Wednesday, September 30, 2009

More on awareness

I found a very interesting article this evening on awareness meditation by Eric Harrison. Here's how it gets started:
Focusing keeps your eyes on the road, but awareness lets you enjoy the scenery. Almost all the satisfaction of a sitting comes not from watching the road but from those sideways glances at the scenery. The physiological shifts, the bodily tranquility, the pleasure of mental freedom are all part of the scenery. When you're focused, you only see the breath.

Since awareness is already part of every meditation, the instructions are unique to it. In an awareness meditation, you don't have any new object to focus on. It's more about shifting your emphasis when you meditate from focusing to watching, from spotlight consciousness to floodlight consciousness. You become a spectator.

In most meditations, you focus inwardly on the meditation object. When practicing awareness, you do the opposite. You still have a focal point, which could be anything at all, but most of your attention goes outward, "just watching" the passing thoughts and sensations.

When doing a formal breath meditation, for example, you would only notice other thoughts and sensations when they grab your attention. When practicing awareness, however, you may still be focusing on the breath, but you allow other thoughts to surface. You deliberately watch them pass through consciousness.
The whole article is interesting and, if you have time, go on over and read it all. It's really good!

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