The sunlight of awareness
Is there a difference between consciousness and awareness?
All experts consider the words as synonyms meaning: knowledge or perception of a situation or fact.
Therefore, we should not try to differentiate the words to avoid being trapped in an non-productive sematic trap.
When we go outside, and thru our 5 senses, we have the knowledge and perception of our surroundings but does it mean that we pay attention to them all the time.
Also, being aware about a friend being sick does it mean that you pay attention to her/his condition all the time?
We aware of this and that but w/o paying attention because our mind is too busy thinking about zillions of other things rather than being actively aware of our surroundings or to any other situations events or people.
In Zen, awareness carries a more specific meaning:
It implies being actively aware, to focus or to pay attention consciously on something or someone in a mindful way that is w/o judgment and w/o decision.
When you say to a kid “Pay attention to what I say”, the kid stops what she/he is doing and listen.
The kid is practicing awareness on what to do and will stop her/his current wandering activity.
This is exactly what we are doing during meditation:
A double awareness:
1) Of our breathing in order to anchor and slow down our wandering mind.
2) Of our mind itself busy in producing thoughts and feelings.
Meditating is observing the changes that take place in your mind under the light of awareness
while focusing on breathing as anchor to slow it down.
When our wandering mind slows down or even stops running, thoughts /feelings become manageable almost one by one.
Bringing the light of our awareness on every thought and feeling, allowing us to recognize them, accept them without judging or trying to stop them.
They will go the same way they popped-up. Don’t resist.
To meditate does not mean to fight with our mind. Meditation is not a battlefield with you against your restless mind. If you try to fight, you will loose all the time and become frustrated with your meditation practice.
Here is another aspect to consider:
When we are under the control of our mind we are an object
To meditate means the opposite, you become the observer rather than the object of our runaway and restless mind.
Why the opposite you may ask.
Simply because when you observe x, you cannot be x at the same time!
Paying attention by focusing then observing is awareness in its most conscious and active form.
This is why we called it sunlight awareness.
Without the proper use to observe our mind during meditation and even during the day, it will remain in control of you all the time.