Awareness-based Philosophy

Here is a post where I list by points about my understanding about awareness, which by practicing, will certainly help each of us to live a better and fuller life in all aspects, including, personal, career, love, financial… Please take time and give each point some thinking of your own and chew on them because each can easily turn into a full individual post or essay. After all, you can only reap what you sow. Enjoy!

Awareness is the basis of everything — the beginning of the self, the end of the self, the self’s connection to everything, how everything is connected.

You choose to awaken your awareness, where you start by rediscovering the societal, cultural, and religious conditionings and preconceived notions that have been ingrained and seem innate. Be ready to let go of the ones that are simply bondage, even though you have come to know as truth.

Awareness is within all of us. You are awareness if you let go of attachments and desires and just be.

Awareness is like a non-discriminating, impartial silent observer that exists in all of us. With it, you can understand yourself, and then define your values and what is important in your life, not what others or society tell you. When you know your values and priorities, you no longer listen nor care what popular beliefs are.

Awareness is neither about positive nor negative. Thus, awareness is oneness. As oneness goes, there is no opposite, and with no opposite, there exists void, emptiness, nothingness. This is the idea that is behind the saying that oneness is also void, emptiness, or nothingness — Everything is one, and one is nothing, and everything is nothing.

Even the dualistic nature of things speaks oneness. The meaning of good is subjective to the meaning of bad. Put more simply, good does not exist without bad. So should happiness exist without sadness. All thoughts are partial. An object must have a subject. It is all connected.

Because of oneness and things all being connected, there exists causality (or karma), which is absolute. There IS a circle of life, not just of humans, but of all things.

Awareness is attention to emotions and thoughts, and as those become clearer, you get closer to see and to sense things as they are. Attention, attention, attention.

Awareness is also attention to your body, your muscles, your nerves because the sensations, mainly tensions, of your body is every bit connected to your emotions and thoughts. How you feel and what you do about your body can affect your emotions and thoughts. But so can emotions and thoughts affect your body. Unfortunately in some cases, people do very bad things to their body because of emotional turmoils. Notice how your body tense up when you feel strong emotion, and also notice how deep breathing has a calming effect. Since you can notice your body and mind, we can be sure that such awareness exists.

Living in the moment is seeing and sensing things as they are, where you simply be with no judgment of good or bad, positive or negative. Attention, attention, attention.

Emotions and thoughts always happen. Awareness, Zen, Buddhism do not tell you to deny yourself of emotions and thoughts. The difference is awareness/attention to your emotions and thoughts, or lack there of.

When you become aware, seeing reality as it is, seeing oneness and causality, and begin to live in the moment, is also when your hopes die. Hope that your partner will love you more. Hope that you will not be alone. Hope that you will make more money. Hope that future will be a better place. Hope that heaven awaits upon death. All those hopes die because there is just the moment, and the moment is perfect (without ego, judgment, dramatization…) Hence the talk of hopelessness in Zen. Without hope, it simply is. There is just THIS moment.

Because there is also just this moment, you should always do your best. Your best in this moment will lead to your best in the next. And whether you think you are doing your best or not, you are doing your best. Your best may not be “good” but that is just a coloration by thoughts and it is still your best. This is why every moment is perfect. You did your best, move on. Live in the moment, not the past, not the future.

Ego is the “self” that is created from emotions and thoughts. That is why awareness helps us demolish ego and also why, without awareness, people are driven by ego, in other words, driven by emotions and thoughts.

Attachment causes suffering. Any form of attachment will end in pain. Attachment is attachment to ego, to emotions, to thoughts, and in other words, lack of attention, lack of awareness to your emotions and thoughts. People may be attached to tangible things, but each attachment to tangible things are based on attachments to certain thought or emotion. When you are so attached to being happy or feeling “good”, you are not aware because you can only be happy if you were once sad, and you lose sight of the moment. That’s why, be aware of your thoughts and emotions.

Attachment can also be sad to get hung up on one side of a duality, and hence lack of awareness to see oneness and emptiness.

Detachment means the demolishment of ego, accomplished through active attention. Detachmeng does not mean emotionless and thoughtless. Detachment is not apathy or indifference because that just means you do not care about the world around you and therefore you fail to be aware and see things as they are, which are all connected, as you are to the people around you. In other word, apathy and indifference just mean you are running away from problems.

When you are aware, you will not fail to care as everything is related. Hence the compassionate and meticulous nature of aware beings.

With awareness, we simply do things with full attention, without interference of ego, emotions, and thoughts, and thus, allowing us to do what we need to do to the best of ability without complicating thoughts. Life as it is is simple! As such, we can take care of our responsibility without dramatization, and we can do our best each moment and be most effective.

When you see things as they are, when you see everything as connected, when you understand nothingness, when your attachments and hopes die, when your ego is demolished, is when true love happens. True love, true compassion, true kindness come from an aware mind. Hence, when you no longer need someone is when you begin to truly love.

Nature provides unconditional love to mothers to their children. However, aside that, truly unconditional love that we may have for family, friends, strangers, nature, and the world will come from a sense of awareness.

The process of practicing awareness, to begin to see your own thoughts and emotions, and thus the challenging of your own ego and preconceived notions is full of turmoils and takes much patience and persistence. It WILL take time. It WILL involve pain. Think of it like reprogramming your own body and mind, after years of bad societal programming.

Freedom, joy, peace, euphoria are all side effects of you returning to your original state of awareness, though they are not the end one should seek. Focus on the practice of awareness.

Zen is not an easy way out. Buddhism does not provide a silver bullet. Christianity cannot save your soul. No religion does any of those. They are just truths and sets of rules and philosophy put together by other people who came to their own understandings. They do contain much wisdom, so study them and learn them. Don’t just follow. Don’t accept the convenience. You must do work, hard work on your own.

It is easy to say or think that all things are connected, but it is up to yourself, individually, to pratice awareness and come to your own realization.

In the beginning is awareness for all, and as you regain more awareness, so will the desire to learn about yourself, your community, and the world continues to grow. Think how babies and little kids have such amazing capacity to learn. Think how many questions they ask, until they got silenced. Our society, marketing schemes, cultures, religions, education system completely dull our awareness when we are growing up.

I am not here to force you to learn. Chances are you want to learn because you are reading this. I do not pretend to know everything because I know so little yet. And it is not even about me. It is you, in every moment, you get to choose. You are choosing in every moment. You are choosing the end you want — awake to your own awareness and a journey of rediscovery, or stay a distracted mind that continues to live in a masquerade. Both can be truths. Which truth do you seek?

Originally posted 2008-06-23 21:22:44. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

5 Responses

  1. rob says:

    I’ve been trying to practice these concepts and apply them to daily life. One thing I observed is that practicing them is hard work, but I’m confident that if I keep at it, I get better and better until it becomes second nature. I oftentimes get frustrated when I lapse back into my old way of thinking, then I remember to be ‘aware’, and this gets me back on track.

    I read a great book recently: ‘Are You Ready for Success’ by Srikumar Rao (actually a Buddhism book disguised as a life/career guide). Highly recommended. I’ve read lots of Buddhism books, but this is the first one that actually gives practical tips on applying the principles in daily, real-world situations.

  2. Kin says:

    Hey Rob, I agree, practicing awareness consistently is hard work, especially with all the distraction in our everyday life. Sometimes I feel it maybe much easier to practice it being a monk in a monastery :P But it does get easier over time, and the differences and results are fascinating.

    Thank you for the book recommendation. I’ll definitely check it out. For me, the book that’s kind of the “eye-opener” is “Nothing Special: Living Zen” by Charlotte J. Beck, though I have read many that contributed. They are in the book list in the Piggy’s Bookstore link on top.

  3. rob says:

    Thanks, I’ll check out the ‘Living Zen’ book, based on the excerpt I read from amazon (the one about the whirlpools), it sounds like a great read. Hopefully I’ll be able to find it in one of the bookstores here.

    I thought the same thing too – that monks have it easier as they don’t deal with real-world distractions. Then I also thought that they isolate themselves from the ‘real’ world to strengthen their mind and thinking process, so when they go back to the hazards of modern living, they are better prepared for it.

  4. Kin says:

    Cool, besides that book. I JUST discovered another jewel… a book from Bruce Lee called “Striking Thoughts”. Someone found and edited the notes that Bruce Lee had thought and written.

    Did you know that he was a philosophy major from University of Washington? I had no idea, and that man has wisdom I must say. Everything we have talked about practicing… he got it. It shows in his words.

    If you can’t find the books, let me know, I’ll be glad to send you a copy.

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