On Awakening

Once again, I read: “Awakening is a shift in consciousness in which thinking and awareness separate.” —Eckhart Tolle

I still remember a moment, at the age of ten, when my non-thinking mind slid into a barrage of unhelpful mental patterns. It was an eye opener for me, in my late twenties, to come to an understanding that awareness does not rely on thinking.

This first happened at a silent yoga retreat after a powerful chanting session which triggered an inner landscape which was shockingly clear, fresh and creative. After the retreat, however, it was difficulty to deal with the habitual energy of a thinking mind when it returned, since that state the Buddhists call “emptiness” was still unfamiliar at the time.

I have come to think the solution is not to disparage the thinking mind but celebrate it’s useful aspects and at the same time to develop the skill of being able to enjoy the benefits of suspended thinking. To do that, it helps to bring attention to the natural breathing process, for example, and/or to practice deep relaxation. Also, the long term practice of meditation was fundamental to my learning to separate thinking from awareness.

Gudrun Mouw (c)
October 22, 2020

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