Practice Update – AWA, Tremors, Karma, and Rupert Spira

I’m not writing a lot recently because there’s nothing much to report. So, this is just a little practice update.

For the last 2–3 years I’ve oscillated between AWA (“Awareness Watching Awareness”), and getting distracted with some other nonsense for weeks or months, before returning to AWA. That’s almost stopped now. I’m doing AWA basically all the time now, and any interruptions are short-lived.

AWA is a bit of a misnomer. It is not exactly “Awareness Watching Awareness”, but rather “awareness being awareness, doing its thing”. But without a “doing” word in there somewhere – i.e. an action to perform – people will have difficulty picking it up as a practice. In other words, AWA is a kind of introductory model to get people practising nonduality.

The trick with AWA is to realize that you are awareness, and so is everything else. At that point, practice involves simply bringing oneself back to the knowledge of being aware – the knowledge of existing. It’s pretty meaningless to a layperson when said like that, hence why it needs dressing up with various verbs in order to present it as a practice for the beginner.

So, my practice now is just bringing myself back to simply being aware. The gains are self-evident. It strips layers of bullshit away from me every time I practise. Sometimes this bullshit will condense into some drama “out there” as it leaves me. I’m navigating those better and better each time. At this point, it is really obvious to me what “karma” means and how it’s always playing itself out – and the attitude to take towards it: Just bring yourself back to being aware, over and over. Things resolve themselves in time.

A final note is about the myofascia thing. If you’ve been following me for a while you will know I’ve had this kind of giant, painful knot of nerves and connective tissue felt most prominently on my left side (but which is actually body-wide), and it’s basically consumed my attention for nearly ten years. This nondual practice we are calling “AWA” is the only thing I’ve found, after playing with every technique under the sun, which actually unwinds that knot in a completely predictable and effective way. The practice is 100% consistent.

The knotting is the physical counterpart to the nonphysical karma. It is a physical encoding of nonphysical patterns of emotion and attention. As a tree’s rings record the weather of each year it experienced, so that knot is the accumulation of all life’s events. The AWA has shrunk that knot to almost nonexistence, and restored range of motion and eliminated its pain. Tremors were just a kind of midway point. AWA is far more effective than tremors.

AWA seems to be a gradual and cumulative process of moving from identifying as a limited physical body, towards identifying with an infinite nonphysical awareness. However, the idea of “identity” itself falls away during that transition. Aldous texted me today with some words that really summed it up:

It’s not even “awareness watching awareness” any more; it’s just awareness. Everything happening in a clear spaciousness. All appearing as one thing, not appearing to anyone. And other people are just “what’s happening over there”.


To get started with AWA, I recommend the following two posts:

  1. Getting Started with Awareness Watching Awareness. Practise this for perhaps 4 weeks, then move on to the next post.
  2. More on AWA and Objects. Practise this until awareness itself can be sensed as a kind of “knowing” that is independent of objects.

Awareness really can know itself, as itself, without objects. There is, however, a path of learning that must be walked. In the first post, you begin the process of simply becoming aware of being aware. In the second post, you use objects as a springboard to seeing awareness itself in action. These are my best posts, and are the only ones I stand by on this entire blog (the others being kind of crude, egoic, misguided museum pieces).

I think of the relationship between objects and awareness in the following way: Imagine the Invisible Man (awareness itself) is present in the room you are in. He is totally invisible and you cannot see him at all. So, you throw some flour in the air and some gets on him. Then, you have this kind of creepy white outline walking around the room, and you can finally see where he is. When using objects in meditation, this is like moving awareness from one object to the next, and realizing that awareness itself is the one thing that is common to all objects, and which never changes. Thus, you can finally see awareness itself.

Once that attainment has been reached, awareness can know itself via a kind of reflex; an awareness of awareness. Repeating that reflex, by simply becoming aware of being aware, then leads to all the gains. The gains are, in simple terms, a growing sense of freedom. It is freedom from the events of life, caused by identifying with the awareness that knows those events, rather than identifying with the events themselves.

Finally, the philosopher I’ve absorbed myself in is enlightened nondual teacher Rupert Spira. He has an answer to any question you might have, and has tons of content on YouTube. His official channel is here. Another useful channel is Alan Neachell, who has compiled some of Spira’s best lectures.

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17 Responses

  1. James Davis says:

    Boom!

  2. Perfect my friend. I would add that both the “practice” of AWA and movement restoration (via tremors and/or other methods) are both pathways to healing. Do both and you wll heal quicker, improve one’s “skill” at one or both and you will heal quicker – many factors affecting this (time available etc) but the point is that it works either way. I used to believe that it was “encoded” within the body and now i’m not so sure that it’s not a case of the physical “trauma” (which is restricted movement) changing our frequency (which it clearly does) and as such it affects the reality we tune into – The information we receive and “emit” (from/to “the field”/”akashic records” etc). Either way, whether actualy encoded somehow or changing the tranceivers capabilities (as i’m sure you know, it is believed/has been “observed” that the cell membranes in our cranial brain act as transceivers (to and from the field)).

    Anyway, great read, i just think it’s easy to give all the benefit to one method when that is the one currently having the most impact when the previous work clearly plays a big role in where we “are” now”. – I personally stlll get huge benefit from “tremors”, which are no longer tremors (as the trauma has decresed in size and density by a huge order) but a semi-voluntary spinal wave – As the trauma lessened in size/density, it became clear what my body was trying to do all along – which is become a wave – Everything we know of travels/moves in waves and as such, being made of/part of all that is, we do too. When we perceive this way (rather than from a particle only, separation perspective) it is groudbreaking and you start to see it in every movement you make – As you know, when we operate from truth (true to the body’s design in this case), we get optimal results. I’ve helped a couple of others with this recently and they have had what they describe as awakenings (i’m not ascribing any “values” as such to this, that’s simply their perception) within days. I am also aware that my forte is in working with the physical body due to my own “journey” and the “gift/s”/understandings/cues i was given during this and as such, i am able to work with this aspect much more effectively than the “meditation”/AWA aspect, all be it i understand it – I just haven’t had the time to dedicate to it and as such, the physical has enabled quicker results for me as i can get to a spinal wave within less than a second once i lie down and allow it. Also, because the end result is the same thing the “physical route” has bought me to “AWA” (not in perpetuity yet but moving that way) as “AWA” will “unravel” the physical. It’s a beautiful thing. Much love bud.

    • Illuminatus says:

      Hey Andy! I hope you don’t mind, but I inserted a paragraph break into your comment, as I found it impossible to parse without that.

      Yes, it is not “either/or” when it comes to tremors/meditation. Here’s an example. After my tremors post a few months ago, I continued with tremors every day, and reached a point where they had effectively ended. Since my pain problem had still not resolved, I went back to AWA, and found this was all that was required to get a good night’s sleep and continue the body work.

      This morning, while lying in bed, I woke up feeling REALLY good. There were extra good feelings available in my body (whereas, before, those areas were “off-limits” due to tension, and I was still primarily in the aversive mode when it came to my body). I started exploring those good feelings and really sinking into them, at which point they became very warm. Then, my body exploded into uncontrollable tremors. Since I had to get up for work (I actually overslept since the dreams and body feelings were SO pleasant), there are still many tremors left needing to be emptied out, which will be the job of the next few days.

      So, the AWA practice very blatantly loosened another layer of tension which can now be sloughed off via tremors. My emphasis is simply that the psychological/spiritual aspect has to come first (this is my experience, and I do not say it will be the same for everyone). I think probably the strong intent to heal/purify is the primary factor, and maybe that can manifest in several methods.

      Re “nonphysical is encoded in physical body” vs. “trauma changes our tuning frequency”, I don’t think there is a conflict there. Ultimately these are just models our limited minds must come up with to explain the phenomena we are experiencing on this path. 🙂

    • Illuminatus says:

      P.S. Your site http://www.kisssmilebreathrepeat.com/ appears to be down?

  3. Ed says:

    So what about Metta.? Do you still practice it?

  4. Ed says:

    Would you still recommend the method of Langford or rather Rupert Spira?

    • Illuminatus says:

      They should end up being the same thing, just using different wording to convey the understanding. So, it’s whatever strikes a chord with you.

  5. NadaSound says:

    Hey Illuminatus, great post. I’ve been a follower of your work for a bit and I really appreciate all your insight. You mentioned in another comment that Metta produces more of a drug state compared to the clarity AWA provides. Given that this is the case, would AWA be a better option in the long-run for someone meditating to help with Social Anxiety? Metta has never really come naturally to me, so the social improvements I’ve gotten after sessions have always seemed really temporary. I also read on here that Sleazy’s state of inner calm comes from going into deep jhanic states for a long time so that they ‘bake in’, so that makes me wonder whether I shouldn’t just go back to directive meditation to try to reach jhana. There seem to be many different paths available so I’m hoping to hear your most current view on how I should direct my meditative efforts to eliminate social anxiety.

    Along these same lines, I’ve been practicing Shikantaza for ~30 min/day for about 2 months and while I can reliablely and predictably get to “Mind and Body” not much more seems to happen during the session. I know that being too goal oriented is antithetical to the practice, but based on your recent experience with AWA, do you think that it might be better for me to switch in the long run? I’ve tried a few sessions of AWA but it’s still hard to judge the difference at this point. It seems like Shikantaza would lead to AWA eventually, but AWA also seems somehow more powerful.

    Finally, what is your current stance on Abandon-Release (AR) practice? You’ve said that AWA is superior but also indicated that AR helps teach the act of letting go in a unique way. If I switched to AWA, would it be better to dedicate more time to that alone or do some AR as well? I know it can be hard to say, but just looking for your instinctual response here.

    • Illuminatus says:

      Hi NadaSound,

      > Hey Illuminatus, great post. I’ve been a follower of your work for a bit and I really appreciate all your insight. You mentioned in another comment that Metta produces more of a drug state compared to the clarity AWA provides.

      I had three distinct forms of “love work” going on. The first was the “heart opening” when my vision went red. This was a “hard jhana” (nondual) with no “doer” or thoughts pertaining to a separate self while it went on. The nerves around the heart (vagus) flowed with “uncontrolled speed” giving that massive drug-like high. I was unable to recreate that in subsequent attempts.

      The next form was “loving all method” (Langford). This involved directing love at all aspects of experience, while going about daily activities. This was effective at creating a sense of oneness while going about my business. It required constant attention to experience, plus constant willing of love towards experience. It was probably because of the dual-effort that I stopped. AWA is constant awareness of experience but demands less due to not having the “love all” caveat attached. But a sense of love for experience (consciousness) will arise in its own time. (This is why I’m saying awareness and love converge, and Langford and Spira and everyone else are saying the same thing.)

      Regarding social anxiety, the main thing to realize is that awareness is tangled up in thoughts about other people rather than with the direct experience of being. So you would want to put time into being aware of being aware just to begin progressively disentangling awareness from such thoughts. Realize it won’t be a quick fix, but will work eventually.

      The third form of metta I practised was more in line with Buddhist Brahmaviharas, i.e. directing metta towards self, then friend, then neutral person, then enemy. This was capable of producing pacified mental states and openness to social experience. This is a “fire and forget” method, done in the morning and perhaps repeated at night if one is inclined. This “set the table” for a good day, socially (i.e. made me more socially open). This practice led to extremely strong feelings of love for others, and for experience generally, at times. It also apparently put some “blinders” on me, because there was some nasty stuff going on at work (a pernicious middle manager causing problems for people) which I was unable to see clearly due to feeling blissed-out. This led to my friend resigning over that manager, and that manager also caused a ton of shit for me, later down the line. Whether I did not see this going on due to the love practice, or whether it was just general male emotional blindness, is unclear.

      The AWA I practise now does not concern itself with the content of experience, and is especially NOT attached to particular emotional states. All it is concerned with is being aware of being aware. This is what I’m getting at when I say it has “true clarity”.

      > Given that this is the case, would AWA be a better option in the long-run for someone meditating to help with Social Anxiety?

      Disentangle awareness from thoughts. The two posts of mine I linked to at the end of this blog post will help you progressively do that. True awareness invalidates socially anxious thoughts. Those thoughts come to be seen as objects floating in experience and not worthy of your involvement.

      > Along these same lines, I’ve been practicing Shikantaza for ~30 min/day for about 2 months and while I can reliablely and predictably get to “Mind and Body” not much more seems to happen during the session.

      Looking for some stupendous experience will result in missing the point of the practice completely. You should measure it on things like, Did my mind get quieter during that session? Did I find some degree of peace? Baby steps. Think “progressive improvement”.

      Ecstatic states seem to be the reward for long hours of practice, rather than being a method in itself. Looking back, most of my strongest experiences were total flukes.

      > Finally, what is your current stance on Abandon-Release (AR) practice? You’ve said that AWA is superior but also indicated that AR helps teach the act of letting go in a unique way. If I switched to AWA, would it be better to dedicate more time to that alone or do some AR as well? I know it can be hard to say, but just looking for your instinctual response here.

      Sitting and being aware of being aware will eventually shed awareness of objects and thus result in the same thing as “abandon release”. These methods are the same thing just dressed up in different clothes in order to suit the individual. Stop thinking of them as being separate things. All meditation is attempting to illuminate the silent awareness at the root of being.

  6. Illuminatus says:

    Rupert Spira on the laying down of layers of tension:

    “The Gradual Rewiring of the Body”

  7. Jajaru says:

    I feel lost.
    I feel weak.
    I don’t want to be afraid of the world anymore.
    What do I do? I just sit and I just watch?

    • Illuminatus says:

      It is not really the sort of thing that can be answered in a comment, but Spira will have answered those questions in his lectures, so look around for those videos.

      The practice I prefer is just to bring my awareness back to my actual experience, rather than spinning off into thoughts.

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