spoke to me. Greg Goode's book on Standing as Awareness too ... which I had previously tried to read then run away screaming.

What do ya mean by "same old awareness teachings?"


The book is probably fine as far as this sort of book goes. It’s me, I really should have stopped buying them years ago. In fact, the ideal spiritual book (for me) would be no more than about 40 pages long with a large font. Not because I have the mentality of a small child (well, not just that) but because there’s really not that much that can be conveyed and pointed out without drifting into muddy areas of speculation and dogma.

I like Greg. I don’t always agree with him but he’s smart and doesn’t insult his audience. I especially like his pointers on the emptiness teachings. (I had a couple of bouts of correspondence with him about 11/12 years ago when he was just another contributor to forums and wrote the odd article for Jerry Katz’s nonduality blog.)
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Re: Four Expressions of Awareness

Postby rachMiel » Sat Oct 07, 2017 3:19 pm

I also corresponded for a while with Greg. He was very supportive (in a short-clipped way). Then one day I sent him a CD of a music piece I love, just to say thanks for his support. From that day on he hasn't answered any of my emails. I wonder if he felt my giving him a gift was too personal and he got spooked or annoyed? Guess I'll never know!

I think I understand your frustration around awareness teachings. I feel that The Power of Now (the first book I read that advocated the Direct Path or something close to it) only needed to be about 10 pages long, just enough to introduce readers to presence: what it is, how to "access" it, how it feels if you're doing it "right," what it's capable of, etc. The End. Anything more than that starts to create expectations and storylines ... which can feel great, important, esoteric, powerful, etc. But which, in the long run, divert attention from the one thing that truly is amazing (in an everyday, even banal way): being present.

A lot of the work left for me is disabusing myself of these glorified expectations and stories. This, I think, is why awakening takes 40 years rather than 40 days ... something in (most of) us requires that we bang our heads against every wall we can possibly find (or imagine into quasi-existence) ... until it dawns on us that all we're doing is giving ourselves headaches! (Or somethin' like that.)
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Re: Four Expressions of Awareness

Postby Rob X » Sat Oct 07, 2017 4:45 pm

rachMiel wrote:I also corresponded for a while with Greg. He was very supportive (in a short-clipped way). Then one day I sent him a CD of a music piece I love, just to say thanks for his support. From that day on he hasn't answered any of my emails. I wonder if he felt my giving him a gift was too personal and he got spooked or annoyed? Guess I'll never know!


He doesn’t strike me as the type who would want to be your best mate. I think you got dumped, rach. :D

rachMiel wrote:10 pages long, just enough to introduce readers to presence: what it is, how to "access" it, how it feels if you're doing it "right," what it's capable of, etc. The End. Anything more than that starts to create expectations and storylines ... which can feel great, important, esoteric, powerful, etc. But which, in the long run, divert attention from the one thing that truly is amazing (in an everyday, even banal way): being present.


Yes, the key to a good teaching (as far as I’m concerned) is more direct pointing - less conclusions/theory.
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Re: Four Expressions of Awareness

Postby rachMiel » Sat Oct 07, 2017 5:10 pm

Rob X wrote:He doesn’t strike me as the type who would want to be your best mate. I think you got dumped, rach. :D

Sigh ... Maybe if I sneak up to his balcony late at night and profess my desire for a non-monogamous non-dual relationship? ;-)
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Re: Four Expressions of Awareness

Postby Onceler » Sun Oct 08, 2017 2:18 am

Tao Te Ching
Be present, be pleasant.
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