Session 59: Having Appropriate Expectations in our Awareness of Awareness Practice

B. Alan Wallace, 18 Nov 2010

In this session Alan made an analogy between the practice of visualizing a Buddha image in the first stages of shamatha and the clarity we can expect to have in the first stages of the practice of awareness of awareness. According to Tsongkhapa we should be satisfied with maintaining just enough contact of the image in the first stages. As we progress on the path of shamatha we develop greater clarity and in the final stages we can see the image as being tridimensional and as vivid as in a dream. Similarly in the practice of awareness of awareness we shouldn’t expect to have a high degree of clarity in the first stages, but just enough continuity of being aware of being aware. The clarity and sharpness will kick in until stages 4 and 5.
He also mentioned two important steps in this practice. The first point is to release all interest to the appearances arising in any of the 6 domains of experience. You’re not deliberately giving your attention to any appearance, if these arise, it’s ok, but if you’re caught in a thought you’re not doing the practice correctly. The second point is that it is quiet and in the silence there is awareness of awareness. You’re not sitting there and not doing anything, you are aware that you are aware.
We then practiced according to the instructions given by Padmasambhava in “Natural Liberation” by directing our awareness to the space upwards, then to the right, left and downwards, then to the heart and finally releasing it into space.

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