2022-10-07 Consciousness (5 of 5) Conscious of Consciousness
3:44PM Oct 7, 2022
Oh, we come to the last talk on this five part series on consciousness. And I've emphasized that I don't really know what consciousness is. But I have a premise and assumption, that it's not a thing. It's not an entity, it's not its own standalone thing that can exist independent of anything else. But it's a little bit more than like a
like a hologram, maybe a hologram can seem very real or very fascinating. And, and it can be a hologram of a real object. But the hologram image doesn't exist except as a hologram. And so, consciousness is a little bit like a hologram. It's, it's kind of the combination of all the all the different forms of faculties of attention we have, combining and working together, or being gathered together, by the minds capacity to construct the minds capacity to have an image or a sense or an idea of the whole. And, and this is part of what the mind does. It's a constructing apparatus. It's reconstructing constructing our ideas of the world, ourselves. All kinds of things that are a necessary part of being in this complicated world that humans live in. And we sometimes will reconstruct things inaccurately, we can see something then first glance, we think it's a snake and next glance, we look at it and it's actually a stick on the ground. And so we were the mind is reconstructing things. And so it's kind of like the hologram that all these pieces, but it's a beautiful thing, consciousness and it's very valuable. It's wonderful to abide in it and have the clarity. Because when awareness or consciousness feels very clear and relaxed and not entangled, and caught up with all the concerns that we have, and the objects of attention, then the consciousness can feel, have a sense of clarity of openness, spaciousness, peacefulness, qualities of freedom, qualities of happiness. It can be a kind of a rich world, that seems to be in and of itself, independent of what is known. And when the mind gets very calm and quiet and meditation, where we're not engaged with our thoughts engaged with things of the world. Sometimes it becomes very clear, that are very clear sentience, that we're aware, there's awareness, but no object of awareness. It's almost as if awareness stands out by itself, consciousness conscious, but not conscious of anything in particular, that hologram can be that clear and pristine. And, in my meditation practice, on retreats when it came to such such clarity and pristine this of I went to my teacher and said, I don't know if I could, I'm supposed to be a Buddhist, because Buddhism teaches that everything is in constant, changing and impermanent. And I see that for everything except for this thing, consciousness that seems to be everlasting and permanent. And rather than debating with me or explaining it was different, my teacher just said, keep practicing, keep looking. Look. And so I kept practicing. And with a lot of confidence and faith in this practice, until the point came, that I saw that consciousness also isn't constant can disappear, can vanish. And then it's vanishing didn't mean that I died. And, but rather, there was a marvelous, unprecedented kind of experience of freedom. And it can seem very frightening and unusual to have this kind of consciousness disappear, and to experience that freedom from that. But I think it's one of the reasons why in Buddhism, we don't array A phi consciousness as a thing, at least in early Buddhism is kind of the basis where I'm teaching from where consciousness is not seen as a thing or reified or permanent or transcendent or something glass after we die. The it Sit in whatever consciousness is it itself is part of the in constant changing nature of this world we live in. And the freedom we're looking for is not the freedom for an experience of anything including consciousness. But something which is almost a non experience, which is in between all experiences, which is freedom, the absence of clinging. And that is the most marvelous thing there is.
And from India's, for me more marvelous than this radical purity of awareness and consciousness. So, as the Buddha teaches mindfulness practice, he's teaching all these different forms of attention that we can do, he teaches recognition, the clear, knowing clear recognition of what's happening, so important not to be overlooked, not to be bypassed. He teaches sensing the kind of embodied feeling of experience, sensing of experience, he teaches sensitivity to the pleasant and unpleasantness of experience. He teaches observation, as watching, seeing, abiding, resting in a seeing of things. And, and when these all these become stronger and stronger, more developed, more highlighted, less agitated, less preoccupied with our concerns, then at some point, awareness begins standing out in highlight, so much so that we know that we're aware, you know, if I'm driving in the freeway, and things are difficult, and I'm late, and I'm trying to deal with traffic and trying to get ahead of all the other people, because I'm late, I'm not really aware that I'm aware, I'm aware of the cars around me. And in that sense, my awareness is impoverished. But to be aware of awareness, that is a wealth, that is fantastic. So finally, when I get off the freeway, and I decide I'm going to kind of meditate for 10 minutes before I go to my meeting, because I'm all frazzled, then maybe everything quiets down enough. At some point, I know that I know, I know, I'm present. I know that I'm feeling I know that I'm seeing and, and, and so there's a kind of a higher order. Understanding knowledge perception that we perceive that we're perceiving, we know that we're perceiving. And at some point, this sense of awareness as simple spacious, kind of sense of what receives all perceptions, all phenomena, what kind of the medium through which it goes, and has no resistance to anything, like the hologram, doesn't resist anything, everything comes through that door of the hologram, maybe, to us. And that sense of awareness can be come strong, so strong, that it becomes more interesting or more the kind of the focus of attention. It itself is the focus of attention instead of all the things in the world. And it's kind of a paradigm shift for some people, because some people's mind their whole life has been about concerned about things, objects of attention and objects of thought and, and just always kind of navigating the world of objects, and things and aboutness what we're thinking about. But the paradigm shift is what is to take a break of vacation, for the mind from focusing, always focusing on something to resting in itself. Awareness, resting and awareness, awareness, knowing awareness. And in early Buddhism, we're not reifying celebrating this as being the ultimate and the final answer to everything. But rather, it's a there's so much letting go, so much ease so much trust in that place, that sometimes we find that that it's massaging or to working on, even unconsciously, it's massaging the places of clinging and holding deep in our psychology and our mind and providing kind of the trust to prepare us. For the time when the mind is ready, the heart is ready to let go of the deepest attachments the deepest clinging that we live by. And, and so, this experience of awareness of clear awareness that the Buddha focused on is there as a platform to help this deep letting go and, and the word the Buddha use for This clear awareness, I like to translate as lucid awareness is potty sati PA, T SS, ATI and potty sati is this awareness, it's so clear and, and present, that we know that we're aware there's a clarity around it that you know the way we sense.
So the Buddha taught many forms of attention, and that are leading to a deeper and deeper concentration and simplicity of mind simplicity of attention. And it's a beautiful process to do this. And there are other factors that come to bear that are influenced this experience of simpler and simpler awareness or consciousness, or the other faculties of the mind that affect the faculties of attention. And we can maybe call those attitudes, the attitudes by a bar through which are by which we're aware. And so I thought that maybe we can continue this kind of series, and maybe next week and look at attitudes with look at how attitudes might play a role and how we, how we know the world how we know ourselves. So So thank you very much, and and I hope that you have a nice weekend. And maybe this weekend can be a time when you give time to be curious about the nature of awareness itself, the nature of consciousness, not to think figure out what it is, but to see what is it about awareness? What is it about consciousness, that that it is possible to rest in to her Biden, and maybe you can find sitting in a park or someplace looking at the sky or the clouds or something someplace safe and reassuring, assured, and kind of explore what is this what would it be like to rest in awareness? Thank you, all.