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#5087 - Saturday, November 16, 2013 - Editor: Jerry Katz 
The Nonduality Highlights 


This issue features Colin Drake's new book, Awareness of Awareness: The Open Way:

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Colin writes:

This 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:

Fantastic topic – 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 Tollan

Dear Colin, I love this latest posting.....the open way.........I appreciate the clarity and lightness of expression.  Paul Bedson
~ ~ ~

‘By observing 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 14-16) 

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 what follows.

The first 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

This Awareness 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’.

Rumi described 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 follows.

Chapter one details how Awakening by becoming aware of (and identifying with) Awareness is an ‘open’ way not requiring any special esoteric knowledge or practices.

Chapter two 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.

Chapter three 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 suffering.

Chapter four posits that continual self-analysis (identified with, or as, the mind) perpetuates the dis-ease of misidentification.

Chapter five attempts to show, in a logical and scientific framework, that everything (or no-thing!) in existence is of the same essence – Consciousness.

Chapter six 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.

Chapter seven 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).

Chapter eight 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.

Chapter eleven was in response to the same questioner who ‘suffers’ from worldly and racial prejudice and was asking how this could be addressed.

Chapter twelve 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.

Chapter thirteen 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.

Chapter fourteen 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.

Chapter fifteen is an attempt to explain the apparent elasticity of time that is encountered after Awakening.

Chapter sixteen discusses the (apparent) ‘final obstacle’ to Awakening and the importance of one’s thought processes in achieving freedom.

Chapter seventeen considers whether ethics are important in Awakening, or whether they are an outcome of this.

Chapter eighteen 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.

Chapter nineteen 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.

Chapter twenty was written to address the apparent paradox of, or opposition between, duality and nonduality.

Chapter twenty 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 Self-realization.

Chapter twenty two considers the concept of ‘sin’ and offers a new definition of this which would apply equally well to all religions, tribes and cultures.

Chapter twenty 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 Jelaluddin Rumi.

Chapter twenty 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 Awareness’.

The appendix 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.

The 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 of Awareness: The Open Way:


Here are Colin's previous e-books. They are all available for immediate download at

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