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Nonduality Highlights: Issue #3983, Sunday, August 15, 2010, Editor: Mark

Natural Awareness

"Awareness is all."

- Sunyata

Understanding that "Awareness is all" is one of the keys to understanding the experience of Realization. Recognizing that Awareness is the fundamental Essence of Reality, and our own innate identity, allows us to place our individualized experience and consciousness within a larger context and broader perspective.

Awareness is the backdrop against which all individual consciousness and experience arises. As such, it is the unmoved, ever present Essence of All That Is. We may become actively involved with, or even distracted by, that which appears within the field of individualized consciousness or human experience, but even in the midst of all this mental and physical activity, our inherent, Natural Awareness remains the undisturbed constant.

At our most essential and fundamental level, we are not separate from this pure, unconditioned Awareness. It is our root identity, manifesting within the present moment. It is who and what we are, and it is from within this level of Natural Awareness that a recognition of the completeness and perfection of our fundamental and Essential nature can arise.

In contrast, consciousness [as I prefer to use the term] is the active dimension of mind and emotion -- busy, restless and wandering. Consciousness is naturally characterized by movement and activity; Awareness transcends the distinction between movement and stillness.

Consciousness is inherently personal and individualized, while Awareness is comprehensively nondual.

The field of consciousness and its content constitutes the "foreground" of our individual experience, while Awareness is the fundamental "Background" manifesting through and within All That Is.

The key to recognizing our fundamental and essential
nature is the experiential Realization that individual,
human consciousness has no separate existence
independent or apart from this fundamental Background
of Awareness:
We are not separate from the Natural Awareness
we experience within the present moment.
Since this Infinite Awareness is the backdrop for all individual human experience, the conscious mind has "access" to our innate Awareness within every moment. In fact, the individual identity of the personality or ego cannot exist in the absence of this fundamental, essential Awareness. Wherever the individual "I" appears, it is as a reflection of our inherent, Natural Awareness. In fact, the "I", or individual identity, is nothing other than a reflection of our natural, unitive Awareness within the limits of human consciousness. Recognizing this is simply a matter of focusing our attention (individual consciousness) upon our innate Essence (Awareness).

The Open Secret
Namkhai Norbu has described this Natural Awareness as
the "open secret:"
This is the open secret, which all can discover
for themselves. We live our lives, as it were
"inside out," projecting the existence of an "I"
as separate from an external world which we try
to manipulate to gain satisfaction. But as long
as one remains in the dualistic state, one's
experience has always underlying it a sense of
loss, of fear, of anxiety, and dissatisfaction.
When, on the other hand, one goes beyond the
dualistic level, anything is possible.
Namkai Norbu, p. 68
The Crystal and the Way of Light
The key, then, is to recognize the limitations inherent within dualistic perception, and begin to identify with the larger part of who we are -- i.e., with the essential, fundamental, underlying background of Awareness, which is the field within which all consciousness and multiplicity appear.

As long as our self-identification is limited to the individual personality, mind, or ego (i.e., as long as it is limited by the dualism inherent in maintaining an individual perspective), we remain frustrated by the inevitable limitions inherent within an individualized identity.

However, when we begin to shift our attention and identification toward that larger dimension of who we are, i.e., toward our fundamental and essential nature (pure, unconditioned, Natural Awareness), much of our individualized anxiety and restlessness will begin to fall away.

We gradually begin to realize that the essence of Reality is not separate from who/what we are at a fundamental and essential level. And, we recognize the freedom inherent within pure Awareness: the innate freedom to flow through our experience, exactly as it is, without resisting even desire and resistance as they arise.

Acknowledging the absolute completeness and perfection of Reality, as it manifests within our own innate Awareness, enables us to see the frustrations and limitations of individual experience within their larger context: they are not separate from Reality (All That Is), and as such, they, too, are a manifestation of this vast and infinite wholeness. Even our personal, individual desires, and the choices we make to change "unacceptable" circumstances, ultimately can be accepted and recognized as part of the essential and fundamental perfection and completeness of All That Is.

- Metta Zetty

1 The Self

O Master,
Tell me how to find
Detachment, wisdom, and freedom!

If you wish to be free,
Shun the poison of the senses.

Seek the nectar of truth,
Of love and forgiveness,
Simplicity and happiness.

Earth, fire and water,
The wind and the sky -
You are none of these.

If you wish to be free,
Know you are the Self,
The witness of all these,
The heart of awareness.

Set your body aside.
Sit in your own awareness.

You will at once be happy,
Forever still,
Forever free.

You have no caste.
No duties bind you.

Formless and free,
Beyond the reach of the sense
s, The witness of all things.

So be happy!

Right or wrong,
Joy and sorrow,
These are of the mind only.
They are not yours.

It is not really you

Who acts or enjoys.

You are everywhere,
Forever free.

Forever and truly free,
The single witness of all things.

But if you see yourself as separate,
Then you are bound.

"I do this. I do that."
The big black snake of selfishness
Has bitten you!

"I do nothing."
This is the nectar of faith,
So drink and be happy!

Know you are one,
Pure awareness.

With the fire of this conviction,
Burn down the forest of ignorance.

Free yourself from sorrow,
And be happy.

Be happy!
For you are joy, unbounded joy.

You are awareness itself.

Just as a coil of rope
Is mistaken for a snake,
So you are mistaken for the world.

If you think you are free,
You are free.

If you think you are bound,
You are bound.

For the saying is true:

You are what you think.

The Self looks like the world.
But this is just an illusion.

The Self is everywhere.


The witness of all things,
Without action, clinging or desire.

Meditate on the Self./
One without two,
Exalted awareness.

Give up the illusion
Of the separate self.

Give up the feeling,
Within or without,
That you are this or that.

My child,
Because you think you are the body,
For a long time you have been bound.

Know you are pure awareness.

With this knowledge as your sword
Cut through your chains.

And be happy!

For you are already free,
Without action or flaw,
Luminous and bright.

You are bound

Only by the habit of meditation.

Your nature is pure awareness.

You are flowing in all things,
And all things are flowing in you

. But beware
The narrowness of the mind!

You are always the same,
Unfathomable awareness,
Limitless and free,
Serene and unperturbed.

Desire only your own awareness.

Whatever takes form is false.
Only the formless endures.

When you understand
The truth of this teaching,
You will not be born again.

For God is infinite,
Within the body and without,
Like a mirror,
And the image in a mirror.

As the air is everywhere,
Flowing around a pot
And filling it,
So God is everywhere,
Filling all things
And flowing through them forever.

- excerpt from The Ashtavakara Gita

To be here, all you have to do is let go of who you think you are. That's all! And then you realize, "I'm here." Here is where thoughts aren't believed. Every time you come here, you are nothing. Radiantly nothing. Absolutely and eternally zero. Emptiness that is awake. Emptiness that is full. Emptiness that is everything.

Adyashanti, posted to Distillation

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