This morning resumed the online meditations. The focus is Awareness and (its or the) field of awareness. We began with a few pictures and thoughts. With those in mind and in place, the rest of the week will not require much preamble.
Right now, close your eyes and center. Then sit briefly like that. (1-3 minutes)
If you did, you experienced Awareness. Momentarily, Awareness would have been pristine, pure, unsullied by thoughts, uninterrupted by personal controlling or coaching or desire. Momentarily, Awareness would have been simple, luminous (visually or vibrationally), peaceful and serene yet raw and fecund. Then, common mind would have stepped in or piped up.
With practice, one learns how to leave Awareness alone, not fiddle with it; and one learns how to relax into not fiddling. Though that probably takes lifetimes, that new propensity for simplicity and non-involvement will become part of the practitioner. It will be brought from lifetime to lifetime and be used/lived in all kinds of ways in addition to classical meditation. This is what we are “working” on.
Awareness is ordinary. This is very important to remember. Capital A Awareness is the same as little a awareness. It’s all awareness; which is why the Buddha said, “The buddhas and confused beings are of one nature.” He also stated that the cognition of a buddha and that of a practitioner are the same cognition. Patanjali taught, “Yoga is to still the patterning of consciousness. Then, pure awareness can abide in its very nature. Otherwise, awareness takes itself to be the patterns of consciousness.” I.2-4 Little a awareness is primarily the experience of the habits of consciousness. Capital A Awareness is Awareness released from the temporary obscurations of the habits of consciousness. Nonetheless, awareness is Awareness.
In the Kagyu tradition of the Practice Lineage, a/Awareness is called ordinary mind. Ordinary is a very important word and reminder because one of the first and longest traps in meditation practice is looking for and desiring the extraordinary. A “good” meditation is one with bells and whistles, and a “bad” or not good meditation is one in which all is ordinary. Ordinary chatter, ordinary scatteredness, ordinary active or restless mind, ordinary emotions. But, the kicker is that these are reporting the extraordinary that one is seeking and longing for! When the practitioner settles into the experiences being had instead of trying to control, correct, or change those experiences, then they open like a flower blossom or a nut shell.
Human beings don’t know that all the fidgeting and controlling that we do, all the manipulations and orchestrations are actually unnatural. Natural mind, ordinary mind is actually sublime and profound! and quite ordinary. The cognition that is reading these letters and forming them into words and meaning is born of Awareness. Where else could cognition, knowing, understanding, intuition, empathy, and sympathy come from? Yet, cognition is ordinary, right? Knowing is ordinary, from an infant to an elder. Understanding, hmmm, might require certain types of maturity depending on what one can understand or seeks to. But that might be only my perception.
We begin with Awareness and expand into field. Why? Because Awareness and experience are inseparable. Experience is impossible without awareness. And, any experience is awareness experiencing itself through contexts and conditions. A meditation practice is designed to dissolve the contexts and erode and exhaust the conditions. With that, Awareness experiences Itself, momentarily or lastingly.
This is the imagery and thoughts this morning. (Put on your audio.) The various images begin after I share gratitude regarding the just finished retreats.