Meditation as Becoming Aware of the Field of Awareness
Rudolph Bauer, Phd, Author
1. My first meditation teacher, Swami Muktananda, would say meditation teaches meditation….so let ‘s begin with a brief meditation…..since meditation teaches meditation.
Close your eyes and focus within…resting in awareness. I will give you meditation instructions by Dudjom Rinpoche who was a great Dzogchen Tibetan master .His instructions are so simple and yet contain everything.
By simply relaxing in this uncontrived, open, natural state, we obtain the blessing of aimless self liberation of whatever arises.
2. I am going to read you a poem. It is called The Song of Awareness…do not worry about the words…let them be in the background of your meditative awareness.
Song of Awareness
I pay homage to the Enlightened Ones of the three times… the past, the present and the future
Who abide in the vastness of the ocean of enlightenment, which is consciousness itself
The qualities of those who practice awareness cannot be measured.
Whoever is able to become aware of the nature of their own awareness, even only for one moment, is so fortunate and on the way to becoming liberated… once they taste the experience of their own consciousness, they can never go back, never again close up so completely… so darkly.
Therefore, experience your awareness in its essence. True enlightenment lies in the essence of your own awareness.
If even for an instant one sees, glimpses, the essence of one’s own awareness field
It is like meeting all of the Enlightened Ones of the three times.
So… who can say you do not know this experience….
It is the same consciousness that thinks, remembers and feels
Just like the miracle of the moon appearing in several bowls of water
Any thought, of all the thoughts that arise, is not something other than that single primordial all encompassing awareness field… so infinite in its horizon
That single state is beyond the limits of a center and its related directions
It is beyond arising, beyond interruptions; it is beyond coming and going, beyond appearing and disappearing
The essence, self originated from the very beginning, is completely pure… completely untouched
The awareness, which is like the sky has no base or root, it is completely pervasive… completely vast
This awareness field is the source of both transmigration and enlightenment
To be in this awareness is beyond the mind, and so it is very difficult to express in words
If one wants to explain it, it is like an endless ocean of knowledge
Pure from the very beginning, it is beyond names and explanations
Yet there are unending names and explanations pointing to it
Whomever has not experienced this primordial awareness may think, may really think that each of the innumerable names defines something different and
That all of the scriptures are marvelous, but some are really better than others
If one were to spend their entire life writing, this great subject would not be exhausted and will never be exhausted
This naked state is the clarity and the light of one’s own awareness
Knowing this, tasting this experience, out of oneness one knows the whole of existence and is intimately connected to everyone and everything….out of oneness
Just like the eagle, King of the birds, leaves all the mountains below
When it flies into the sky…the wide open sky
If you can realize the knowledge of your own awareness field, there is nothing else to meditate on, nothing else to do
If one can come to know this experience precisely, knowing this everything becomes
liberated….every thought, every experience, every condition
This all happens in the context of your own life and your own situation… Just As It Is!
Then whatever of the various visions and experiences manifested by your own mind arise
It is like the trail of a bird flying in the sky, or drawing on the water with your finger tips
Without any goal, without any aim, without any target, in the great all pervading limitless state
Remain in the Great Joy, which is liberation from the beginning, beyond transmigration and beyond enlightenment
In that nature of the awareness field, which is innate dharmakaya
Remain in sky –like awareness… remain in luminous spaciousness which has no root and no base
Remain in that nature of the awareness, which is uninterrupted sambhogakaya… that is the experience of the qualities and dimensions of the field of consciousness experienced as the Divine Deities and Divine Dakinis
Remain in the condition of clarity which is the wisdom of recognition of your own state, your own state of being…your own light
Remain in the nature of unfolding awareness which is nirmanakaya, which is this awareness field manifesting in different forms…..including your own form, your own mind, your own body, your own situation, your own karma
Remain in the condition of the great vastness of all-pervading space….extending the horizons
Remain in the luminous clarity that is beyond thoughts and affects and fantasy
Remain purposeless in the completely pure condition…so subtle …so present…so simple …so silent
Remain in this space of self liberation where there is no dualism of transmigration and enlightenment…..remain in this space life after life …death after death
Remain in this space beyond observer and observed, beyond subject and beyond otherness
Remain in the Oneness of the energy field
Remaining in the condition where there is no doubt
Through the power of this text, the Song of the awareness field as the nature of Existence, may all beings obtain the benefit of natural enlightenment
The meditation practice of becoming aware of awareness is found in many traditions, including Dzogchen Tibetan Buddhism as well as western Phenomenology. Namkai Norbu, a contemporary master, says Dzogchen does not belong to any religion, it is the very nature of human awareness to become aware of its own self (both within our self and within the self of others) This naturalistic and experiential understanding is expressed By Dudjom Rinpoche this way although hundreds of thousands of explanations are given, there is only one thing to be understood; know the one thing that liberates everything…awareness itself, your true nature.
4. To become aware of awareness you must suspend your mind a little and free your awareness to rest within its own self…Often we are located in our mind so we pause or suspend our mind or a function of the mind in order to refocus awareness within awareness itself. When you begin to become aware of your own awareness, you may experience and discover that your mind is not your awareness; there is a difference between being in your mind and being within awareness. Awareness is not a thought; awareness is not an affect, or a sensation. Awareness is not a fantasy or a memory, but rather awareness is simply open knowingness….a non conceptual knowingness…a gaze of direct perception, gnosis.
5. Often our first step is to shift out of our analytic mind, and by suspending being located in the mind or specific function of the mind, we can become aware of our mind. We gaze at thoughts, gaze at feelings, gaze at sensations, gaze at memory, gaze at otherness, and the world. At this moment we are experientially near, closer to experience, to the felt sense. We are not in the mind but are aware of the mind .This very powerful practice is the basis of many experiential therapies and meditations.
6. But if you wish in time you can make one more suspension, you suspend your awareness of the mind and objects of the mind, and turn your gaze back on itself, you gaze into the gaze...You gaze into awareness itself. And in so doing, you enter into awareness and even become awareness itself, you embody awareness...In gazing into awareness, the qualities of awareness begin to manifest; including the quality of spaciousness or openness or emptiness, the quality of the energy or qi or shakti, vibrancy, the quality of the light - clarity, radiance, lucidity, the quality of oneness, the oneness of the field, the oneness of great compassion. As the qualities of awareness manifest , you may discover that this awareness is a field and awareness has field characteristics, it opens and closes, contracts and expands, it has depth and breath, and goes beyond the body. It fills the in between.
7. This awareness field has power. The first power of the awareness field is that it becomes the base of your experience, rather then the mind or even a particular function of the mind. The awareness field and the qualities of the awareness field spaciousness, energy, lucidity and oneness become the base of our experience…the container. The mind and the functions of mind can be integrated into this base of awareness, this base of oneness. And so our mind begins to experience itself in the oneness of the field, and the functions of the mind are infused by the awareness field. You begin to live in and through the field. This is a Path of natural liberation.
8. The second power of the field is that a person can more easily dissolve negative states of mind and negative states of experience into the awareness field. The field has a metabolizing or dissolving capacity or assimilation of experience. This allows a person to enter into various experiences and metabolize them. When one has little awareness, the metabolizing capacity is greatly limited and one lives with much unresolved experience and much unresolved unformulated experience. Unthought but known.
9. A third power of the awareness field is the field can become not only the base within a person; the field can become a base between two people or even a group of people. When the field of awareness is between two people, the field gives a base and support for the relatedness of the two people. The field assists by providing base and support for conflict resolution, the dissolving of negative states of mind, and just as important, the offering of potential space for new experience, new views and new contactfulness. In essence, the awareness field is potential, potential space.
10. A fourth power of the awareness field is awareness can be given or extended or transmitted. There is great statement by the ancient Buddhist master, Bodhidharma, who says, “beyond words and letters, there is a transmission that does not belong to any tradition, it is the very nature of human awareness, and that is the Buddha.” Human beings consistently and relentlessly transmit their minds to each other, from person, to person, from generation to generation, from group to group. Human beings are also able to transmit their own awareness field to each other…This is the great compassion.
11. The great compassion or the bodhichitta, is not simply sympathy, or simply empathy or the internalization of others pain and suffering, but is our capacity to transmit or extend the inner heart essence which is light, and energy, the pure love of awareness itself. This capacity of extension or extending into others and into this world, both to those whom we love and those whom we do not love is the power of healing and transformation. The bliss of compassion dissolves suffering.
12. The source of primordial awareness is within the human heart. This extension brings forth the bodhichitta (compassion) within ourselves and within others. In meditation when people extend the field to each other, the field grows in intensity and in light. Two awarenesses are really better then one and the field is never bound by locality.
13. Let us practice extensions…..the art of the inner heart essence.
14. I would like to describe one more important and mysterious quality about the nature of becoming aware of awareness. Primordial awareness is ultimately our personal awareness. As Husserl said, “What is the wonder of all wonders? Pure consciousness and the doorway is our own subjectivity.” As you and I experience the innate dimension of the awareness field, we will find that we are both in duration (in time) and at the same time (timeless). The primordial innate awareness field is both in time and also in timelessness. Awareness is in duration and is in timelessness. We can experience timeless awareness.
15. When you and I are in the field, deeply in the field of awareness, we can experience both duration time and within the background of the meditation field is this vast unbound timelessness, pure presence, timeless awareness without reference without boundaries, infinite in its horizon. This experience can be stunning and not easy to hold.
16. This sense of timelessness is an unbound stillness and this timelessness can infuse our sense of time…from the immediacy of the moment, to the immediacy of a day, to the immediacy of a year, to the immediacy of a life time. Timelessness is the base and source. Within this timelessness of our own awareness is a grounded stability and grounded continuity of awareness through time.
17. This timeless awareness provides for the person a large and vast universal sense of ones being in the world, a world that is both in duration and beyond duration. Timeless awareness opens for the person the sense of unbound potential space of manifestations ready to come forth….timelessly.
This timelessness is the state of potential spaciousness that opens up possibilities of manifestation for bringing forth that which has not yet come forth in duration. Timelessness is the state of potential space, the unbound voidness of creativeness. Being in timeless awareness helps dissolve the fear of death, the fear of annihilation anxiety and the fear deprivation anxiety.
Let us meditate and discover this timeless dimension of our own beingness.