Awareness cannot be taught, and when it is present it has no context. All contexts are created by thought and are therefore corruptible by thought. Awareness simply throws light on what is, without any separation whatsoever.
Awareness, insight, enlightenment, wholeness—whatever words one may pick to label what cannot be caught in words—is not the effect of a cause. Activity does not destroy it and sitting does not create it. It isn’t a product of anything—no technique, method, environment, tradition, posture, activity, or nonactivity can create it. It is there, uncreated, freely functioning in wisdom and love, when self-centered conditioning is clearly revealed in all its grossness and subtleness and defused in the light of understanding.
Can the inner noise be entirely left alone while attending? When the changing states of body-mind are simply left to themselves without any choice or judgment—left unreacted to by a controlling or repressive will—a new quietness emerges by itself.
Sitting motionlessly quiet, for minutes or hours, regardless of length of time, is being in touch with the movements of the body—mind, gross and subtle, dull and clear, shallow and deep—without any opposition, resistance, grasping, or escape. It is being in intimate touch with the whole network of thoughts, sensations, feelings, and emotions without judging them good or bad, right or wrong—without wanting anything to continue or stop. It is an inward seeing without knowing, an open sensitivity to what is going on inside and out—flowing without grasping or accumulation. Stillness in the midst of motion and commotion is free of will, direction, and time. It is a complete letting be of what is from moment to moment.
Sitting quietly, doing nothing, not knowing what is next and not concerned with what was or what may be next, a new mind is operating that is not connected with the conditioned past and yet perceives and understands the whole mechanism of conditioning. It is the unmasking of the self that is nothing but masks—images, memories of past experiences, fears, hopes, and the ceaseless demand to be something or become somebody. This new mind that is no-mind is free of duality—there is no doer in it and nothing to be done.
“Awareness,” by Toni Packer. www.springwatercenter.org
Sign up for Tricycle’s newsletters
Thank you for subscribing to Tricycle! As a nonprofit, we depend on readers like you to keep Buddhist teachings and practices widely available.