Oakville Zen Meditation

#133 Awareness is being mind- free Oct.18th 16

                                                    Practicing awareness is being mind free

If someone is asking you:” Did you know that John ha a new job” and you may reply “Yes I am aware of it”

Most of the time we are using the words “I am aware” as equivalent to  “I know”. But being aware or awareness has nothing to do with knowledge or thinking. Of course we are awake in the medical term but are we aware consciously? Active awareness is simply to decide to pay attention to something or somebody as they are. Active awareness is being conscious of our consciousness and consciousness is above and beyond thinking since one can be conscious without thinking but we cannot think without being awake. In the following, the words awake, awareness or consciousness are synonymous and not used as medical terms.

How often are we conscious of our awareness?

This is a provocative question since we strongly believe that, being awake, we are also aware and conscious all the time. Indeed, in its medical meaning, we are. Unfortunately during the day, our awareness is subconscious that is, as soon we wake up , we are on automatic thinking mode and robotic behavior without knowing it.

All body-mind functions are unconscious including thinking that is we are not aware and we do not think that we are thinking unless we decide to do so. As said many time, recent neuro imaging demonstrates that over 75,000 thoughts are produced and processed by our mind every day.

Strangely enough our endless thinking is also subconscious since, usually, we do not think that we are thinking.

Being in thinking mode all the time, we are not only trapped by our thoughts and feelings but we also identify ourselves with them, which can have detrimental consequences on our emotional level. Remember this: thoughts exist but are not real. There are just the fictional product of our mind. Therefore, it is essential to practice more active awareness or consciousness into our life not only during difficult challenging time but also during ordinary situations.

Why practicing awareness several times during the day is so important in achieving serenity?

Our mind is an audiovisual theater where sound, pictures, script and characters are projected on our virtual inner screen as continuous thoughts and feelings 24/7. Nothing wrong with that except that our mind is driven mostly by our ego the “I, me, mine and myself”” and the self is the main source of endless desires, negative feelings and illusion. The Buddha, which means “the awakened one” or “the one who is aware” was one of the first mind doctor to show the relationship between ego-driven mind as source of unhappiness, dissatisfaction and suffering.

Can we stop thinking, clear and empty our mind?

Despite what you will find on Google regarding meditation, it is impossible to stop and clear our mind. However, it is possible to press the pause button and freeze our inner video made of thoughts and feelings.

Freezing our inner video games and train of thoughts is possible by practicing conscious awareness that is paying attention or being mindful or simply being an observer.

How to practice conscious awareness ?

We are doing this during formal meditation since meditation is the practice of concentration or awareness on posture, breathing and incoming thoughts. However, practicing awareness just during group and solo meditation is not enough. One must applies this skill also during the day. They are many ways to practice active awareness.

By paying attention, be mindful is simply to observe and to reflect like a mirror on:

1- One of your 5 senses: what you see, hear, smell, touch and taste.

2- What you are currently doing and where: when you brush your teeth bring your mind on what you are

doing and where. Is your mind in the past or future as usual or is he with your body?

3- Scan your body and inside feeling. Remember that our body is the mirror of the mind. Unless physical

pain or illness, we are not conscious of our physical body and sensation. Learning to be conscious on any

of our body part and organ, on our breathing, or while we walk is a great way to practice awareness, stop

the flow of thoughts and reset your mind to what you are,

4- What you are currently thinking about or feeling.

“ Mind: what kind of thoughts are you currently producing?” How do you feel?”

           5- By paying attention to your surroundings such as people, nature, sky, animals, sounds, etc.

In fact, any “target” can be used to bring your awareness or mindfulness on: Sound, color, odor, breathing, a word, etc...I often practice conscious awareness on external sounds such as sound of my steps, wind, etc

Final words:

To practice conscious awareness is to be an observer of the current moment and its various components. To be    awake is simply TO BE and TO BE is your true, genuine and innate BEING without thinking, without analysis, without judgment, without decision like a mirror. This is mindfulness- based enlightenment.