Mind Awareness

Mind Awareness

Sunday Morning Pleasures by Caroline
Sunday Morning Pleasures by Caroline

Most people experience awareness through the mind. We may well think our mind’s awareness and understanding is consciousness.

Our daily experience can easily verify this impression. As the physiology cycles though the states of waking, dreaming, and sleeping, the mind is drawn along for the ride. This carries mind awareness too. Consciousness does seem to be a side-effect of brain functioning.

The brain is an interface like a radio receiver – it doesn’t produce anything we experience. Our senses gather information and the brain filters the data for relevance and passes it on to the mind. The mind builds the data into an appearance we see as the world. Most of this happens rapidly and automatically, outside our awareness. Mind awareness is much slower, noticing only the result, the appearance.

Those “states of consciousness” are actually states of the physiology that affect how we’re experiencing the content and consciousness itself. Changing states is like changing stations.

We may also notice we seem to be “in the head,” experiencing ourselves as centered there. Yet this has more to do with the senses than the mind or brain. Mind is a field that surrounds our whole body but most of the senses that feed the mind are centered in the head. Thus we experience ourselves there. More “heart-centered” people may experience themselves lower down because of where those inputs are located. Somatic people may be more oriented to bodily sensations. In any case, an orientation to the content of experience shows we’re identified there.

An identified mind or heart is often agitated. We worry or try to control. That “noise” blocks anything beyond it. We become self-absorbed and focused on the content of experiences. What I think, what I feel, what they said, what I want.

With no experience of what is beyond the content, it’s natural to assume this is reality. And yet, if we compare notes with others, we soon find their reality only partly matches. If we add a technique for transcending the mind and content, like an effortless meditation, we begin to experience awareness beyond the mind. With a clear samadhi, we experience pure consciousness and recognize mind awareness is not consciousness itself. It’s muddling things together that are distinct.

Samadhi means evenness of mind. When the mind settles, then the light of consciousness can shine through. Mind becomes like a clear lake, it’s filters muted.

As that deepens, we discover the identified mind has been claiming everything as its own. These are my thoughts, my emotions, and my actions. Mind makes stories about everything so we feel confident and in control. And yet the ego knows this isn’t true. Like a bad government, it tries to keep us in the dark so we’re “safe” and it can feel in charge. It also makes it clear we are none of these things in our experience and this approach is keeping us caught in a box of suffering.

Contraction, undesirable habits, and suffering are all resolved by getting out of the mind and its imitation of awareness.

The ego knows that if it is seen clearly, it will be seen through. It will lose control. Thus it may defend against some kinds of spiritual experiences. For example, it can turn an experience into a story it can control. There is a deep fear of being “lost” even though this is exactly how the real we is found.

Some practices like guided meditation and mindfulness are challenged by the mind’s tendencies. In the first case, we’re actually engaging in a form of hypnosis which keeps us in the mind. In mindfulness, if there isn’t sufficient presence established, it’s just mind awareness, mind noticing and reinforcing itself.

But if we can culture presence, then we become able to observe from consciousness itself. Then we are not constrained to our senses or emotions. We expand outside the box we’ve been in. How do we culture presence? Samadhi.

By repeatedly touching into source, we can reassure the mind it is safe. Deeper still and our cosmic nature wakes up to its presence, breaking our identification with the ego and other content. We are liberated, rising like a phoenix into our infinite nature.

Note: I don’t mean here that we “create our reality.” I mean we filter it and create an interpretation of our experience.

Last Updated on May 14, 2019 by Davidya

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  1. Celeste

    So I need clarification. I keep hearing the term the Light of Consciousness. When I meditate, I see light yet I don’t feel the consciousness of the light are these two different things? The deeper the meditation is, the more the light changes. I am not sure what this is doing to me.

    1. Hi Celeste!
      There are various layers, each with qualities of light, often colour. The gold of sattva, for example. Bliss is pink. Being conscious of inner light or seeing light around things are ways we might see light other than with the physical eyes.
      This is not really the light of consciousness though. Being conscious of light on some level and seeing the light of consciousness itself are different things. Effulgent consciousness is essentially seeing consciousness itself.
      Ultimately, the light of consciousness is the afterglow of Divinity.
      I wouldn’t worry too much about which light is what. The distinctions will become clear over time. It can be like a gradually lifting fog. 🙂

  2. Vandana Bakshi

    I listen to spiritual satsangs and videos but I am still suffering a lot. I am not able to let go of traumatic experiences and memories and I feel helpless and trapped. It takes lot of effort at times to listen to spiritual things. Please pray for me.

    1. Hi Vandana
      Listening to spiritual talks mainly has a value for understanding. But to get out of suffering you need practices that take you beyond the mind as I mention in the article. The ego can’t take you out of itself. You can’t let go of what you’re inside of.
      If it takes effort, then there is strain. It’s not apparently helping. Everyone needs more than good ideas to let go and heal. You need practical application or it’s just words.
      The old saying “knowledge in books remains in books” works the same way for talks and videos.
      You are blessed but we all have to find our way to discover this for ourselves. We can’t do that with the mind.

  3. George Robinson

    This post is like tasting for the first time fresh, cool water coming out of a mountain spring. Direct, pure, elegant, complete, succinct, refreshing and quenching. I caught a few glimpses of this in Avoriaz and Vittel, now I understand what it was. Thank you, Davidya!

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