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Unveiling the Essence of Awareness: The Foundation of Daily Practice



Discovering the Stillness Within

On the journey of mindfulness, we often find ourselves tangled in the web of constant doing. Yet, at the heart of our practice, especially highlighted in today's session on this serene Sunday, the fourth of February, lies a profound simplicity—awareness. Unlike the myriad tasks that fill our days, awareness requires no action; it simply is. However, reaching this state of pure being is not without its challenges. Today, we delve into the essence of awareness, exploring the path to unveiling the stillness that dwells within each of us.


The Nature of Awareness

Awareness stands as a beacon of stillness amidst the bustling city of our minds. It's where we do the least, yet it's the foundation of everything we are. Initially, stepping back into this seat of awareness may seem daunting, as we're accustomed to constantly engaging in activity. Recognizing that awareness doesn't demand action is the first step toward rediscovering its presence.


Beyond the Doing

Our journey begins with an introspection into our own nature of doing. We notice how our thoughts, seemingly autonomous, are often fueled by our engagement. By withdrawing this energy, we start to discipline our minds, finding peace in the newfound quiet. This discipline extends to our emotions and body sensations, where we acknowledge our role in their existence without actively contributing to their narrative.


A Deeper Look

As we delve deeper, we observe the incessant activity of our cells and even the particles that compose our being. Yet, as we approach the concept of 'the empty'—the ultimate destination in our practice—we encounter a parallel stillness to that of our awareness. This stillness, inherent in our awareness, is distinct from the constant motion found at every other level of our being.


Embracing Being Over Doing

Awareness, in its purest form, represents the essence of being rather than doing. It is the simplest state, accessible to us at any moment, yet obscured by our habitual engagement in activities. The challenge lies not in doing more but in doing less, in allowing ourselves to pause and appreciate the space between thoughts, emotions, and sensations. It's in this space that we discover the true nature of awareness—tranquil, unadorned, and profoundly simple.


The Path to Recognition

Learning to recognize and dwell in this state of awareness is the crux of our practice. It involves a deliberate shift from doing to being, from engaging to observing. This transition is elegantly summarized in a meditation joke that resonates deeply with our exploration: "Don't just do something, sit there." This humorous advice captures the essence of our practice—finding value not in action but in presence, not in filling the silence but in embracing it.


Conclusion

As we conclude today's practice, we're reminded of the profound simplicity and transformative power of awareness. It's a journey from the complexity of constant doing to the serenity of simply being. By recognizing and returning to this fundamental state, we open ourselves to a deeper understanding and connection with the essence of our existence. Let us carry this awareness into our daily lives, finding stillness amidst the motion, being amidst the doing.

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This exploration of awareness invites us to pause, reflect, and rediscover the stillness that underpins our very being. As we continue on our mindfulness journey, let us cherish and nurture this awareness, allowing it to guide us toward a more grounded and peaceful existence.

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Manish, To what extent is this exercise different from our daily practice? Just trying it now I had the familiar experience of 'reaching' a state of quiet contemplation, but within seconds my mind wanders to my next cup of coffee, what I have planned for the rest of the day, the war in Ukraine etc. etc. So, it seems I can 'reach' but cannot '... dwell in this state of awareness.' I guess like most things practice improves performance?


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