2021-11-10-Mindfulness of Mind (3 of 5) Respecting Awareness
3:55PM Nov 10, 2021
So this morning, the perspective for the topic is that of respect. And as probably, you've heard me say many times that I really like the word respect, actually inspired by it partly because of its etymological meaning. That it means to look again, to inspect again, in the Latin roots. And this idea of having a willingness to not just barrel ahead into the future and keep doing and doing, but to, but to also, you know, take a deeper look. Maybe our life, our experience, is warrants. Second look, better luck, sustained attention, what is really happening here. So we don't take the first impression of things, but we really kind of take time to experience and feel it more deeply. And then as we do this, one of the benefits of it, is we begin appreciating the looking itself, the the ability to give a second look, that there's something about looking again, looking, seeing in a relaxed and open receptive way, that's a little bit free, or very free of our preconceived ideas, our agendas, our preferences, our bias, all kinds of things that could so easily comes along, if we just go rapidly from one thing to another. But this thing of consciously deciding, let me look more carefully here, let me take be more open, let me take in this experience more fully. That's a kind of sidestepping or kind of putting aside slightly, the automatic preconceived ideas that kind of get carried along. ideas and thoughts and agendas that are directing attention, often, I want this, I want that they want this, and that some of us can experience kind of acutely, if we're surfing on the web on the computer, just kind of going from one thing to the other, seeing this and that and looking and there's a minus being directed all the time. But to step back, and, and they'd be willing to look again, look more carefully. At some point, the looking becomes the fact that we're looking the act of looking becomes kind of special. You know, I I've been in places where wonderful VISTAs great vistas, you know, maybe high up in the mountains with a great Vista views of the landscape or below, or on on the beach, looking at across the ocean. And for me, at least there's something about the panoramic view of lots of space and openness. And that kind of relaxed looking that I just enjoy looking. And after a while, certainly I'm appreciating what I see. But I also appreciate the relaxed, open, kind of receptive, just looking and gazing. And it's almost like they're, they're both they're both separate and not so separate the looking and what's being seen, but how they're separate is the looking now stands out in highlights of armor that they're seeing happening. And that seeing is so relaxed and spacious and open. And I could just stay stay here looking at these clouds drifting the sky for a long time are looking at their river flowing bike and just look and look and just feel so relaxed and settling, to do this looking. And, as opposed to riding every cloud and seeing what I caught is a little bit too big, it has too much of a bump here, what that one is a nice shape. And I like to keep it that way. And work you normally find a better cloud to look at because this one's getting kind of boring. You know, to constantly be involved in this directedness is a very different tends to we lose sight of the fact that we're looking, we look more at our preferences, the cloud should be that way, not this way. And and so this respect, looking again, and again, is partly what we're doing in mindfulness practice. We're learning not to ride the waves of our preferences, our agendas or what we always want. But step back, take a look at we do that. But we we step back, take another look. Take another look. At some point. They're looking the mindfulness begins to stand out in highlight. Oh, it's so good to be mindful. In being mindful, there's freedom there's spaciousness there's a relaxation, there's an ease and that this is good. And we start becoming aware of a awareness itself.
Now this topic of awareness is a big topic. And, and I think that I kind of like to use the word as a vague word. Because different people have different reference point for what awareness means. And so some people, when you talk about awareness, they'll that, for them, the way they know things is much more through their thinking. And so it, they're thinking about things, that's how they're aware. Some people, it's more a sensing, they're aware to chemistry through their body, and they're sensing some people, it's more of a silent knowing, where they don't not really aware of any active cognitive movement of the mind to know but there's a silence or stay no kind of, intuitively or something. So there's many ways to know. And, and in the mindfulness tradition, one of the, there's a variety of different kinds of knowing that operate at different times. But what can happen with each one of them, regardless of what your way of knowing is your what you think awareness is for yourself. At some point, it gets, it gets highlighted, it stands out a little bit in highlight that, oh, here is something this is the, this is not the object, or what I'm thinking about. This is the receptivity or the, the experience of knowing it. And, and then we can become aware of the attitudes like we talked about yesterday, that go along with it desires, the attractions, that kind of a part of being aware. But then we take a second look, and a second look, until we begin seeing, experiencing awareness, knowing, sensing, feeling, observing, whatever it might be, kind of, at ease, open, certain kind of silence, a certain kind of spaciousness, even when there's thinking, there can be a silence that knows that. One of my first entry points to the world of spiritual life, was spending a week in solitude. And it was a beautiful place and a farm in nature. And, and in the course, it wasn't meditating. But in the course of the week, because I had no social contact, no talking with anyone, it was kind of like being on a meditation retreat without being on one. And, and I became acutely aware of myself thinking, and I had no thought that I judgments about the fact I was thinking, but I had was that the clarity, by which I knew I was thinking, that clarity, oh, there's a thought why it was like really, it just like, wow, it's kind of there's a beauty, there's a clarity, there's a cleanliness, there's a openness, there's a distinctness that I'd never seen before. It was kind of like, the old days, the radio would be out of tune. And then suddenly, it came into tune you tuning in the radio station, and you got it into tune, and then suddenly, it will become clearer. So it's kind of like that, oh, suddenly, the wavelength I found the wavelength my mind and I was clearly aware, I knew. And that clarity, of knowing that clarity, that is kind of what for some people that clarity, is they call awareness. And it's not different than awareness, but it's not exactly awareness, but it's coterminous with awareness. And the clarity is so beautiful, so wonderful. And the clear, so I became aware of this clarity, that let me see my, my, my cognitive thoughts, my words, my mind was such clarity. And I appreciate the freedom, the ease that was there. So to respect to be mindful, that mindful of awareness, mindful of the process of being aware, is one of the ways supports of coming to a place of clarity. In the meditation, just now I talked about silence. And that's another word that thinks, you know, even though I was thinking when I was alone that week, and that thinking became kind of acutely acutely clear each thought. I was aware of it in kind of a larger silence.
Sometimes, what's this mindfulness awareness sociate for some people is stillness, the awareness that so vividly, softly, wonderfully belled at the least still, or sometimes it's spaciousness, just lots of space for it. And it isn't so much like that. So the ultimate thing, space or stillness or silence, or clarity, but it's how it helps us to relax more deeply how it teaches us about non clinging, how it helps us to see where the remaining clinging is, and, and get a feeling for freedom. There's freedom in the clarity of awareness. There's freedom in the stillness, the silence of awareness. And so Oh, you get a feel like a little hint, the smell the doors open for that's where freedom is found. So finally, I'll give you another analogy that from my childhood, that maybe for some of you if you're old enough, and did this kind of thing. When I was a little kid, sometimes, my parents would take their car to a carwash. And it was such that you could go through the index day in the car as it went through the carwash, you know, pulled along and, and all these water and suds and brushes are spraying. And it was kind of chaotic. Outside the car. They coming against the windows, but inside the car, it felt so safe and quiet and peaceful. And the contrast was so cool. That's one of the reasons I loved going to this carwash, it's because I felt so acutely, the highlighted piece, the quiet the stillness, safety, they are being inside the car, but the chaos outside. And so that's a reference point for me, of how it can be in the mind sometimes, where I'm resting in awareness. And there's a peace, there's a quiet, there's an openness, and independent of the chaos that might be happening around me. Carry our peace with us. So settled with esoteric little bit, you know, what I'm talking about today. And, and I'm trusting that for those of you who might don't quite understand what I'm saying, which I wouldn't have when I was first introduced to meditation that just relax with it and but keep it in mind, keep it filed away. And at some point, you might have an experience. Oh, that's what Gil is talking about. And that might help you appreciate it then and get the benefits of that kind of experience. So thank you very much and I look forward to continuing this tomorrow.