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:
- Getting Started with Awareness Watching Awareness. Practise this for perhaps 4 weeks, then move on to the next post.
- 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.