Becoming aware of awareness

mirror reflect mirror

What is there to write about when “I” am more and more consumed by that which exists beyond words, thoughts, and sensation?

Lao Tzu put it this way:  The Way which can be spoken of is not the true Way.

And yet, off I go, writing about this which cannot be written about.

There is a point in the practice of meditation where the meditator becomes interested in becoming aware of awareness.  She has spent hours noticing the thoughts passing through the mind, the feelings in the emotional body, the physical and energetic sensations which arise in the physical and subtle bodies.

And then, finally, she remembers a thing many masters have been saying for eons:  become aware of that which is doing the noticing.  Become conscious of consciousness.

I’ve been sitting with several beautiful friends every morning for the last five weeks.  We talk, we laugh, we sit in silence.  And we each hold the intention of waking up in each moment.

The last several days, as I sit for a moment with my eyes closed, I occasionally fall into a lovely space, noticing a certain emptiness, colored with soft sensation.  And then I remember:  what is aware of this space?

Every time the question arises, a sharp jolt arises in the system called mySelf.  The physical body jerks in the chair.  A shudder, a shake, and a grimace on the face.

And once, yesterday, the analytical mind came in with a possible explanation.

The Mind as it expresses through “me” has played with the following idea to describe waking up — imagine a light bulb on a dimmer switch.  As one slowly turns the switch, more and more current runs to the bulb, and the bulb gets brighter and brighter.

Now imagine a special kind of bulb — it needs a minimum number of watts (say 50 for example) to radiate any light at all.

So when one begins to turn the knob, and the current goes from 10 watts to 20 to 30, nothing happens at first.  There is no illumination.  But when a critical mass is reached (in our example, 50 watts), suddenly the light comes on.  And there is a totally new experience.  The once dark room suddenly becomes visible.

Said another way, in order for witnessing to happen, in order for that lovely space described above to arise, the hypothesis is that a certain minimum amount of energy needs to be present in the system.

Another piece of the theory involves “frictionlessness.”  To shift the analogy from electricity to water, imagine an old pipe, clogged up with rust.  When you run water through it, only a little trickles out the other end.  But over time, the rust starts to get cleaned off of the inside of the pipe, bit by bit, and then more water can emerge from the end.  Once the pipe is totally clear, the full amount of water rushes through.

This is a simple explanation of what Pythagoras referred to as the “purification” process.  (Google “preparation, purification, perfection.”)   We purify the bodies so that more and more energy can run through the system.  When the system can handle “the Enlightenment energy” (200 watts??!!) POOF, the experience happens.

So all of this stored explanation of experiences “I” have had occurred to me in the brief moment after the shudder and shake which arose after remembering to become aware of awareness.

And then the new hypothesis arrived:  becoming aware of awareness instantly moves the dimmer knob from 50 to 100 watts!

Or maybe doubling the figure isn’t correct.  Sometimes the witnessing consciousness is referred to as a mirror.  The mirror simply reflects what is happening, without judgment.  So when sadness passes, the mirror simply reflects sadness.  When joy passes, joy is reflected and so on.  It’s a useful way to describe the non-judging quality of awareness.

Well, when you place a mirror in front of a mirror (awareness becoming aware of awareness?) what happens?  You see a near-infinity of reflections — mirror after mirror after mirror, disappearing into the reflected distance.

The point is a mirror reflecting a mirror is an order of magnitude different from a mirror reflecting non-mirror 3-D objects.  It’s a quantum leap.  It’s like going to warp speed (for you Star Trek fans).

And the hypothesis is there is a corresponding, and perhaps dramatic, increase in energy flowing through the system.

And because my system has not been purified enough yet, the wires quickly overheat, and the fuse blows, and that’s the shudder and shake in the physical body.  It’s like the acupuncture meridians saying, “Ah, NOPE, not ready for this much juice yet.”

So — it’s time to up “my” game.  Eat lighter foods.  Exercise more.  Drink more water.  Practice more active meditation techniques.  Continue to scrape the rust out of the pipes.  So that the system “I” call mySelf can be ready for the increase in current resulting from becoming aware of awareness.



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