May 22, 2014 § Leave a comment
A First Nations story tells us that one evening the Great Spirit was looking for a wife. To each prospective bride the Great Spirit held out his cupped hands and ask, “What is in my hands.” Many sought to see what was there but in the end each could only answer, “Nothing.” Only one saw the night sky though the spirit hands and said, “I see stars.” In doing so she solved the riddle and became the Great Spirit’s wife.
Picasso may have done something similar to the Great Spirit’s bride when he drew “Warrior Hand” (shown above) after seeing his distorted fingers through a glass of water. And in meditation we must do something similar. We must look beyond the contents of mind to recognize the awareness that contains them.
We often approach meditation in the same way as the unsuccessful bride or non-artist. We seek something where there is nothing, all the while missing what is there. That is, we seek some special knowledge or a subtle object to experience, when the true ambrosia is awareness.
We falsely believe that because there is the word ‘awareness’ that awareness must be an object we can see. But there is no object that is awareness. There is no object awareness to observe.
When we take this false belief into meditation we seek some special awareness that will reveal our true nature. But there is no special type of awareness; there is just your present, everyday awareness. Hence the instruction when meditating is to just be aware of being aware, just be or just sit. Yet in spite of these clear directions we continue to look for something in the awareness rather than the awareness itself. And in so doing we become unsuccessful brides who live in a sea of stars, yet see naught.
May 15, 2014 § Leave a comment
Mind consists of sense objects and concepts about these objects that are themselves also objects of awareness.
Awareness stands in contradistinction to the contents of mind, encompassing and comprehending all experience. Awareness is not recognizable as an object so may loosely be described as nonobjective.
It is interesting to note that abstract art is sometimes called nonobjective art. It is nonobjective in the sense that brush strokes and colors placed on a canvas do not represent anything in the physical world. There are no recognizable objects in nonobjective art. There is no recognizable subject, as well.
The arts have achieved a state of mind in which there are no recognizable objects and no subject. This state of mind approaches that which Buddhism calls “no-mind” but falls short as it still contains experiential material such as color and form. No-mind, however, contains no color and no form. It is a state wherein there is no sensation or conceptualization of any kind. There is in no-mind not even an awareness of “I”.
At first glance no-mind may be seen as an undesirable state of negation or nothingness. Nothing, however, can be further from the truth as no-mind is your natural state and your true nature. Being your true nature, no-mind is not something you possess or have but is what you immediately are. It is you stripped of all desire, intellection and grasping self.
Being your true nature, no-mind is right here, right now. It is inseparable from you and is, in truth, you. However, you do not recognize this because you have been giving yourself the wrong labels.
Over the course of years, lifetimes even, you have identified with the objects of awareness instead of awareness, itself. You have accepted labels like good or bad, happy or sad, male or female, young or old. Rather than recognizing your true nature, you have accepted a false identity that stands opposite it. You have forgotten that you are nonobjective awareness.
Fortunately, it is not necessary to stop all activities or bring the mind to a halt to realize awareness. Awareness is here right now. Even in your reading of this sentence, awareness is. Your present state of being awake is awareness. All you need do is recognize that you are this awareness and you will realize no-mind.
It is possible for you to immediately realize no-mind as your true nature. However, to sustain this recognition it is necessary to break the habit of mislabeling yourself as a “this or a that”. It is necessary to maintain the awareness without seeking outside of it for some object to experience. It is necessary to stop grasping and just be aware. Nothing can be simpler. Yet nothing seems so hard for the human mind to do.