Awareness

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8 years 7 months ago - 8 years 7 months ago #12069 by Kate Gowen
Awareness was created by Kate Gowen
[This topic has been spawned from another thread, to avoid derailing it. Carry on.]

Dukkha arises, passes away, is not you nor yours. Bliss arises, passes away, is not you nor yours. Accomplishment arises, passes away, is not you nor yours. Failure arises, passes away, is not you nor yours.

What is it that, itself, neither arises nor passes away; and does not seem to be you or yours?

BTW, there IS an answer to this non-rhetorical question.
Last edit: 8 years 7 months ago by Tom Otvos.

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8 years 7 months ago #12072 by Tom Otvos
Replied by Tom Otvos on topic Awareness

Kate Gowen wrote: Dukkha arises, passes away, is not you nor yours. Bliss arises, passes away, is not you nor yours. Accomplishment arises, passes away, is not you nor yours. Failure arises, passes away, is not you nor yours.

What is it that, itself, neither arises nor passes away; and does not seem to be you or yours?

BTW, there IS an answer to this non-rhetorical question.


Now.

-- tomo

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8 years 7 months ago #12074 by Kate Gowen
Replied by Kate Gowen on topic Awareness
And what is the character or process of "now"?

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8 years 7 months ago #12084 by Tina
Replied by Tina on topic Awareness

Kate Gowen wrote:
What is it that, itself, neither arises nor passes away; and does not seem to be you or yours?

BTW, there IS an answer to this non-rhetorical question.


Kate,

You also mentioned becoming aware of this yourself on Mark's practice thread & I've been hearing Rodney Smith as well as many Advaita teachers refer to that which is unchanging, but I haven't become aware of it yet. So, please don't hold back!! What IS the answer? How do we see THAT?

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8 years 7 months ago #12089 by Chris Marti
Replied by Chris Marti on topic Awareness

"So, please don't hold back!! What IS the answer? How do we see THAT?"


Ah, yes, that's the question.

THE question.

This is possibly the ultimate koan - what is it that never changes? You have access to it all the time. You ARE it all the time. What is it that is always present, is never born and never dies? In a way, it's not an "it" at all because it's not a thing, an object. It is something that has accompanied you on your life's journey, every second of the way. In my experience (before I grokked it, talking to others since) is that if you are told the answer you will probably shrug it off, think little of it. You might think it's trite, of little meaning, a throw-away line of some sort. Until one day when it grabs you by the throat, throws you down and makes you aware of the deep nature it reflects.

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8 years 7 months ago #12092 by Russell
Replied by Russell on topic Awareness
Nice Chris. Tina, it is not some trick question. You can already see the answer. But, like Chris said, until you truly see for yourself, you will probably still say 'OK, but so what?' This it not something you can just be told.

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8 years 7 months ago #12093 by Kate Gowen
Replied by Kate Gowen on topic Awareness
It is the ongoing process of being/awareness itself-- in words. But to put it in words doesn't do justice to the mind-explosion of feeling it in the totality of your body and mind. A long-ago teacher noted "we go on existing, and none of us knows anything about what it is to be going on existing."

Afterwards, it is as if every last silly thing has an extra dimensionality that you've ignored all your life. And you couldn't say if it is "in/part of others/ things" or "in/part of you." And you know that you'd had glimpses now and then-- sometimes since you were a child.

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8 years 7 months ago #12094 by Russell
Replied by Russell on topic Awareness

Kate Gowen wrote: It is the ongoing process of being/awareness itself-- in words. But to put it in words doesn't do justice to the mind-explosion of feeling it in the totality of your body and mind. A long-ago teacher noted "we go on existing, and none of us knows anything about what it is to be going on existing."

Afterwards, it is as if every last silly thing has an extra dimensionality that you've ignored all your life. And you couldn't say if it is "in/part of others/ things" or "in/part of you." And you know that you'd had glimpses now and then-- sometimes since you were a child.


SPOILER ALERT!!! :ohmy:

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8 years 7 months ago #12096 by Tom Otvos
Replied by Tom Otvos on topic Awareness

Kate Gowen wrote: It is the ongoing process of being/awareness itself-- in words. But to put it in words doesn't do justice to the mind-explosion of feeling it in the totality of your body and mind. A long-ago teacher noted "we go on existing, and none of us knows anything about what it is to be going on existing."

Afterwards, it is as if every last silly thing has an extra dimensionality that you've ignored all your life. And you couldn't say if it is "in/part of others/ things" or "in/part of you." And you know that you'd had glimpses now and then-- sometimes since you were a child.


The reason I didn't say awareness is because, to me, awareness is still arising and passing. I am not continuously aware of things in the sense that you probably are. To me, "awareness" is an act, not a thing, equivalent perhaps to "attention". Wrongly, it would seem.

-- tomo

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8 years 7 months ago #12097 by Chris Marti
Replied by Chris Marti on topic Awareness
Awareness is not alertness. Awareness is not attention. You do not need to be aware that you are aware, because you are already aware. Any time you are alive you are aware.

Simple as that.

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8 years 7 months ago - 8 years 7 months ago #12098 by Russell
Replied by Russell on topic Awareness
About 6-7 months ago Ona asked me "How much effort does it take to be aware that you have a foot?" (or something along those lines) My response was, "Whoa, I just got a bliss wave." So simple, but it was the right pointer at the right time.
Last edit: 8 years 7 months ago by Russell.

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8 years 7 months ago - 8 years 7 months ago #12099 by Russell
Replied by Russell on topic Awareness

Chris Marti wrote: Any time you are alive you are aware.


And where was this awareness before you were born and where does it go when you die?

Edit: Maybe we need to take this out of Tom's log :)
Last edit: 8 years 7 months ago by Russell.

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8 years 7 months ago #12100 by Chris Marti
Replied by Chris Marti on topic Awareness
Yeah, let's stop posting about awareness here for now and let Tom's log be Tom's log. If someone (Tina? Tom?) would like to start an Awareness topic we can talk about the Big A there.

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8 years 7 months ago #12101 by Kate Gowen
Replied by Kate Gowen on topic Awareness
Tom-- is it true that awareness itself (as distinguished from objects of awareness) arises and passes?

Is that your experience, if you really investigate it? Or is that an expectation, an assumption, or other shortcut around your experience?

I think one of the reasons the breath is used as a focus for practice, across traditions. is that it is as pervasive as awareness, as subject to manipulating and as likely to be ignored most of the time. And as constant, regardless of whether we are "doing" it, or not.

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8 years 7 months ago #12102 by Laurel Carrington
Replied by Laurel Carrington on topic Awareness
I found this primordial awareness once when I was deeply agitated, feeling scorching waves of shame, remorse, regret, and self-hated washing over me, and then suddenly I was at the eye of the tornado, watching with compassion.

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8 years 7 months ago #12105 by Chris Marti
Replied by Chris Marti on topic Awareness
Tom said --

"To me, "awareness" is an act, not a thing, equivalent perhaps to "attention". Wrongly, it would seem."


Well..... yes.

:)

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8 years 7 months ago #12108 by Tom Otvos
Replied by Tom Otvos on topic Awareness

Kate Gowen wrote: Tom-- is it true that awareness itself (as distinguished from objects of awareness) arises and passes?

Is that your experience, if you really investigate it? Or is that an expectation, an assumption, or other shortcut around your experience?

I think one of the reasons the breath is used as a focus for practice, across traditions. is that it is as pervasive as awareness, as subject to manipulating and as likely to be ignored most of the time. And as constant, regardless of whether we are "doing" it, or not.


I hope this is not going to become a semantic thing, but let me put it this way. To me (and please that that for what it is worth), I don't think you can have awareness without an object of awareness. Otherwise what are you aware of? Let's say I am lost in thought...mind completely carried away. Until that moment I am aware of being lost, at which point I am no longer lost, I was not aware of being lost or indeed aware about anything at all. So for me, awareness did not exist.

I have no experience of awareness being something primordial that I can tune into or out of.

-- tomo

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8 years 7 months ago #12109 by Ona Kiser
Replied by Ona Kiser on topic Awareness
something was aware of the thoughts you were lost in or you'd just have no memory of that period?

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8 years 7 months ago #12111 by Kate Gowen
Replied by Kate Gowen on topic Awareness
It's a fine line to walk, to explore understanding without falling into mere semantic quibbles.

However, consider these attempts to express what is acknowledged, up front, to be inexpressible-- AND experienced by some people over the millennia:

"seeing clearly with naked awareness" (Tibetan Vajrayana); "consciousness without an opject" (Franklin Merrill-Wolff); "mind like a mirror," "bare awarenss" (various traditions).

So, the practice seems to have to do with distinguishing between what is associated with awareness and awareness itself. Silent sitting-- and, strangely, sometimes acute crisis-- produces gaps where that still-point/ Witness function Laurel spoke of can be felt. Inquiry/ being grilled by your teacher aims at getting to the same place by an inferential process of discarding everything that is not "the essence."

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8 years 7 months ago #12112 by Tina
Replied by Tina on topic Awareness
Thank you for starting a new thread on this topic! This is so cool, because I was contemplating this subject for a good part of the morning, and I wanted to continue it without hogging Tom's practice thread.

OK, in my experience, I cannot find awareness. All I ever notice are the objects of awareness. There's no way that I can separate them. When one is in a darkened room holding a flashlight, the objects that are illuminated by the beam of light appear to be one with the light until it is turned off. Then, objects are not apparent. That's how I think of awareness, as THAT by which sights, sounds, smells, tastes, thoughts, and tactile sensations are known.

If I'm outside on a very clear day, I can go to an area where the sky is unobstructed by trees or buildings. As I lift my gaze, and take in only the vast, clear blue sky, there is no beginning and no end to the blue space. My awareness does not land on any objects, still, I'm aware of the infinite space.

I've been listening to Rodney Smith and a handful of Advaita teachers lately, all of whom are talking about awareness, consciousness, space, etc. I'm presuming they mean the same thing, but are using different terms? I dunno. What I do know is that they're speaking of THAT which is changeless, unmoving, unconditioned. It can't be known directly, because it is THAT by which all things are known, including this life form called Tina.

This is some heavy shit. My head is going to explode with the desire to know what the hell everyone is talking about!

So, what IS the answer?

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8 years 7 months ago #12113 by Tina
Replied by Tina on topic Awareness

Kate Gowen wrote:
So, the practice seems to have to do with distinguishing between what is associated with awareness and awareness itself.

Kate,

How do we distinguish between what is associated with awareness and awareness itself? Isn't that like saying they are two "things"? Wouldn't that be duality, or is the duality something we assume to be true about reality? Like the subject-object split?

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8 years 7 months ago #12114 by Kate Gowen
Replied by Kate Gowen on topic Awareness
"When one is in a darkened room holding a flashlight, the objects that are illuminated by the beam of light appear to be one with the light until it is turned off. Then, objects are not apparent. That's how I think of awareness, as THAT by which sights, sounds, smells, tastes, thoughts, and tactile sensations are known."

"How do we distinguish between what is associated with awareness and awareness itself? Isn't that like saying they are two "things"? Wouldn't that be duality, or is the duality something we assume to be true about reality? Like the subject-object split?"

YES.

Both subject and object are complementary-- and relative-- "parts" of an indivisible, singular experience. Both are analytical words with limited usefulness. Neither represents the totality of the experience. Some Zen schools indicate the feeling-tone of the experience of awareness-in-itself by saying that we "become intimate." Others indicate that we discover "no boundary" between the subjective and objective; Martin Buber talks about "I-Thou."

Words can only take you to the great jumping-off place of experience...

The great thing about people's stories is that "the feeling of what happens" comes across, in spite of attempts to analyze it all in the best scientific mode.

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8 years 7 months ago - 8 years 7 months ago #12115 by Chris Marti
Replied by Chris Marti on topic Awareness
Tom - you can have awareness (consciousness, if you like) without an object. It's not logical to our thinking, conceptual mind but it's actually a part of our ongoing existence. We all have trouble believing it without the direct experience of it. Telling you these things is more or less as we talked about earlier - until you feel it, experience it, grok it, it sounds impossible, trite, even silly. But there will come a time when will shake you to your foundation. And all these terms we're using are useless to describe it because they are by their very nature conceptual dualities.

Oops, sorry, late to the party.
Last edit: 8 years 7 months ago by Chris Marti.

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8 years 7 months ago #12116 by Chris Marti
Replied by Chris Marti on topic Awareness

"I have no experience of awareness being something primordial that I can tune into or out of."


'Cause it is always there. You cannot turn awareness off and compare the lack of awareness to anything. That's why the experience of it is so.... different.

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8 years 7 months ago - 8 years 7 months ago #12118 by Tina
Replied by Tina on topic Awareness

Kate Gowen wrote: Both subject and object are complementary-- and relative-- "parts" of an indivisible, singular experience. Both are analytical words with limited usefulness. Neither represents the totality of the experience.


From Nalakalapiyo Sutta: Sheaves of Reeds SN 12.67

"...there are cases where it is through the use of an analogy that intelligent people can understand the meaning of what is being said. It is as if two sheaves of reeds were to stand leaning against one another. In the same way, from name-&-form as a requisite condition comes consciousness, from consciousness as a requisite condition comes name-&-form."

"If one were to pull away one of those sheaves of reeds, the other would fall; if one were to pull away the other, the first one would fall. In the same way, from the cessation of name-&-form comes the cessation of consciousness, from the cessation of consciousness comes the cessation of name-&-form.


So, is this indicating the same relationship that you spoke of above? No object without a subject, no subject without an object. One indivisible experience.

That makes sense, but what about awareness? I understand that consciousness arises & passes as contact is made at the sense doors. Then when contact ceases, so does consciousness. But, there's awareness of the cessation of consciousness. Take hearing for example. I hear a loud, abrupt sound. I'm aware of its arising and passing. After it has ceased, there is awareness of its absence.

What persists when all contact is absent? And, is it dependent on the body-mind? Or, is the body-mind dependent on IT?

And...how is this discovery significant for the reduction of suffering?
Last edit: 8 years 7 months ago by Tina. Reason: additional question for clarification

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