formats

Awareness is Experience

Published on May 23, 2016, by in Uncategorized.

In many teachings, an emphasis is placed on “recognizing” or “resting as” awareness. In this modeling of reality, awareness (i.e., that which knows) is portrayed as a special, separate privileged domain apart from, untouched by and free from its perceived content (what’s known). However, this purported separation is simply not the case, at least not experientially.

In direct experience, awareness and phenomena never appear alone but always co-occur. The perceiver and perceived always arise together and therefore represent a singular movement or reality. They arrive as a package deal. There is never actually a perceived object without a subject that perceives it, nor a perceiver without something being perceived. While the two (perceiver and perceived, subject and object) appear separate and distinguishable, in point of fact, they can never be teased apart. The subject literally depends upon the object for its existence and vice versa, awareness and its content, each known by the presence of the other.

Now some teachings will claim that there exists a domain of “pure” awareness, an awareness that has no phenomenal content in it. However, a content-less or object-less awareness is really an abstraction for in order to exist as an actuality, awareness must be experienced. And the moment it is experienced, that experience (of awareness) becomes the content of awareness. It may be an exceedingly subtle, barely perceptible content. But it’s still content, still experience, still an “object” of awareness that is known, even if that object is awareness itself.

From this vantage, we can say that to experience anything is to experience awareness (i.e., the faculty of knowing or perceiving) for awareness is inseparable from whatever is being experienced. They are one and the same reality. And because experiencing never comes to a stop (i.e., it’s continuous), recognizing awareness must also by definition be uninterrupted. In other words, there’s no need to try to sustain awareness for awareness is self-sustaining as the flow of experiencing itself, a flow that is always happening!

And so there is no actual place to go to “find” something called awareness that we can rest in, no need to quiet or stop thinking in order to recognize awareness. Awareness is simply this, this perception, this thought, this feeling, this sensation, this present experience. After all, what else could awareness possibly be?

Comments Off.