Introducing Awake Awareness
What Awake Awareness Is and Isn't
What Awake Awareness Is and Isn't
To practice any form of mindfulness, we shift our awareness and level of mind to see things differently. Deliberate mindfulness uses attention and our observing mind, whereas effortless mindfulness comes from a particular level of mind and awareness that is not as familiar.
Among other names, this unique level of mind and awareness has been called source of mind, nature of mind, unity consciousness, natural awareness, true nature, optimal mind, and heart-mind. I will call this level of awareness and mind awake awareness. Awake awareness is the foundation of knowing, like the quantum field from which individual particles of thoughts or waves of feelings appear.
Awake awareness is formless and contentless, yet knowing. At first, awake awareness feels like the absence of thought and an opening into more space. Then, we notice an alertness, a clarity, and a feeling as if we are aware from the open space.
It’s not the same experience as knowing from thought, and it does not feel like “I” am aware. It is more as if we’ve shifted into an awareness that is already awake by itself, without our help. This is why it is called awake awareness.
Awake awareness is the most important discovery we can make on our path of effortless mindfulness. However, in this approach, awake awareness is not the end goal, and we do not seek to remain in a detached witness state or a state of pure awareness. Instead, awake awareness will unfold into awake awareness-energy embodied and into open-hearted awareness. Similarly, effortless mindfulness could be called “effortless mindfulness embodied” or “effortless heart mindfulness” as we learn to live an awakened life.
The practice of effortless mindfulness begins as a simple shift or letting go to discover a naturally awake awareness that is already present all around and within us. One of my students described the experience like this: “I’m not aware of an open mind and an open heart. I’m aware from an open mind and heart that is connected to everything.”
When we tap into this feeling of viewing from our wordless awake awareness, it opens us to a relief from suffering, natural joy, and compassionate connection with people and the world around us.
We have been taught that our intelligence, identity, and safety are based on developing and being centered in thought-based knowing, or what I will call our small mind. When we shift from our small mind to awake awareness as the source of mind, we discover that we are already effortlessly mindful.
Effortless (or nondual) mindfulness is the way of knowing, creating, and relating from awake awareness. Although this mindfulness begins by letting go of everything, we ultimately become embodied, energetic, loving, and fully human.
After you have read these mindful glimpses, I suggest you record any you like in your own voice, at a pace that seems right for you. Then listen to your own voice as it leads you home.
You can also find recorded glimpses in Loch’s audio training guides: Shift into Freedom: A Training in the Science and Practice of Open-Hearted Awareness and Effortless Mindfulness Now.
This post is an adapted excerpt from The Way of Effortless Mindfulness: A Revolutionary Guide for Living an Awakened Life, by Loch Kelly.
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