Resting in open awareness
Awareness is the continuous thread underlying all experience. All experiences – whether we might define them as good or bad – lie within awareness. Awareness is what sees and holds all experiences as well as the experiencer, both as enjoyer and sufferer.
Awareness begins as the bare observer of things, the first hand witness of all personal experience. It’s essentially mindfulness but without any particular object of attention. Open awareness, in contrast to concentrated one-pointed focus, is wide open, lucid, relaxed and alert.
To recognise this witness, or become aware of the witness, allows a kind of resting in the clarity of a deeper awareness without any naming, judging, analysing or intellectualising.
The practice involves discerning between awareness and the objects appearing in awareness, like a sky and clouds floating through the sky.
Initially, it may feel hard to see the ‘seer’ and ‘seeing’ with a deeper seeing – it all sounds like a play of words set up to trick you. But once that realisation happens, once we recognise what is looking at the looker and the looking, we transcend the clouds and rest in the open sky of unbound awareness in the unbound now.
We are bound to get entangled with some of the clouds, the objects that arise within our awareness. But as soon as we recognise such single-pointed attention and zoom out again to see the observed, the observer and the act of observing, there we are again floating in the open space above the clouds.
- Settle into a comfortable meditation posture with the spine straight and upright.
- Feel into That within that has always been, unchanged, throughout your life, no matter your age, job, family status and so on – the essential You.
- Now step back to reside just behind your heart and look at yourself, knowing ‘I am.’
- Recognise that statement as awareness of your being, ‘I am aware that I am.’
- Recognise that statement with a deeper awareness of the witness of your being … without the need to give it any words or definition.
- Remain situated in the heart, aware of any bodily sensations, feelings or thoughts that may arise within your awareness. Observe without naming. Allow without changing. Be the silent seer.
- The present moment may present plenty going on within you and around you – see it yet remain unmoved, untouched. Watch the clouds from the conscious sky.
- Know that the conscious sky cannot be affected by the clouds. It doesn’t ‘like’ certain clouds and not others. It doesn’t tell the clouds to come or to go. It simply allows and watches, perhaps even a little amused.
- In daily life, begin applying this process of being aware that you are aware, until such open equanimous awareness becomes more and more natural. It is a deeper experience of the Now and the way to Presence.
Meditation sessions are held at the Lotus Room every Friday at 7pm. Discover also the benefits of yoga, what Lotus Room Yoga is all about and what it means to live the yoga life. Contact Jenny for more information.