01 The World We Live In
02 Appearances and Awareness
03 Manifestations in Consciousness
04 Discovering the Hypnosis
05 Breaking the Hypnosis
06 Appearances and Concepts
07 The Problem with Concepts
08 Everyone has the same Problems
09 Awareness of Awareness
10 Stabilizing Awareness of Awareness
11 Expanding Awareness of Awareness
12 Liberating Concepts
13 The CLEAR
14 The CLEAR in relation to the world’s Great Religions
15 Adjusting the Self-Concept
16 Vehicles of Awareness other than the Physical Body
17 Liberating the Self-Concept
18 Self-Liberation and Self-Realization
19 Song for Self-Realization
20 The Arising of Fundamental Compassion
21 The Dark-Side of the DNA Code Entrapment needs Compassion Too
22 Awareness of Awareness in the Dream State
23 Working with Vehicles of Awareness
24 Practice in Becoming Awareness of Consciousness Awareness in the Waking State
25 Practices in Being Awareness of Consciousness Awareness in the Waking State
26 Realizing the Nature of Being as Being-Aware of Being-Informed
27 From the Stone Age Through the Information Age to the Age of Awareness and the Dawn of the Age of Being
What so ever may be your chosen or given religion, or spiritual philosophy, you are blessed in having among the prophets, teachings and enlightened ones of your own tradition, together with those of all other caring religions and philosophies as well, those special ones who are the total expression of all-encompassing compassion, who one can turn to in time of need to find solace and refuge from all the negative conditions which can arise to our awareness; the pain, the fear, the jealousy, the anger, the hatred and all the suffering these feelings can bring. Even when we may feel our ego is strong enough to handle anything without any help from anyone, then is especially the time to seek refuge with those who have understood the pain and suffering that a strong self-caring ego, the base root of all suffering, does cause, and, understanding this have turned their own desire towards the alleviation of the vast swell of the interminable suffering of others, including the alleviation of our own suffering as well.
The strength of one’s own personal faith in these Refuge Providers and the Refuge they provide is a true measure of the peace and Grace you yourself can experience in the midst of the passionate turmoil of uncertainties that continually confront each and every one of us in our daily lives. One cannot help but be eternally grateful for the immeasurable joy, equanimity, compassion and pure loving kindness they shower upon us without the least expectation of consideration or appreciation in return. Let us acknowledge them within our hearts and gratefully accept the Precious Refuge They Provide.
This book is about discovering our nature as timeless conscious being. It draws on our current understanding of our physical nature to broaden the concept of our psychological nature as historically addressed by traditional religious and philosophical teachings. It looks to these teachings from both eastern and western traditions for the distillation of the essence, the fundamental nature of our being. It revisits the religions of east and west finding interpretations of their teachings that arise with respect to this essential nature, and its importance in the overall flow of being and how to find it and identify with it as our own timeless nature. Finally, it synthesizes all these into simple and direct ways to discover one’s own grounding in this essence of being and to move from being the subject of the mortal body to the implementer of one’s immortal conscious being.
Great teachers and spiritual leaders, some well known, such as Moses, Gautama Buddha, Jesus Christ, Krishna, Mohammed, and the Dalai Lama, and others perhaps less well known to many of us, such as Garab Dorje, Padmasambava, Patanjali, and many many others throughout the ages have sought to convey to those of us of “ordinary” perspective the existence, significance and personal relationship we have with an essential nature that is “not of this world”, and yet with which this world and all its creatures are inexorably entwined.
Great teachers and spiritual leaders, some well known, such as Moses, Gautama Buddha, Jesus Christ, Krishna, Mohammed, and the Dalai Lama, and others perhaps less well known to many of us, such as Garab Dorje, Padmasambava, Patanjali, and many many others throughout the ages have sought to convey to those of us of “ordinary” perspective the existence, significance and personal relationship we have with an essential nature that is “not of this world”, and yet with which this world and all its creatures are inexorably entwined.
While it is hardly possible to reference the thousands of individuals who have participated in one way or another in the unfoldment of this understanding, it is nevertheless entirely within our means to appreciate this point they have brought us to, such that by taking both a broad perspective and a deeply introspective look into their teachings we are now in a position to place them into a context we all, irrespective of our particular personal religious affiliations and beliefs, spiritual perspectives, and even scientific understanding, can relate to and even embrace.
This is possible because among these teachings are those of compassionate consideration for all beings, teachings which allow us personally, at least internally, to set aside our thoughts of dislike and even hatred for those who outwardly may seem opposed to us, because no matter what we may have been taught to believe or think about others and their particular beliefs, at our most essential level of being we are all, each and every one us, of one identical essential nature which entirely transcends our worldly differences from the most petty to the most grave, while at the same time brings us a sharing of experience which is in no way different between any one of us and another irrespective of whatever high or low status or rank, wealth or poverty any of us may be faced with.
Again, this sharing of experience is no minor or trivial context within our relationships with one another. Rather it is this common essence of experience shared by the exact same fundamental nature of consciousness-awareness which we all are, not in some unknown abstract esoteric way, but in our immediate moment to moment in-your-face living experience, that not only makes us brothers and sisters in the moment, but joins us, unites us as one for all time as timeless essential eternal being as well. We are not only joined at the hip by this, but joined at the heart, joined at the mind, and joined at the soul in our immortal fundamental essential nature as consciousness-awareness-being, and at the same time this timeless, immortal, fundamental essential nature as consciousness-awareness-being is more than simply the basis, indeed it IS the very actuality of our present, ongoing, moment to moment, day-in, day-out “ordinary” conscious experience.
Thus the purpose of this book is to offer the perspective, the information, the knowledge derived by many others, concentrated to its heart essence, together with personal insights and a universal overview that anyone, and especially you yourself in your own unique circumstance, can reasonably and comfortably relate to in your own personal way, whereby you can piece together for yourself the factuality, the actuality of how this can be, how this actually is and how you can come to discover in the midst of your own “ordinary” experience your own actual fundamental nature, a nature that supersedes and transcends the mortal “life” of the physical body, and how because of the strong programming built into the brain and other organs of the body by the replication of its
In this we will find affirmation that we are much more controlled by our
James Wray September, 2008
Comment on Introduction
The World of Today differs little from that of the dawn of civilization in the context of how we go about perceiving it and our relations with others, despite the great body of knowledge and both technological and financial means, or lack of same, through which have been wrought the obvious changes we have imposed upon it and ourselves. Yet, despite our great modern ability to just do it to it, we still view the world through a mind’s eye perspective with origins which predate even the cavemen’s concepts of worldly reality. Our own personal relationship with this perceived solid reality, not only the nature of our physical relationship with the physical world, but our very act of perception of the world itself, arises in a kind of instinctive viewpoint long ago established by the nature of our physical embodiment, our human nature.
The purpose of this book is to reveal not only this instinctive viewpoint and processes which drive it, but more importantly to use that understanding to reveal that which ordinarily remains hidden within our instinctive viewpoint, the very essence itself of our true fundamental nature as consciousness-awareness being.
In order to begin we need first to consider, to discover, how we ordinarily relate to the world we live in. We live in what we call a physical world, a world composed of solids, liquids and gasses comprising the every day objects and conditions we constantly come into contact and interact with. Ordinarily, when we see and handle a physical object, such as a cup of coffee, smell the fragrance, taste the flavor, and hear the sounds of sipping its contents, we are completely satisfied that these are direct experiences of contact with objects of the world we live in, the cup, the coffee, the world itself. Our life consists of one such experience after another as we traverse a seemingly endless maze of scenes and contacts with items and events, persons, places and things that we seek to relate to in one way or another. Such is the manner of our ordinary way of not only experiencing the world, but of thinking about how we experience it as well, that is in terms of what we routinely think of and refer to as “direct experience”.
In order to understand something of our own nature it is not necessarily required to seek deeper understanding of this physical world, its energy base and its sub-atomic nature, all of which continue to be the subject of intense scientific investigation, although that may eventually come into play. Rather it is incumbent on us to reassess our concept of our self, and that requires an assessment of how we think of and experience our relationship with the physical world. Certainly our physical bodies are components of the physical world, and if we take ourselves merely to be the physical body then we may be even more inclined to accept the notion of “direct experience” as being entirely adequate for describing how we interact experientially with the physical world.
This assessment may seem to work fine for most of us throughout our younger and even middle-aged years, but as eyesight begins to weaken and vision begins to blur, within that blur of vision arises the basis for a true epiphany of realization of one’s fundamental nature of being. Initially as farsightedness begins to develop it is seen as merely an inconvenience to reading, and reading glasses readily correct the problem, so it is as if nothing has really changed. With time, however, this farsightedness may increase to the point where even distant objects are difficult to focus on, and bi-focals become the order of the day. Now the conditions have become irrefutably set to discover for one’s self the fallacy of the ordinary notion of “direct experience” and to make a giant leap in the understanding of one’s own nature. We all know from our own direct experience of any solid object that the object exists in its own sharp crispness of detail, right down to the tiniest aspect of its physical reality. With either good vision or with corrective glasses we see the object sharply and affirm without further thought that we are directly experiencing the actual object. Remove the glasses, however, and suddenly the object appears fuzzy, making us uncomfortable with this experience which seems to be at odds with our established sense of the “actual reality”. If we face this squarely with the question, “What, if anything, could have changed with the physical object I was looking at merely because I removed my glasses?” , the considered answer can be only “Nothing has changed with the physical object.” With this one simple observation and its inevitable acknowledgment, the fallacy of the notion of “direct experience” is directly exposed, and one’s considered relationship with the physical world is forever and irrevocably changed. How is this so? Because we see with thoughtful understanding that our experience is actually one of an awareness of the appearance of the object as provided by our vision sense, an appearance projected onto the mentally structured locale of the evident but nevertheless assumed object, and most definitely not the experience of an awareness directly of the object itself. Thus the experience is revealed as an indirect association with the object at best, and certainly not the “direct experience” of it we ordinarily assume. Replace the glasses, however, so the object again appears crisp and sharply in focus, and immediately this wonderful epiphany is neatly forgotten, whilst the sense of “direct experience” rules again like a bad and unremitting habit. Evidently this habit, like most, is not so easily broken, even if it is recognized, but this simple recognition is of disproportionately profound significance when it ultimately comes to understanding and actually realizing one’s own true nature, which as it turns out has a lot more to do with appearances, and especially awareness of appearances, than it does with what we think of as the world we live in or objective physical reality.
The Relationship between Consciousness and the Physical World
The chief problem in establishing some understanding of the relationship between Consciousness and the Physical World is that they are very likely, in the final analysis, to be of the same essential nature, just as the photon and the wave function independently model aspects of the behavior of light, ultimately reducible to energy. In the Eastern view, it is common for Consciousness to be given priority, and matter to be understood as manifestation of Consciousness, whereas in the Western (scientific) view most effort is made to explain consciousness as subordinate to and arising out of interactions of physical matter-energy, as for example attempting to invoke wave mechanics as a source of consciousness and holographic theory in particular as the mechanism of vision. Each of these works in the context of particular examples, whereupon proponents typically focus, but outside the domains of specific limited examples neither view is entirely successful. For examples, the Universe is known to consist of much more than can be perceived visually by the common experience of looking at the night sky, and the very specific wave interference process necessary to create a hologram simply is not present in the visual eye-brain system.
A third view is that neither the physical world nor consciousness take on an overall dominant relationship with respect to the other, but that each tends to be experienced independently of the other, irrespective of whatever root or causal basis they may possibly share in common. In this view it is the experiential aspect, that is the awareness of the physical by consciousness and the recognition or feedback of this awareness by the physical, which is considered to be immediately significant in terms of understanding as practical process and application, with the root nature of the process being considered as something that can be left to future examination without unduly affecting immediate practical results, much as in the case of our understanding of gravity, where we do very successful practical work with our present knowledge of the behavior of mass objects under its calculable influence, without necessarily fully understanding the root nature of the process itself.
This third view is the view taken in this practical exposition, with the simplifying view that matter exists in its own right, that consciousness exists in its own right, and that a system of processes, involving what we may term as vehicles and energies, some physical and some “subtle”, necessarily operative though not necessarily understood at their root nature, are active in transforming physical sensory inputs into “disturbances in the field” of Consciousness which manifest as displays to conscious-Awareness, the self arising aspect of Consciousness to be aware of disturbances in itself, and to “read-out” what arises to the Awareness aspect back into the interrelational process such that the vehicles are enabled to derive information from the Consciousness display. The nature of this process is considered to the extent necessary to evidence the apparent fact of its existence and practical function in so far as possible, whereas, as mentioned above, an ultimate root nature or causal origin of this system of processes is simply assumed but not addressed at this point. Within these limitations and boundary conditions, however, there exists an incredibly rich and complex range of possibilities for entire realms of beings as ourselves and others across a vast timelessness of interactive experience that stretches the imagination to its limits and beyond, and within which we are all either almost helplessly mired in its infinitude of illusions or, hopefully, making our mutual way by means of enlightened awareness of not only our own nature in this consciousness interactive domain, but with complete loving concern and consideration for that of all the countless other beings which share it.
Appearances can be thought of as the visual scenes which we are aware of. Awareness of appearances is a direct experience associated with the vision process. This experience is “direct” with respect to appearances because awareness directly apprehends the appearances in consciousness as they arise or form as a result of the subtle vision processes. It is important to understand that the appearances arising in consciousness as a result of the subtle vision processes are not the original images detected by the retina of the eye, but rather are the end result of a series of complex and subtle processes of information transmission and energy transformation which have been applied to the original retinal images, or more precisely to the signal energy of these images, in effect reconditioning the physical world brain energetics into more subtle and appropriate “information” compatible with consciousness and with the consequent arising or formation of the resultant appearances in consciousness as display for awareness to apprehend.
Reflecting on this nature of visual experience as being awareness of appearances arising in consciousness, one is led to conclude that the nature of any type of sensory experience is similarly one of awareness of the result of the corresponding sensation, where by sensation is understood to mean physical result of contact of the sense apparatus with the sense object, photon, phonon, pheromone, flavinoid, tactile object or brain produced thought, having been similarly processed through the appropriate transforms to a resulting subtle mental state which mimics or models the physical sense stimulus or brain interaction, and then, just as visual appearances arise as a result of visual stimuli, these other sensory “appearances” or “thought-forms” arise or “manifest” in consciousness where they are directly perceived by awareness, all in exactly the same way, irrespective of the particular sense, be it sight, sound, smell, taste, touch or thought. Understood in this way it becomes clear that one experiences nothing that is not presented to awareness, and conversely, one has no basis for imputing an existence of oneself other than through this awareness, which itself has no personifying characteristics other than that it seems to operate with a locale appropriate to the location of one or another of the body’s sense organs, and therefore presents the effect of being body-centric, as if it is one’s own particular awareness which is aware of all that one experiences. From this it follows that if one were to select a principle self-attribute on which to focus as being one’s actual self-nature, just this awareness would be a very good place to start.
If awareness is a good place to start associating with a notion of self, then what might be said about the appearances? Initially it might have seemed unlikely, but by now one may begin to realize that appearances as well as awareness may be considered to be an aspect of one’s own nature. To better understand how that might be so, and to gain deeper insight into what we may think of as our own nature we need to consider more specifically the nature of appearances. Appearances, all of which arise in consciousness in dependence upon the corresponding sense stimuli clearly have no independent existence of their own, being entirely of the nature of consciousness display, like a picture on a screen, and therefore quite reasonably could be said to have a nature of emptiness as contrasted with the objectness we associate with the nature of the physical world. Thus appearances have neither concrete nor independent existence, and neither do they arise from nothingness, but rather from an infinite potential, a pure, clear and empty state which is said to have neither origination nor termination, the timeless, unborn we can perhaps come closest to understanding through its designation as Pure Empty Consciousness.
Consciousness, pure and empty, is the unbounded infinite potential base for the arising of appearances, or more generally that which we may term “Manifestations”. By now it should be clear that in this context we are not referring to any kind of physical world manifestations, but rather to the manifestations arising in Consciousness, those which awareness engages directly. Here we should have little difficulty in associating this unlimited Consciousness with our own seemingly personal field of consciousness, which, even though we experience in our own limited sense, they are, nevertheless, One and the same. Thus we can readily add a second principal aspect to our fundamental notion of self, that of Consciousness, pure and empty in its nature as potential for the arising of manifestations (ie appearances) to awareness.
If we consider that the manifestations arising in consciousness simply arise as selective displays of the already infinite potential for display to arise in Consciousness, then we see that the display, ie, the manifestation, ie, the appearances, are nothing other than consciousness, and furthermore that awareness is nothing more than the awareness aspect of consciousness taken with respect to the display aspect of consciousness, such that all three are actually endemic to the One. This one, Consciousness – Manifestation – Awareness thus becomes the only possible basis for the fundamental nature and experience of a self.
It may require some considerable reflection, but if you think about it you will eventually come to the conclusion that you engage the physical body as a vehicle for your experience and expression exactly as you and your body engage an automobile as a vehicle for your greater experience and expression, such that in your ultimate notion of self, you, as pure Consciousness – Manifestation – Awareness, engage all vehicles, including those of subtle energy and nature which can even continue to provide inputs to Consciousness when they are not engaged in a physical body – brain system, such as during the period between death of one physical body and the birth of another, not only providing them with the fundamental empowerment of consciousness-manifestation-awareness, but at the same time providing this infinite unmanifest potential with experience gleaned through the association with its vehicles.
This Consciousness-Manifestation-Awareness is not something unique to each person, but rather is shared by, or better, empowers, not only ourselves, but every sentient being everywhere throughout all of beginningless, endless timelessness. Every manifestation that arises to awareness in consciousness readily takes on an apparently objective nature. The appearance of a chair takes on the apparent nature of the chair itself, and is automatically assumed to exist independently in its own essential nature. We reflexively associate the mere appearance with the actual object, as if we were observing the object directly without any intervening mental process, and certainly not as if our observation, the manifest appearance, is actually existing in consciousness.
This taking of the vision of an object to be the object itself is akin to an overpowering hypnosis, a hypnosis which replaces the subjective aspect of our interaction with the object (its evident presentation in consciousness) with the (incorrect) sense that we are experiencing the object directly in its own intrinsic nature. This condition well supports the
While this situation may be good for the vehicle, this “objective” hypnosis leads directly to the loss of awareness of one’s true fundamental consciousness-awareness self-nature, replacing it with an incorrect yet overwhelming personal identification and association with the body-brain vehicle as one’s primary self-nature. This misidentification with the body-brain then leads to mistaken personal self-identification with the sense of impermanence and suffering which rightly belong to the body-brain vehicle alone.
The strength of this “objective” hypnosis is so great that there is no recognition of the fact that one is actually living as a mistaken identity, and the impermanence and suffering are simply taken to be one’s fundamentally true condition. Amazingly, this hypnosis is so persistent that even when one manages to discover its existence, the intellectual realization of the situation alone does not suffice to break the hypnosis permanently, although with time, and a sufficient array of methods, the hypnosis may be interrupted and the consciousness it hides thereby revealed to a more or less ever increasing interval and extent. First and foremost, however, this hypnosis must be discovered and shown to be the deceiver it truly is.
Comment on Consciousness Manifestations
Once you turn your attention to discovering the “objective” hypnosis it is not all that difficult to uncover it, the greater problem probably having been to realize there is something to look for in the first place. In fact we have all seen it in one way or another, but passed it off as mere illusion or a problem with vision, such as momentarily seeing double images, seeing something looking fuzzy and out of focus for one reason or another, or not being able to see something we are looking for, even though it is right in front of us. Each of these situations should reveal to us that we are working with images, some better, some worse, but images nevertheless, taken from the object world, processed appropriately by “mind” and finally displayed in consciousness whereby and wherein we, awareness, become aware of them, and not via some kind of direct vision of the object world itself, such as we routinely and hypnotically assume without any further thought whatsoever in our interaction with them.
There are several different things at work conspiring to bring about the illusion of “direct” vision. One of these is the sharpness quality of the vision experience. Well corrected vision produces an image in consciousness with all the detail necessary to present the appearance of an actual object. The most powerful component of the hypnosis, however, is the three-dimensional view deriving from the stereoscopic vision our two eyes provide us with. The solid appearing three-dimensional view overlays the object with sufficient fidelity that we automatically assume that the solid dimensionally shaped view is the actual object and not a mere appearance arising in consciousness. This automatic assumption is the hypnosis that traps us in the mistaken notion that we are of the nature of the objective solid rather than of the subjective consciousness-awareness. Once we determine that our experience is with a subjective overlay rather than with an objective object then it becomes easier to understand that the same holds true with respect to what we ordinarily think of as ourselves, physical thinking bodies rather than consciousness-awareness presenting an ego-overlay along with a physical body overlay. Here one should not misunderstand this to mean that there is no physical body or no ego any more than one should think that there is no external physical world. The physical world, the body and the ego all exist in their own nature, usually referred to as “relative” nature, be it physical or mental. The problem with the hypnosis is that it directs the self identification onto the relative world vehicles of the real self, rather than onto consciousness-awareness, the actual real self. These vehicles may come and go, live and die, over and over again, but they are not at all of the same nature as we are of timeless consciousness-awareness.
Traditionally this hypnosis is dealt with indirectly by resorting to the reduction and essential elimination of the sensory stimuli and mental processes which ordinarily produce it, by introducing a meditative state of quiescence in which the consciousness-awareness may be recognized unencumbered by any appearances or manifestations which otherwise would be arising in it. In some traditions the seeking of direct communion with God can bring about the direct realization of the Consciousness-Awareness, which ultimately is vastly more powerful and mysterious than the limited human conceptualizations characterizing an anthropomorphic God-figure. Also shock and exceptional mental trauma or suffering may lead to a failure of the hypnosis to hide the basic consciousness-awareness.
The simple fact of the matter is, however, that this hypnosis can be undone simply by undoing the chief contributors to its illusory nature. Thus, if sharply defined high-fidelity stereoscopic images are conducive to hypnotic misinterpretation as the underlying object, then degrading the images through non-corrective glasses, so the scene appears fuzzy, inducing double vision or interfering with the stereoscopic effect should provide means for breaking the hypnosis, so the images may be perceived as arising directly in consciousness, and, being of the nature of consciousness, be experienced by awareness as being of this single nature of consciousness only.
The challenge to breaking the objective hypnosis is compounded by the fact that there are multiple contributing factors leading to keeping it in place. These include the misplaced sense of identification with the vehicles rather than with consciousness awareness, and the tendency towards association and involvement with the concepts we further layer over the hypnosis model of objectivity. Therefore, before engaging in practices to break the underlying hypnosis, it is important to recognize and understand the role played by conceptual thinking, and also to shift our concept of self more into actual awareness of Awareness, comprehending both the appearances and the conceptual overlays and contexts we otherwise automatically apply to them.
Appearances and Concepts
Appearances arise naturally as modulations in otherwise pure undisturbed consciousness. These modulations are driven by the subtle energies of the very subtlest of our bodies or vehicles, mental and spiritual, which are always with us structuring and energizing consciousness such that the modulations or manifestations arising to awareness as appearances can occur in response to sensory or thought stimuli occurring at any level.
Always arising in the first moment are the pure appearances. Lacking even dimensionality, they are of the “One Taste”, ie Consciousness. In the next moment these pure appearances are imbued with the first level of objectification, dimensionality, with its corresponding sense of objective solidity, structure, or physical or mental reality. This arising of the sense of dimensionality is the onset of the hypnosis. This might be referred to as the “Hypnosis Layer” and still offers a sense of the one-taste, but with a fluctuating sense of duality between awareness and consciousness, which is becoming lost in the dimensionality of the hypnosis. In the next moment these simple “hypnotically” objectified shapes, sensory impressions or mental thoughts are imbued with general conceptual characteristics. This might be termed the “Conceptual Layer”. By this point association with Consciousness has become entirely replaced with association with the Conceptual layer. Then, in the next moment these conceptual characteristics become more specific such as a type-class, and in the final moment they are assigned uniqueness properties such as being labeled with their particular name or identifying characteristics around which the web of relationship with the rest of the world is spun, and the corresponding karmic energies play out their dance of cause and effect.
From the above it follows that one may establish a condition of non-conceptual perception even as one remains caught up in the most subtle hypnosis, dimensionality, that is the final barrier to the experience of pure consciousness-manifestation. Furthermore, if one does not overcome the process of conceptualization then even that subtle hypnotic level can not be recognized as such, and the direct realization that the experience is arising in consciousness remains only an intellectual idea, a concept in itself.
Thus, even though the appearances which arise in every moment are pure expressions of pure consciousness, this fact is not directly perceived as long as appearances are mis-taken to be conceptualized objects, seemingly existing as physical objects and having special and particular importance evidently in their own right. Imbuing the pure appearances with the illusion of some kind of reality separate from and other than consciousness itself, concepts become the building blocks with which we create our own self-induced confinement, be it one of worldly existence, heaven or hell, samsara or nirvana.
Comment on Appearances and Concepts
The Problem with Concepts
The problem with concepts can be subdivided into at least four types:
1. (Incorrect) Auto-assignment of reality to concepts
This is the root or core problem which gives rise to innumerable unnecessary worries, concerns, fears, and even hopes that these worries, concerns and fears won’t materialize into some “actual” negative situation, but may instead be supplanted by something positive or beneficial. Rather, wisdom arising from the pure consciousness acting upon the basis of pure appearances, including those of automatically self-liberating concepts, can give rise to the least encumbered solutions to the real problems and circumstances encountered in everyday life.
This is a huge problem for all sentient beings, because during their internment in physical (
3. One Concept leads to yet another concept
Here the simple momentary attractions and aversions lead to more complex hopes and fears which in turn lead to more complex conceptual what if’s which take on the full panoply of a soap-opera, without a single event even having taken place outside the imaginative confines and constructs of one’s conceptualizing mind. Incredibly we spend an inordinate amount of time in exactly this mode, and it simply continues to keep us enthralled far from discovering the wonderful nature of our consciousness awareness being.
4. Concepts and conceptual contexts arise as “Other”
Even though it might seem that if we “know” that our true nature is consciousness-awareness, then by thinking about it we should be able to come to know it directly, this simply doesn’t work. Awareness identifies first with the concepts these thoughts develop and never has a chance to rest in consciousness, or doesn’t recognize it if it does and simply returns to the cage of conceptual thinking, the cage of ego conceptualization, the cage of “other”.
As long as these and the entire host of problems associated with unwitting conceptualized mental processes flood consciousness-awareness, awareness is not free to discover, and identify with, its own fundamental nature.
Clearly, the problems with conceptualization originating from habitual engrainment of
We are all in this together, and indeed it is time we shook hands instead of bodies, and slapped each other on the back instead of in the face, and hugged each other like brothers and sisters, one and another, one and all, all across this world we share like little children on a little planet in a vast cosmos of timeless dimensions of mind and spirit we can hardly hope to fathom, but we do so need to start!!
The place to start is by accepting personal responsibility through taking charge over our own behavior, and that means taking charge of our thoughts and attitudes, all of which means taking charge over our thought process itself. To access this we need to question our self-notion. Are we the bodily “doer”? Are we the mental “thinker”? Or are we something beyond either of these, essential being facilitating and actualizing both of them. If so, are we then the drivers of these vehicles or are we driven by them? If I am not the driver, then who is the driver and, moreover, who knows what will happen? More to the point, if I am not the driver of these vehicles, then “who” IS the driver! Obviously that can be a real problem, because only the “who” knows what will result! This should bother me because my identifying with this “who” is entirely taken for granted. This “who” is the self concept wrapped around the body by and including the
As the experiencer I am fundamentally this awareness; awareness of manifestations of sensation and thought arising in consciousness. There is only One Consciousness, only one awareness principle, even though it seems that awareness is ours alone, and that is perfectly OK! That is where we need to start, by making our identification with Awareness, pure and simple!
Incredible though it might seem, it is possible to turn our attention directly towards our own fundamental nature as awareness. The most straightforward way that I know of to do this is by using the “I am aware of this ..” method. Ordinarily when putting our attention on a particular object our awareness goes to the object and attaches itself to the appearance of the object. This is “grasping” in its most fundamental, though not necessarily subtlest, form. Immediately following the initial attachment of awareness to the object we conceptually assign a whole range of attributes to the object. For example, if you have a cup in front of you, and you think “I am aware of this cup”, then awareness will immediately rise up, go forth, and attach itself to the cup. Awareness is now attached, grasping. Then you begin pondering the situation with respect to the cup; wonder if the coffee is still hot, no, it’s already gone, etc, etc. This is dispersal, our ordinary condition of obliviousness regarding our real fundamental nature as awareness. Try it on something and you can feel this happening. With the “I am aware of this ..” method you simply cut this process short. You do not give awareness any object to go to, awareness is left unassigned, just as it is right at that moment of heightened expectancy. This way you can catch awareness strongly presenting itself. You can easily become aware of Awareness. You can do this right now. Amazing! We should be in this state all the time anyway.
It is not necessary to perform any preliminaries prior to doing this practice, but since we are using something, Consciousness – Awareness, that is available to us as a gift, a grace, and since it is likewise made available to all other beings in the same unconditional way, we should recognize and appreciate this, and we should also evoke thoughts of compassionate understanding and appreciation for all the beings who are likewise engaged in this ocean of consciousness-awareness.
One should then at least become centered enough to be able to pay attention to subtle nuances of mental process. One way to do this is simply to become aware of the passage of breath through the nostrils. One does not, however, initially attempt to retain this awareness into the rest of the actual practice.
Beginning the actual practice, having become centered one mentally intones the phrase
“I am aware of this - - - ”.
Pausing at the end to catch the inner presence of simple awareness and holding this awareness is the actual practice.
The mental process and practice in detail:
The additional spaces between the words indicate that time is to be allotted for carefully examining the mental state accompanying and immediately following the mental intonation and contemplation of each word in the phrase.
I Beginning with “I ” one pauses to observe the effect that intoning and contemplating the meaning of “I ” has on the inner state, particularly on the sense of self or whatever is present to awareness. A focused sense of the ordinary “I ” concept will be dominating awareness and awareness will not be clearly evident, being already fully involved with the “I” concept.
Practice and observe your own mental state:
am The word “am” adds a palpable sense of potential for action. The “mmm” sound may ring on in the mind. Awareness is not clearly evident, being already involved with the subtle concepts of “am-ness” and the mental intonation of the sound of “am”
Practice and observe your own mental state:
“I am ”
aware The word “aware” strongly brings out awareness, but still holding on to the “I am” concept or sense of personal self or ego self as the possessor of this evident awareness. Here awareness is experienced as an asserted property of the ego-persona, the body-brain self-concept. At this point the ego is comforted and strengthened by the affirmation that it possesses this wonderful awareness. The hypnosis is actually still in full effect and this is certainly not an awareness of our fundamental nature.
Practice and observe your own mental state:
“I am aware ”
of The word “of” suggests that this awareness is going to be assigned something new to be aware of. Here the ego-self concept is being set aside and awareness is shifting to a palpable sense of expectancy.
Practice and observe your own mental state:
“I am aware of ”
this The word “this” confirms that an assignment for the focus of awareness is about to be made. At this point the concept of ego self has been entirely set aside and attention is focused on the evident circumstance that awareness is about to be given a new object of interest for it to go out to and engage. This state is characterized by intense alertness.
Practice and observe your own mental state:
“I am aware of this ”
. . . The symbol “ . . . ” means holding this state indefinitely, without proceeding to define or otherwise establish any object, without making any assignment for awareness to engage. Instead, during this pause one carefully notes the present state of mind. Upon careful introspection one almost immediately finds that awareness is clearly and strongly present, alone in its natural condition, unmodified by any association with the “I am” or ego. This is pure, unassigned Awareness, the actual Awareness aspect of our fundamental nature, and the target of our search at this point.
The following is the complete practice. Observe your own mental state:
“I am aware of this . . . ”
If one then gently holds this state one finds that this condition of awareness can be made the focus of attention without its reassignment. This is the state of awareness of Awareness. Continuing in this state (repeatedly as necessary) is the initial practice. Observing awareness in this way one finds that it seems initially to have localization in the head-space, as if it is behind the eyes, as if awareness itself is the seer. Perfect, awareness itself IS the seer, and this seer IS you as witness. This is awareness of Awareness in perhaps its most limited visual sense mode, but this awareness is indeed YOU in that mode.
While you can hold awareness in this manner briefly, as soon as your vision or your mind settles on an object, even unintentionally, awareness will immediately seem to go out and attach itself to that object, and awareness of Awareness will drop out of focus as the hypnosis locks awareness onto the newly objectified target. Nevertheless, you can return to awareness of Awareness again simply by repeating the phrase, while practicing as above.
Awareness experienced directly in this way is readily discerned because it is experiencing a vivid display of appearances, or modulations, or “manifestations” in consciousness. Practiced in this way, this display of appearances is non-conceptual and the consciousness, appearing as clear space in the display, as well as the manifestations, arising as the display of appearances in consciousness, are the other two aspects of the three-part-whole, Consciousness-Manifestation-Awareness which together comprise one’s undifferentiated fundamental nature.
To actually realize Consciousness Awareness one needs to move one step beyond the practice of awareness of Awareness, seemingly localized within the body head space. This step consists of very gently letting one’s sense of awareness move forward into the clear empty space in the visual display, that is in the scene before you. Here care is taken not to let awareness go beyond the clear empty space to the form appearances that surround the empty space. Letting awareness rest in this empty space, one gently begins to cognize that this empty space is nothing other than pure consciousness, unmodulated, free of appearances other than a lucid clarity. Here, even though the appearances remain non-conceptual there still remains the hypnosis that there is some latent aspect of objective nature, some subtle intrinsic form to them. This subtle hypnosis interferes with the direct impression that awareness is experiencing pure consciousness per-se. While holding awareness within this clear space, still appearing as mere clear space among the background of appearances, hypnotically carrying the latent impression of physical objectivity, gently relax your eyes, letting them cross slightly, causing the appearances to become doubled across the background scene, all the while maintaining awareness centered on the clear space, understanding it to be pure consciousness. Suddenly, as the appearances double, the hypnosis breaks and both the clear space and the appearances take on the essence of their true nature of consciousness appearances, the clear as pure lucid consciousness, and the appearances as lucid displays of consciousness manifesting shades of light and color, precisely as it actually IS. This is Consciousness Awareness, and together with awareness of the appearances arising free of both conceptual overlay and the hypnosis of objective form, this is consciousness-manifestation awareness. As awareness lets go of its tendency to hold back, as if it were an independent aspect of one’s nature, and settles into undifferentiated merger with consciousness the integral unity of the three arises as actual direct experience, and one thus directly experiences simply Being the One Consciousness-Manifestation-Awareness.
As you realize the previously inner seeming awareness and the previously outer seeming clear empty consciousness together with the field of appearances manifesting in otherwise clear pure consciousness to be all of the same “one taste”, ie all to be simply unitary Consciousness-Manifestation-Awareness, then you have in so doing directly realized your own fundamental nature.
Thus, practicing this is a way for you to directly “point out” to yourself the awareness aspect of your own fundamental nature, with the full comprehensive unitary consciousness-manifestation-awareness which is indeed your own, complete and perfect in itself, fundamental nature.
Comment on Awareness of Awareness
By holding awareness of Awareness diligently in its merger with the clear consciousness space-like appearance, it becomes briefly stabilized. If one notes mentally that one is actually holding this state then the act of focusing attention in that way becomes the object of attention and the previous awareness of Awareness slips out of focus into a relatively blank, empty state. When this happens use the “I am aware of this - - “ to regain awareness of Awareness, and carefully hold this state, gently refraining from allowing thoughts about what you are doing to arise and interfere initially. After a little while you will notice that in this way you are able to hold the state for considerably longer periods. These periods are usually ended either as before or by inadvertently or intentionally allowing the focus of attention to drift to an apparent form, if the hypnosis is in effect, or to an otherwise mental thought-form or concept. To defer this one uses the crossing of the eyes and doubling of the image to break the hypnosis such that Awareness has only Consciousness, pure and empty, or Consciousness Manifestations, likewise empty of any conceptual elaboration, to contact or merge with. Then, also, by holding the focus of awareness off of the apparent surface of the consciousness manifestations, in the clear empty consciousness space in front of them, awareness has no target other than itself merged in pure consciousness on which to focus. In this way awareness can undistractedly remain focused on Consciousness - Awareness indefinitely.
Here it is interesting and worthwhile to note that if one considers appearances arising in consciousness to be merely the visible surface appearance of whatever makes up the scene, then it is not difficult to actualize the corresponding realization that there is nothing but empty consciousness behind these appearances. With this in wisdom-mind if the focus of awareness strays onto the surface of an appearance and begins to establish a contact that would ordinarily result in the onset of the hypnosis and associated “objectified” conceptualization, then instead the appearance is recognized for what it actually is, a manifestation in consciousness, and the sense of the appearance arising only in consciousness, without any thought or impression of relationship with an “object” or a physical world, is directly experienced. This is awareness of consciousness manifestation or Consciousness-Manifestation-Awareness. As in the case of awareness of Awareness or awareness of Consciousness – Awareness, one continues to hold this awareness of Consciousness – Manifestation – Awareness for as long as possible.
Practicing in this way, directly realizing the fundamental unchanging nature of Awareness, Consciousness and the arising of Manifestations in Consciousness
“One is directly introduced to one’s own Nature.” 1
1. First of Garab Dorje’s “Three (Posthumous) Statements that Strike the Essential Points”, from The Golden Letters, Snow Lion Publications, 1996, translation by John Myrdhin Reynolds.
Backing awareness of off contact with the projected non-conceptual visual scene, the original display in consciousness readily widens to the full extent of one’s peripheral vision. Awareness, however, may remain seemingly localized in the central region of the view even while it is remaining focused on the clear consciousness space. One way of expanding awareness of Awareness is to let awareness broaden its focus little by little until it uniformly takes in the entire display in consciousness without partiality to any one locale in the vision space over another.
Next, one can let the inner sense of awareness expand beyond the boundaries of the seeming self, eg, beyond the boundaries of the head. Just loosen the grip on the self sense of awareness and let it expand beyond you ears, extending out beyond each side of your head, such that even your inner awareness seems expanded and free from any sense of confinement. Now realize this awareness to be an awareness greater than your previous personal physiologically constrained self concept. Identify with this greater awareness, loosening the grip the body and its genetic conditioning have established on awareness. Just let yourself be this greater awareness observing empty manifestations arising in otherwise clear consciousness. Just acknowledge this process alone, letting gene-conditioned thinking and conceptualizations come and go on their own in this process, without fundamentally affecting the process at all. Just let your identification sublime into this process, awareness of empty manifestations arising in otherwise clear consciousness.
Practicing in this expanded way it may be difficult to hold awareness as the “object” and rather than experiencing “self-liberation” of thoughts as they arise, attention may attach awareness to thoughts or other manifestations arising in the scene of the consciousness display and one is unwittingly returned to the ordinary state of perception of an “objectified” concept driven scenario. Yet this is worthwhile practice, because it offers a way to experience both self-liberation of thoughts and tenacious grasping of the conceptualizing mind towards mentally imputed objects even though they are clearly mere displays arising in consciousness. Without this experience the next step might not be as easily recognized and its significance not as deeply appreciated
The true union of the Mother and Child Clear Lights
In projecting awareness onto consciousness in this way there is a natural sense of awareness and consciousness joining together at the merger of the two. Even so, there may remain a sense of focused awareness being other than the pure empty consciousness it engages. This is because the rejoining of awareness with consciousness is not the fundamentally natural relationship between what appears to be the two separate aspects of pure consciousness, ie awareness and consciousness. In a very subtle but profound way it is not quite correct to view the merger of projected awareness with pure consciousness as their fundamental union. This union, which is referred to as the joining of the Mother Clear Light (consciousness with all its potential for manifestation) and Child Clear Light (awareness in its seeming personal mode) is intended to refer to the primordial natural state of consciousness in which awareness arises naturally and seamlessly within consciousness, directly engaging the witness aspect within consciousness such that there is no experiential differential between consciousness, awareness, and the sense of being as participant.
One practicing as before thus needs to relax the sense of intentionally projecting awareness onto consciousness after having done so, and simply engage in the experience of their merger with the background understanding that awareness is arising intrinsically within consciousness. If one does this then the intrinsic union of awareness arising lucidly and seamlessly within pure consciousness will suddenly appear, as if a switch has been thrown, and when this state arises it will be found to be both stable and naturally expansive within the consciousness display.
In this way one wants to simply abide freely in this unique state, without hope or fear or generating desire for it, but rather remaining naturally wakefully attentive to its lucid clarity and display of appearances as vibrant empty luminosity.
Practicing in this way, your unchanging self nature as Awareness, Consciousness and the arising of Manifestations in Consciousness, together with the fundamental oneness of this Consciousness-Manifestation-Awareness, becomes evident through your own direct experience, and
“One definitively decides on this unique state.”2
2. Second of Garab Dorje’s “Three (Posthumous) Statements that Strike the Essential Points”, from The Golden Letters, Snow Lion Publications, 1996, translation by John Myrdhin Reynolds.
Comment on Expanding Awareness of Awareness
Practicing Awareness of Awareness (actually awareness of Awareness focused on pure empty Consciousness) in either of these ways (projected awareness or self-arising awareness) brings on an alert wakefulness with which one can carefully observe processes occurring in ones mind. Observing in either of these ways you will discover that the focusing of attention on awareness of awareness of empty consciousness automatically causes other thoughts which may arise, or attempt to arise, to self-liberate immediately. Here the meaning of the term ‘self-liberate’ is ‘to go away on it’s own, without any additional assistance’, as is evident from the context of its use; quite different from the popular notion of “Self-Liberation” interpreted as meaning the Self is in some way released from a kind of bondage. Here the meaning of “liberation” is that some consciousness manifestation, typically that of a conceptual mental thought, is released from its state of active manifestation, it simply goes away; and in the case of “self-liberation” it does so entirely on its own without any prompting or ignoring or introducing an antidote or whatever; when otherwise the focus of awareness would be drawn to or ‘attach’ to or ‘cling’ to the conceptual thought, such that the thought or concept would remain as an active manifestation in consciousness indefinitely, and all the while causing or enabling the development of additional concepts manifesting in the moment and then progressing on into the next moment ad-infinitum.
Since the primary obstacle to realizing and wittingly abiding in one’s self-nature is the occurrence and proliferation of irrelevant and even contrary conceptualizations which continually distract, attract and confuse the subtler mental vehicles into supporting the agenda of the lower vehicles rather than serving the interests of the higher ones, such that one’s self-nature, conscious-manifestation-awareness, is subordinated to serving the body-brain-ego conceptual complex, the fact that awareness can be postured in such a way as to cause concepts to self-liberate is a vital key to overall eventual success in re-establishing one’s identity with one’s own timeless, unbounded fundamental Nature, Consciousness-Manifestation-Awareness.
Practicing Awareness of projected Awareness on imaginary images, one can discover for oneself, causes the images to self-liberate entirely, simply evaporating or vanishing from consciousness.
With some effort, however, one can hold an imaginary image partially while introducing Awareness of projected Awareness, but the initially vividly sharp image takes on a dull, smoky and diffuse nature. Continuing with greater effort to hold the imaginary image with Awareness of Awareness one can come to hold the image without loss of its original clarity and sharpness, but the image is found to have taken on the property of complete emptiness, conveying no sense of inherent solidity or independent objectivity, being simply the image only. This emptiness is of fundamental importance in loosening the strong tendency for attachment to conceptual objects, because the conceptual nature of objects, even imaginary objects, tends towards the sense of solidity and consequent inherent importance, particularly to the
Practicing this intrinsic arising awareness on imaginary images is important in another context that we shall come to later on. This context is Awareness of Awareness in the Dream State, something we shall discover is considerably more difficult than the Awareness of Awareness in the Waking State that we are working with here.
The importance for now, however, is that by practicing in the waking state in this way one discovers a correspondence between emptiness of appearances and self-liberation of conceptual thoughts; an empty appearance being one for which the ordinary conceptual associations have been liberated, leaving only the pure perceptual condition which is the original unmodified manifestation arising in consciousness, the Manifestation aspect of the Consciousness – Manifestation – Awareness Triad which is the fundamental nature of being, which, as we are quickly coming to realize, we actually are!!
Thus, continuing practicing in this (either) way , maintaining, now highly alert and awakened, direct awareness of pure non-conceptual Consciousness-Manifestation-Awareness, one experiences all manner of conceptual thoughts self-liberating from consciousness, “like water (self-liberating) off a duck’s back”, thus
“One continues directly with confidence in liberation.”3
3. Third of Garab Dorje’s “Three (Posthumous) Statements that Strike the Essential Points”, from The Golden Letters, Snow Lion Publications, 1996, translation by John Myrdhin Reynolds.
Comment on Liberating Concepts
As one continues, one practices by entering not simply clear space, but actually Clear Consciousness Space, or what we might refer to as the Conscious Lucid Empty Awareness Regime, the CLEAR, and by doing so again and again as necessary in the beginning, all the while aiming for continuous “abiding” in this CLEAR Presence.
By paying close attention one will come to realize that in the ordinary state of “non-abiding”, awareness follows after thoughts and objects, seeking them out and attaching to them, thereby giving them a perceived sense of independent origination, a perceived sense of reality unto themselves. Abiding in the Clear Presence, however, one actually experiences the natural condition of thoughts and appearances arising subordinate to their Clear Awareness, such that thoughts, sights, sounds, and all the sensory appearances are clearly perceived to arise within the Clear Awareness of them, and thus are perceived as empty of any inherent nature outside of this Clear Awareness of them itself, rather than one becoming aware of them as if after the fact and thus perceiving them as seeming to exist on their own. For example, ordinarily the perception of pleasant melodious music or unpleasant discordant sound is experienced long after the initial notes have arisen unnoticed yet already perfect and complete in their own way in Clear Awareness-Consciousness. With the focus on CLEAR Conscious Lucid Empty Awareness, the sounds are perceived as they initially arise cleanly in their own true emptiness nature within Consciousness-Awareness and thus do not automatically become the cause of further conceptual assessment, eliciting neither pleasure nor displeasure, but rather simply self-liberate, or, if one so chooses, become the focus of wisdom assessment, and subsequent attention.
In the same way, one’s thoughts, experienced immediately upon arising in the CLEAR Awareness, are intercepted in their original pre-conceptual empty state where they may simply be left alone to self-liberate, or be given such impartial wisdom attention as they may actually be deemed to merit.
The CLEAR, the Conscious Lucid Empty Awareness Regime, ultimately beyond all worldly nature is the Timeless Essential Nature of Being, the Trikaya of Conventional Buddhism, the Kingdom Realm of God of the Judeo-Christian religions, the Realm of Allah of all the Islamic Faiths, the Perfect and Complete in Itself Dzog-Chen of Tibetan Indigenous and Buddhist Traditions, the Chen of Chinese Traditional Buddhism …
Whatever Great Religion you may find personally fulfilling, upon examining its core teachings from your own wisdom perspective, deriving from your own experience arising in this Conscious Lucid Empty Awareness Regime, you will find its ultimate goal is to guide you with complete impartiality to perfect and complete realization of your fundamental nature as Being of The CLEAR. Hence, these practices, designed and intended to serve as guides to you along the way, are especially for you, completely and perfectly appropriate for you to make your own, for you to work with as you wish, and especially for you to benefit not only yourself, but for you to benefit all beings everywhere, as well, without any partiality or discrimination whatsoever, all of whom share through Being of this One Timeless Essential Nature, and together with us all suffer inexpressible grief solely due to the non-realization of, and thus non-identification with, our true nature as Consciousness-Awareness-Manifestation Beings of the Conscious Lucid Empty Awareness Regime. May you, in your own special and wonderful ways, aid immensely in bringing all beings to the state of Perfect and Complete Realization of their Timeless Essential Nature of Being.
When we seek to understand our self-nature we are obliged to begin at the point we are presently at regarding our self-concept. We need to keep in mind that our self-concept is not simply some single notion of our self, but rather a collection of concepts, some more tightly bound together than others, more of a swarm of concepts than a single definitive persona.
It is important to understand that this seeming “swarm” is not something originating in a single moment of time but is instead the time-backwards looking “appearance” of the entire prior chain of one’s thoughts and experiences; one’s “continuum” of bodily or vehicular mental experiences extending back into timeless imperceptibility. Much like looking down the center of a spiral arm in a galaxy produces the appearance of a single “cloud” of stars rather than a long strung-out chain of discrete sources, such is the nature of our seemingly definitive ego, a historically strung-out series of self-assertive conceptual events that at any particular moment gives the appearance of a singular swarm of apparent “I-ness”.
From this swarm of concepts then we grasp the one or several most appropriate to the conditions of the moment. Self concepts associated with the senses can be extremely binding or not. For example, when we touch something we may strongly reinforce our bodily identification concepts even though we may be only loosely identified with the body through our vision awareness at the moment. Thoughts may go towards either of these sensory experiences, already having become sensory based conceptualizations of solidity or objectivity, reinforcing the self concept on the one hand by thinking “Oh, I am touching this thing with my hand. How solid and real this all feels.” (directly implying a solid and real body-self and reinforcing such self-concepts); or releasing the self concept into one of Awareness of appearances arising in Consciousness by thinking “I am only this Awareness experiencing the arising of mere appearances in Consciousness. Even this Awareness is merely arising in Consciousness.” In both cases, the thought process is actively creating thought concepts and applying them to the prior arising sensory based concepts, and the notion of self is still concept-based with the presence of such thinking, but the results of the reasoned conceptualizations are much different from the one case to the other, the one more strongly binding the self-concept into the illusion of bodily based existence only, and the other pointing the way for ultimately breaking the illusion and directly realizing the vivid non-conceptual reality of our fundamental selfless nature as pure Consciousness-Awareness.
By now we may have already adjusted our self-concept considerably, but it may be worth looking at some lingering concepts we may be holding from previous views. Religious beliefs incorporating compassion, tolerance and loving kindness, together with some belief in life after death and even reincarnation, may remain pretty much intact at this point, as well they should. A strictly materialistic body-brain only mode of conscious existence concept may, however, be a bit strained at this point. The certain fact is that we all will definitely need to give serious consideration to our self-concepts, and their ultimate lack of any ability to actually “Be” us, ie, their ultimate “emptiness” in terms of actually “Being” us, in order to come to realize our timeless, deathless, fundamental nature, a nature in which we are all truly One infinite potential of consciousness albeit for each of us experiencing through our particular array of nested vehicles.
A modern technological perspective on self might be that we are simply nothing more than the body-brain complex and all that we experience in the nature of self, awareness and self-awareness derives directly and entirely from bio-electro-chemical actions and reactions within this system. Such a model can be posited to explain everything we experience up to and including the experience of return from the brink, the Near-Death-Experience. This model remains potentially valid through this range of experience because the brain remains implicitly functional through even near-death, and can therefore be argued to be the super-computer seat of all these experiences.
Clearly our self-notion begins with the fact that we have a body, that we are thinking beings and that we seem to be particularly driven by certain agendas which we consider very personally our own. All these add up to our picture of ourselves, a sort of visceral feeling about who and what we are. It stands to reason then that this feeling about who and what we are is simply that, a feeling, a kind of conceptual notion; and as such it cannot be an actual self. When we contemplate “I Am - - “ we think of more than simply the physical body; perhaps the way we feel at the moment as per our mental attitude or the condition of our body, then we may embellish our self concept by contemplating our endeavors, our names, our special identifiers which serve to set us apart from others and establish us each as uniquely as possible within our own greater or lesser self image personas. Collections of concepts, ideas, habits, even continuum collections; can any of these stand objectively as our selves? Still, we do have the body and brain, and if these concepts are packaged in the brain then this body-brain system with its internal programming may begin to seem reasonable as a basis for self-identification.
This body-brain system, which indeed almost seems to demand our self-identification with it, has its own well kept secrets, primary of which, and only recently revealed in terms of commonly held historical perspectives, is its
Before despairing these considerations too greatly there are some additional factors pertaining to the concept of self that need to be considered, most significantly death, the intermediate state and the possibilities of rebirth in any of a number of possible circumstances such as heaven or hell, or some other disincarnate realm, or reincarnation on earth or in some other physical realm. Here the greatest problem may be that we assume that these are issues of faith alone rather than of factual or experiential knowledge, and thus feel compelled to approach these issues from perspectives of belief or disbelief depending on our personal point of view, rather than as additional basis for further understanding our own self-nature. Actually there is now a considerable body of factual and experiential knowledge regarding many of these states, certainly regarding a number of well established cases of reincarnation, even in the west, and perhaps more importantly although necessarily also more anecdotal, participation in an intermediate state leading up to selection of birth parents for one’s subsequent incarnation. If you reflect on this even marginally it is likely that you will confront your own very real uncertainties with respect to the potential conditions and circumstance of your next rebirth. Here is where it becomes very important to gain a practical working understanding not only of the nature of these experiences but, even more importantly, of the nature of the experiencer as well. Take for example the nature of certain intermediate state experiences, particularly those involving choosing one’s next parents just prior to entering into the fetus one will occupy through the next life time. How are these experiences important in consideration of our self-nature? First, the fact that these intermediate state experiences can occur in vivid dream-like clarity, as described for example in the Bardo Thodal or Tibetan Book of the Dead, means that our faculty of dream-like visual perception is a functioning process during the entire duration of experiencing the intermediate state. Second, and most importantly, vivid dream-like appearances, such as visions pertaining to one’s next birth parents, are even experienced just prior to entering a rebirth body, this typically being at a time when the body-brain system from one’s previous lifetime has long-since ceased to exist, let alone remain as a functional system, as it would have been for someone returning to waking state from a near death experience. Thus we have the condition of dream-like visual awareness occurring without the support of a physical body-brain system. Furthermore, the reincarnation body-brain cannot possibly contain genetic coded impressions resulting directly from any experience garnered after the last successful reproduction engendered in the previous life because there is no surviving carrier of one’s genetic code subsequent to that reproduction. Therefore no knowledge of one’s death process can be conveyed from one life to a subsequent one through genetic material, ie through a physical body-brain system, although recall of the nature of ones previous death experience is a common feature of a reincarnate’s past life memory.
These considerations establish logically, to a practical degree of certainty, that our “self-nature” must necessarily include one or more subtle bodies or vehicles which are capable of retaining or recalling information as memory, and are capable of producing at least dream-like visual appearances; subtle bodies or subtle energy systems which do not require the existence of a commensurate physical body-brain system for their effective functioning. Evidently we need to consider these subtle bodies or subtle energy vehicles for awareness when considering our self-nature as well.
Here then we have our first clear indication that consciousness-awareness-manifestation is a more ubiquitous process than something operating merely through the
Comment on Adjusting the Self-Concept
The system of subtle vehicles or subtle bodies is variously referred to and described in a range of terms depending on given culture or religion. In the Judeo-Christian and Muslim contexts they are the Soul and Spirit; in the Hindi view they comprise the Jiva; in Theosophical terms they are the lower mental, upper mental, buddhic and Atmic vehicles; and in the Buddhist view they are subtle mental energies together with the sensory types of conceptualizing consciousness they support, the relative mind. Howsoever they may be defined in detail, they all share the common definition of being vehicles for awareness other than the physical body. As such they are entirely capable of functioning independently of the physical body, just as the physical body is capable of functioning independently of one’s automobile, for example; and, likewise, just as the physical body continues to function normally when it is operating an automobile and the automobile needs the physical body in order to operate as a vehicle, so do the subtle vehicles of awareness continue to function in their normal way when they are engaged with a physical body, and so does the physical body need the involvement, the involution, of the subtle vehicles for it to operate as well.
It is important to keep in mind that these are all vehicles of Awareness, Awareness which remains fully evident during all the ordinary activities and thinking processes of our waking and dreaming states. When viewing the relationship of the subtle vehicles with respect to the physically embodied condition we might be inclined to consider these from a “bottom-up” perspective. We tend to take this approach for several reasons. For one, we automatically tend to identify with the most obvious conceptual vehicle, the body, and from there we next associate with the mental activity generated by the body-brain system. From this bottom up perspective it is difficult to even imagine any other way to identify. Secondly, the need to correct errant activities is usually directed first at the body, then the mind and hardly ever at the more subtle vehicles, for example the soul, which is in some ways seen as a kind of victim of the behavior of body-mind, such that corrections ought be implemented at the level of body-mind to right the situation. Without a sense of identification with something higher than body-mind, however, it can be difficult for some to justify making these corrections, hence being taught to both fear and please a higher Being becomes almost a necessity in a bottom-up view of one’s self nature.
As an extreme example of a “bottom-up” approach, or view of self-nature, we might focus on what could be considered the lowest vehicle for awareness as in the (unlikely) case of a person who being strongly identified with their custom automobile constantly works on it, carefully maintaining its engine, function and special appearance, with the intent that it please awareness, and result in their being in a kind of heaven not only in the moment but in the future as well. Such an approach leaves awareness a virtual prisoner to this automobile.
Of course the ordinary overwhelming choice of vehicle to identify with is the physical body-brain system, and this is how most people would relate to the basis for a “bottom-up” approach to personal self improvement, including spiritual self improvement, working on improving the qualities of the body-brain as a spiritual instrument while leaving the issues related to the higher, subtler vehicles to some later date or circumstance, such as heaven, hell or a subsequent rebirth-lifetime.
Since, however, cognition can occur during the dream-like intermediate state, for example, when there is no physical body at all, and under these and any other conditions as well, Awareness can entirely engage it’s reality, experiencing heaven, hell, or some other disembodied state with complete lucidity and cognition, always present through every one of its vehicles from grossest to pure consciousness, we shouldn’t limit our perspective of these vehicles just to the view from the present bottom or body-brain perspective. Instead we may very reasonably and appropriately consider a top-down perspective for the involvement of Awareness in its vehicles as well.
By a top-down perspective we mean that consciousness-manifestation-awareness is the essential nature, (the top) beyond necessity of any vehicle except for the function of a vehicle, such as (from top-down) a Consciousness-informing wisdom or pure being vehicle, a blissful modeling vehicle, a reflection on universals conceptualizing vehicle, a reasoning on particulars conceptualization vehicle, a brain-based
Perhaps the first major surprise regarding the difference between you and your vehicles is the fact that you as consciousness-manifestation-awareness have absolutely no facility for memory. Everything that arises to consciousness of the nature of memory comes from memory retained by, or accessed through, one or more of the vehicles. Ancient physical body memory, for example, is stored directly in the
Having adjusted the self-concept to a set of nested vehicles, each with its own functional aspects, each with its own energy and information transport means for relating the function of one vehicle with respect to another and the function of each with respect to its own particular kind of “energy environment”, then consciousness-awareness becomes free to assume the “driver’s seat” for all of these vehicles: physical support, physical body-brain, lower mental, upper mental, buddhic, and Atmic; and it becomes a matter of letting the concepts of these vehicles self-liberate as readily as we let concepts of our automobiles self-liberate with respect to any role they may play as a “self”. This of course does not mean that awareness-consciousness is devoid of presentation of all manner of concepts regarding these vehicles and their interdependent processes in mutual support and interaction leading to the evident functioning of even the “lowest vehicle on the totem-pole”, as these concepts have all arisen as a result of the historical success of this conjoined system of physical and subtle energy packages, but at the same time, or “in the moment” consciousness-awareness is coherently engaged at the top level, and in order to process considerations beyond mere presentation of concepts, consciousness must necessarily garner the necessary focus of impartial awareness in order to proceed. This is “Top-Down” systems control and puts us as consciousness-awareness squarely in the driver’s seat where we need to be if we are to enable fundamental intrinsic wisdom to effect the consequent behavior of all our vehicles.
One interesting way of thinking of this, by analogy, is that of a nuclear chain reaction process, as in a nuclear reactor. Here Awareness acts as the control rods, which when fully engaged with Consciousness, the medium for event manifestation, prevents passage through the moment into the future for all concepts through the self-liberation process. In other words, when one is fully engaged in Consciousness-Awareness concepts self-liberate from Consciousness immediately, without remaining long enough to engender the arising of yet more seemingly related concepts. The conceptual chain-reaction process is completely shut off. In the reactor, partly removing the control rods allows the chain-reactions to increase. Similarly, when Awareness becomes somewhat withdrawn from pure Consciousness by engaging selected concepts, these specific concepts are allowed to proceed through the moment into the future to drive the chain-reaction development of still other concepts. When Awareness is fully removed from engagement with pure Consciousness and is engaging any and all concepts, thereby allowing these concepts to remain active right on through the moment with the full force of completely attached awareness, these concepts chain react into an uncontrolled proliferation of conceptual overload, with the mind spinning wildly out of control, going from one concept to whole groups of triggered concepts, to a paralyzing melt-down or an uncontrolled release of both mental and physical activity.
Interestingly, however, since the physical body is constantly interjecting sensory information as well as brain-mental data these inputs tend to act as stabilizing or self-orienting conceptual bases, and the hypothetical melt down is held to just the ordinary mode of human mental existence. While this is a real problem, the worst potential arises given a situation where the physical body is not present, as in the Bardo of the intermediate state between death and rebirth, where many of these stabilizing sense inputs are entirely lacking, and the mental self-model may have awareness entirely stuck on the unbridled self-concept as the full panoply of conceptual notions of self arise wildly manifesting in consciousness, thereby loosing all the potential fury of the full storm of unabated,
We have seen that Self-Liberation is a term referring to the tendency of appearances and thoughts to automatically remove themselves from consciousness when they are immersed in clear consciousness awareness, or simply not given attention by direct awareness, and that when thoughts pertaining to notions of self are likewise either immersed in clear consciousness or simply left unattended to, they self-liberate as well, providing your own ‘self-liberation’.
Self Realization, on the other hand, results from letting your attention rest on Awareness self-arising in Consciousness and identifying with, associating your very sense of Being, with this state. With your attention thus on Awareness self-arising in Consciousness, Self Realization is the ideal enabling state of mind for self-liberation, allowing not only thoughts and concepts in general, but old and habitual thoughts of physical and personality based concepts of self in particular, to self-liberate. This condition provides the personal context for the term Self-Liberation, freeing Being from concepts of self. Getting rid of notions of self might seem frightening. What, if anything, would remain? In very real and practical senses there is no problem of somehow disappearing or becoming unconscious when all your self-concepts temporarily evaporate on their own, first because there is no fundamental reality to the concepts one holds of oneself, and second because, in the real sense, in order to achieve self-liberation as a result of Self-Realization you are already fully engaged in unabated awareness of your own essential nature as consciousness awareness, your actual natural condition of Being. In the practical sense, even if you have not yet identified with your essential nature, being fully ensconced in your nested set of vehicles there is no question that they will in the next moment provide their litany of inputs to consciousness all over again. The energy giving rise to your self-notions is hard to dispel. Thus the real problem is holding your Realization of your true Consciousness-Awareness nature under the ongoing onslaught of concepts and feelings continuing to be imposed on Consciousness-Awareness (you) by the very vehicles you are enabling, empowering and using, either to mutual benefit or otherwise. Of course, when one or more vehicles opt out, the most obvious example being when your physical body dies, then the experience going on in consciousness awareness can change dramatically, and if identification is with these vehicles then there can be more or less confusion, including a strong desire to have things as they were, which can produce considerable frustration; whereas, with the Realization on one’s fundamental (self) nature as Consciousness-Awareness, and residing in that Realization, the play of events can be seen merely as such, and, furthermore, the welter of conflicting uncertainties associated with the remaining vehicles all readily self-liberate without dragging you as witness into their state of confusion which would only make matters worse for you and them.
Practices for Self-Realization and Self-Liberation
To stabilize self realization and self liberation requires experiential practice. There is an extraordinarily simple way to break the hypnosis of objectivity and realize yourself experiencing simply non-conceptual appearances arising in consciousness, a practice we might call ‘Relaxed Vision’.
Relaxed Vision Practice and the Non-Conceptual state
Desired Effects: Non-conceptual scene; reduced sense of dimensionality in scene (hypnosis-breaking); scene appears as arising in consciousness; appearance of clear-space pure or base consciousness; awareness arising from and intrinsic with the clear-space consciousness; realization of primary association with this intrinsic arising awareness; realization of primary association with this clear space consciousness; eventual realization of primary association with the display itself as intrinsic arising within the clear space base consciousness; ultimate realization of primary association with all three aspects as single nature of being.
The Practice: Relax the body mind to a state of relaxed attentiveness, with the gaze set to the front, perhaps a little above, into a near or intermediate view containing distinct ‘objects’ , for example the scene in a room, but not a blank screen or open clear sky. Holding visual focus on the scene, let the muscles directing the eyes relax so the eyes do not engage the singular nature of the objects as they ordinarily do. The images making up the scene will split apart into overlapping pairs, each representing what the corresponding eye is imaging. Let your interest arise in holding this double image effect. If necessary, hold up a fore-finger in front of the background scene, and focus your eyes on your finger, then, without changing the position of your eyes, fixed on your finger, let your attention drift back to the background scene noting its doubled appearance. Holding your attention on this doubled appearance until it is stabilized in your awareness, begin to ponder how it is that the single objects appear clearly as two objects. Which of the two apparent objects is the ‘real’ object? Stay with this doubled scene until it becomes clear that this doubling is indeed the actual condition of the scene, even though you know that there is only one corresponding object in the physical object world. Notice how the interest in the overall scene itself can take precedence over conceptualized notions of the objects presented in it. As these individual concepts dissolve, the scene takes on the quality of a single overall appearance, and even as you cease to ponder its double nature it remains simply a scene arising to awareness without any conceptual “add-on’s” at all, a Non-Conceptual Scene. . Notice how the scene seems to extend around to include the full peripheral field of vision. This wrap-around effect is an indicator of non-conceptual vision, evident in relaxed vision even when the doubling effect is not present. The transition from intentional relaxed vision to experiential non-conceptual vision can become essentially instantaneous, so this becomes a very simple and effective way to enter into the state of nonconceptual visual awareness at will.
Continue pondering this non-conceptual scene, bringing attention to the empty clear space in the scene, noticing the flattening and abstraction arising in place of its previous concrete sense of dimensionality, and realize as you experience it that the scene itself must indeed be something different from the object world it ordinarily attempts to represent. As the connection with the concepts and dimensional aspects of the object world relaxes and dissipates, the scene takes on a quality of intrinsic lucidity and the hypnotic spell driving the direct assignment of the scene to the object world is broken! At first the full significance of this event may not be recognized, but soon the direct Realization dawns that this scene is indeed something arising in its own medium, and that this medium could indeed very reasonably be given the name “Consciousnesses”. Realizing thus the visual scene is directly discovered to be simply what it actually is, a display arising in consciousness, nothing more, i.e., empty of objective contents, and yet nothing less than pure Consciousness, complete in its infinite potential and perfect in both its purity and its manifestations arising in display.
Realizing objective emptiness of the scene:
The fact that the consciousness display is empty of objective content, i.e. is merely a display, is evidenced by what has already been experienced. By continuing in this way the realization dawns that the physical objects one knows to be there are simply not part of the display experience at all. The actual experience is utterly empty of the worldly objects themselves. The objective emptiness is a fundamental truth condition that you now directly realize. Thus not only is the hypnosis of objective assignment broken, but the realization that the essential experience is actually arising entirely in empty consciousness is clearly established. Even so, there may remain the sense that the body of the witness might have experiential objectivity. To see if it does, change the focus of the view to the back ground scene and examine the appearance of the single finger placed between the eyes and the background. Where originally there was one finger and a double background, now there are two fingers and a single background. Let your attention shift back and forth between the two fingers. Which one is your actual finger? Neither one can be the only objective finger in the scene, yet there is only one objective finger present. Therefore even one’s own body witnessed in the scene is not the object body, but merely a visual presentation, a corresponding representation, a mere appearance of the body. No matter how hard you try you will not be able to see anything other than an appearance, you will not be able to visually experience anything other than an appearance, even of your own self. These appearances are empty of the physical objectivity we ordinarily ascribe to our bodies and the world, and yet they are all we have, so it is important that we accept that this is the nature of our experiential condition. It is difficult to come to terms with the fact that although our bodies are solid physical members of the world environment, all we know and experience of them comes to us through awareness of manifestations arising in consciousness, so we as experiential beings can not realistically identify with anything of the physical world, even though we attempt to do so incessantly, yet we can in fact properly and fully identify with our nature as experiential being, as consciousness-awareness, even though we ordinarily don’t think to do so. Now as you begin to find ways to see that you are much more affiliated with consciousness-awareness than you ordinarily think, it becomes more and more natural for you to begin to shift your association towards awareness, towards consciousness itself, exactly as it should be.
The Great Mistaking
So this may be well and good with respect to the visual sense, but there are four other physical senses and the “sixth-sense”, thought, going on all the time as well. Some of these seem easier to associate with consciousness-awareness, such as thought, for example. It is important to keep in mind, however, that just as the body does not exist in consciousness, neither do thoughts occur in consciousness either. Instead they occur in some “objective” form of energy in the system of vehicles but arise in the nature of consciousness only as they are displayed in consciousness through consciousness-awareness. Objective thoughts occurring through a brain process, for example, when displayed in consciousness are no more the object thought than the scene displayed in consciousness is the object world. Even though we attach to the experience of thoughts as if the experience itself had some kind of concrete mental reality, the fact is that our experience of thoughts is an experience of their display in consciousness only and as such the experienced thought “forms” or “sound-bytes” are profoundly empty of even some very subtle kind of mental energy nature. In the very literal sense of the word, we mistake, miss-take, the experience of the consciousness display for the “objective” event that gave rise to it. We do this with virtually everything we experience. This is indeed the Great Mistaking! It is important to understand this, because self-liberation occurs directly with the display arising and subsiding in consciousness, and only indirectly with the vehicular agents creating the subject matter to be displayed. Controlling the vehicles that are generating the thought-forms and sound-bytes for display is not so easy, but, nevertheless, keeping attention centered on awareness arising directly in clear empty consciousness works wonders on the vehicles as well.
The sense of smell seems to occur in the head-space and one can associate it with an awareness experience in consciousness without great difficulty, keeping in mind that the experience of a fragrance, aroma or odor is a purely consciousness-awareness experience despite the natural tendency to associate it with the objective world sensory perception that gave rise to it. Similarly, the sense of taste also can be associated with an awareness experience in consciousness, although it may seem a bit more physical, due to the feeling of contact in the mouth, than a fragrance arriving through the breath.
The sense of hearing is more difficult to “internalize” as it may seem that a consciousness-awareness experience need be, but this a kind of convention, the idea that mental things are internal and that consciousness is a mental thing. Consciousness simply “is”, no context of in or out, here or there applies, and awareness simply “is of consciousness” and no other contexts apply as well. So how are we to relate to the experience of hearing sound? The hearing of a sound seems very objective. Hands clap, the air is disturbed and the resulting sound is heard, experienced. A person speaks, air is vibrated, vibrating the receptors in the ear, and the voice is heard, experienced. Direction of the sound often corresponds exactly to the visual cues and there is little reason to override the strong impression that the sound experienced is the actual objective sound arising at its source. By now we know full well that this cannot be the case; that instead what we are experiencing is a consciousness manifestation, a consciousness representation of the sound arising as an audio “appearance” to awareness in consciousness, simply another example of a consciousness-manifestation-awareness event we as consciousness-manifestation-awareness “experience” initially in pure raw non-conceptual form before it is picked back up by the vehicles and parsed, conceptualized, and “meaning” imparted before returning it again for presentation to consciousness-manifestation-awareness in all its “personal correctness”. It is possible to catch this happening, however, and to realize directly that the experience of hearing sound occurs to awareness in consciousness just as surely as we already have demonstrated to ourselves for vision. One simple and reasonably direct way to do this, following the same approach we used to discover the scene as arising in consciousness is to look for the exceptional situations which automatically defeat the illusion of objectivity. In the case of sound perhaps the most powerful of these is misdirection. Occasionally a sound will be perceived as coming from a definite direction, but then may seem to be coming from another definite direction, and finally, when you check it out the apparent the source of the sound was not in either direction at all. Ordinarily we shrug these events off as simple misinterpretations due to reflections or whatever, which may be objectively correct, but here we are looking for fundamental correctness, not “rationalized” objectivity. The fundamentally correct observation here is that when the sound initially was heard coming from a particular direction, the experience of that was the actual experience. There was no difference experientially between the quality of the apparent correctness of the direction in the first instance and the quality of the apparent correctness of the direction in the second instance, nor even after the position of the source had been ascertained by other independent means. Ergo, the experiential events occurring in consciousness, all of the same quality, yet experientially different in apparent direction, were of the same objective sound source, hence the experience, perfect though it appeared in each case, cannot be correlated to the single objective condition, but can be correlated to the same type of experience arising to awareness in consciousness. This “subjectivity”, seen as a problem when trying to determine scientifically the “objective” condition, is actually the “truth” condition in our context, pointing to the very core of our nature as consciousness-manifestation-awareness beings.
We can test this with our own practical experiential experiment. Necessary equipment is a couple of things you can tap together to make a sound; two ball-point pens will work fine. Hold one pen in each hand and place one of them immediately in front of the center of your face. You will not be able to focus your eyes on it because it is too close, but you will see it and it will appear as two fuzzy objects. Take the time necessary to acclimate to the realization that these two fuzzy appearances are presenting themselves to you in consciousness, and that you, as awareness arising directly in consciousness, are witnessing these two appearances arising in consciousness as a result of placing a single object before your face. Then, without moving the first pen from its location in front of you, bring the second pen up to it and begin tapping on the first pen with the second pen. Listen to where the sound of the tapping is coming from. As you set your attention on the right appearing pen, notice that the sound of the tapping seems to be arising from that pen appearance, then change your attention to the left pen appearance and notice that the sound of the tapping seems to be arising from that appearance. Stay with this until it is clear that the sound is coming from each of the two appearances. Experience awareness arising in consciousness directly apprehending the appearance of these two sounds as they also arise within consciousness. In so doing you, as consciousness-awareness directly experience the appearance of sound as a consciousness manifestation arising directly, perfect and complete of and within its singular essential nature as pure consciousness. Amazing, but true!
Solid to the Touch: Experiencing tactile contact with the physical world
To discover the appearance of touch arising in consciousness first hold up your left forefinger directly in front of your face far enough away so you see it as an ordinary single image. Next bring your right forefinger in from the right, pointing straight across horizontally towards the tip of your left forefinger, and touch the tip of your left forefinger with the tip of your right forefinger. Feel the pressure of your right finger pressing on the tip of the left finger. Repeat this contact several times, noting the feeling of pressure and where the pressure is located. You readily feel the touch on the tip of your left finger exactly where you see it. This is our ordinary experience of objective touch. Now bring your left finger close to your face, almost touching the tip of your nose causing your left finger to appear blurred and double. Look back and forth at each of the two images of your finger, first the left image, then the right image until you are comfortable with viewing each image one at a time. Now, once again bring the horizontal right finger into contact the left finger tip with, holding the contact so you can feel the pressure. Place your attention on the left side image of your contacted fingers. Note the feeling of pressure located at that place in the scene. Next shift your attention to the right side image of your contacted fingers. Note the feeling of pressure shifting to the right side image. As you continue repeatedly touching your fingertips together the feeling will shift to whichever of the two images your attention is directed. With a little concentration you can even feel the contact pressure arising from the two image locations simultaneously.
There is nothing strange about this. We experience the sense of touch contact at the same place we experience the visual sense of seeing the contact. If the consciousness display of the visual appearance exhibits two images, then the consciousness display of the touch contact will exhibit two corresponding pressure points. This is a direct experience of the experiential sensation of the feeling of touch arising in consciousness. Our bio-systems and several mental vehicles ordinarily process this information in such a way that we simply infer, correctly, that we have touched something solid, and that the point of contact corresponds to the location where we see the contact occurring. This sophisticated processing, however, makes it seem to us that our experience of the contact is at the physical world point of the contact, and not in some seemingly abstract consciousness domain, whereas in actuality, even though the event may have occurred in the physical domain, our only awareness of it and our actual direct experience of it occurs only in the consciousness domain, as we have just demonstrated for ourselves.
Thus even the seemingly ultra-objective sense of touch follows all the same rules of the laws of consciousness as do thoughts and vision and all the other senses; and even the feeling of contact with a solid object, even to the point of experiencing pain, can ‘self-liberate’ if attention does not follow the experience, but is directed instead to awareness of awareness arising directly within clear empty consciousness, our completely natural state.
By now it is becoming clear that if we choose to think of ourselves as the experiencer, then we are indeed thinking of ourselves as Consciousness-Awareness beings, and since that which we experience must necessarily be transformed into a representative appearance, condition, manifestation, or whatever one chooses to call it, arising in consciousness, our basic nature, before we can experience it, we are also co-participant in consciousness with these very manifestations. Hence not only are we reasonably Consciousness-Awareness beings, we are actually Consciousness-Manifestation-Awareness beings, independent of any and all of our several vehicles, truly with no beginning nor ending in sight. Hence it could be a good and sound idea to focus a bit more attention on our consciousness-awareness nature, to better direct the processes of our involvement to enhance both the seemingly singular and the certainly shared manifestations we are bringing to this One Consciousness, where either certain direct experience or the possibility of self-liberation are the driving factors governing the true quality of our existence.
At this point we can practice Awareness of Awareness through the attainment of the union of Awareness with Consciousness, with Awareness arising directly within clear empty Consciousness, and relax into the realization that you actually are this combined consciousness-awareness.
The practice is summarized in the following Song of Self-Realization.
Comment on Self-Liberation and Self-Realization
Ode to the Sole Self-Realizing Consciousness Awareness
O Lucid, Pristine Consciousness,
Such a Wonder; O so Dear.
This Awareness, All-Embracing,
Self-arising in Thy Clear.
Source of All arising free,
All Empty Luminosity.
Granting All self -liberty
On Realizing All as Thee.
by Dorje Rigdzin
When one realizes that the unresolved fears and anxieties, unmet needs for survival and unremitting unsatisfied desires one experiences are common to the condition of all sentient, (e.g.
This fundamental compassion is not endemic to the
One might wonder, what is the nature of this Compassion that arises when the bliss elixir of timeless beingness is in plain sight? This is not a compassion that one “practices” like generosity for example. Rather this is a compassion that arises directly out of Love, where Love is a condition that arises indirectly from the Bliss that is the natural condition of complete Self-Realizing emptiness as the result of conceptualizing a
The Dark-Side of the
If we can find an opening in our well-spring of compassion towards these, then how great the flood of our outpouring of compassion for their countless victims, and for all those we ordinarily think of as deserving, yet our compassion should reach out to all beings everywhere equally to our fullest extent, without bias in anyway, because we are, with all creatures everywhere and in all time, brothers and sisters together, each and all of the same Consciousness-Awareness-Being now and forever One. It is absolutely so.
In the waking state it is relatively easy to engage Awareness of Awareness, or Awareness of the empty state of Consciousness, the ground or space of all Being, with Awareness arising directly and lucidly from the clarity of the pure consciousness devoid of conceptual overlay. In this condition of awareness appearances arise like illusions, empty of any nature except lucid consciousness.
Because of strong habitual mental tendencies, as well as many other reasons, this condition does not automatically arise in the
Dream state practice of awareness of Awareness is extremely important because the dream state has characteristics which are either similar to or identical with characteristics of many of the other non-physical embodiment modes, most significantly the Bardo of the intermediate state between death and rebirth. If dream experience is interesting the Bardo of the intermediate state experience is literally compelling, because reactions to Bardo experience are a major factor in setting the course of one’s subsequent rebirth. Achieving Awareness of Awareness together with self-liberation of objectification and other attachments empowers fundamental Wisdom necessary for charting a favorable rebirth.
The Dream state offers a remarkable opportunity to work on developing these capabilities, and others as well, while the result of not having achieved reliability in their realization is most likely another chance to work on it again the following night.
Before dreams can be useful, however, one needs to have lucid dreams, and one needs to remember these dreams. A number of texts are available on dream yogas, many of them translations from, and commentaries on, the Tibetan text known as The Six Yogas of Naropa. See for example texts by Gyatrul Rinpoche, Tenzin Wangyal, and the Dali Lama, Tenzin Gyatso. In these texts it is pointed out that the heart-center is the resting place of the subtle mind that supports both dreams and the after death Bardo of the intermediate state experiences. It is suggested, therefore, that before going to sleep one should focus attention on the heart-center and pray to one’s Refuge Provider or Providers with strong “heart-felt” desire to experience vivid, lucid dreams, and to realize them to be dreams and not simply ordinary experience of apparently solid “objective” nature. We are advised that as a result you should experience many dreams, and remember them.
Because dreams, even lucid dreams, are not easily recognized as such, however, it can be important to establish as much automation as possible in the process of recognizing them as actually being dreams. Therefore, if during the day one is not yet automatically established in awareness of Awareness in the Clear, one should then make a practice of experiencing awareness of Awareness focused on the Clear (the clear empty Consciousness space) as continuously as possible throughout the day. Then, just before going to bed do the full practice (for all of the senses including thoughts and sense of ego-self) of becoming aware of consciousness awareness in the waking state. Then, for a half an hour or so just before going to bed one should practice repeatedly pulling Awareness off of intentionally objectified appearances and immediately refocusing awareness of Awareness in the foreground Clear space. The purpose of this practice is to habituate an automatic reflex of jumping into Awareness of Awareness in the Clear Consciousness space as an immediate response to having slipping into ordinary awareness of objectified appearances, the hypnotically dominant
As you lie down to go to sleep, place your attention on your heart-center, and praying to your Refuge Providers as before, recall a dream from the previous or recent night and as you go through it in your memory, apply the drill to the remembered dream as if you were dreaming it for the first time. As the remembered dream concludes, linger in the awareness of Awareness in the Clear of the Heart-Center and endeavor to fall asleep in this state. As soon as dream activity begins to be experienced reassert the drill as automatically as possible, thinking as you do so, “This is like a dream.”, until you recognize the actual dream nature of your situation. Then immediately think “This IS a dream.”, and continue working with the dream doing the drill for as long as you can without either waking up or sinking back into unrecognized dream or sleep. Initially you may wake up simultaneously with recognizing the dream as a dream. This is a good sign of practice. When this happens try to let yourself fall back asleep into the same dream as you continue the drill. Practice in this way until the drill becomes stable in the pre-dream, ordinary dream, and dream-realized dream states without waking up from the dream.
As you come to recognize dreams as dreams, empty of ‘objective reality’, you can begin to experiment with transforming elements of the dream from one thing to another and back again. This can be interesting, as they can sometimes transform in surprising ways. Although most of my dreams are very ordinary, in one ordinary dream I experienced a number of small white stones falling from the sky, bouncing and covering the grassy ground. Looking at them objectively they appeared strangely opalescent, and suddenly I realized it was a dream. Thinking to transform them I sought for them to change into delicate life-forms, whereupon to my happy amazement they all transformed into white butterflies and fluttered back up into the sky.
After doing transformations you will have confidence in being able to change your own state. You can really take charge of a realized dream, for example, by taking off and flying out of some otherwise impossible situation, like being stranded on a tall building or the side of a cliff.
The real purpose of dream practice, however, is to realize the empty illusory nature of the apparently objectively real dream experience, and to experience it instead as the lucid Awareness of Pure empty display arising in Clear Pristine Consciousness, ultimately self-liberating in all its aspects, leaving one as purely lucid pristine Consciousness-Awareness.
Finally, practicing dreaming in this way for a long enough time leads to realizing Consciousness-Awareness in deep sleep. This is the threshold for continuity of Consciousness-Awareness from this lifetime into the next, our real goal at this moment in our timeless awakening to Being in Being.
Samyama and The Method of Alternate Attentive - Relaxed
In a profound discourse on the nature of Mind and its function, the prior millennium author and yogi known as Patanjali has left us a remarkable and entirely practical insight into the nature of Being as functioning through the set of vehicles characterizing a human being.
Using I.K. Taimni’s interpretation and commentary on Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, titled Science of Yoga (1968, The Theosophical Publishing House, Adyar, Madras 20 INDIA, available through Quest Books), which is one of a number of interpretations of Patanjali, but one which probes the meaning of these statements to a depth that allows us to engage them at their functional levels well beyond mere superficial cliche, we can extract both information regarding our fundamental nature and methods for experiencing how it operates through the various mental levels, vehicles or bodies, from gross through exceedingly subtle, ultimately resulting in Consciousness-Awareness experience we so ordinarily take entirely for granted.
The following is a synopsis derived from only a portion of Patanjali’s exposition, but it is organized into a self-consistent whole that can be understood and put to practical use in one’s quest for self-realization both within its own context and within the context we are already engaged in in this book. In its theoretical aspect it gives us insight into the nature of functioning of the “Mind” and the importance of the interval between thoughts, an ordinarily indiscernible moment of nearly infinitesimal duration, but of finite duration nevertheless, if into which one can insert the probe of awareness one can discover and directly access the subtler levels of mental function, including those which operate via subtle vehicles which continue to function even without a functioning coarser vehicle, such as following the death of the physical body-brain; while in its practical application it opens awareness to natural attributes of mental process that can be harnessed to function as that very probe required to penetrate and dwell in that ineffable space between thoughts, following them deeper and deeper into the subtlest reaches of the functioning processes of one’s self-nature. This is well worth the effort both to understand and to apply. So let’s just go for it!
We first take note of Patanjali’s reference to various types or “levels” of mental activity as mentioned in his Part I , Section 17 (I-17) where he mentions reasoning, reflection, bliss and “I Am-ness or “sense of pure being” as interpreted by Taimni to correspond to certain mental “vehicles”, with reasoning corresponding to the “lower mental body”, reflection corresponding to (in theosophical terminology) a “causal body”, bliss corresponding to a “buddhic vehicle, and sense of pure being corresponding to an “Atmic vehicle”. In a Buddhist context these might be thought of as relating to the Nirmanakaya, Sambogakaya and Dharmakaya, all increasingly subtle attributes of essentially pure consciousness. The important result to derive from this is that increasingly subtle types of thought occur not in a continuum of mental activity but in rather in distinct mental vehicles characterized by both the type of mental activity and an associated degree of subtlety. Patanjali asserts in this sutra that there may be an “object” associated with each of the first three vehicles. It is important to keep in mind that throughout this discussion the term “object” is used to refer to a mental object, something held in the mind as a target for Awareness, and not a physical object as discussed earlier. No (mental) object is asserted for the “Atmic” level other than the “sense of pure being”.
The Three Mental Transformations
In, and immediately following, the sutras dealing with “Samyama” or contemplation directed at a particular object leading to Samadhi with respect to the selected object, Patanjali introduces the concept of three mental “transforms” which I prefer to think of as “One-pointedness-arising”, “Sameness-repeating” and “Void-trans-impression” which are considered to be endemic to the operative nature of mental process, as contrasted with a learned practice which would not occur if it were not known a-priori and instantiated intentionally. Rather these transformations are posited to occur automatically under the appropriate circumstances, whether it is recognized that they are occurring or not.
Referring again to sutra I-17, “Samprajnata Samadhi is that which is accompanied by reasoning, reflection, bliss and sense of pure being.” Here Samprajnata means “with object”, and Samadhi refers to the mental condition when the object alone is presenting to awareness, this happening over and over continuously in what seems a continuous presence of the object. In the next sutra Patanjali gives one of the key instructions, but we must dig it out for ourselves.
Sutra I-18 “The remaining impression left after dropping the pratyaya of the previous practice is the other.” Taimni points out that this “other” is Samadhi without an object, or Asamprajnata Samadhi, and that it is in this state that the transfer may be made from one plane or mental vehicle to the next. This is a most remarkable assertion, but one which is entirely borne out by examining the nature of the three “mental transformations” mentioned above, as described in sutras III-9 through 12. Here we understand “Sameness repeating” to be essentially the condition of Samadhi with respect to an object, such that the object is present to awareness in what seems like a continuous flow, even though it is a rapidly repeating occurrence. Between each occurrence there is an essentially infinitesimal interval of “Void-trans-impression” or the condition of mind between the subsidence of one occurrence of the presence of the mental “object” and the arising of the subsequent occurrence of the presence of the mental “object”. If the object is “dropped” then it does not arise as a subsequent occurrence and the void-trans-impression transformation simply lingers on in awareness. This “void” is not a totally vacuous void, however; rather it is instead the consciousness “container” corresponding to the next subtler vehicle, and if one holds the void-trans-impression transformation “Samadhi” while carefully and gently introducing the “one-pointedness-arising” transformation with respect to the possible presence of an “object” in this newly entered subtler mental vehicle, then the remarkable nature of the “sameness repeating” transformation will make itself evident in continuing to cause the arising of the essential “objective” nature of the previous object as it pertains to the mental process of the newly engaged subtler level or vehicle.
Thus, due to the automatic function of the transformations, by setting up the appropriate conditions, namely the consistent or continuous repetition of the object of contemplation, then dropping it to trigger the extended void-trans-impression transformation, the vehicles are provided with the opportunity of shifting from the coarser to the finer, subtler one in a way in which awareness can register on the subtler one with out interference from the ordinarily dominating activities of the coarser one, and consequently settle into the finer vehicle for further contemplation on the “object” as characterized in that mental level or vehicle.
By intentionally practicing such procedure one can cause one’s mental state to transition from one level to the next finer, and from that finer one to the next finer and so on, to as subtle or refined a level or vehicle as is appropriate for the object contemplated.
If one simply practices this beginning with a mental verbalization of the conceptual object, there will likely also be present other thoughts, and even when the object rings continuously the mind will dart among various presentations of the object. If, however, one uses Consciousness-Awareness or CLEAR Awareness to unify awareness with the consciousness that is manifesting the object, and other presentations of the object are “washed” with clear consciousness, causing them to dissolve, then a very pure, as if non-subjective, Samadhi on the object will be experienced. This pure experience is the real Samyama on the object, although the mixed experience or lesser Samyama should not be discounted as a powerful means for developing deeper intuitional understanding of the nature of the object.
Practicing this Samyama on pure consciousness as the object can be a remarkably powerful means for transformational evolution and self-realization as that most subtle pure consciousness-manifestation-awareness.
Next we look into combining a full spectrum of techniques into one profoundly powerful and incredibly rapid means for working directly through to your essential core pure being and identifying automatically with that rather than with your genetic vehicle and lower mental body attributes.
The first of these techniques is posture or asana
Posture is related to mind in a technical way due to the response of the nervous system to the attitude of the body as well as the attitude of the mind involved in positioning the body. A lazy attitude results in a slouched position which feeds back information through the nervous system reinforcing the lazy attitude and the associated sense of ego. A controlled posture reflects back a respect for the will which requested such posture, and a physical posture that most frees the nervous system to respond to the subtlest aspects of mind opens the path to awareness of the most subtle pure consciousness, one’s true and absolute nature. The key element to such a posture is the maintaining of a relatively straight spine, a posture which comports to the most unrestricted flow of subtle energy between the critical centers associated with the body – mind complex.
The second of these techniques is related to breath control and associated breath awareness or pranayama.
According to Patanjali, (II-49) Pranayama is the regulation or control of inhalation, exhalation and cessation or holding of breath.
Again, in II-50 Patanjali elaborates further to include attributes of external and internal, as well as prolonged and subtle.
In this context, external is related to the physical act of controlled breathing with associated breath awareness, whereas internal refers to the effect this activity has on both the nervous system and the subtle pranic energy which acts as an intermediary between the physical system (brain – nervous system) and the subtle mental systems, ie systems representing vehicles which do not necessarily require the existence of a physical body in order to function, as well as, in its most subtle form, providing the intermediary between these subtle mental systems and consciousness itself. The profound significance of this postulate can hardly be over-emphasized because it purports that one can directly influence very subtle mental processes through direct willing control of the breathing process, and in fact this can be readily demonstrated as being both valid and effective. One way we will find use for this is through synchronizing a mental process with an associated breathing process, and then instantiating a specific change in the breathing process in order to cause a consequential corresponding specific change in the mental process. In particular we will make use of the prolonging of the subtle aspect of an internal break or holding of a subtle mental state through the instantiation of a break in a corresponding external breath awareness process.
The next three techniques, Concentration, Contemplation and Samadhi, taken together in sequence comprise Samyama. As discussed above, Samyama is performed on a mental object, and our example mental object is to be either a designator for pure consciousness, ie, ‘
In working through these subtle levels of mind, or vehicles for Pure Being, in this way one can come to characterize and discern relationships between them and their aspects:
The first three can be thought of as the functional environment;
Body and aspect of Breath -
Breath and aspect of Subtle Energy or Prana -
Prana as Mind, aspect of the three mental transformations -
Then the following are the levels of mind which one directly engages through practice with the mental object.
Mind of Particulars and the aspect of reasoning about them. Manomaya Kosha, the Lower Mental Vehicle
Mind of Universals and the aspect of reflection on them. Visnanamaya Kosha, the Upper Mental Vehicle
Mind of differentiation from Pure Consciousness with blissful context.
Anandamaya Kosha, the Buddhic Vehicle
Mind of no-differentiation from Pure Consciousness with sense of pure being.
Atma, the Atmic Vehicle
Together these make up the vehicles of Pure Consciousness – Awareness, nested in a sense one within another, comprising our practical nature, much of which is capable of functioning entirely without the existence of a physical body, something difficult to realize while one is inhabiting a physical or even subtle body. Nevertheless, one can directly experience these vehicles through awareness of the mental states they provide, and one can thus begin to relate to them in their actual roles as vehicles for experience of one-self as Being Consciousness-Manifestation-Awareness.
Comment on Experiencing and Functioning Through One's Mental Vehicles
As we have already seen, in the waking state it is relatively easy to engage Awareness of Awareness, or Awareness of the empty state of Consciousness, the ground or space of all Being, with Awareness arising directly and lucidly from the clarity of the pure consciousness devoid of conceptual overlay. In this condition of awareness, appearances arise like illusions, empty of any nature except lucid consciousness. At least this is relatively easy to realize in the context of the visual sense perception. In order to become more fully identified with pure Awareness of Consciousness Awareness in the waking state we need to realize not simply visual perception as arising in pure empty consciousness, but all sensory perceptions, together with thoughts, emotions, and any sense of self, all as arising to awareness in pure empty consciousness, and finally this awareness itself as self-arising in this same singular pure empty Consciousness.
Not only this, but furthermore, we need to realize all this while engaged in ordinary activities of all our vehicles, especially those activities of the physical body-brain which make up our daily routines of social interaction, work and recreation. Our accomplishments, whatever they may be, should serve to enhance our family life and our constructive creative endeavors, and self-realization should certainly contribute to the benefit of all who are close to us as well as to our own capacity for constructive activity. Therefore we need to bring our self-realization as Consciousness-Awareness back down from its ephemeral bliss-emptiness to practical engagement with the physical world of object-persons, but without losing touch with our essential presence as Consciousness-Awareness Being.
What you find, amazingly, despite all the incredible hyperbolae, is that the difference between the ordinary unrealized state of mind and the self-realized state of Presence, of complete Awareness of Awareness, is next to nothing at all. Everything looks the same, sounds the same, feels the same, tastes the same, smells the same, thinks the same, feels the same emotions, and has the same ego sense, but what is different is the awareness, ordinarily unrecognized, now transformed into a vibrant sense of Awareness, into Being-Aware of self as Awareness, into a Living Cognizance of all and each of these things as they arise in Consciousness, and as they emptily self-liberate from Consciousness as easily as they arose. All with ever the slightest discernible twinge of bliss, the difference, next to nothing, but clearly Awareness so real you know this is your fundamental natural state, and This Awareness is how you choose to Be.
How can this kind of Awareness arise in the context of ordinary experience across all the senses, thoughts, emotions and even ego sense we all continually are forced to deal with? There are no doubt many ways to bring this about, more than we can hope to imagine, but there is at least one way that is amazingly straightforward and simple: we can Self-teach ourselves to become Aware of the occurrence of these perceptions, thoughts and emotions as they actually are, as occurrences in Consciousness, where they naturally arise, emptily inhere in their moment, and depart as ephemerally as they arose.
Practice of Essential Consciousness Awareness across the full multi-sensorial spectrum.
The multi-sensorial spectrum includes the senses of vision, hearing, touch, taste, and smell, together with thought, sense of self and awareness. Each of these, as we have come to understand, arises within and of our fundamental essential nature, consciousness. The problem is the difficulty of realizing our fundamental nature while we are engrossed in habitual conceptual objectification of perceptions, as if the perceptions are not presentations arising in consciousness, but instead are the assumed objects they at best merely represent. To begin solving this problem we will simply instruct ourselves regarding the actual circumstances as we experience through the various senses, thoughts and sense of self, beginning with seeming outermost sensations and working inwards to conclude with essential consciousness awareness. This initial theme is a withdrawal process, and leaves us in a classic meditative state. Upon arriving at this meditative state and remaining with it briefly, we will then reverse the sequence to produce a “rebirthing” process that will re-enable the mind and senses from inner to outer, reenergizing their engagement with their objects, but now we will be involved in this engagement from the wisdom perspective of consummate consciousness awareness such that not only will the appearances be realized as arising in and of consciousness but we will be recognizing our self nature to be just that consciousness-awareness as it illumines and actualizes our minds and bodies as its vehicles for engagement and interaction with their various worlds and ventures, now consciousness-awareness creatively and constructively guiding these ventures rather than simply being taken for a ride by them.
One begins by picking up on essential awareness, either by simply placing attention on it or by using the “I am aware of this …” method. Once awareness is stable one establishes the panoramic non-conceptual view and then engages the foreground clear consciousness with the essential awareness, becoming aware of the undifferentiated merger of the empty consciousness and the empty awareness. One notes that awareness is arising from this living empty consciousness. One begins here and one will end here. This is the Alpha and the Omega. So beginning here one revisits the nonconceptual scene appearing in panoramic view and one mentally intones
“This appearance is arising in consciousness.” One then merges the awareness of the clear consciousness with the nonconceptual scene and repeats “This appearance is arising in consciousness.” Until the appearance of the scene, the clear and the awareness all take on a sense of a merging immersion all arising together as one in consciousness. Continue, letting the thought arise “This entire experience of appearance is arising in consciousness.”
Next shift the focus of attention to sounds. Immediately one will become aware of innumerable sounds. Just let them all happen without giving any one of them particular attention and begin thinking “These sounds are arising in consciousness.” As you begin to think this way bring your attention first to awareness of clear consciousness, and then bring your awareness of this clear essence to the most prominent sound or sounds and merge these together as one, awareness, clear consciousness essence and the sound, thinking as you do so, “The sound is arising in consciousness.” At first the sound will seem to be unaffected as if something independent of the clear consciousness you are bathing it in, but by continuing to greet the sound with complete immersion in Consciousness-Awareness the sound will slowly lose its concreteness, and the sense of the sound being blended with and arising within the clear consciousness awareness will reveal itself. Continue in this way until whatever sound arises seems to do so within the clear essence of consciousness-awareness. Mentally note that “The sound is arising in consciousness.”
Next shift the focus of attention to the tactile sensations. Immediately one will become aware of innumerable sensations of touch; the pressure points supporting one’s body, arms, legs, hips. Just let them all arise without particular attention, thinking “These feelings are all arising in consciousness.” Keeping your attention on awareness of clear consciousness, bring that awareness of clear consciousness onto a prominent sensation of pressure and think “This feeling is arising in consciousness.” Merge the three, consciousness-awareness and the sensation until the sense of pressure seems to blend into the consciousness-awareness. Continue thinking “These feelings are all arising in consciousness.” At first the feelings will seem firm and independent, but as you continue to wash these feelings with clear consciousness awareness, immersing them completely as if in an ocean of pure clear consciousness, they will begin to take on a pure floating vibrancy, and you will become satisfied that they are indeed arising in and of that pure Consciousness Awareness. Now, in this way, you experience the entire range of feelings merging with and arising within pure consciousness-awareness. Continuing in this way shift the focus of attention to the inside of your mouth, and noticing the feelings arising from within your mouth, blend them with the clear consciousness awareness thinking “These feelings are all arising in consciousness.” Continue in this way as all these feelings you are experiencing merge, blend and seem to arise within the clear essence of consciousness.
Next shift your attention slightly to the taste or flavor you are experiencing, and, blending it with the clear consciousness awareness, think “This flavor is arising in consciousness.” Continue in this way until the taste seems to be merged and blended with clear consciousness and seems to be arising in and of this clear consciousness awareness. All the time maintain your awareness of clear consciousness, no matter where you place your awareness, that pure clear consciousness is always there with the awareness.
Next shift your attention upwards slightly to the nasal area, becoming aware of the breath passing through and any aromatic sensation that may be occurring, and, washing this aromatic sensation, this fragrance, with the clear essence of consciousness awareness, think “This fragrance is arising in consciousness.” Continue in this way as the breath, any aromatic essence, and consciousness awareness all blend and merge until they all seem to be arising purely as one in consciousness.
Next shift the attention up slightly to engage the realm of thoughts, where you are thinking all these word thoughts, and, blending the clear essence of consciousness awareness with these thoughts think “These thoughts are all arising in consciousness.” Continue washing the words as you think them with the awareness of pure clear consciousness. Notice the effect this has on the thoughts as they give up their apparent stand-alone objectivity and merge, blend and dissolve into the consciousness they seem to arise in as you maintain focus of awareness of pure clear consciousness directly with each thought as it arises and dissolves. Continue in this way witnessing the dissolving of thoughts in consciousness even as they are arising in consciousness.
Continuing in the same way think the thought “I am arising in consciousness.”, noticing how it too dissolves as it arises in consciousness.
Next shift the attention to the sense of “I”, what ever is appearing as the notion of one’s self, and without verbalizing just let the awareness of pure clear consciousness wash over this sense of self. As the sense of self dissolves in the essence of consciousness watch for the next appearance of sense of self to arise and again wash this with awareness of pure clear consciousness, all the while having the awareness that the sense of self is simply arising in consciousness, and with attention of awareness of pure clear consciousness washing over it, it simply dissolves away, entirely empty of any intrinsic or inherent nature, simply an empty appearance arising in consciousness. Continuing in this way, awareness of consciousness awareness, becoming ever clearer and more vibrant, begins to take on its true aspect as one’s real fundamental nature until,
Finally, one brings the focus of attention to awareness itself, noting this awareness itself is arising in and of the pure consciousness, and thence, with the blending merger of consciousness and awareness, one rests in the meditative Samadhi of Oneness of singular Consciousness-Awareness.
“Re Birthing” into practical physical world working engagement awareness
Although one has finally realized this state which is a goal in itself, it is nevertheless really not an ending point, but rather a marvelous and ideal beginning point for returning to where one started, a kind of “rebirthing” process, but the One who returns will not be the same as the ‘person’ who started.
So, always maintaining awareness of the pure clear consciousness,
One next re-cognizes awareness arising in and of pure clear consciousness, and essentially and effectively identified with and vividly maintaining this awareness of vibrant consciousness-awareness,
One next re-cognizes awareness of a sense of ego-like self, of “I Am-ness” arising as pure empty essence of consciousness in and of pure clear consciousness awareness, and fully retaining vibrantly pure, clear consciousness-awareness,
One next re-cognizes awareness of all manner of thoughts, emotions, and memories arising as pure empty essence of consciousness in and of pure clear consciousness awareness, thinking “These thoughts Are arising in consciousness.” and thence fully retaining vibrantly pure, clear consciousness-awareness,
One next re-cognizes awareness of fragrances arising as pure empty essence of consciousness, in and of pure clear consciousness awareness, thinking, “These fragrances Are arising in consciousness.”, and fully retaining vibrantly pure, clear consciousness-awareness,
One next re-cognizes awareness of flavors arising as pure empty essence of consciousness, in and of pure clear consciousness awareness, thinking, “These flavors Are arising in consciousness.”, and fully retaining vibrantly pure, clear consciousness-awareness,
One next re-cognizes awareness of feelings of touch arising as pure empty essence of consciousness, in and of pure clear consciousness awareness, thinking, “These feelings Are arising in consciousness.”, and fully retaining vibrantly pure, clear consciousness-awareness,
One next re-cognizes awareness of sounds arising as pure empty essence of consciousness, in and of pure clear consciousness awareness, thinking, “These sounds Are arising in consciousness.”, and fully retaining vibrantly pure, clear consciousness-awareness,
One next re-cognizes awareness of visual appearances arising as pure empty essence of consciousness, in and of pure clear consciousness awareness, thinking, “These appearances Are arising in consciousness.”, and fully retaining vibrantly pure, clear consciousness-awareness,
One next re-cognizes awareness of awareness arising as pure empty essence of consciousness, in and of pure clear consciousness awareness, thinking, “This Awareness IS arising in Consciousness.”, and fully retaining vibrantly pure, clear consciousness-awareness,
One next gently reenergizes the body, and, with the full awareness of One’s true fundamental nature as pure Consciousness-Awareness, and with the wisdom guidance inherent in One’s fundamental Consciousness-Awareness nature, One enters into the activities of the worlds of one’s vehicles, all the while maintaining the clear consciousness awareness, reminding oneself whenever necessary that “This … is arising in consciousness.”, washing it with the essence of pure clear consciousness-awareness, , experiencing it as merely a lucid empty formation of consciousness, in and of consciousness, arising as awareness entirely as the singular essential nature of Being.
Experience this state for as long as it naturally persists.
Repeat the entire foregoing as often as necessary, all in pure joy, equanimity, compassion and loving kindness for all, entirely wisdom consciousness awareness arising as thought, word and action for the current and ultimate benefit of any and all other beings whatsoever.
As you settle into this experience again and again, a profound sense of confidence begins to arise, and within this confidence the quality of immeasurable equanimity develops. Deep within the wish arises for all beings to share in this marvelous state. Thus arising directly from this profound equanimity is the immeasurable compassion for all sentient beings, each only a heartbeat and yet untold eons away from their own Pure Being. Arising from this immeasurable compassion is the immeasurable loving kindness, the only active projection of mind, spirit and body one is capable of doing for all who yet suffer in unknowingly ignoring the very presence of their own true nature, and finally, from practicing loving kindness toward all arises the immeasurable joy in the ongoing fulfillment of the CLEAR, of the truly compassionate One Consciousness Being.
Comment on Practice in Becoming Awareness of Consciousness Awareness
Practice in Being Conscioiusness Awareness in the Waking State
Having discovered this way of Being Awareness of Consciousness Awareness in the waking state, we need practical engagement with the world while in this condition. One’s agenda should include cultivating and further enhancing our practice of the “Four Immeasurables”, Equanimity, Loving Kindness, Compassion and Joy. Often it seems these arise more or less spontaneously as fleeting conditions somehow beyond our own creativity and direct control. All too often, however, their opposite polarities seem to be the main things we engage in, malcontent, hatred, anger and unhappiness. It is easy to lay the problem on too much ignorance and not enough wisdom, but what is this wisdom we need to gain in order to dispel the ignorance we cannot even recognize ourselves as having?
Having found awareness of consciousness awareness we can begin to relate to what this wisdom is all about, because this wisdom is intrinsic to consciousness awareness, and, although it ordinarily lies dormant, it arises awakened commensurate with recognition of the emptiness nature of one’s experience. Understanding this intellectually may give us some intellectual wisdom, but realizing as direct experience enables the true fundamental wisdom. We can respectfully engage this fundamental wisdom with considered problems, and if we are sincerely looking for solutions then appropriate knowledge will present itself. Intellectual wisdom does not operate this way; one has to put effort into the intellectual wisdom process to get solutions. With fundamental wisdom one puts effort into the solution it presents; the solution is just the beginning, not the ending as is the case with intellectual problem solving.
What does all this mean from a practical point of view? Simply put, if we use intellectual wisdom to deal with the ongoing problems of fundamental ignorance, our clinging to the resulting one-time special case answers can not maintain an advantage over ongoing ignorance which simply morphs into an unguarded mode and reasserts itself in another guise, persisting in its habitual control over mind as usual. Instead, the more generalized understanding arising from fundamental wisdom can give us some more generalized tools for engaging and actually replacing habitual modes of ignorance with willing modes of wisdom. This is something definitely worth taking to heart.
In fact, if you examine with your fundamental wisdom what is going on in your heart area, you will find that it is the source of Loving Kindness. You needn’t just take my word for it. You can and should check it out for yourself. Put yourself in Being Awareness of Consciousness Awareness and while contemplating Loving Kindness, search your body-mind space for the zone that feels “right” for Loving Kindness. You will zero in on your heart area. Likewise check out the centers for Compassion, Joy and Equanimity. You may find Joy to be more universal, but the highest Joy will be found at the crown of your head. Compassion will seem to radiate like a flood light directly from your throat center, and, perhaps the subtlest, equanimity will be found to arise along with the strength of will, courage, and determination, like the soft glow of a warm flame burning in your navel center.
Starting your search for these you will probably have been at your head center, just behind the forehead. This is now your fundamental wisdom center because it is from this center that your senses now seem to project from, especially true for your eye sense, which is the one you have the most familiarity of emptiness with, albeit, mostly in the waking state and mostly driven by intellectually guided exercises you have used to reveal the emptiness nature of experience. This center is where you tend to associate most of the time, identifying with being the sensing and thinking person while unwittingly building your conceptual ego, but now you find yourself beginning to identify more and more with the “Being” part of the sensing person; and, although you may also be identifying somewhat less and less with the “physical” part of “person” aspect of the equation, the aspects of energies of Loving Kindness arising in the heart center, Compassion flowing from the throat center, Illimitable Joy arising in the crown center and Immeasurable Equanimity, Courage and Strength of Will arising in the navel center brings new and important attention to the concept of “person” in the context of energies and subtle vehicles effective for much, much more than mere physical world activity, important as that may be.
Next we will look into how we may use this knowledge to enhance our performance as Being persons engaging fundamental wisdom through awareness of consciousness awareness and the implementation of the power of will to overcome active manifestations of habitual ignorance, allowing the centers to radiate the Four Immeasurables ever brighter by illuminating the darkness of ignorance with the clear light of consciousness-awareness.
The Responsible Agent of Will
When all is said and done, who exactly is the responsible agent? Perhaps the closest we can come to a practical answer for this is Will. One’s own introspection shows that Will is what determines the location of Awareness. When Will power is weak or absent, awareness goes directly to conceptual objects most in accordance with genetic programming. When Will is active it can induce Awareness to be attentive to spacious consciousness and to realize the consciousness nature of not only ordinary appearances, but of the arising in consciousness of the illusory sense of self or “I-ness” as well. Only when Will is able to maintain Awareness of empty Consciousness as the essential presence in and of which the illusory sense of self arises as appearance without any substantive basis whatsoever and thence departs without any effect whatsoever, can one truly be in the state of God-given freedom towards which we aspire, not simply from birth-right, but from the more fundamental and utterly non-preemptable pre-birth Being-right itself.
Even though this freedom is a fundamental right, an intrinsic property of Being, we all know that “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.” Not only must we be vigilant, however, we must also know how to effectively respond to the rearing of an ignorant habit’s ugly head. The eternal vigilance is made possible through the universal attention to detail, which is in turn made possible by Immeasurable Equanimity, while the courage to face one’s own ugly ignorance, the power of fundamental Will to set and maintain the illumined condition necessary to dispel the ignorance, and the strength to stay the intended course, all together reside in the powerful field of energy which is the Navel Center.
The power of the
The power of the
There are many examples, but perhaps the most visceral and convincing for the intellect, if need be for you to try this yourself, is the Courage brought forth by the lone soldier in advancing steadfastly across an open field against the specter of certain death, despite every inclination to do anything else just to maintain the strongest habit of all, the desire to remain alive. This is a Courage that is nothing less than raw power of Will to stay this course despite all desire to the contrary, a Courage that is visceral, a Courage we associate with terms such as “intestinal fortitude”, etc. This is Navel Center Power!!
This is a power of Will we have as well; all we need to do is access it and use it, and use it we must if we are to overcome our own habitual tendencies towards the polarities opposite to Immeasurable Compassion, Immeasurable Loving Kindness, Immeasurable Joy and Immeasurable Equanimity. This is something we can all do together, and all be immeasurably better off because of it.
How to use the powerful energies of the
When faced with the need for strong will-power immediately bring your attention to the navel center and first exhale slightly but sharply through the nostrils, initially displacing any negative condition, then inhale through the nostrils with a smooth, deep, full, diaphragmatic breath. With the attention at the back of the diaphragm visualize the navel center filling with pure clear rainbow light consciousness. The power of this rainbow light energy can handle any situation confronting you. As you exhale visualize rays of clear rainbow light consciousness going out from the navel center to the subject (the consciousness object of our condition) requiring the power of will to control. Dissolve the condition in this flood of pure clear rainbow light consciousness radiation emanating from the navel center. Let the condition self-liberate through its own dissolution. Follow up by maintaining awareness on rainbow light consciousness at the navel center, breathing gently and maintaining the self liberation of the negative condition as long as necessary.
To actualize Loving Kindness, first dissolve the self-concept in clear consciousness awareness and allow it to self-liberate. Next, exhale smoothly through the two nostrils. Then inhale fully through the nostrils into the heart center. See the heart center filling and filled with pure clear consciousness. Feel the warmth of this pure consciousness. Hold the breath briefly, for a second or two with a lock at the throat center. Then exhale consciousness actualized with Loving Kindness throughout all of your body, like a flood of clear light radiating out in all directions from your heart center flowing out into all the surrounding consciousness space. With your whole being thus actualized, bring it into practical expression of Loving Kindness by engaging in actual acts of Loving Kindness.
Wondering what acts of Loving Kindness to perform? Find out through actualizing Compassionate awareness.
To actualize Compassionate Awareness, first dissolve the self-concept in pure consciousness-awareness, allowing it to self-liberate. Exhale smoothly through the two nostrils, then inhaling deeply, filling both the navel and the heart centers with pure clear consciousness. Experience the flow of this pure clear consciousness through the throat center on its way to the heart and navel centers. As you do so, feel compassion welling up in the throat center. Exhale smoothly feeling this compassionate clear consciousness radiating directly from the throat center out into consciousness space reaching all the beings throughout all of unlimited consciousness space. Again let any lingering self concept be washed with clear consciousness and self-liberated when doing this. Now inhale the suffering of all the countless beings of all the worlds, flowing in pure consciousness back through the two nostrils. As this compassionate pure consciousness filled with the suffering of all beings you are reaching flows through your nasal passage, examine it with your clear wisdom mind for objects of suffering you can engage with the actuality of Loving Kindness. Perhaps it is as simple as joyfully performing a chore that ordinarily is done by someone else. Finally, if you need the power of will to empower the activity of Loving Kindness you have chosen, practice will power with the object being empowering the activity you have selected. As it self-liberates in emptiness all self-centered reservations self-liberate as well, the vehicles are purely empowered and the activity proceeds while maintaining pure awareness of consciousness awareness while performing it.
Here is a point in our transformation towards identification with fundamental Consciousness-Awareness where we may want to take advantage of some very current western mind-science technology. We can if we wish us the techniques of “conversational” hypnosis to more decisively set our self concept as fundamental experiential Awareness. The practice involves getting the surface consciousness to allow the inputting into the sub-conscious mind (the subtle vehicles) the “fact” of our identity with Awareness when the subconscious mind is already heavily loaded with the idea that we are supposed to identify with an array of concepts we have patched together over a lifetime or more in the physically embodied state. This is done by offering first a sequence of undeniable truths, unfiltered by the conscious mind because the sub-conscious already can accept them, ( such as “I am aware of this”), followed by a condition that lets the conscious mind diffuse (a pause “…”), followed by what is termed a link between these statements and the statement we want to pass to the sub-conscious mind (such as “because”), followed by what we want our sub-conscious mind to accept (“ I am this Awareness”). This powerfully plants the idea that “I am this Awareness” in the entire array of nested vehicles for our Consciousness-Awareness Being. If you find the idea of self-hypnosis unsettling then you can very comfortably skip this exercise, but if you want to move more decisively ahead in your journey of Being self-Realized, then you may feel equally comfortable in working with this exercise and including it in your practice. This, as obviously is everything presented here, is entirely your own choice. I, for what little it may be worth, do find this exercise very effective in my own practice.
The exercise is very simple. One first centers on Awareness of empty consciousness space in the visual field and then thinks “I am aware of this … (where “this” is the empty consciousness space together with all the rest of the appearance arising to awareness). One continues on repeatedly in this way, “I am aware of this … I am aware of this … I am aware of this … (a few times a least until this is simply one’s present accepted truth condition, at which point one mentally, but with firm assertiveness, interjects “Because I AM this Awareness!!” where upon one catches and remains alertly aware of their identity with, indeed, AS, fundamental Awareness, as simply Being Pure Lucid Consciousness-Awareness. Here you are acutely aware of your own self-nature Being the Awareness occupant of your vehicles rather than the vehicles themselves.
Comment on Practices in Being Awareness of Consciousness Awareness
Consciousness-Manifestation-Awareness is a reasoned expression for the nature of Being, but we have to bring it to a considered level of understanding to appreciate its meaning intuitively. Alternatively there is a directly intuitive way of expressing and understanding the nature of Being, and our relationship with it. In this form of expression, the fundamental nature of Being from our own direct perspective is “Being-Aware of Being-Informed”. Here, Being-Aware addresses the Awareness aspect of Being, whereas Being-Informed refers to the Manifestation aspect of Being. The infinite unlimited potential of Consciousness for both Manifestation and Awareness is the Essential Basis of Being or “ground” from which both Awareness and Manifestations (“formations”) arise. While we are caught up in identification with our various vehicles we perceive this in the dualistic experience of “our self” as being aware, that is, “Being-Aware”, not of mind forms arising in Consciousness per se, i.e. not “Being-Informed”, but rather simply as self experiencing the outer object world and our personal ego-centric response in relation to it, and thus we fail to recognize the nature of “Being-Informed” entirely, even as other than our self, in this grossest form of duality. As we break through the hypnotic illusion and come to realize that being informed actually is a state of Consciousness with “in-formation” arising therein as “formations” i.e. manifestations, we come to understand the fundamental meaning of “Being-Informed” as Consciousness with manifestations arising therein. Initially in this stage of realization, however, being-informed carries with it the sense that WE are Being-Aware, and some other IT or outer seeming Consciousness is the Being-Informed. Finally, as Awareness is realized arising directly within the seeming outer Consciousness, we bring these two modes together, or more accurately we allow ourselves to experience these apparently two modes as the Single Nature of our own Being, as the singular state of Being-Aware (of) Being-Informed.
Drawing on our understanding of the Nature of Being as Being-Aware (of) Being-Informed, it becomes interesting to view the development of civilization in the context of its “Ages”, past, present, and, as we may wish to surmise, future.
The idea of an “Information Age” began to catch on some 20 or so years ago as computers began to be linked together in large networks and the idea of gathering and sharing information across a large area began to take on . Now we are well into the Age of Information. The Information Age could not have taken place were it not for the immediately preceding development of appropriate technologies, and indeed, the Age of Technology might be said to have begun in the early to mid 20th Century, made possible by the Industrial Age, which was ushered in with the development of the steam engine in the early 17th Century, preceded by the Iron Age, circa first millennium, the Bronze Age, some two and a half millennia prior, and the Stone Age some tens of millennia prior to that. Notice that the time span from the beginning of one age to the beginning of the next is a rapidly decreasing interval, from Stone to Bronze tens of thousands; from Bronze to Iron several thousand; from Iron to Industrial less than a thousand; from Industrial to Technology several hundred; from Technology to Information, less than a hundred years.
The Information Age in its short time span to date has already had a truly profound effect in raising the awareness of large portions of the world’s population, and even if only over the past several years, it nevertheless appears clear that we are now already engaged in what can only be thought of as the Age of Awareness. Indeed, human Beings Informed through the Age of Information are rapidly becoming Human Beings Aware, and thus the Age of Awareness has already been progressing for at least several years. On this accelerating time scale, the next great age is only a heartbeat away.
How rapidly this is developing is truly amazing, awesome, but the era it portends, the Age that is dawning, building upon the Age of Awareness through the Realized Nature of Awareness together with the Realized Nature of Information, the Being Aware of Being Informed Self-Realized Population of Human Beings, more incredible than any one person can begin to imagine, is the coming Age of Being, an age not of the next millennium but on the ever rapidly decreasing time-scale of the Ages, this IS the Morning Astronomical Twilight, the perceptible illumining at the subtle boundary with the clear darkness of space leading to the arising of the Dawn Clear Light, the Dawning of the Age of Being. Such an incredible time to be alive in the human embodiment, the horrendous suffering world-wide not withstanding, because it is the Age of Being, the Age of Realized Being, which ushers in not only all the means, the industrial capability, the technology to develop the means, the information to provide the knowledge base, the awareness of not only problems, but solutions, and with the nature of the Human Being in its most profound and beneficent form as Realized Being to hearken to humanity’s plea for aid in respite from its suffering, to respond with total compassionate beneficent wisdom in formulating solutions, developing and applying caring technologies applied to the problems facing the world, and implementing the enormity of it through the full industrial might and common human resolve, crossing all the lines of division between peoples, irrespective of whatever differences of religious, ethnic, economic, or hierarchal nature, one people in One Being, simply one helping another, selflessly, all of the same accord, entirely as Being in Being. May the ring of this be True and may the Truth be the Reality.
Comment on Dawn of the Age of Being
Finally, the most important practice of all: Keep Practicing!!!
It is our habitual inclination to remain forever trapped in the
PRACTICE IT, PRACTICE IT, PRACTICE IT
Until we are all there together as One.
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