Meditation simply consists of being aware of being aware, or directly noticing mind’s true nature – awake awareness that is spontaneously present, open and spacious, lucid and transparent.
This awake mind has always been present, but we have lost our ability to see thoughts, emotions, and perceptions as they truly are. We instead have been adding interpretation to whatever arises, which has clouded our view and led to confusion. If we are able to recognize the true nature of thought as soon as it arises, and leave it alone without pursuing it, then whatever thoughts arise will automatically self-liberate. Nisargadatta Maharaj put it this way:
“To be aware is to be awake. Unaware means asleep. You are aware anyhow, you need not try to be. What you need is to be aware of being aware. Be aware deliberately and consciously. Broaden and deepen the field of awareness. You are always conscious of the mind, but you are not aware of yourself as being conscious.
The mind produces thoughts ceaselessly, even when you do not look at them. Your consciousness shifts from sensation to sensation, from perception to perception, from idea to idea, in endless succession. Then comes awareness, the direct insight into the whole of consciousness, the totality of the mind. The mind is like a river, flowing ceaselessly in the bed of the body. You identify yourself for a moment with some particular ripple and call it: ‘my thought’. All you are conscious of is your mind. But awareness is the cognisance of consciousness as a whole.”
When left unrecognized, the thinking, concept-forming, and interpretive activity of judgemental mind arises, and the sense of “me” is first fabricated and then taken to be the totality of who and what we are. No wonder we are often overwhelmed!
In a state of pure awareness, however, the passing parade of thoughts loses its power to seduce us into a trance of identification with the habitual cycle of grasping and avoiding and simply dissolves. All emotions, thoughts, preferences, perceptions of good and bad, and so forth are naturally released without effort. Attention merely shifts from its chronic obsession with mental fabrications and emotional moods to the natural state of nondual awareness. We can then realize that there is no difference between this moment now and supreme enlightenment. There is nothing beyond this basic state of wakefulness, nothing to grasp or avoid. Our ordinary mind, just as it is, is perfect and complete.
For most of us, however, this clear awake awareness is both wonderful and frustrating. The relative ease of entering a state of non-dual awareness is often overshadowed by the ease of falling out of it. In order to establish ourselves in awareness, we need practices that cultivate our awareness in a consistent way. Yoga, prayer, mindfulness meditation, and exposure to the peacefulness in nature are a few of the ways. Laughing, being playful, enjoying the absurd are some others!
What are some of the ways you cultivate pure, nonjudgmental wakefulness?
Excerpts from my friend, Bob OHearn: https://theconsciousprocess.wordpress.com/2014/10/12/true-meditation-recognizing-basic-sanity