28 Aug 2014
After the meditation Alan elaborates on the practice of awareness of awareness, which is unique in the sense that the first phase does not require any effort - quite the contrary! Instead of trying to fix an unbalanced body or mind, you simply give both, body and mind, up. Thus, the path lies in the non-doing, which is simple but not easy. This technique then shows its full strength whenever the body or the mind seem just too messed up to be healed: If it seems that they can’t be healed, simply release them. So whereas with other practices there can be obstacles in your way that keep you from achieving your goals or of mastering the practice, this can’t be the case with awareness of awareness due to the fact that there is no striving. And if there is no striving, there can be no obstacle. After all, where would that obstacle be? Between you and your awareness? What kind of a “you” would that be if it were without awareness? Thus, it is a practice that everybody who has practiced mindfulness of breathing or settling the mind in its natural state has always already been doing - only now you just do this and you drop the focus on the body or the mind. The second phase then requires a bit of effort in that you are asked to oscillate your awareness between intensification and releasing. While doing so you observe who it is that is doing the intensifying and releasing. That way you get a sense of being the agent. But at the very same time you might question the very essence of that agent. Towards the end of the talk Alan explains the differences between Shamatha without a sign and Dzogchen by showing how the same practice can be different if your perspective on the practice shifts. Finally, Alan addresses the question whether you should first get the right view and study and then meditate or the other way around. The “answer” to this question, however, will remain hidden from you, dear reader, unless you listen to the podcast…
Meditation starts at 1:17
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