book is composed of articles written since the publication of
Awakening and Beyond, the final in my trilogy on awakening. It
is written to stand-alone as a book of pointers to awakening,
not requiring the reader to have read any of my other works.
Here are some comments by readers of these articles:
– thank you so much for this! I was holding back because I
didn’t want to give up personality and character – this gives
a different way of looking at things. Tracy Beshara
I want to thank
you for expressing a clear way for seeing my true nature. Hugh
Dear Colin, I
love this latest posting.....the open way.........I appreciate
the clarity and lightness of expression. Paul Bedson
~ ~ ~
mental states you also become aware of the seven factors of
enlightenment. These are: awareness of Awareness,
investigation of the Way, vigour, joy, serenity, concentration
and equanimity.’ (The Buddha, Maha Sattipatthana Sutta
The first two
are paramount and the last five are outcomes of these.
This is what my books are all about, becoming ‘aware of
Awareness’ through direct investigation and then continuing
with further ‘investigation of the Way’ (the Tao, the nature
of reality). I call this the Open Way for it is open to
all and is a way to Awaken. The are many ‘ways’ but most
of them are closed in that they require their adherents to
have special knowledge, ability and discipline; whereas,
awareness of Awareness is a simple direct seeing which when
cultivated leads to full Awakening.
At this stage we
need to become clear as to the meaning of the term ‘awareness’
which has two meanings which we must not confuse. The
phrase ‘awareness of Awareness’ utilises both of these
meanings and for this reason I have used a capital letter for
the second one so that they may be easily distinguished in
occurrence (awareness) is synonymous with mindfulness, that is
‘seeing’ with the mind, or keeping (something) in the mind.
It also means ‘becoming conscious of’, noticing, or
perceiving, as in ‘I became aware of …’ This is the normal
everyday usage as in the OED definition of ‘aware’ – having
knowledge or perception of …
So the term
‘awareness of Awareness’ means becoming conscious, or having
knowledge or perception, of Awareness. We now need to
define this Awareness which is simply the total ‘seeing’ and
perceiving (or seer and perceiver) of everything detected by
the mind and senses, whereas awareness (becoming aware of) is
the partial ‘seeing’ of those thoughts/sensations on which the
mind is focussed, or which are noticed. So these are not
different, awareness just being a limited version (or
incidence) of Awareness.
This is easy to
directly experience by closing one’s eyes and seeing whether
you can simultaneously be ‘aware of’ (notice) all of the
thoughts/mental images and sensations that are occurring.
This is found to be impossible and yet these are all
there in Awareness, which becomes apparent when one focuses
one’s mind on , or turns one’s mind to, any of them….
and there they are! About this I wrote the following in
Beyond The Separate Sefl:
It is obvious
that we would not ‘know’ (be aware of) our own perceptions
without Awareness being present. This does not mean that
we are always conscious of each one of them, as this is
dictated by where we put our attention, or upon what we focus
our mind. However, all sensations detected by the body
are there in Awareness, and we can readily become conscious of
them by turning our attention to them. It is also true
that our thoughts and mental images immediately appear in
Awareness, but these require less attention to be seen as they
occur in the mind itself. So Awareness is like the
screen on which all of our thoughts and sensations appear, and
the mind becomes conscious of these by focusing on them.
Take, for example, what happens when you open your eyes
and look at a beautiful view: everything seen immediately
appears in Awareness, but for the mind to make anything of
this it needs to focus upon certain elements of what is seen.
‘There is an amazing tree’, ‘wow look at that eagle’,
‘what a stunning sky’, etc.
To be sure, you
may just make a statement like ‘what a beautiful view’, but
this does not in itself say much and is so self-evident as to
be not worth saying!
The point is
that the mind is a tool for problem-solving, information
storing, retrieval and processing, and evaluating the data
provided by our senses. It achieves this by focusing on
specific sensations, thoughts or mental images that are
present in Awareness, and ‘processing’ these. In fact we
only truly see ‘things as they are’ when they are not seen
through the filter of the mind, and this occurs when what is
encountered is able to ‘stop the mind’. For instance we
have all had glimpses of this at various times in our lives,
often when seeing a beautiful sunset, a waterfall or some
other wonderful natural phenomenon. These may seem
other-worldly or intensely vivid, until the mind kicks in with
any evaluation when everything seems to return to ‘normal’.
In fact nature is much more vivid and alive when
directly perceived, and the more we identify with the
‘perceiver’, as Awareness itself, the more frequently we see
things ‘as they are’. 1
is the constant conscious subjective presence in which our
thoughts/mental images and sensations arise, abide, are spied
and subside. Before every one of them Awareness is
present, during each one of them they are ‘seen’ by This and
This is still here after they go. Just check this out
now – notice that before each thought/sensation there is
Awareness of ‘what is’ (the totality of these at any given
moment) , during each of these there is Awareness of them
within ‘what is’ and after each of them has gone there is
still Awareness of ‘what is’.
this as: the clear conscious core of your being, the same in
ecstasy as in self-hating fatigue. That is to say the
Awareness in which the ecstasy or the self-hating fatigue
appears. Now generally you would just be aware of, and
affected by, the phenomenal state. If, however, you
become aware of the Awareness in which this state is occurring
and can fully identify with, and as, this Awareness then the
state loses its power to affect your equanimity. For
Awareness is always utterly still and silent, totally
unaffected by whatever appears in it, in the same way that the
sky is unaffected by the clouds that scud across it.
It is this
identification with Awareness that can be achieved by
‘investigation of the Way’ and the easiest way to do this is
to directly investigate the nature of one’s moment-to-moment
experience, see the appendix. When this is successfully
accomplished and you can see that at the deepest level, you
are Awareness itself then this is an Awakening. If this
cultivated by remaining ‘aware of Awareness’ (and identified
as Awareness) then this leads to full Awakening.
The prologue is
a reprint of an article which was actually entitled ‘Awareness
of Awareness’ from A Light Unto Your Self and is
reprinted here as it is a useful prelude to the material that
details how Awakening by becoming aware of (and identifying
with) Awareness is an ‘open’ way not requiring any special
esoteric knowledge or practices.
addresses the question of whether Awareness is the Absolute
Reality and, regardless of the answer, whether there is
anything that can be ‘known’ beyond this.
discusses how ‘self-referencing’ that is how considering
oneself as a separate object, and referring to oneself
(mentally or verbally) as this, leads to unnecessary
posits that continual self-analysis (identified with, or as,
the mind) perpetuates the dis-ease of misidentification.
attempts to show, in a logical and scientific framework, that
everything (or no-thing!) in existence is of the same essence
addresses ‘loving what is’ - that is loving existence moment
by moment as it actually ‘is’ and not as seen through by any
filter of the mind, caused by ideology or misidentification.
discusses ego and shows how, by considering its various
definitions, it is synonymous with misidentifying oneself as a
separate object (in a universe of such).
continues this theme to show that ego is actually a mythical
entity. It also highlights the differences between ego
and character, or personality, and posits that these two are
necessary whereas the former is illusory.
Chapter nine was
prompted by people questioning my motives for writing on the
subject of Awakening and Awareness. It also came about
when a friend posited that it’s pointless attempting to put
the ineffable into words.
Chapter ten was
my response to the question of why the majority of thoughts
appear to be negative.
was in response to the same questioner who ‘suffers’ from
worldly and racial prejudice and was asking how this could be
is a hundred line poem dealing with overcoming mental
suffering and misidentification by becoming aware of
Awareness, the constant conscious subjective presence, and
identifying with (and as) this.
discusses the absolute simplicity of this method of Awakening
and compares this with the many complex systems, ideologies
and categories of (mis) identification which seem to appeal to
the human mind.
considers humanity’s fascination with the so-called miraculous
and auspicious. It attempts to show that every moment is
auspicious for Awakening and, once Awake, then everything is
seen to be miraculous.
is an attempt to explain the apparent elasticity of time that
is encountered after Awakening.
discusses the (apparent) ‘final obstacle’ to Awakening and the
importance of one’s thought processes in achieving freedom.
seventeen considers whether ethics are important in Awakening,
or whether they are an outcome of this.
was written in response to a reader who had experienced
‘Awakening’ but whose mind continued to spin due to its lack
of productive engagement with life.
was stimulated by a nondualist who continued to take things
personally, act defensively and engage with the world through
the filter of his own knowledge.
was written to address the apparent paradox of, or opposition
between, duality and nonduality.
one addresses three ‘properties’ of The Absolute, give in the
Upanishads, those of Seeing, Knowing and Enjoying. It
attempts to show that each of these may be used as a path to
two considers the concept of ‘sin’ and offers a new definition
of this which would apply equally well to all religions,
tribes and cultures.
three considers two modern views of the Absolute Reality by
the mystic Georges Battaille and the feminist philosopher Luce
Irigaray. It discusses the resonances between their
views and those elucidated in previous chapters. It also
compares their insights with those of the thirteenth century
Christian mystic Marguerite Porete (the author of The Mirror
of Simple Souls) and her peer the wonderful Sufi poet
four explains the fundamental teachings of the Buddha, the
four noble truths, and in this shows the resonances between
these (teachings) and Awakening by becoming ‘aware of
gives the basic format for investigating one’s moment to
moment experience which leads to the conclusion that, at the
deepest level, one is Awareness.
addendum has been added for it is a very useful practice to
‘sense’ and ‘know’ the Absolute – Consciousness – by using the
body/mind as (its actual function) an instrument of This.
The process has the advantage of never referencing the
illusory ‘small self’ and thus cannot foster misidentification
of oneself as a separate object.
Awareness: The Open Way: