Oakville Zen Meditation

477 Awareness: The essence of meditation Dec. 2 -23

    The essence of meditation

The essence of meditation can be summarized in 1 word: awareness.

Incorporating active awareness in one sentence: 

Meditation is the practice of mindfulness-based active awareness to experience the surrounding realities of the present moment. 

In other words: active awareness is moving away from your permanent daydreaming state. Let me go through each of the keywords:

Active awareness: 

There are 2 types of awareness:

One is knowledge, part of our memory/cognitive mind. “I know this and that”

The other one is active that is to pay attention, to observe mindfully w/o analysis, judgment, and decision. Active awareness is pure noncognitive consciousness exempted from our noisy intellectual, thoughtful, and emotional minds.

Cultivating active awareness means that awareness takes over powerful cognitive and emotional thinking, often driven by the ego. 

It frees you free from overthinking. You become the master of your mind rather than its servant all your life

Example: practicing awareness on a flower, that is to pay attention, to observe the flower as it is, like a mirror. Again, this is mindfulness, observing things, thoughts, feelings, people, and events as they are.

Thinking and emotions are necessary in life, but only when analysis, judgment, and decision must be made.

Awareness to experience surrounding realities:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

It means being aware of your body, what you do, think, feel, and your surrounding world from your 5 sensorial senses, all of these, again, using mindfulness.

Example: there is a difference between mindfully watching a flower, and visualizing a flower. The former is meditation, and the latter is thinking.

Again, there is no cognitive activity; you are just a mirror reflecting things as they are.

Awareness of the present moment:

Applying awareness to experience surrounding realities is, by definition,  possible only in the present moment since past realities did exist but not anymore, and the future ones do not exist yet. Being in the past or future is daydreaming, not meditating.

Example: when you are actively aware - in a mindful way- of realities, x, y, or z such as eating, walking, listening to a bird, or watching a flower, obviously you are doing so in the present moment. Past and future cannot be applied. 

Therefore only in the Now that realities exist since, again, past realities are dead, and the future one do not exist yet. 


When you wash your hands, make a cup drink of coffee, or wait for the elevator, instead of being trapped in thinking, all of these are opportunities to practice awareness of the realities of the moment mindfully. This is meditation, the antidote to our automatic ongoing daydreaming activity which is our default mental mode. 

Being actively aware is pure consciousness that is w/o a cognitive activity. This is the essence of meditation.  Thanks