More on AWA and Objects
This is part of my Start Here series of posts aimed at teaching beginners the basics of the meditative journey.
Using objects with Awareness Watching Awareness is absolutely fine. In fact, distant sounds are perhaps the easiest and most accessible trigger for the meta-awareness circuit.
The trick however is simply to notice you are aware of the object, rather than to fixate upon the object as a thing in itself.
Sit or lie with eyes closed. Gently tune into ambient sounds. The distant sounds of birds, wind, or traffic are ideal. Now notice, “I am aware of that sound”. Allow attention to move to another sound if it wants. Repeat, “I am aware of that sound”. Notice that the sound is making an impression in something (in awareness itself). Continue allowing this process to unfold.
I find there is an initial “hump” to get over, as if the mind has some resistance to noticing it is aware. This may take 20 seconds or so to overcome, first thing in the morning. Stay with the process. Soon, a rhythm develops wherein the quality of being aware of the sound begins to dominate, rather than the quality of the sound itself. Allow this rhythm to continue via choiceless awareness. The awareness may move between sounds, body feelings, and other objects, seemingly of its own accord. Notice, “I am aware”.
Eventually, the sense of an “I” who is aware of objects drops out, and you are left with just the awareness of the object itself, ever-changing, ever-moving. Rather than objects making an impression in awareness, just the awareness itself is left. This mode then wishes to continue, because it is peaceful, blissful, and relaxing.
Objects may shimmer and burst apart. Sound may be “seen”. The awareness itself is found to fully permeate the object, because there never was a separate object. There is just a continuum of awareness, aware of itself, in itself, for itself. This is the bliss of being.
This process is the transition from hard “subject–object” duality – a thinker “here”, thinking about things “over there” – to simple, nondual, eternal, timeless and infinite awareness, aware of itself, for its own sake, because awareness itself is blissful.
Be kind to yourself. Allow yourself lots of time to find this rhythm. Allow yourself to make mistakes, and to get stuck on objects before gently bringing awareness back to the fact that “I am aware”.
When the session is done, hard duality will tend to recoalesce almost immediately. However, the sense of what you have just touched into will remain on some subtle level for the rest of the day, manifesting as a sense of peace, a sense of things being in their right place, and a feeling of connection to something beyond what is immediately apparent. Over time, this sense will blossom into abiding nondual awareness.