I have a stumbling block with regard to being convinced that we ARE awareness. At the moment the idea that we ARE awareness requires “belief” on my part and I don’t go in for beliefs anymore.
My job involves early starts, many hours of commuting and switching between working at day and working at night. Unsurprisingly there are times when I am very tired and I’ve noticed that it’s very much harder to sustain objectivity of mind in that state. The same applies to meditating when tired.
It seems logical to me that mind activity should require more energy than quiet awareness and yet when tired, the egoic mind seems to be able to dominate easily. Why is that the case if awareness is what we are? Is there anything one can do about it?
Many thanks in advance for your help.
You bring up a good point, in that the nature of awareness must not be turned into a concept or a belief. Awareness is still just a word, pointing to yourself, so certainly let go of all concepts and beliefs. If you go all the way and actually have no concept of yourself as awareness, as James, as a human being or a man, if all concepts are relinquished, then what remains? Who are you then, without effort? The answer is not conceptual – any concept is just another concept of self that arises and falls. Certainly drop all concepts of yourself. All these concepts have somehow come through conditioning, which is not reliable. Go back to you original nature by giving up all concepts of yourself. Even give up the concepts of “mind” and “thought”. What remains?
Yes, when tired, sometimes people do feel that the mind is more quiet, since there is simply less energy available for it. On the other hand, tiredness can mean that consciousness, or presence begins to fade. Alertness decreases, as if you are half-drifting to sleep. You lose awareness of yourself as consciousness, and so the mind can move in and take more of a charge.
To point to your nature of awareness, you already prove it in what you describe. If full presence is there, or no-thought, then you are aware of it. When tiredness is there, you are aware of it, when no-tiredness is there you are aware of it. Whether the experience is of dullness, high energy, low energy, disturbance, tranquility, peace or dread, you are always aware of it. You can report it. You can even report that consciousness fades and the egoic mind takes over. Do you see that even when it seems as if you lose awareness, you are aware of it? The only confusion that arises is when we identify with anything, including the concept of awareness. Let everything be there, including tiredness, including a loss of presence and an intensity of the mind. When you allow these things, you are aware that no matter what is happening, you are aware of it. Therefore you are not “in” what is happening, the one “in” the experience is just an idea of “I”, rather than the truth. The mind may try to deceive, and may say “I am not aware anymore, or I am losing awareness” – but even this voice or feeling is something you are aware of. Identify with nothing. You remain here when you identify with nothing that arises.
When everyone speaks of awareness, it is easy for the mind to turn this into a thing, some kind of attainment or object to be grasped. In fact you are it, all the time. Only the mind has its own identity, which can cause confusion when you believe it to be what you are.
You mentioned objectivity of mind is difficult to maintain. How do you know this? You must be aware of this state of mind being there or not. You are beyond it. Also I am not sure exactly what you mean by objectivity of mind, but this does not matter, since it is another thing you are aware of. If it is in fact anything to do with the mind, forget it. You are not the mind. All attitudes of the mind such as impartiality, nonjudgement etc. are useful since they cut resistance and allow presence to emerge. Yet, if resistance is there or not, you are aware of it. If objectivity is there or not, you are aware of it. You are the original source of all that can be perceived, including the identity of a person. Whether the mind is still there or not does not matter, you are the awareness, which is impersonal. Of course these words only point, as concepts they need not be retained.
Since tiredness can result in a natural decreased alertness, a decreased natural presence, there is room for old tendencies, pain and noise to come up. So in a sense, there is nothing you can really do about it. You can give up trying to change it. You can give up trying to maintain presence, and see that all efforts, particularly personal efforts, are also somehow observable by you. You can give up trying to make the tiredness different, or give up trying to make the mind less noisy.
Notice that all efforts to be awareness, to discover awareness or anything similar, all happen in an awareness that you already are. We can take the example of someone who says “I am still not convinced that I am awareness” – does this feeling not arise in an already-present awareness? Are you not aware that something inside says “I am not sure that I am awareness”?
You mention the egoic mind can dominate easily when tired. Who does it dominate? The answer may be “me” – but what is this me? The true being can not be dominated, but the self image, which itself IS the mind, can be easily dominated. Let it happen, be aware that thoughts can only disturb other thoughts, thoughts can only molest the thought-based image of a person. You are aware of all of this happening.
It is fine if you are not convinced or sure of anything. In fact this is ideal. No longer seek any certainty or conviction. Be fully comfortable in not knowing who you are. In this uncertainty, you are still aware that you exist, that you are awake. You need not know “what” you are, just be as you are. Feel that you are, without needing any concept of self. Concepts may still emerge, but they are nothing. Be aware of your own existence, which is aided by not claiming any concept of self. This sense of existence, which is the deeper “I AM”, is who you are before conditioning was fed to the mind. This feeling of existence is not a person or a body, it is consciousness prior to false conditioning. Surrender any remaining expectations, and be aware of yourself as this simplicity of being. Feel, rather than trying to see or think. All else occurs naturally.
"If We ARE Awareness, Why Does Awareness Weaken When We Are Tired?". The title of your question carries a clue. If awareness weakens – how do you know? You must be aware of it. I do not wish to get caught up in words, but what can seem to diminish is the waking consciousness, that which emerges in the dream and waking state, and subsides in deep sleep. Awareness does not weaken, but it can be overlooked. Whatever weakens or strengthens in reality does not have a name. Simply be aware that whatever changes in this way – you are aware of it. Something is even aware of alertness and emergence of waking consciousness coming and going. This awareness has no name and no form. The “you” that feels separate is only a thought.
I hope this response has helped somehow. If anything poses confusion to your mind, discard it, none of this is for your mind, it is for you.
With that said, feel free to ask anything else if you wish.
All the best,
Comments for If We ARE Awareness, Why Does Awareness Weaken When We Are Tired?
(from previous website)
Apr 12, 2014
Thank you very much for your very prompt and extensive response. You make some good points and your clarification is appreciated. Your point about thoughts only being able to disturb other thoughts is particularly helpful and insightful. Many thanks again for your help.