Results 1 to 11 of 11

Thread: Awareness of awareness

  1. #1

    Awareness of awareness

    Not a question and not really an observation but here goes: If thoughts come into our minds as clouds in the sky, the 'thought/decision' of being aware of the thoughts/sensations, isn't that just another cloud in the sky that needs to float away as well?

    This is something I struggled with for a long time. When I first started sitting, I used to make a conscious effort to be 'aware' of thoughts/feelings/sensations. This led to a very strained sitting. I would attach to the thought of awareness. Eventually, I began to relax and let the 'awareness' float away.

    Where does the 'decision' to be aware come from? And where does it disappear? Who is making this decision? It's interesting that the decision to be 'aware', or be mindful usually comes when the thoughts have a high emotional charge. When I'm just thinking thoughts that are emotion-neutral, awareness doesn't really seep in.

    Perhaps, my brain has indirectly learned the method of 'awareness' to cope with troublesome thoughts & emotions.

    It's also interesting for me the sensations that are associated with making decisions. It's like a short, sharp jab that rises and falls away very quickly.

  2. #2

    Re: Awareness of awareness

    Hey Zeta,

    You just do Zazen for so long that, well, what can you say? You just do it. I like to use the word "dropping" or "forgetting". It's kind of like "Hey. I forgot to get all out of sorts about my thoughts." Then we might worry about our thoughts again. You just kind of sit. The kinks work themselves out eventually and Zazen just becomes Zazen. It's kind of like something that we don't notice. We change, but we don't know how and don't really care. It just kind of happens. I don't really pay attention to much during Zazen anymore (well, at least the past week I guess. I can't really remember.) I think that's because I'm carrying it more off the cushion lately.


    Gassho

    W

  3. #3

    Re: Awareness of awareness

    Quote Originally Posted by zeta
    Not a question and not really an observation but here goes: If thoughts come into our minds as clouds in the sky, the 'thought/decision' of being aware of the thoughts/sensations, isn't that just another cloud in the sky that needs to float away as well?
    Not really an answer, just my observation: I think awareness is just awareness, not a 'thought/decision'. One does not think oneself into the cloudless state. Sitting zazen is being aware of the present. I think the sky(clear and clouds) and zazen are not different things. I don't think the clouds need to float away because they will float away. And more will follow. I'm just a beginner. I see mostly cloud.

    Quote Originally Posted by zeta
    This is something I struggled with for a long time. When I first started sitting, I used to make a conscious effort to be 'aware' of thoughts/feelings/sensations. This led to a very strained sitting. I would attach to the thought of awareness. Eventually, I began to relax and let the 'awareness' float away.
    Me too! Putting effort into my meditations only led to fatigue and frustration. This is why I am totally down with zazen. Not that I don't have difficulties, but those are OK too. I don't know what you mean by 'awareness floating away'.

    Quote Originally Posted by zeta
    Where does the 'decision' to be aware come from? And where does it disappear? Who is making this decision? It's interesting that the decision to be 'aware', or be mindful usually comes when the thoughts have a high emotional charge. When I'm just thinking thoughts that are emotion-neutral, awareness doesn't really seep in.
    I decide to sit zazen. When I sit zazen, all decisions disappear. I think a deer caught in the headlights is also very "mindful" LOL.

    Quote Originally Posted by zeta
    Perhaps, my brain has indirectly learned the method of 'awareness' to cope with troublesome thoughts & emotions.
    We all have Buddha nature inherently, or so they say. The best course of action is to allow it to do its thing(zazen). Learn it directly(by doing zazen) to cope. We create our own suffering, I think, largely out of neglect.

    Quote Originally Posted by zeta
    It's also interesting for me the sensations that are associated with making decisions. It's like a short, sharp jab that rises and falls away very quickly.
    I think it is important to be aware of these sensations, or emotions. I think meditation helps one to deal properly with this... but I am no expert.

    I found your post very interesting. Thank you.

    Cam

  4. #4

    Re: Awareness of awareness

    Zeta, Don't make more of this than it is. It's just sitting. Check your posture - back straight, head resting comfortably on your spinal column. There is a natural balance and you can enjoy it. You are practicing just sitting, so if you get caught up in thinking, dreaming, sleeping etc. just come back to just sitting. Sometimes you may need to check your posture. You can do this 10000 times and its no problem. Different awareness comes and goes - I hear birds alot this time of year, I have a major breathing awareness also. I don't know where this comes from or how I make decisions, but there is a time for thinking about the future.
    /Rich

  5. #5

    Re: Awareness of awareness

    Will - I'm taking my zazen off the cushion as well. Not consciously, but mostly as a process of zazen 'infecting' everything else. Increasingly, I find 'thinking about not-thinking' and letting the thoughts/feelings/emotions just float by to be the most natural way to deal with daily life.

    A part of me worries about this. Some goals I've had are literally dropping away. That does concern me a little bit, to be honest. I'm turning into a different person, but I'm not sure what.

    Cam - by awareness floating away, what I meant was that I would be lost in my thoughts, and suddenly, a sensation/impulse to become aware would shoot through my brain, and I would then try to maintain some kind of 'awareness' of what's going on. This was quite tiring. Now, what I do is let the sensation/impulse to be aware rise up and fall/float away without explicitly doing anything about it.

    This does beg the question though of how the two states of 'being aware' or 'not aware' are really that different. I really don't know.

  6. #6

    Re: Awareness of awareness

    Zeta, I came to think of what you describe in your initial posting during the last weeks. Though sitting is always the same it still changes quite a lot. And during the last weeks there were some times where my mind was reflecting about "dropping" while I sat. Which brought me to the quesion: do I drop when my mind tries to realize the dropping?

    The only way to deal with this that "worked" for me was similar to what Will and Rich said: just sitting, no worrying. Relaxing and letting happen what happens.

    And it is def. impressive how sitting impacts on your everyday behaviour.

  7. #7

    Re: Awareness of awareness

    Here's what I mean (if I can say it).

    When we start sitting Zazen (by start I mean "years" not weeks), a lot of stuff comes up and Zazen is like this "thing". It kind of gets objectified because we are used to doing that. But after a while, when we work through stuff, Zazen just becomes Zazen. It's not so much "I had this wicked experience during Zazen" or my thoughts won't calm down, or what ever. When all that passes, and things actually calm down, It just becomes Zazen. Not much to say about it. When hungry eat. When tired sleep. etc.

    By off the cushion I mean that. I don't mean noticing my thoughts or paying attention to the breath. I mean that you sit, then you get up, then you vacuum, or do something else. It can be pretty boring because we're not reacting to a lot of stuff that we usually do. However...

    Gassho

    Will

  8. #8

    Re: Awareness of awareness

    Hi,

    Some fine advice here ... and it is so nice to see folks basically saying the same (even folks sitting for a short time seem to be getting the picture. Zeta too, who posted the post, seems to be saying that she knows there is really nothing to this ...

    This is something I struggled with for a long time. When I first started sitting, I used to make a conscious effort to be 'aware' of thoughts/feelings/sensations. This led to a very strained sitting. I would attach to the thought of awareness. Eventually, I began to relax and let the 'awareness' float away.
    As was said, the clouds will float away because they float away ... not because of anything you notice or do. Just stop getting caught up or stirring up the clouds, and thus they will go.

    As was said, the only time to very briefly notice during Zazen (in the style we practice here) is when we have really been caught and daydreaming in a long chain of thoughts and emotions ... many minutes ticking by, lost in thought. Then, for a moment, it is natural to notice that fact, then return to just sitting. Otherwise, just return to just sitting.

    So, these are non-questions, not our concern during Zazen (if ever) ... Drop them from mind ...

    Where does the 'decision' to be aware come from? And where does it disappear? Who is making this decision?

    Then, quite unexpectedly, you may discover WHO that is, from and where too.

    Gassho, J

  9. #9

    Re: Awareness of awareness

    Quote Originally Posted by zeta
    Cam - by awareness floating away, what I meant was that I would be lost in my thoughts, and suddenly, a sensation/impulse to become aware would shoot through my brain, and I would then try to maintain some kind of 'awareness' of what's going on. This was quite tiring. Now, what I do is let the sensation/impulse to be aware rise up and fall/float away without explicitly doing anything about it.
    I see. Of course that happens to me too, but I think of it differently. To me it seems like falling asleep and the thought is the dream. And like a dream, I can notice that I am 'dreaming' and then 'wake up'(this happens rarely to me in actual sleep, but it happens). I think 'dozing off' is happening less and less. It certainly doesn't bother me like it used to, a long time ago.

    When it happens to me, I correct my posture and get back to the balanced state, like others here have said to do.

    Quote Originally Posted by jundo

    So, these are non-questions, not our concern during Zazen (if ever) ... Drop them from mind ...

    Where does the 'decision' to be aware come from? And where does it disappear? Who is making this decision?

    Then, quite unexpectedly, you may discover WHO that is.
    Will I discover this "who" if I use the search function? LOL

    Peace

    Cam

  10. #10

    Re: Awareness of awareness

    Thanks guys! It's just so marvelously liberating that all mental formations liberate themselves and float away. I feel like I've discovered some kind of secret.

  11. #11
    Senior Member AlanLa's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    East Texas
    Posts
    1,220

    Re: Awareness of awareness

    When I am aware of being aware I tend to lose awareness. But when I am just aware...... then I just am.

Similar Threads

  1. Action / Awareness
    By Chris in forum TREELEAF COMMUNITY: Topics about Zazen, Zen, Buddhism & MORE ZAZEN!
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 02-03-2010, 12:39 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •