Awareness is the continuous thread underlying all experience. All experiences – whether we might define them as good or bad – lie within awareness. Awareness is what sees and holds all experiences as well as the experiencer, both as enjoyer and sufferer.
Awareness begins as the bare observer of things, the first hand witness of all personal experience. It’s essentially mindfulness but without any particular object of attention. Open awareness, in contrast to concentrated one-pointed focus, is wide open, lucid, relaxed and alert.
To recognise this witness, or become aware of the witness, allows a kind of resting in the clarity of a deeper awareness without any naming, judging, analysing or intellectualising.
The practice involves discerning between awareness and the objects appearing in awareness, like a sky and clouds floating through the sky.
Initially, it may feel hard to see the ‘seer’ and ‘seeing’ with a deeper seeing – it all sounds like a play of words set up to trick you. But once that realisation happens, once we recognise what is looking at the looker and the looking, we transcend the clouds and rest in the open sky of unbound awareness in the unbound now.
We are bound to get entangled with some of the clouds, the objects that arise within our awareness. But as soon as we recognise such single-pointed attention and zoom out again to see the observed, the observer and the act of observing, there we are again floating in the open space above the clouds.
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