Tag Archives: Awareness

Am I in control of my thoughts?

There is no difference in being aware of a tree and being aware of a thought.

So why is it so easy to align my identity with the contents of a thought and not the condition of the tree? The tree could be beautiful or ugly, tall or short, alive or dead, sturdy or weak, and it does not affect the “I” in any way.

A thought on the other hand can be kind or harsh, pure or impure, moral or immoral, and the “I” is always drastically affected. We align our identity with the thought and then cast judgment upon it. This judgment will either make us want to hold on to that thought or run far away from it as fast as we can. This conditioned reflex to become one with the thought is based solely upon the following statement.

“I am in control of my thoughts”

In the pursuit of our own bliss it now becomes imperative to either prove or disprove this statement above. In beginning this investigation the first and most obvious question is this: Who is this “I”?

If we are going to know the “I” we must first understand our own capacity to ‘know’. Knowledge in the conventional sense is perception analyzed with thought to create concepts. The bottleneck in this process is perception itself. What can not be perceived can not be turned into a thought, and thus not turned into a concept.

Digging deep into the act of perception we can see that there are actually three things required: the perceived, perception, and the perceiver. In the example of the tree we can understand that the tree is the perceived, eyesight is the perception, and then what is the perceiver? My first instinct is to say that it is the brain.

But is my brain also perceived? I can’t see my own brain, though I suppose I could with some major surgery and a mirror. I could also touch it through similar means. So then, can the brain be both the perceiver AND the perceived? I mean, it is the brain that translates what has been perceived through eyesight into an image.

So the brain must be a part of perception and NOT the perceiver.

Who is this damned perceiver then? The celebrated YouTube guru Mooji knowingly points seekers by asking “Can the perceiver be perceived?”. Nisargadatta Maharaj says “The very act of perceiving shows that you are not what you perceive.” Initially this leaves us with a most unsatisfying conclusion. If I can not perceive the “I”, then I can never truly know who I am.

Getting back to the original statement we are examining, if I can never know the “I” then it would be nonsensical to assume that this “I” is in control of my thoughts. In fact in not knowing the “I” it is meaningless to lay claim to “my” thoughts at all.

That leaves us with “control”. Can thoughts be controlled? Do you know the next thought that is going to pop into your mind? It seems that we often get the thoughts we want the least. Through resisting a thought, that for all intents and purposes appeared randomly in your consciousness, we empower it. Continual resistance trains your brain to think your most undesirable thoughts at a most distressing frequency. It is only when you give up this control unequivocally that you release it.

A resisted thought is like a prisoner in our brain.

Eckhart Tolle rhetorically asks “What could be more futile, more insane, than to create inner resistance to what already is?” Such a thought is being denied it’s own existence and therefore can not run it’s course into nothingness. It is the nature of things to come and go.

The idea of control is problematic on many levels. We can’t define that “I” who is doing the controlling; the thoughts that I want to control can’t even be “my” thoughts without a known “I”; and any attempts to control thinking seems to have a substantial negative effect.

Lets modify the primary sentence in question. Lets toss out the first word “I”, and along with it the last two “my thoughts” as we know them to be either false or unknowable. The middle phrase “in control of” seems to be rife with issues so lets drop it as well. That leaves us with just one word, “Am”. Seeing a similarity to ‘Amen’ I performed a quick etymology check revealing it’s intended meaning as “so be it” or “truth”.

Let us conclude with the only truth to be found in our initial sentence; Am. There is an obvious temptation to use the phrase “I Am” which is extremely popular in spiritual texts and discussions. But in this context I see “I” and “Am” as two words carrying the same meaning. There is no “I” apart from being, and no being apart from “I”. Perhaps the best way to express this is to write it: “I, Am”.

I Am Aware That I Am Aware

Having spent the last couple of days pondering awareness I had the urge to write down what I was feeling in the format you see below. Starting each sentence with “I am aware” and then following with the feeling. Pretty basic as you can see.

I am aware that I am sick

I am aware that I am tired

I am aware that I am frustrated

At first glance it appears that I am two things. Focussing on the first sentence “I am aware that I am sick” I appear to be both aware and sick. I don’t suppose being one precludes being the other. I can be aware and be sick without implying a duality of some sort. Unlike the duality Eckhart Tolle noticed while on the edge of suicide (“I” can not live with my “self”).

But can either of those aspects exist without the other?

First of all, can I be sick without being aware? If I am not aware that I am sick then it is like I am not really sick at all. I could theoretically still have all of the symptoms of being sick (i.e. stuffed up nose, headache, and watery eyes) but it would go unnoticed. And if I don’t notice when I am feeling unwell then it must continue that I wouldn’t recognize when I am feeling well. In fact, if I am not aware then it is conceivable that I wouldn’t notice anything! It would be no different than if I didn’t exist at all.

What about the possibility of being aware without being sick? At first it seems like a simple question. If I am not sick I can still be aware that I am feeling well. But the deeper question is this “Can I be aware if there is nothing to be aware OF?” It is essentially asking if awareness existed prior to the beginning of the universe. Those who speak of awareness with the utmost certainty describe it as timeless. They say it has no end because it has no beginning. One can therefore assume that the existence of awareness does not depend on some form to be aware of.

Before there was the universe, there was awareness. There may be no greater description of the purpose of existence than to say it is awareness searching for itself. That to truthfully utter the following words is to take comfort in having fulfilled your destiny.

I am aware that I am aware

That looks an awfully lot like I am that I am. Maybe it would be more accurate to say I am aware that I am awareness.

But what does this mean in how I live my life? I can easily say that I am aware that I am sick but that still gives me no comfort. Isn’t achieving an inner peace the goal of all of this contemplation anyways

What if I say I am aware that I am aware that I am sick.

Woah! I am either on to something or two steps away from the loony bin. I guess the final judgement comes down to whether or not a realization helps you live a better life. The only choice that I am left with in all of this is where do I choose to dwell, or place my attention. In the awareness, or in the sickness.

I Am Not, Yet There Is

As it becomes clear that this body is void of any personal identity, the enigma of existence unravels.  What is left is an alarming emptiness. An impersonal organic structure of perception exists but not in service of an identity.

And as the identity vanishes, so does the haze through which I had previously seen the world. A remarkable clarity is born as the heavy emotions and burden of re-activity are lifted from my heart.

After meditating on this discovery I stood up from my trusty park bench, and somehow, I felt taller. But there was also fear of these new sensations. There is an obvious temptation to return to the old ego. To return to that familiar stomping ground. But this time I’ve come too far.

Walking back to work I feel as if I am floating. I repeat several times to myself “I am not, yet there is”. It is an accurate reflection of how I am feeling. That the long accepted paradigm of my existence is changing. I used to be a person in the world. Now there is just the world.

It is a pure awareness of my environment. I call it pure because there is no false “I” that I am trying to incorporate into it. I am not evaluating the goodness or badness of the events around me. There is simply no baseline against which they could be measured.

The Now becomes a given. Without a personality to make life conditional, things just are as they are. Thinking has not stopped, but I am not energizing it with excessive attention. There is an ease which carries me back to my desk.

It is not a beautiful day here by any means. It is rainy, windy and an unseasonable humidity is in the air keeping it slightly warmer than normal. It is a day that could have easily lowered my mood, but I am quite content. There is an ineffable beauty to it. Not so much from an aesthetic perspective, but in the energy of it. It is the energy of life simply living itself.

Lighten Your Workload

To observe
To define
To derive meaning
This is the pattern of pain

In response the seeker attempts
To be an impartial witness
To accept
To be aware

True acceptance annihilates the acceptor
The term loses meaning and function
If you never knew war
How would you know peace?

A speck of awareness
Precedes all thought
You may be lost
But possibility renews eternally

Is it not enough to see?
Lighten your workload
Be simple
Find goodness