Awareness

A man holding a tool box looking into the mind and seeing a kid sitting

I once heard awareness described as a light bulb shining on the areas in which the mind is present at any given time. Jeff Warren defined it as a small ball of light that moves across thoughts, dimming and glowing depending on the amount of attention it receives [1]. This light source has the potential to give clarity to actions and increase the capacity for introspection. Unlocking it can mean opening up a treasure chest to both self-acceptance and compassion for other living beings in this world — Total Acceptance.

The key to unlocking awareness is not only in the sensations that we perceive such as breathing but in the way we visualize these sensations. We grow up with the ability to breathe without any form of teaching, with a little tap on a baby's cheeks and she takes in her first breath, letting out a cry.

Twenty-something years of ephemeral connection to her breathing, she needs no reminder to breathe in and out in the deepest of periods of sleep. No reward for imagining how each breath passes through the lungs and into the diaphragm as it slowly moves back out through the same channel fusing with blood particles and converting into carbon dioxide as it gives way past tiny thread-like nose hairs and out into the atmosphere, where it is reabsorbed by the house plant in her bedroom. It takes several repetitions to learn how to connect with the breath, one of such ways is to visualize this process in a new way.

Visualize the air in a new way…

I started exploring the concept of awareness in a way I call the straight-line illusion, I see with my eyes closed as each breath flows along a tiny straight line up vertically to the imaginary end of this line and slowly back down to the other end. Repeating this process over and over again would eventually lead the mind astray, off to five-something years into the future, where I’m chilling in my yacht with a glass of scotch in my left hand, the wind on my bare body and the waves rushing back and forth in response to the wind’s motion.

Energetic outflows witnessed in the universe by NASA’s Hubble space telescope

Booooooooooooom! in an instant all of the air in the world blasts into this straight line, fusing with it as all of its energy becomes one with the line, and attention falls under the spell of this seismic display of energy. Back into the line, the mind goes, reconnecting with the rhythm of the breath, up and down the vertical line, up…down…up…down. This is the practice; for as many times as the mind invariably wanders around endless possibilities, everything comes back to the straight line gently rested at the centre of the mind’s eye.

The Line of Awareness

Your awareness is the line. Your awareness is the mind’s present moment view of your mindful self even as it fluctuates across the sea of past memories. Your awareness is the vision of yourself thinking of a killer rebuttal to the argument you had with your significant other the previous day, and all the many comebacks that she could have against it. Your awareness is the view of the line as your attention returns back to its epicentre. The mind’s eye and all that it sees in the present moment is your awareness. The line gives this eye an object of focus to return to when chaos reigns. Even when it teleports back to the sensory pleasures of a beach outing, the eye regains its focus with the Line of Awareness.

“Practice makes better!” [2]

Should you choose to explore the mind in this paradigm, consider doing it while seated with your eyes closed. Practice gentle patience in directing the mind to refocus for as long as you can hold your attention on this object per time. Be expectant that the mind will get bored of staying in one place after a while, no matter how good you are at keeping your attention. When it does, be aware, and boom! you are right back to the line where you started. Practice this well enough, visualize it delicately enough, and in no time you become the line.

Awareness: You and the Line are one and the same!

Credits: [1]Jeff Warren, [2]Kunle Adeniyi

Jay Jay

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Jay Jay

Jay Jay

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Hi there, I express myself in whatever medium appeals most to me at the time. Be it writing, video making or talking. Feel free to share your thoughts with me.