What is advaita awareness
For most spiritual seekers, awareness is a positive thing; they want to expand, raise, deepen or simply become more conscious of their consciousness. But as with so many other terms - soul, spirituality, freedom, love, truth, bliss, energy - everyone understands something different. In Advaita Vedanta every term used is clearly defined.
In our normal usage of language, consciousness is defined very differently, depending on the context. In general, however, our Western view is based on a material view. We believe that consciousness depends on the brain, so that it can be switched off with certain drugs, for example, or it can be increased and expanded (temporarily) with drugs. We also think that we can direct our consciousness, focus it on something or withdraw it from something.
We consider ourselves conscious when we remember whether we have switched off the iron and unconscious when we have forgotten it. We should also always be aware of internal processes - so we consider ourselves more conscious when we notice that an emotion arises in us than when we only notice it afterwards or not at all.
By observing ourselves and the world around us and always knowing exactly what is going on, we try to raise or expand our awareness. We believe that mindfulness is a form of higher awareness and we want to increase our awareness by meditating or getting spiritual inspiration. All of this is often referred to as "awareness work". Meditation, psychotherapy, energy work or methods of personality development are used to perform “awareness work”. But what consciousness actually is is seldom explained.
Consciousness in the sense of Advaita Vedanta
can neither be expanded nor narrowed,
neither lose nor increase,
neither decrease nor increase.
There is nowhere to be pointed
still deduct from something,
and we can't have much of it
still little, still nothing.
What we can narrow, expand, lose, reduce, increase, deepen, align or withdraw are certain functions of our thinking apparatus, the mind. Above all, it is the buddhi mentioned in the last essay. Well functioning buddhi enables us to learn; it is therefore extremely important on the Vedanta path of knowledge. The best way to sharpen buddhi is to train their discernment. For example, you use clearly defined terms or keep asking until you have completely understood something.
The processes referred to as "awareness work" play no role in this. That does not make them worthless, because everything that brings the three other functions of our thinking apparatus to rest helps to make us fit for the cognitive work of Advaita Vedanta. The path can then be walked more easily, but what serves as preparation is not yet the path itself.
As mentioned in previous essays, the Vedanta path is not a path from here to there - I do not have to reach a goal in time and space. Rather, I want to recognize something that has always been and always will be: my true nature, what I really am. In order to discover this, I need a functioning buddhi and the willingness to use it in my search for truth. I already have consciousness - namely, what Advaita Vedanta understands by consciousness.
According to Advaita Vedanta is
Consciousness the source of our being.
It is in everything and permeates everything.
Without consciousness there would be nothing.
All there is is by its very nature consciousness.
And: if there was nothing
if there was still awareness.
Since I belong to everything that is there, I too am conscious of my actual nature - which answers the question of my true nature. But as I know myself, I can't tick them off for a long time. Because just because I read it in the Vedanta scriptures or hear it from a spiritual teacher, I have not yet recognized it as true.
If I have previously assumed that I have to develop somewhere and have certain qualities and experiences in order to find the truth, and if I have not found the truth as a result, it is worth trying a different approach: I'll go first Assume that I am conscious in my actual nature - although I have not yet recognized it, I can recognize it because I am.
In order to recognize what I am, however, I do not need to do any “awareness work”. In order to recognize what I am, I need the following - also and especially in the spiritual area:
- the willingness to use my sober mind,
- the willingness to think things through to the end,
- the willingness to question what I believe and
- the willingness to ask if I don't understand something - until I understand it.
Energy and awareness
Energy and consciousness are often lumped together because neither one nor the other can be experienced with the five senses. But in Advaita Vedanta the two have nothing to do with each other. Energy is a subtle phenomenon, energy is matter in a very fine form. Consciousness, on the other hand, is not material, it exists completely independently of any matter, regardless of whether it is gross or subtle.
Energy has properties, it has a color, it can be denser or finer, stronger or weaker, high or low, pleasant or unpleasant, etc. Consciousness, on the other hand, is completely neutral, it is pure being without any quality. It doesn't feel any way, good or bad, it IS.
So if you are after energetic high feelings, high and highest vibrations, you can perhaps increase your energy level through "consciousness work", at least temporarily. However, he will not get on the track of his true nature.
Those who are on the trail of their true nature have to abandon the idea that something is added to them through the knowledge of what they are.
In these essays it is always a question of dismantling previous views. That can make things easier if you've already started questioning them. It can also be frustrating at times to leave identifications behind without something new to replace them. That is exactly the point.
Because every identification stands in the way of knowing what one is, because one necessarily identifies with something other than what one actually is.
When I realized who I am
I don't identify with anything anymore.
I don't want to add anything to who I am
because it is absurd
to want to make it even more complete.
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