When Awareness Becomes Natural
- Sayadaw U Tejaniya
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In meditation, when investigating the mind, it is only important to recognize when there is identification with an object and when there is not. It is the meditator’s job to stay with awareness and not be so concerned with the object itself or to immerse into the object; just remember to be aware.
concentration, and wisdom, which I usually prefer to call confidence, right effort, mindfulness/awareness, stability of mind, and wisdom.
Some refer to samādhi as “concentration” or “born of concentration,” but I don’t like to use the word concentration because the word samādhi means so much more. When we are concentrating, do we always become concentrated? No. This is why I prefer not to use this word. Samādhi in the scriptures is meant to be a wholesome state of mind, a skillful state of mind. The
We can use wisdom to practice, or we can use effort.
By simple observation with a calm and aware mind, we will soon see the mind as nature, not “I,” not self, not personal; no one is there; the mind is a natural phenomenon.[Nadav’s note: Weather]
Ask the questions often: “What am I aware of?” “What is my level of awareness?” This will support continuity of awareness. Remember: objects are just objects, not personal, just nature. This is right view.
The wording and language we use to remind ourselves of right view can be very important. From sustained practice we can come to know our experiences as nature. However, sometimes it is not helpful to say, “This is not me,” or “not mine,” because the mind finds this very hard to accept. To say “This is a process of nature” is much easier to accept.
Right view is to check and notice the reaction the mind is having to the pain or emotion. The result of this reaction may be tension or more pain somewhere in the body, most commonly the chest, neck, shoulders, or face, or even a feeling of anger.
Which is better: pain or no pain? When we think no pain is better, then every time we have pain, we won’t like it; we will become upset, and the defilements will take over. Why do the defilements take over? Because we had wrong view. Acknowledge pain as a natural phenomenon or just nature.
We can’t see the mind like we experience everything else, but we can experience the mind through its activity. We know when the mind does something, and we know when something happens in the mind.
The idea in vipassanā is to relate without attachment and to be aware of any or all objects as they arise without trying to create a particular result or experience; this practice is the process of understanding things as they are; achieving wisdom will be the result, not because you want it, but rather when right practice is taking place.
With vipassanā instead of giving our attention to one object we bring our attention also to the mind, specifically the observing/ meditating mind. We check the mind for reactions or defilements[Nadav’s note: But the mind is just sensation too]
A quiet mind is also something we can be aware of; it is an object. And an unquiet mind is also an object. So from the meditation point of view, as objects they are equal.
The effort that is required to meditate should just be the right amount, enough to maintain a light awareness of the six sense objects as continuously as possible.
So right effort is really no effort: it is very easy; just don’t expect anything from the practice. Reside in awareness and see what comes along; be with your experience as it is and allow things to turn out without trying to control.
The Buddha taught many forms of practice, because we all have different personality types.
You can customize your own unique way of practicing by taking out of each of these forms of practice what best suits your personality.
That is the whole work of vipassanā, or insight meditation, a learning process. You are not trying to control your experience or make it go away. You are not trying to have a good experience or avoid a bad experience. You are just going to see what is happening now and see if you can stay with it. Your only work is to be continually aware.