Sunday, March 19, 2006

How to remember to be aware of Awareness

I find it impossible to remember to be
aware,or to be aware I am
So what do you do to remember to
be present?
Is it just
something you do and then
do more of?

How does a person grow in


Hi Paul!
Your difficulty in being able to remember to be aware, is an issue of clarity and mindfulness. I would normally say for such a symptom as you described, that you still need to work on the first step of reducing the distractions of your mind's activities which seem to distract you from being aware of your awareness. You do this by "mind training". This is not Dzogchen practice. It's a necessary step leading there. You need to "catch" yourself every time you start to drift off in thought by bringing yourself to "present here and now" awareness. You can begin by doing some sitting meditation. Just sit there and observe the room as it is. No plan or intention except the commitment to "focus" on the physical and sensory experience of the environment in lieu of chasing the thoughts that pass through your mind. Just perceive the room, your body, your breath. Next start counting your breaths from 1 to 10 and start over again and again. Just focus on your breathing... when thoughts arise don't feed them or pursue them, just drop them like a "hot potato". Keep returning to just being aware of your breathing, the perceptions of the room as it is, without thinking or judging. Just notice everything. If you catch yourself drifting off in thought, just pull yourself back to just being "mindful " of the moment and let the thought go.
Next after working with this for a couple of weeks, begin to notice the "space" between one thought and before the next thought arises. Notice this momentary "space" of no-thought, again and again. Before, we were coming to "no-thought" by cutting-off thinking. Now we are being more subtle... we aren't "cutting off" thought, but we are noting the "space" between thoughts. By noticing that thoughtless space more and more, your awareness becomes comfortably relaxed in just being in that "space" of "before thinking". Now that you have some experiences of the mind of "non-thought", you can now shift your awareness to the Awareness that is being aware of that "space of non-thought". Ok, follow closely here: when you are experiencing that state of empty mind, the moment "no thought", or calm mind "shinay", your mind is at peace... the waves of thought have settled down. NOW in this exact moment notice the quality of being aware, pure naked Awareness. Once you have noticed your Awareness... stay with that. Notice your Awareness again and again.
Next, "let" a thought arise... look at the thought. Another thought and another. Observe the arising of the thought as it arises and as it dissolves. Do this until you are proficient at "noticing" the arising of the thought and noticing it dissolve. Now, let a thought arise... but this time instead of putting your attention on the "arising thought", put your attention on the Awareness that is Noticing the arising of the thought. The thought will automatically evaporate or self-liberate, now at that exact moment, notice your Awareness that is perceiving this self-liberated thought or voidness that is there for a flash. Notice your Awareness. Are you now able to notice your Awareness? If so that is being aware of your Awareness. Now you can practice Dzogchen. Just continue noticing your Awareness from moment to moment as often as you can. Now, you will able to remember to be aware of your Awareness. Do sitting practice only noticing your Awareness... not breath, no body and no mind. Just Awareness "bathing" in Awareness. Now integrate that Awareness of Awareness with your daily activities. If you drift off in thought, that's ok, because your Awareness itself will now "remind" you to be Aware.
Good Luck!
From "Way of Light" post 501

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