The Issues of Attention and Awareness
04 Dec 2019 12:22 #111899
Chris Marti wrote:
Maybe you're all of actor, director, and audience.
Yes. This is the mystery the human brain can't know the ultimate truth about, but we still keep trying to with spiritual practice anyway. This is also linked to our issue with suffering -we feel separate from some aspects of existence/experience and feel the need to do something to change things. So when we apply intent in order to manifest phenomena, it is either illusion that we are able to do this or we playfully pretend that we are in control.
This actually leads me to re-think the buddha quote: I only teach suffering and the end of suffering. Buddhism is commonly associated with the pursuit of spiritual truth, but knowing the ultimate truth about existence may not be requisite for freedom from suffering... maybe all you need to do is make your ego look at itself enough to get dissolved by the helplessness of ever attaining any real truth of the mystery. Then all you have left is natural acceptance of phenomena dependently co-arising with or without your participation, and no longer have energy for habitual utilization of mental conditioning that results in suffering. This does not have to mean cessation of the arising of negative mental/emotional phenomena; that will always be part of the movie- the awakened or even mindful person may just understand it enough to not fall out of their chair with a knee jerk reaction while watching it arise.
How about this: Allow yourself to be both caught up by and aware of the whirl of being actor, director, and audience of life. Integrate with the mystery and don't sweat the small stuff. Mindfulness, then, is not the cause of this, it is the effect, the natural state of mind without a confused ego in the way.
So back to your original question:
"My question is this: why is being present, or aware of being aware, given privileged status over other experiences? What's special about it?"
In my understanding, there is a special effect that "being aware of being aware" causes. Somehow it has the unpredictable ability to sometimes tip the hand of mystery and reveal insights about what we really are, or what we are not (an independently originated self). This can, by all reports, happen spontaneously without any dharma practice, but, also by all reports, seems to happen more likely when we bring attention to experience. To add to this (or contradict it) the experience of being unmindful and then becoming all of a sudden aware that you were being unaware of experience is just as beneficial (if not more) than striving for continuous mindfulness all day without interruption. There may be something special about paying attention to the moment were you start paying attention.
Note: I continually, day by day, know less and less about the dharma, so everything I write is theory not knowledge and will probably change tomorrow. Somehow this is my cutting edge at the moment