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Question and Answer on Pure Awareness

{written by : Desthein}

Article word count : 1099 -- Article Id : 758
Article active date : 2008-10-06 -- Article views : 3476

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Article is about :
Pure awareness precedes consciousness.

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Questioner: Since we come to the practice of meditation with dualistic consciousness, our approach to practice tends to have its foundation in illusion. Thought we may passively observe the thought process, we still give reality to the thoughts we passively observe. We believe that realness from them; we refuse to acknowledge them as hallucinations. And even as we diminish the momentum of the mind and observe the activities of ego with detachment, we still give reality to ego; we don"t treat it as the hallucination that it is. So my question is, how does one bring about a shift to the universal perspective, to that place where we know that all of the mind"s activity is an hallucination, a dream?

Desthein: Generally speaking, we take the thinking process as real because we are not allowing this thinking process to come from a place of awareness. It is only after we experience a thought that there comes the awareness that a thought has occurred... and then there comes another thought of maintaining a vigilant awareness of the thought process. This is not the state of consciousness that ultimately underlies the thought process. This is still mind"s activity. A thought is always a secondary product. All thinking is secondhand. Thoughts are not of the true nature of being, which precedes all thinking. If awareness were a matter of thinking, then it would not be of the nature of the absolute – a place of absolute presence that stands on its own, independent of any mental or material form, independent of even consciousness itself. An awareness that is derivative of the thinking process cannot be total, all-embracing. Pure awareness can only contain the totality of life. It is life as a whole. It is the oneness of it all. This is pure awareness.

When we talk about a so-called state of true awareness, we are referring to That which stands prior to any arising thought or phenomena. We are talking about a presence from which everything arises and subsides, an absolute presence that witnesses everything, including the apparently subjective awareness of the observer; this is not just an awareness of the thought process alone. If awareness could only arise because of the manifestation of a thought or anything else, then that awareness would only exist because of that particular manifestation arising on the screen of consciousness. It wouldn"t be an awareness of the whole. This is how the mind is being tricked! It becomes aware of a thought process and because of that awareness it believes it has mastered the game. However, this awareness can only be temporary since it is intimately connected to that thought flow. Who is to become aware of the thought? To whom does the thought arise? For a thought to arise, there has to be a thinker who is aware of him/herself. That self-awareness is not the pure awareness that we are talking about. The awareness of the thinker and the awareness of the thinking process itself arises from something, and that something is the witness of it all. This can only be of the nature of pure awareness – an awareness without any object or subject. It is impersonal.

Pure awareness is already an actuality, however oblivious we may be to its presence. We tend to get stuck when thinking in terms of an awareness of our own, our own personal awareness, a thinking process which revolves around this sense of existing as a separate individual. An awareness that can be witnessed cannot be said to be pure and undifferentiated, thus genuine and total. This is the reason we do not seem to go anywhere with our meditation practices and our seeking. We keep holding on to the subject as we keep believing that our thoughts are real! Even the belief that the thoughts are not real is but another thought. To see the whole process as it is – without ever attempting to alter it – is really the only thing to do, for at that moment of complete letting go, neither subject nor object have any reality. Only that which witnesses it all is real, for it is not of the mind. It is the all. It is what is. Pure awareness is the ultimate witness of any arising awareness of anything of the phenomenal world, just as it is the witness of anything in the realm of consciousness. This pure awareness is the substratum of consciousness.

Here is an example: Let’s say a group of individuals are sitting in a room meditating. Each person is actually doing the meditation, which may involve simply and passively observing the thinking process. Some stillness is being experienced by some of the meditators, while some are just immersed in thinking. Each meditator seems to be absorbed in his/her sitting position and you are standing outside the room, acknowledging what is actually going on. No one in that place knows of your presence, about the fact that you are watching the meditators as a group; all are merely concerned about being “aware” of their own thought process. However successful these individuals may be with their meditation, you remain the witness of what is happening in that room as a whole. Now at the same time, something is also witnessing you observing the individuals meditating. Whether you or the individuals are aware or not, it"s all being witnessed by an awareness that precedes any other awareness. This is how it is. No matter what appears on the screen of consciousness, whether, in this case, the meditators are aware or not aware of whatever they are trying to be aware of, there remains an awareness that encapsulates it all. This is pure awareness.

If you come to realize that everything you perceive is only circumscribed by the walls of your mind, would you still believe that what you see is real? And would you assume that you exist as a separate entity? Of course not! Therefore, how are you to perceive what is real? What effort is required, and can there be such a thing as effort? How are you to contain the totality? The only thing left to do is to surrender or merely realize that what is actually taking place is the play of consciousness itself and nothing else! This is too simple for the mind! How difficult we make it and yet there has never been anything so simple – consciousness just spontaneously playing – and nobody to change anything and nothing to change. This is what amounts to the end of the dream world.

Author Bio :
Desthein's essential teaching is that no seeking is required for one to come to the realization of one's true nature. It is because the mind has looked outside of itself for this realization that an illusory sense of I-identity persists; in searching externally we have separated ourselves from who we really are. Clear seeing alone is liberation.

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