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CHAPTER ONE:

Recognizing Awareness


(1) Recognize awareness

(2) Let all appearances be as they are

(3) See that appearances are inseparable.


We start by relaxing into a direct, experiential introduction to awareness.  We recognize awareness as often as possible, throughout the day, every day, until that recognition is unshakable and uninterrupted.  We recognize awareness whenever we remember to do so.  No matter what we are doing—relaxing, walking, sitting, working, engaging in physical exercise, or lying in bed at night—we take a moment to recognize awareness.

In recognizing awareness in every experience, it dawns on us that awareness is always and already present, regardless of what is happening in our lives.  This provides a peace and stability that passes all understanding.  In seeing that awareness is ever-present, we realize that awareness is our real identity.  This naturally and effortlessly releases the tendency to identify with the various appearances (including thoughts, emotions, sensations, states, and experiences) that come and go to awareness.

 

 

How to Recognize Awareness

 

1. Start with thought-free awareness


Stop and notice the next thought. As that thought disappears, rest as the thought-free space that is left.  That is thought-free awareness.

 

As humans, we are accustomed to relying heavily on thoughts, both for a sense of self and for information about others and the world.  This habitual tendency to rely on thought creates a belief in separation.  The more we learn, repeat, and rely on concepts, the more it really feels like the concepts are pointing to separate things.

Suffering, seeking, and conflict arise from the belief in separation.  This belief is the reason we experience ourselves as separate people in a world of other separate people and things.  As thoughts arise, there is a tendency to believe that they are pointing to separate things: me, you, us, them, apples, countries, the moon, atoms, mothers-in-law, and so on.

This belief system lies at the core of personal suffering.  Personal suffering arises because we identify with the thought stream in our minds.  If that thought stream is negative, we experience emotional and mental suffering.  Even if it seems to be positive, there can also be suffering as we try to defend or protect that image when it feels threatened in some way.

This belief system is also the root cause of seeking.  When we believe we are separate, we think of ourselves as individual stories existing in time.  At every point within the story, we find ourselves in the middle of an unfinished movie called “My Life.”  The past feels incomplete, and it seems that only the future can provide completion.  This results in constant seeking towards the future.  We repeatedly chase future happiness, but never seem to find contentment on any permanent basis.  In this sense of separation, we often see ourselves as deficient in some way e.g., “I’m not good enough,” “I’m not there yet,” “I’m unlovable,” “I’m inadequate,” or “I’m unsafe.”  This deficiency causes us to seek and try to control or change other people and situations, in some attempt to fix the deficiency.  As long as we identify with this core deficiency story, we cannot find stable contentment, peace, love, and completion.

This belief system is also the reason why we experience conflict.  Separation makes us feel cut off from other people and from life itself; there is a sense of spatial separation.  When we feel like separate objects, we believe that other objects (including people) have the power to threaten or diminish who we are.  This causes us to want to be right and to make others wrong.  For every right, there is a wrong; we claim the right for ourselves and thus make our opponent (whoever we’re in conflict with) wrong.  In being right, we build ourselves up.  This protects the fragile self center—the ego—from feeling diminished or threatened.  Unfortunately, this is precisely why we find ourselves in conflict.

For many of us, thoughts happen very quickly, one after another, and carry such force or momentum that the thought stream feels uncontrollable.  There is a sense that we can’t shut it off.  Throughout the day, all sorts of judgments, opinions, beliefs, mental positions, criticisms, and other concepts come up.  Our sense of self is invested in the thought stream, and we consult it to know who and what we are.  All our ideas about ourselves, including our names, history, memories, beliefs, and political ideals, reside in the thought stream.  A great majority of our thoughts are self-centered.  The self center is the main object in our experience.  In this method, we use the term self center to refer to the sense of being a separate person in time and space.  We’ll talk more about this in Chapter Three: Thoughts.

Although we may experience a quieting of the mind, this is not about experiencing life in a completely thought-free way.  We don’t attempt to shut the thought stream off permanently, nor could we.  Thoughts are a part of life.  Once we no longer identify with them, and cease to believe they are pointing to separate things, we are free to use the functional, conventional aspect of thought.  For example, we talk to our friends, buy food at the grocery store, drive our cars, pay our taxes, and teach our children—all impossible without the capacity to think.

The point is to see through the belief in separation, not get rid of thought.  As that belief falls away, thought is seen to be a harmless and valuable tool for living.  It’s an inseparable appearance within awareness, which means it is none other than awareness.  We’ll talk more about inseparability later.

Although getting rid of thought is not the ultimate point, we encourage you to begin with thought-free awareness so that your belief in separation is interrupted.  This provides a relaxation and release from the self center, the story of past, present, and future that is constantly and uncontrollably playing itself out in our heads.

Through recognizing thought-free awareness, we come to see that we do not need to rely on thinking so much.  We can simply be, as awareness.  This is the simplest and most effortless way of living.  We come to experience awareness as natural, effortless, and ever-present.  As we experience thought-free awareness, our stories are seen to be less important in our lives.  Therefore, self-centeredness naturally falls away.  We come to see awareness as our real identity.  This recognition provides the peace, freedom, wisdom, joy, and well-being we’ve been seeking in our lives.

What is meant by the term ‘recognizing thought-free awareness?’  Awareness is not a concept.  The word “awareness” is a concept that comes and goes to the awareness that sees that and every other concept.  All concepts (and other appearances) come and go to awareness.  Recognizing this from the start goes a long way in avoiding confusion.  It is worth repeating our earlier explanation of thought-free awareness:

 

Stop and notice the next thought.  As that thought disappears, rest as the thought-free space that is left.  That is thought-free awareness.

 

If you have some difficulty with this pointer, start with this simple method: bring your attention, over and over throughout the day, to the felt sense of presence in your chest or inner body.  Just return to that felt sense repeatedly, as often as possible.  Notice that there is no thought there.  There is only a felt sense of presence.  Just rest each time you experience the space of the inner body.  As you rest there more and more often, the space seems to expand or at least feel more accessible in your experience.  It starts to encompass more and more of your experience.  You start to notice that the space in your chest is also present in your legs, your arms, and in your head.  The voice in your head, playing one thought after the other, is seen to be happening within this space.  You notice that this space is what hears that voice.  So this space starts to feel more and more like the real you, as the thoughts start to seem less and less like you.

You even start to notice that the spaciousness you are experiencing within your body and mind is the same spaciousness outside your body and mind.  You begin to see that this thought-free space is present wherever you go, no matter where you are.  You notice it at home, at work, in the company of others, and when you are alone.  You find that this space is always present.  You experience its natural peacefulness.  It feels like home.  Make relaxing into this present, restful space the most important thing in your life.  Return there often until the return becomes automatic.  It will become automatic because the peace within that space has a powerful pull to it.

 

If you forget what is meant by thought-free awareness, simply return to this chapter and read the paragraphs above.

 

2. What is awareness?

Awareness is the limitless, boundless thought-free space to which everything comes and goes.  It is wordless, thought-free, non-locatable presence.  Appearances come and go to awareness.  Everything that happens in life is an appearance to awareness.  For example, a concept is an appearance to awareness.  When a concept appears, it seems to refer to a separate object.  Awareness is what sees or experiences that concept.  When that concept disappears, the experience of that object existing as its own separate thing disappears also.

The awareness to which all thoughts come and go is not a concept.  The word “awareness” points to that which hears the voice in your head.  When you utter the word “awareness” (or any other word) that which hears that sound and sees that thought is actual awareness.  While it may be helpful to use metaphors and concepts before we get an experiential introduction to awareness, we need to be clear, right from the start, that awareness cannot be described or captured in words or thoughts.  Whatever words or thoughts we come up with are merely appearances to awareness.  Try not to get too involved in intellectualizing about what we mean by the word “awareness.”  The most direct approach is simply to rest, without thought, on a regular basis, until it is recognized that thought-free space is the very ground of our experience, before a thought or anything else appears.

No one understands awareness.  It is not a thing.  Remember: humans tend to rely heavily on thought.  So the tendency may be to try and understand the words of this chapter intellectually.  We invite you to see that thought comes and goes to awareness.  Even great ideas and profound descriptions of awareness are concepts that come and go to awareness.  No matter how deep or ridiculous our concepts are about ourselves, friends, family, society, science, God, enlightenment, self-realization, business, religion, philosophy, culture, politics, or anything else, they all arise and fall temporarily to awareness.

When our eyes are open, we see colors, shapes, and things; that’s visual seeing.  If we close our eyes, all the colors, shapes, and things disappear.  Awareness is that which is present and awake both to the things that appear when our eyes are open and to the absence of those things when our eyes are closed.  Awareness remains ever present, while these internal and external appearances arise and fall within its view.  This is why the recognition of awareness provides stability in our lives on every level.  We no longer feel that our sense of self is wrapped up in the various temporary appearances that come and go.  We come to know our true identity as awareness, which is more stable and ever-present.

It may also be helpful to refer to the word “being” instead of awareness.  It is difficult to refute the simple fact of ever-present being.  It is present when our eyes are open and when they are closed, when we are awake and when we are asleep, when we are thinking and when we are not thinking.  Regardless of the word we choose to call it, find out what aspect of your existence never comes and goes.  Thoughts, emotions, sensations, states, experiences, objects, colors, sounds, and all other phenomena come and go.  The simple fact of being remains present and here, no matter what comes and goes.  That is awareness.

Awareness is an ever-present seeing.  It happens only in the space of this moment.  Awareness cannot be recognized by referring to a previous, past recognition or by projecting forward into a future moment when you hope you will be able to recognize awareness more clearly.  Thoughts of the past and future come and go to awareness.  If you find yourself emphasizing thoughts of the past and future, simply let them come to rest.  Recognize the thought-free awareness that is automatically and effortlessly present as those thoughts come to rest.

Take a moment right now and recognize awareness.  Keep it simple and let all ideas drop away for one moment.  Let all the ideas you have ever learned about yourself, others, the world, and awareness come to rest right now.

Just recognize what is timelessly awake and looking.  Forget everything that you’ve read in this text thus far.  Drop it all and look into the present fact of your own being.  This thought-free awareness has been there all your life.  It is the only thing about you that has never come and gone.  Many concepts have come and gone.  Many emotions, sensations, states, and experiences have come and gone.  Throughout it all, this awareness has always been here.

As you rest in the here and now, if a thought arises, let it pass.  Just let it fall away.  Rest again into present seeing or space, whichever word you prefer.  There is no need to think about or analyze any of the words on this page.  Awareness is more akin to the white page on which this text appears than any pointer that appears on it.  Now drop that pointer too!  In fact, as you read the rest of this book, periodically just take moments in which you forget what the text is saying.  Just relax and rest in thought-free awareness, allowing all appearances to come and go freely, without emphasizing them.  Then return to the words, or not.  The value of this book is not in memorizing its words, but rather in seeing that they point to what you are in the most basic sense.  In recognizing this basic presence, you may not need this book any longer.  Any good teaching self-destructs in that way, once it has done its job.  It is important to recognize awareness in your own, direct experience.

Awareness is so immediately here and present in all situations that it repeatedly gets overlooked as we focus on our personal story and other ideas and images appearing within awareness.  What is here that never moves or changes, that never comes and goes?  You may have a tendency to overlook this basic awareness, getting drawn into the appearances that come and go, such as objects, thoughts, emotions, sensations, states, and experiences.  If you find this happening, be easy on yourself.  Just stop, whenever you notice that happening, and recognize the basic, thought-free awareness that is inseparable from the present moment.  Do this as often as possible, until it is seen that awareness is ever-present.

Awareness is always available, no matter what is happening in our lives.  We do not make recognizing awareness into a practice that we only do at certain times of the day.  Treating the recognition of awareness in this way tends to compartmentalize life.  This is not a “spiritual” practice done at certain times while you live in the “real world” for the rest of the day.  Awareness is present during work, during time with the family, and every other place and time in our lives.  We do not recognize awareness only when we are in peaceful places or free from the daily stress of our busy lives.  We “check in” with awareness in all situations.  We recognize awareness when things are going well and when life is going badly.  We just take a moment, no matter where we are or what we are doing.  We drop all of our labels about the situation that is presently happening and we discover for ourselves that awareness is here, always.

Take a moment now and try this.  Drop even the words “awareness,” “presence,” “being” and any other pointer you have read in this text or in another teaching.  Let each word, within each sentence, just fall away.  Don’t look back at what you’ve just read.  Let all thoughts come to rest.  Simply rest here for a moment.  Just be, without any thoughts.  Take a moment.

 

3. Is recognizing thought-free awareness a practice?

This depends on the person, and may be different for everyone.  Some people need only one taste of recognizing thought-free awareness, as that first taste reveals to them that awareness is their real identity.  They do not need to continue visiting or returning to the recognition of awareness.  From that point forward, awareness is seen to be ever-present and all appearances are seen to come and go effortlessly and inseparably to awareness.

Others may need to repeatedly take brief moments of recognizing thought-free awareness, returning to it again and again until it has stabilized and is experienced as ever-present.  If you need to take these brief moments, notice that the experience may last for only a few seconds the first few times.  You have tasted awareness.  That’s all we are asking you to do in the beginning.  We invite you to experience thought-free awareness as often as possible throughout the day, every day, no matter where you are or what you are doing.  As you do so, it becomes easier and easier to rest in thought-free awareness.  The moments naturally become longer.

The momentum of thinking can be so strong at first that all you can do is take brief moments.  But as you take more and more of these moments, continuing to rest in thought-free awareness very often throughout the day, the moments get longer and longer.  Eventually, a very natural and effortless return to awareness takes place.  At some point, it stops feeling like a practice that you are doing.  Awareness is seen to be ever-present—not something you visit, not something you practice, but what you are in the deepest sense.

This simple practice of repeatedly taking brief moments to recognize awareness provides rest from constant thinking, and puts you in the perfect position to begin seeing that you do not have to identify with all the thoughts, emotions, sensations, states, and experiences that come and go temporarily to awareness.  It also places you in the perfect position to begin to really look into your experience and see whether separation is real or not.  We will talk more about seeing through separation in the coming chapters.

Perhaps the best way of pointing to awareness is to say that it is our capacity to be aware.  By speaking of it as a capacity, there may be less of a tendency to think of it as something that lies beneath, behind, or beyond all appearances.  All descriptions of awareness, including that it lies “beneath,” “behind,” or “beyond,” come and go to our basic capacity to be aware.  This capacity is not anything that is observed or that appears.  It is that to which descriptions and appearances come and go.  Stop right now and notice this!  Rest, for a few seconds, without thought.  Be alert to colors, light, sounds, sensations, and emotions without labeling them.  Just notice.  When thought arises, notice that it is arising.  That is the recognition of awareness.

 

Tools for Recognizing Awareness

 

1. Center of the Room

Sit in the middle of a room in a chair that you can rotate.  Start by looking at only one wall.  Notice all the objects that appear as you look at that wall.  External objects, such as colors, textures, lines, lamps, doors, pictures, and so on will seem to be there, but notice that there really are no external separate objects until thought arises.  No object is announcing itself as a separate thing.  Thought does all the announcing.

In order for a lamp to appear as its own separate thing, the word “lamp” or some other mental description or image must arise to that which is cognizing i.e., to awareness.  Things are thoughts, first and foremost.  Notice that thought is a so-called internal object.  Thoughts seem to happen within the mind.  Without thoughts appearing internally, there are no independent objects appearing externally; there is nothing “out there” in the room.  There is only a seamless tapestry of experience, without individual forms.  Thought creates the notion of things existing independently out there.  See that all appearances, whether internal or external, are appearing to awareness.  Throughout the day, the appearances are constantly changing and coming and going.  Yet awareness does not move or change.  It does not come and go.  It is always present and awake to the coming and going of everything.

Test this out by rotating your chair to the next wall, then to the next wall, and then the next.  As you face each wall, completely new appearances come up.  New thoughts or mental images appear, which name new objects out there, such as “chair,” “picture,” and “door.”  As you move from wall to wall, the only aspect of experience that remains unchanged is the cognizing space to which all of these appearances come and go.  That space is awareness, and it is the only constant in your life.  Now try the same experiment outside.  Of course, this basic, cognizing space is also present when you are outside.  Even though the appearances are different—perhaps a road, some trees, some new thoughts, sensations, or emotions—awareness is still there, unchanged.  It is always present, no matter where you are or what you are doing.

When you are clear that all things, both internal and external, are appearing to the same awareness, see that “internal” and “external” are also just thoughts, appearing and disappearing within awareness.

 

 

2. Two objects

Locate two separate objects, at least three feet apart, in the room where you’re sitting.  You can use anything—a lamp, desk, plant, computer, or whatever else is around.  Let’s call them object A and object B.  Notice that the eyes can only focus on one object at a time.  You can go back and forth between A and B, but you cannot direct your attention to both objects at once.  You can only oscillate back and forth between the two objects.  First A, then B, then back to A, and then back to B.

Now stop focusing on one object at a time.  Instead, pull back (so to speak) and recognize yourself as the awareness that is aware of the whole room at once.  Just sit and be, without emphasizing any concepts about the room, yourself, any object in the room, or anything else.  Just be the thought-free space in which the moment is happening.  Notice that the present moment is inseparable from the awareness that is experiencing the present moment.  They are “not two.”  Notice that when you are resting as awareness in this way, the room feels like one seamless tapestry of colors, light, shades, and shapes.  Without thought, there are no separate objects like “chair” or “floor.”

Now allow a thought to arise about some object in the room, perhaps a chair.  Let’s say the chair is brown, with a round shape.  As the thought “chair” arises, the eyes focus on the chair.  The chair, as an object, arises when the thought “chair” arises.  This is revealing that the mind makes objects through thinking.  We do not experience separate objects until the mind gets involved.

If you are like most people, your thoughts are racing, one right after the other.  This leads you to believe the world is made of separate things that are just lying around, whether you are thinking about them or not.  Many people have this sense that thought is just mirroring or representing what is already “out there” in the world.  But without thought, there are no separate objects out there.  See that all the objects you believe you see are, first and foremost, concepts.  Even basic things like colors, light, shades, and shapes in the room are concepts or mental impressions.  For example, to know something is blue, the memory of blue must present itself as a thought.  “Blue” is a concept.  Everything you see arises by way of concepts.  Stated another way, individual things (along with their descriptive features) appear only when thoughts are present.

Through resting as thought-free awareness repeatedly, as often as possible, the mind starts to quiet.  It becomes easier to notice thought when it is arising and to rest as awareness as a thought falls away.  When there is no thought, your experience is non-conceptual.  Nothing can really be said about that non-conceptuality.  It is the complete unknown.  There is just simple being, without thought.  In fact, even the words “awareness” and “being” are not arising.  In thought-free awareness, all concepts come to rest.  Rest there, in that silent not-knowing, as often as possible.

 

3. Looking from the space

Look in the mirror.  Notice that there is a form staring back.  In the reflection, you can clearly see a physical form with eyes, a nose, a mouth, ears, and hair.  Then walk away from the mirror.  Notice that now there is only space looking outward from behind your face.  In that area where the reflection showed a physical form, there is now only space looking outward at the world.  From this view, looking outward from behind the face, there is no form.  There is no face.  There are no eyes, nose, mouth, ears, or hair.  There is only spacious awareness looking at the world.

What you usually take to be a solid, separate form (the face in the mirror) is really spacious awareness.  Notice that the entire world appears in that spacious awareness from which we are looking.  See that there is no division between that space and the world that is appearing in it.  If a division or boundary line appears, it is because a thought is appearing.  The most prevalent thoughts are “me” and “my body.”  Notice that when it seems as if you are “in there” (in the body) witnessing a separate world “out there,” some subtle thought or mental image is appearing.  It may be just the thought “I” or your name.  It may be an image of your body appearing in the mind, very subtly.  Just find it.  Look directly at that thought or mental image as it appears in your mind.  In noticing it directly, it falls away.  As it falls away, rest as thought-free awareness.  Now there is no boundary or dividing line between you (awareness) and the world that is appearing within awareness.  There is no inside separate from the outside.

 

4. Emotions and sensations

As an emotion or sensation appears, no matter whether it is positive or negative, notice the space around it.  Relax any mental label that arises to describe it (i.e., fear, tightness, etc).  When an emotion or sensation arises, simply observe that it is raw energy.  And then relax even that label.

Notice the viewpoints that desire to label, analyze, or get rid of the raw energy.  In noticing these viewpoints, but not emphasizing them, they naturally disappear.  You can then rest as awareness more easily, letting the emotion be as it is, without labeling it or telling a story about it.  Although thoughts may have an agenda to do something with the emotion or sensation, that which is cognizing the emotion or sensation (i.e., awareness) has no such agenda.

If, while allowing an emotion or sensation to be as it is, you begin to subtly experience awareness as a field or space with boundaries, remember this principle:  whenever you experience or even subtly sense that awareness has a boundary or border of any kind, notice that the boundary or border is a subtle mental image or outline.  Let that image or outline appear and disappear to the awareness that cognizes it.

 

5. Recognizing silence

No matter where we go, what we do, or what sounds are arising, silence is always here, underneath the noise of life.  There is a quietness here that is overlooked as the mind searches for the next thought, the next state, or the next experience.  This silence cannot be known by thinking about it.  It can only be experienced through resting in thought-free awareness.  This silence is a doorway to recognizing awareness.  There is silence “inside” the body and “outside” the body.  It is undivided silence.  Simply notice silence throughout the day whenever possible.  This is the same as resting in thought-free awareness.  Recognize yourself as that silence first.  Then see that awareness is that which is aware even of the silence itself.  Notice that every sound seems to arise out of the silence and fall back into it.  See that even the word “silence” is a concept.  Drop that concept and just be, without thought, as often as possible.

 

6. Locating awareness

In each of the experiments so far, it may seem like we’re pointing to an awareness that is located in the body or in the mind, as if it is emanating out of your eyes.  There is a tendency when reading non-dual pointers to believe that awareness has a location.  This belief accompanies the assumption that awareness is my awareness and that other people have their own “awarenesses.”  Let’s look at this more closely.

Awareness is not a thing.  It is not an object.  Only objects appear to have location.  Awareness is more like space.  It is not possible to locate space in one place rather than another.  The word “space” here is just a pointer.  Let it point you to the realization that your basic essence is undivided, boundary-less awareness.

This undivided space has no location.  Location appears when thought appears.  In order to even contemplate the notion that awareness resides within the body and mind, there must be a subtle mental image or outline of a body and mind that appears as a concept.  It’s often very subtle, more like an assumption, but it’s there.  Just notice it when it appears.  Notice that whatever sees that thought is non-locatable awareness.  In noticing the thought that attempts to locate space somewhere specific, that thought or image comes to rest.  You realize that what is noticing the thought or image is not a thought or image.  That which is noticing is awareness.  That is what you are.  In simply resting for one moment, completely free of thought, it is seen that space cannot be located and is not located anywhere.  This should help clear up the notion that awareness is located only in the body and mind.

Absolutely everything you can think of, including body, mind, mom, city, earth, cup, chair, justice, evil, good, and bad as well as everything mentioned in this chapter, including the words “space” and “awareness,” is coming and going to that which sees those things.  That which sees everything is awareness.

 

A Final Note about Chapter One

 

We encourage you to spend some time with the simple practice of recognizing thought-free awareness, before moving on to the next chapters.  This can be a powerful, life-transforming way of investigating the nature of your present experience.  It’s a way of seeing that there is awareness prior to thought, even though you have always believed yourself to be the thought-based story in your mind.  That story has told you that you are a separate self in a world of separate things.  Through recognizing awareness, that story is seen to be something that arises and falls within awareness.

Recognizing thought-free awareness releases the belief in separation.  It helps us to no longer identify with certain thought structures that repeatedly play in the mind, causing suffering, seeking, and conflict.  When we see that things are not really objective, separate things at all, and that they arise only by way of thoughts, a natural relaxation happens.  Life begins to flow more freely.  We come to see that all we really have to do is to allow all viewpoints to come and go, without emphasizing them for a sense of self or for truth.  The tension, stress, and resistance in our lives naturally release in this realization.  Everything is allowed to be just as it is.  We experience ongoing joy, acceptance, and forgiveness.  We find a basic wisdom and peace at the core of our experience.  We find exactly what we’ve been looking for all our lives – freedom from the sense of limitation, from the sense of being separate individuals cut off from others, experience, and life itself.

Before moving to the next chapters, it is helpful to have an experiential introduction to awareness.  What does “experiential” mean?  It means that you should have more than an intellectual understanding that awareness is ever-present.  You should be experiencing many moments throughout the day where awareness is directly recognized as the basic, cognizing, thought-free, open space of the present moment.  This direct experience is helpful as a preparation for the discussion of appearances and objects in the next chapters.

If you have difficulty in recognizing thought-free awareness even after taking up the practice in this chapter, be easy on yourself!  Some people experience this difficulty.  Simply move on to the next chapters, which investigate the appearances that come and go.  As you begin noticing these temporary appearances, and letting them all be as they are without manipulating them, it becomes easier to recognize the awareness to which the appearances are coming and going.

The following chapters assist you in seeing that everything that is happening in life is an inseparable appearance within awareness.  Awareness is none other than the world, and the world is none other than awareness.  This is the key to The Middle Way.

 

 

Chapter One: Summary

 

  • Awareness is the basic capacity to be aware.  It is that to which all appearances such as thoughts, emotions, sensations, states, and experiences temporarily come and go.
  • To recognize awareness means to experience awareness as always present.  It is always here, no matter what is happening or what we are doing.  Everything that happens in life is a temporary appearance, coming and going to ever-present awareness.  Even the notion of being a separate person is an appearance to awareness.
  • Start with thought-free awareness.  Stop and notice the next thought.  As that thought disappears, rest as the thought-free space that is left.  For a few seconds, don’t add another thought.  Enjoy the space of no-thought.  That is thought-free awareness.
  • Stick with this simple practice at first: take brief moments of resting as thought-free awareness repeatedly throughout the day, every day.  How brief?  At first, just three to five seconds at a time.  Keep it that simple!  How often?  Do it as often as you can.  Make resting as awareness your top priority.  Do it repeatedly.  As you do it more and more, the moments naturally become longer.  It becomes natural and automatic to rest as awareness in all situations.

 

We hope you enjoyed this complimentary sample excerpt!

 

 

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