Pure Awareness …


 “If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.” William Blake, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell

Pure awareness is the state that comes when toxic emotions like fear, greed, lust, anger, censure, pride, envy, hate, prejudice, anxiety, and all the rest, melt away like snowflakes on a warm sunny day.

When in a state of pure awareness the mind is still, vision is clear, and one is in a state of flow, completely absorbed and enthralled by the moment.

We might have experienced this state while listening to a symphony, or singing in a choir, or standing on a promontory looking out over the sparkling ocean under a clear blue sky or listening to a friend tell a story.

When our vision is clear and our mind is still, we experience the essence of things.

The essence of things is their divine quality, the primordial consciousness that supports all existence.

Experiencing the essence of things in others collapses our boundaries and we experience our oneness with all that is and we become more compassionate, authentic, and joyful.

Pure awareness is free from conflict and the seeds of pain and sorrow.

If one is judging a rose—it is past its prime, the stem is too long or too short, and so forth—then it is impossible to experience the rose with pure awareness.

Judging the rose immediately puts up a barrier between us and the hapless rose.

 The rose is kept at a distance while we compare it to the abstract rose we carry around in our head; we are here, and the rose is there while we are judging it.

But if we silently observe the rose with pure awareness, without thought, censure, or judgment, pure awareness unites us with the essence of the rose and fills our heart with joy.

We experience a rattlesnake with pure awareness if we remain calm and at a safe distance, and do not succumb to prejudice, fear, and loathing.

We can see the bright sun sparkle in its eyes and the beauty of the distinctive pattern of its skin.

We can see the gleaming white fangs and the hypnotic rhythm of its dancing tongue.

If there is no emotional barrier between the snake and us, we experience its essence and become one with its essence.

But censuring a rattlesnake prevents us from experiencing it. We experience only fright, loathing and agitation.

Censure is what causes us to rush away in panic and return with a double-barreled shotgun and blow the snake to smithereens.

Is it possible to love ourselves with pure awareness, without censure?

Observe what happens when we censure ourselves.

When we are angry with ourselves we think: “I should not be angry with myself.

That censorious thought creates a duality.

We are angry with ourselves, but we think that we should not be angry.

The tension between the reality of our anger and the thought “I should not be angry” creates anxiety and more self-reproach, which accelerates into a downward spiral.

Note what happens when we observe our anger with pure awareness—when we observe without thought, emotion, or censure.

There is no tension or anxiety when we observe “what is,” instead of an image of what we think.

Authenticity sets in and our anger melts away, maybe not quickly—but it’s a start.

And there is an added advantage: We are not anxious, because we avoided a conflict between the images that we shouldn’t be angry with our friend, and the reality that we are indeed angry with him or her,

When we observe others without any hidden agenda, prejudice, fear, anger, lust, greed, censure, or attachment, our mind is still and clear, our boundaries expand to include the other.

We are united with them more than any vow, wish, hope, or idea could unite us.

 This pure awareness arises only when our mind is still and our vision is clear.

It cannot arise if we attend to others while trying to control them, sell them, hold on to them, fear them, or seduce them.

These things make it impossible to get beyond elements of possessiveness, control and judgment.

The Zen masters used the term “every moment Zen.”

This term contains the dual concept of “pure awareness in just being” and also the concept of “intending to act in ways that contribute to the welfare of the cosmos or in the very least not add to the pain, misery and sorrow one sees in the world.”

A common example of can be discovered while driving a car. One usually drives while the mind is elsewhere, including censuring other drivers, anxiety about being late, the impression we are making with our snazzy new car, and so on.

Is it possible to drive with pure awareness and with the intent to contribute to the peace and serenity of our little corner of the cosmos?

Try it and see what happens.

Drive along with pure awareness and the intent to not cause any anxiety, anger or physical harm to other drivers and to ourselves.

See the road, its texture, its condition and become one with its essence.

See the other drivers and give them a smile when eye contact is made, be fully aware of all traffic signals; make full stops without any rushing, stay in the moment and drive every moment with pure awareness, every moment Zen.

Awareness Exercise

While in a comfortable position prepare yourself for pondering on discernment.

Recall to mind someone who creates in you strong feelings of fear, anger, loathing, revulsion, hostility and the like.

Allow the body to relax but not collapse.

Relax the muscles of the face. Do not focus your eyes; allow them to stare off in to space.

If a strong emotion arises, do not try to suppress or censure the feeling, just

Observe it and allow it to pass through.

Observe the details of the person—the color and highlights of their hair, details in their eyes, ears, nose and mouth, and so forth.

Allow your jaw to go slack and relaxed. Continue watching the person, the details of the person, not your conclusions of what kind of person this is.

If any thoughts or emotions arise watch them as they glide through your image of the person.

See if you can see where the thoughts or emotions come from and where they go.

Eventually (if not this time but some other time) your mind will be perfectly still, no thoughts or emotions are passing through, and what you are left with is the reality of the person, warts and all.

COMMENTS: Send your comments to me, Neil Bezaire, at I would enjoy hearing from you. Attention will be paid.

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