Awareness

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Awareness

Postby rachMiel » Mon Oct 08, 2012 4:49 pm

I experience two distinct flavors of awareness.

One is heavy handed: An imagined teacher/guru-like presence looking over my shoulder, watching me think and act, wagging his finger, keeping me in line and on path. Call this faux awareness.

The other is light, nonjudgmental, noninvasive. It's not so much that I am watching myself think and act, rather that these thoughts and actions are illuminated, made accessible to my mind. Call this pure awareness.

Pure awareness illuminates, makes perceptible without leaving a trace. Faux awareness watches (as subject/watcher and object/watched) and intrudes.

Caveat cogitor: Brain/thought is very adept at serving up faux awareness as pure awareness. Master deceiver thou! ;-)
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Re: Awareness

Postby rachMiel » Mon Oct 08, 2012 4:52 pm

A question that keeps coming up for me: What are the "benefits" of awareness?

1. Let's say I take a walk in the woods, and I am really feeling it: in my body, my senses, my full being. I'm really there, no distractions, direct connection with what is.

2. Now take the same situation, but add to it: I am aware. I don't simply feel my body as it moves along the path, I am aware of my body and my feeling of it. I don't simply see the trees, I see the seeing of them. I'm not just doing/being, I'm aware that I'm doing/being.

What is the difference between 1 and 2? What arises with awareness of deep and connected being/doing that does not arise with just deep and connected being/doing? And, perhaps, vice versa?
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Re: Awareness

Postby rideforever » Mon Oct 08, 2012 5:08 pm

rachMiel wrote:One is heavy handed: An imagined teacher/guru-like presence looking over my shoulder, watching me think and act, wagging his finger, keeping me in line and on path. Call this faux awareness.

When you feel this ... watch it very closely. Don't judge it and say "this is faux awareness" and switch to thinking about George Clooney again. No, watch these thoughts/ feelings as they run through ... by watching them you undo them so they don't ever come back.

rachMiel wrote:The other is light, nonjudgmental, noninvasive. It's not so much that I am watching myself think and act, rather that these thoughts and actions are illuminated, made accessible to my mind. Call this pure awareness..

Good, but not very deep. An animal as it walks through the woods also feels 'natural' ... but through 'practice' you go much much deeper. Practice meaning passionate focussed surrender.

rachMiel wrote:1. Let's say I take a walk in the woods, and I am really feeling it: in my body, my senses, my full being. I'm really there, no distractions, direct connection with what is.

You are feeling I AM - your reality. But not at its deepest yet.

rachMiel wrote:2. Now take the same situation, but add to it: I am aware. I don't simply feel my body as it moves along the path, I am aware of my body and my feeling of it. I don't simply see the trees, I see the seeing of them. I'm not just doing/being, I'm aware that I'm doing/being.

This practice trains the mind. And it is not the final state. Ultimately through the development of yourself, you surrender ... but you have to be deepen yourself to surrender.

Instead of walking through the forest like you are floating on a cloud ... here you are really just prioritising 'pleasure' again ... instead go deeply into it.

People often begin with awareness practice on negative things. But eventually you must also going deeply into 'positive' happy things. So that you become intimately acquainted with all things.
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Re: Awareness

Postby karmarider » Mon Oct 08, 2012 11:03 pm

rachMiel wrote:I experience two distinct flavors of awareness.


Part of the problem is the expectation that awareness is something other than ordinary awareness. Spirituality insists on using qualifiers which make it sound like something other-worldly, eternal, out-of-body, oneness and so on.

Consciousness has no qualities. It is completely ordinary and familiar.

This is why I like John Sherman's explanation. It's self-correcting. It's very ordinary, familiar, right here on the surface. It's not a practice. You simply look at what it feels like to be you.
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Re: Awareness

Postby rachMiel » Tue Oct 09, 2012 6:25 am

rideforever, thanks for the response. :-)

If i understand correctly, your answer to "Why practice awareness?" is: "So that you become intimately acquainted with all things."

I'm not sure what you mean. Please explain further.
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Re: Awareness

Postby rachMiel » Tue Oct 09, 2012 6:29 am

karmarider wrote:Part of the problem is the expectation that awareness is something other than ordinary awareness.

But surely you experience different intensities of awareness, yes? Lighter when you're tired/preoccupied, deeper when you're alert/calm.
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Re: Awareness

Postby rideforever » Tue Oct 09, 2012 9:13 am

It is very difficult to understand what 'practice' awareness means. It's a hard thing to communicate. Doing things all the time isn't it. Some will is required, and lots of surrender.

Why ?

Well it's up to you.

For me, if you love something look after it, water it.

We are all totally brainwashed by our culture to not do anything different ... but when I started rebelling against this and doing something different it dawned on me that everything I knew was a lie. At the beginning I thought it was just the news / politicians / relationships that were full of lies. But after some time I realised the entire culture and all education, what your parents and loved ones teach you, is all a lie ... they don't mean to, but they are just parrots. No one remembers the reason.

And then I went looking. But I knew I loved my life and wanted to look after it.
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Re: Awareness

Postby rachMiel » Tue Oct 09, 2012 2:28 pm

rideforever wrote:It is very difficult to understand what 'practice' awareness means. It's a hard thing to communicate. Doing things all the time isn't it. Some will is required, and lots of surrender.

You talk a lot about surrender, rideforever. What exactly(ish) do you mean? Who/what surrenders whom/what to whom/what? Etcetera.

Why ?
Well it's up to you.

Fair enough.

For me, guy whose mind tends to flip between two main states -- focussing single-mindedly on an activity (reading a book, watching a movie, talking with someone, thinking something through, imagining something) or mind-fog/zombie-brain -- being simply and non-goal-orientedly aware of "what is" comes very (very) unnaturally. I would probably never have done it if I hadn't run into Krishnamurti's (and later others') carrot of awareness being a good thing to cultivate. And the payoff for me (crass, but you understand) is not dramatic ... sometimes not even palpable.

So you see it's confusing to me. I read about all these people who get IT by practicing awareness (and then eventually just being aware, effortlessly). But when I do it -- or try to do it -- I often (not always) feel flat (like the joy of simply being/doing is taken away), bored, annoyed (because it's not second nature, takes a lot of effort), etc. I keep coming back to it ... out of I guess a kind of belief that these people know what they're talking about. And then I keep going away from it, because belief doesn't hold much water for me. The proof is in the pudding, so to speak, and the pudding I'm tasting when I do awareness is often not very delicious or nutritious.

I know: complain, complain, complain! ;-)
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Re: Awareness

Postby rachMiel » Tue Oct 09, 2012 2:41 pm

Awareness (in the Krishnamurtian sense = awareness as highest form of meditation) has become a bit of a bugaboo for me.

On the one hand I hold it in the highest esteem, because so many teachers from so many different backgrounds extol its virtues.

On the other hand I kind of hate it, because it's difficult for me to do, disrupts the normal ways my mind works (which I find pleasurable), and has (thus far) yielded no deeply satisfying payoff. (The one exception is that, sometimes, being aware seems to heighten and expand "what is" in a beautiful way. But this is generally very short lived.)
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Re: Awareness

Postby karmarider » Tue Oct 09, 2012 5:30 pm

rachMiel wrote:
karmarider wrote:Part of the problem is the expectation that awareness is something other than ordinary awareness.

But surely you experience different intensities of awareness, yes? Lighter when you're tired/preoccupied, deeper when you're alert/calm.


Is this really true? Your mental state changes. Awareness is awareness.

Awareness (in the Krishnamurtian sense = awareness as highest form of meditation) has become a bit of a bugaboo for me.

On the one hand I hold it in the highest esteem, because so many teachers from so many different backgrounds extol its virtues.

On the other hand I kind of hate it, because it's difficult for me to do, disrupts the normal ways my mind works (which I find pleasurable), and has (thus far) yielded no deeply satisfying payoff. (The one exception is that, sometimes, being aware seems to heighten and expand "what is" in a beautiful way. But this is generally very short lived.)


I suggest that you have created certain expectations about awareness. Maybe what you are doing is trying to quiet the mind.

Perhaps you are willing to explore other techniques?

Noticing, just effortlessly noticing the inner experience, without judgement or interaction, as a witness can be effective. After a time, you can even notice that there is no noticer. Just noticing going on.

Looking at the sense of you, the sense of I am, works well.
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Re: Awareness

Postby rachMiel » Wed Oct 10, 2012 1:53 am

karmarider wrote:
rachMiel wrote:
karmarider wrote:Part of the problem is the expectation that awareness is something other than ordinary awareness.

But surely you experience different intensities of awareness, yes? Lighter when you're tired/preoccupied, deeper when you're alert/calm.

Is this really true? Your mental state changes. Awareness is awareness.

It depends what you mean by awareness.

If you're using it in its conventional way, to mean focussed attention, it can definitely have different intensities; one can attend more or less to something.

If you're using it in the Krishnamurtian (perhaps Advaitan?) way ... well I guess I don't understand what awareness means in this other way. It's definitely not just focussed attention.

I suggest that you have created certain expectations about awareness. Maybe what you are doing is trying to quiet the mind.

I'm trying to understand what people mean when they talk about an awareness that is not simply focussed attention.

Perhaps you are willing to explore other techniques?

Noticing, just effortlessly noticing the inner experience, without judgement or interaction, as a witness can be effective. After a time, you can even notice that there is no noticer. Just noticing going on.

I've been doing this quite a lot, getting "better" at it. Though I often feel like it impedes my simply being (me). No matter how careful I am to observe without intruding/changing, the observing itself changes my internal weather quite dramatically.

Looking at the sense of you, the sense of I am, works well.

This one still leaves me confused. I've deconstructed the (illusion of) "I" so doggedly for so long that framing something as "I am" short circuits my little brain. ;-)
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Re: Awareness

Postby runstrails » Wed Oct 10, 2012 4:49 am

rM,
I wonder if the semantics is throwing you off. Its the very ordinary sense of everyday awareness that you and everyone has. A simple sense of existence. A knowingness or amness, if the "I" is throwing you off. Its very ordinary. Not a special state to be achieved or anything like that. Just your everyday awareness.

Maybe these posts of Kiki might help:
viewtopic.php?f=38&t=7154
viewtopic.php?f=5&t=122
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Re: Awareness

Postby karmarider » Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:35 am

rachMiel wrote:It depends what you mean by awareness.


There is just awareness.

There is not a different Krishnamurtian way or Advaitan way or focused attention or presence.

Just the very familiar, very ordinary awareness. It's the sense of you, the sense of existence. Look at you. Don't worry about what you are looking at. It's self-correcting.

Noticing, just effortlessly noticing the inner experience, without judgement or interaction, as a witness can be effective. After a time, you can even notice that there is no noticer. Just noticing going on.

I've been doing this quite a lot, getting "better" at it. Though I often feel like it impedes my simply being (me). No matter how careful I am to observe without intruding/changing, the observing itself changes my internal weather quite dramatically.


Yes it does. Noticing is not different from the noticed thoughts. As Krishamurti says the observer is the observed. By that he means there is no observer and no observed objects. There is just observation. This can be seen when it is seen that the you in your thoughts does not refer to anything real. Despite all of this, noticing is a good thing to do. It allows and trains attention.

Looking at the sense of you, the sense of I am, works well.


This one still leaves me confused. I've deconstructed the (illusion of) "I" so doggedly for so long that framing something as "I am" short circuits my little brain. ;-)


Two different things.

The illusion of "I" that you have deconstructed is the realization that the you in thoughts does not refer to anything real. That's good.

Despite seeing through that illusion, don't you still feel a strong sense of existence? This is you, awareness, ordinary awareness. Looking at this is looking at the sense of I am.
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Re: Awareness

Postby rachMiel » Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:39 am

runstrails wrote:rM,
I wonder if the semantics is throwing you off. Its the very ordinary sense of everyday awareness that you and everyone has. A simple sense of existence. A knowingness or amness, if the "I" is throwing you off. Its very ordinary. Not a special state to be achieved or anything like that. Just your everyday awareness.

Hi runstrails. Always nice to hear from you. :-)

It could be that I'm on a wild goose chase, or in the midst of self-created fairy tale ... but I sense/feel that there is more to it than that. That this awareness thing I'm talking about can mature/open into something very deep and powerful. And my "everyday awareness" sure as c'hell isn't that! ;-)

Guess I have to find out for myself. It's like the "finding one's own key" thing I'm always talking about. I need to find my key, open my door, and see what's what. :-)

(And that's exactly what I'm doing. ('sfar as I can tell.))
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Re: Awareness

Postby runstrails » Wed Oct 10, 2012 5:58 am

And my "everyday awareness" sure as c'hell isn't that!

Actually it is :wink:. It's ordinary and its limitless/eternal. It's who you are :D.

Guess I have to find out for myself

Yes, I totally agree. And you will. Let us know when you do :).
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