Think of all you are experiencing at any point in time - whether inwardly or outwardly, physically or emotionally - together with all your mental reflections on your experience – as one side of a coin or line. Think of the other side of the coin or line as nothing but the very awareness of experiencing it. The two sides of that coin or line are inseparable – and yet they are also absolutely distinct.
The Awareness Principle is based on this primary distinction - drawing a line between anything we experience and the pure awareness of experiencing it.
things we experience
the awareness of experiencing those things
The Practice of Awareness is a primary choice based on this primary distinction. It is the choice to identify with the pure awareness of the things we experience rather than identifying with those things themselves. By ‘things we experience’ I mean anything from an outwardly experienced object, situation, event or action, to an inwardly experienced impulse, sensation, mood, emotion, memory, anticipation or thought.
In writings on Eastern spiritual teachings, too much mystery is usually made of the idea of attaining an 'enlightened' state of ‘pure’ or ‘transcendental’ awareness - one that is free of thoughts, emotions, sensations etc. - and of the supposed time and effort needed to attain such an awareness.
In reality, if The Awareness Principle is understood, no great effort at all is required to attain this state of pure or ‘transcendental’ awareness. For just as the awareness of a physical object such as a leather chair is not itself a chair and nor is that awareness 'made' of leather, so also is the awareness of a thought or feeling not itself a thought or feeling. Similarly, the awareness of any ‘thing’ (whether an object, situation, event, mood, emotion, desire, impulse, action, thought etc.) is not itself a ‘thing’ or ‘thought’ of any sort.
Awareness in other words is - in principle – innately ‘pure’ and thought-free. Therefore our minds do do not need to be effortfully ‘emptied’ of any thoughts or things to attain a state of empty or pure awareness. For just as empty space is absolutely distinct from all the objects within it, so also is pure awareness absolutely distinct from all its contents – from all we are aware of. It does not need to be ‘emptied’ of all content to be as clear and pure as the ‘empty’ space around objects. Indeed it is that space - space itself being nothing but a spatial field of awareness surrounding and pervading all things we are aware of.
A Basic Practice of Awareness: Whether sitting, standing or lying, and without closing your eyes, simply be aware of the different things you are currently experiencing – things of any and all sorts, from physical objects and sensations to emotions, actions and thoughts. Now simply become more aware of the clear space around your body, and around all the physical objects in your environment. Feel a similar clear space around any ‘things’ you are experiencing inside you, such as emotions and thoughts. In this way you will come to experience the open, clear and space-like quality of pure awareness as such, and be able to identify with this primordiual space of awareness rather than with anything in it.
All the Practices of Awareness, evolved from The Awareness Principle make up what I call The New Yoga of Awareness. They are based on passing from a new awareness of experience to a new experience of awareness – for example as seemingly empty space itself (in reality a spacious field of awareness), as light (in reality an expression of the translucent light of awareness) and as 'air' in a higher sense - the all pervasive cosmic ether of awareness.