Kojiro

Awareness is not enough

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Awareness can only be a first and basic step towards the goal of self-knowledge and cultivation. The mere sensations that we feel are only brute signs that we need to interpret and understand. This requires knowledge and intelligence, something that goes well beyond all this awareness and mindfulness. Just being aware of our state of being is nothing, a correct interpretation of the way we feel and the proper management of this is still necessary, and this is probably much more difficult and important than just being aware.

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It depends on how you define awareness/consciousness :) 

 

In my tradition, awareness/consciousness IS the basis of knowledge, without it, there is neither intelligence, nor mind, and certainly no knowledge. So to posit that awareness is not enough is entirely wrong. I would instead posit that without awareness nothing is. 

 

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4 hours ago, Kojiro said:

Awareness can only be a first and basic step towards the goal of self-knowledge and cultivation. The mere sensations that we feel are only brute signs that we need to interpret and understand. This requires knowledge and intelligence, something that goes well beyond all this awareness and mindfulness. Just being aware of our state of being is nothing, a correct interpretation of the way we feel and the proper management of this is still necessary, and this is probably much more difficult and important than just being aware.

 

Awareness is most definitely the first and most basic step towards self-knowledge and cultivation. For me, diminishing its importance with the word "only" is misleading as pointed out in dwai's response. Knowledge and intelligence are extremely valuable and should not be neglected. On the other hand, being aware of our state of being is everything as there is nothing else possible without it - no knowledge, no intelligence, no interpretation, no management.

 

The other comment I'd like to offer is with respect to a "correct interpretation" of what we feel and how we manage that. I agree this is critically important territory but also can be quite tricky and subtle. Most of our lives, thoughts, emotions, and actions are determined by our childhood conditioning, our genetics, our education, our culture, political bias, and so forth. The intellect is extraordinarily beautiful and powerful but equally destructive and dysfunctional - yin/yang. Becoming aware of this fact and rooting out the reactive and maladaptive patterns that hide in us in plain sight is, IMO, that very process of finding correct interpretation and proper management.

 

If one believes that "just being aware" is less difficult than thinking and planning, analyzing and managing; I challenge you to simply sit and do nothing for an hour, nothing at all but be completely connected to everything going on in and around you with attention. Then bring this level of awareness to a variety of activities throughout your normal day, just for a few minutes, especially when faced with challenges that bring on emotional reactivity or times of great joy and excitement. Do this for a few weeks and I propose that your life will change in ways you never anticipated. 

 

Just my random and biased thoughts. 

It's really nice to see you posting about this topic Kojiro. 

Thank you for starting the discussion.

 

 

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Thanks for your posts. I can't write much now, but the main reason I wrote this post was to emphasize the fact that we very often misunderstand our state of being. However it is true that for each of us awareness/consciousness is everything we can perceive, there is nothing for us outside of our awareness, that is correct. But again to understand what we feel can be very difficult, we are doomed to err constantly :)

Edited by Kojiro

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What do we want from each other?  Nobody goes to couples therapy complaining that their partner doesn't have enough theories.  We tend to opinate and intellectualize a great deal about each other's thoughts and behaviors -- and for what?  All that prefrontal activity is largely unappreciated by the subjects in question.  In fact, many subjects have opined that their partner's theories are a bunch of hooey.  A partner's awareness, however, now that's almost always welcomed.  We want to be seen and listened to.  Just that.  Most people in most circumstances don't even want to be "helped."  

 

What do our bodies want from us?  I'd argue that the body also prefers awareness over theoretical interpretation.  The Daoist view is that each organ (and perhaps each tissue?) has it's own spirit.  Just like we want those in our intimate circle to be aware of us, the parts of our body yearn for our awareness as well.  Often awareness alone has a healing effect. 

 

None of this is to say that intellectual activity doesn't have it's place.  If I get a tissue sample biopsied, I hope that the pathologist does more than merely stare lovingly into his microscope.  Still, as a culture our tendency is to overvalue cognition and undervalue naked awareness. 

Edited by liminal_luke
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According to Gracian it is necessary to know yourself to master yourself. Knowledge is necessary. Mere empirical awareness without knowledge of yourself is not very useful, you can make mistakes easily...

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2 hours ago, Kojiro said:

According to Gracian it is necessary to know yourself to master yourself. Knowledge is necessary. Mere empirical awareness without knowledge of yourself is not very useful, you can make mistakes easily...

 

IMO  awareness is a basic requirement , but by itself , is not enough . For a start, balance  is another key aspect .

 

being an hermeticist I wholly agree with the 'know yourself' as a first principle ... but  does that knowing cause mastery ?  No, it is a first step along a long journey .

 

Knowing how a car works , or even being able to pull the whole engine apart and put it back together is very different skill from driving the car ... and most are not even driving - they are in the back seat, not knowing what to do , while the car careers around by itself .

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2 hours ago, liminal_luke said:

...  What do our bodies want from us?  I'd argue that the body also prefers awareness over theoretical interpretation.  The Daoist view is that each organ (and perhaps each tissue?) has it's own spirit.  Just like we want those in our intimate circle to be aware of us, the parts of our body yearn for our awareness as well.  Often awareness alone has a healing effect...

 

That ( the bolded bit )  just set an 'astral gong' off somewhere  for me  !

 

Can you reference me to more on this ; posts , writings, opinions, text .... or even a new thread ? 

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5 minutes ago, Nungali said:

 

That ( the bolded bit )  just set an 'astral gong' off somewhere  for me  !

 

Can you reference me to more on this ; posts , writings, opinions, text .... or even a new thread ? 

 

I don't have a favored reference but information is easily available with a quick online search.  Each of the 5 elements is associated with an organ (actually two organs, or perhaps more accurately an organ system) and also a particular spirit.

 

Wood -- Liver/Gallbladder -- Hun spirits

Metal -- Lung/Large Intestine -- Po spirits

 

and so on.  Another Bum (forgot who) once suggested that all tissues of the body have their spirits.  I'm not sure if that idea is enshrined in classical sources but it makes intuitive sense to me.

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The Five Forces or dynamics of Yin & Yang are the building blocks of existence!

 

For much as you try to be aware of how badly messed up your internal organs (because you ultimately won't know until you find a system that really cleanses you internally ---> see below) you won't be going too far/deep enough, for sure.

 

Healing, unblocking, releasing, opening joints and meridians, restructuring forces that were flowing in the wrong direction due to being brought up and living in the unawakened society, balancing & restoring vitality, are the factors that really matter. 

 

Ultimately you'll reconnect with the mind (spirit, the eternal you).

 

Yes awareness & mindfulness are too subjective and not enough to deliver the goods. 

 

 

 

 

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Awareness within personality, yes its not enough. It'll never be enough. That's the nature of personalities, formed out of feelings of lack and inadequacies. 

 

Awareness as potentiality, it is the sustainer of all life. 

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knowing if and when there is "a need to know" or to hold off if not, could save a lot of trouble...alas we often learn the hard way.

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Interesting this idea of ‚Äúmastering‚ÄĚ oneself. I think it‚Äôs worth exploring that. Who or what is master? Who or what is slave/subject? Over what specific processes and activities¬†is the master¬†in control? Great territory for personal investigation but it requires a very deep dive and my observation¬†is that the answers come not from mental processes but through open and unfabricated awareness.

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11 minutes ago, steve said:

Interesting this idea of ‚Äúmastering‚ÄĚ oneself. I think it‚Äôs worth exploring that. Who or what is master? Who or what is slave/subject? Over what specific processes and activities am is the master¬†in control? Great territory for personal investigation but it requires a very deep dive and My suggestion is that the answers come not from mental processes but through open and unfabricated awareness.

 

we have our conditioned conscience and a deeper one based on what could be called  dharmic conscience (or master if you will), and ideally they are not in too much conflict with each other...

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46 minutes ago, steve said:

Interesting this idea of ‚Äúmastering‚ÄĚ oneself. I think it‚Äôs worth exploring that. Who or what is master? Who or what is slave/subject? Over what specific processes and activities¬†is the master¬†in control? Great territory for personal investigation but it requires a very deep dive and My suggestion is that the answers come not from mental processes but through open and unfabricated awareness.

 

Like many others, I'm taking the occasion of the New Year as a cue to begin multiple enthusiastic, ambitious, and (perhaps) ill-fated attempts at self-mastery.  Today marks the two week anniversary of my break up with sugar.  But as much as I enjoy the thought of being "in control" I recognize that the little me with his plans and goals is not, in fact, my larger SELF.  How can I be master over myself when the part that wants mastery isn't even who I really am?  The task of the first half of life is to build a giant sandcastle; the task of the second half is to feel OK as we watch it get washed away.

Edited by liminal_luke
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2 hours ago, steve said:

Interesting this idea of ‚Äúmastering‚ÄĚ oneself. I think it‚Äôs worth exploring that. Who or what is master? Who or what is slave/subject? Over what specific processes and activities¬†is the master¬†in control? Great territory for personal investigation but it requires a very deep dive and my observation¬†is that the answers come not from mental processes but through open and unfabricated awareness.

Good question. I guess the master is our rational part, which is conditioned too, while the slave is or should be our emotional part, also conditioned. Like father and son, just they are the same person here :)

 

(By the way the same can be asked in "know yourself". Who or what  knows and who or what is known? Interesting indeed)

Edited by Kojiro
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1 hour ago, liminal_luke said:

The task of the first half of life is to build a giant sandcastle; the task of the second half is to feel OK as we watch it get washed away.

How poignant and poetic is your statement

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1 hour ago, liminal_luke said:

 

Like many others, I'm taking the occasion of the New Year as a cue to begin multiple enthusiastic, ambitious, and (perhaps) ill-fated attempts at self-mastery.  Today marks the two week anniversary of my break up with sugar.  But as much as I enjoy the thought of being "in control" I recognize that the little me with his plans and goals is not, in fact, my larger SELF.  How can I be master over myself when the part that wants mastery isn't even who I really am?  The task of the first half of life is to build a giant sandcastle; the task of the second half is to feel OK as we watch it get washed away.

 

reminded of:

images.jpg.a3e31bd97b9ed3903c722ac8020cda9d.jpg

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53 minutes ago, Kojiro said:

Good question. I guess the master is our rational part, which is conditioned too, while the slave is or should be our emotional part, also conditioned. Like father and son, just they are the same person here :)

 

(By the way the same can be asked in "know yourself". Who or what  knows and who or what is known? Interesting indeed)

 

per revealed scripture of the Upanisads the Self knows The Self.  (for if not all would be the "vanity of vanities")

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1 hour ago, Kojiro said:

Good question. I guess the master is our rational part, which is conditioned too, while the slave is or should be our emotional part, also conditioned. Like father and son, just they are the same person here :)

 

(By the way the same can be asked in "know yourself". Who or what  knows and who or what is known? Interesting indeed)

Awareness recognizes itself as Awareness, and knows that the rational part, emotional part, memory part and thought part - ie the mind is an ephemeral arising in itself. It also recognizes the body as an ephemeral arising in itself. It also recognizes energy as the process of apparent changes in these arisings. 

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4 hours ago, Kojiro said:

Good question. I guess the master is our rational part, which is conditioned too, while the slave is or should be our emotional part, also conditioned. Like father and son, just they are the same person here :)

 

I sort of see it that way as well. One part of the mind wants to control another part - intellect, rational, moral part opposes the intuitive, irrational, emotional part. And there are some benefits for sure - eat right, exercise, cultivate healthy relationships, create stuff. And all the emotional, intuitive stuff is important too, especially for creativity and relationships. What I think is important is balance more than mastery or control but all have their place at different points in our lives. 

 

Quote

(By the way the same can be asked in "know yourself". Who or what  knows and who or what is known? Interesting indeed)

 

For me, this is the place of meditation. No other way to penetrate the veil. No way to describe it or define it. Intellect and rationality have their limits, as do emotion and intuition.

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6 hours ago, steve said:

Interesting this idea of ‚Äúmastering‚ÄĚ oneself. I think it‚Äôs worth exploring that. Who or what is master? Who or what is slave/subject? Over what specific processes and activities¬†is the master¬†in control? Great territory for personal investigation but it requires a very deep dive and my observation¬†is that the answers come not from mental processes but through open and unfabricated awareness.

 

I see it as like the Dao .  I know what it is, but its undefinable  ;) Besides  what is in a name ? Sometimes I am asked  'What plant is that ?'  if I make up a psuedo Latin sounding name , they seem satisfied .

 

In the western tradition its 'The Mage ' ; the King with crown and sword ( and other symbolic 'weapons' )  to signify he rules his domain - the psyche . As time goes on , more and more things of the psyche are recognized as 'not Mage' .  and regulated to his control .

 

One way of looking at it is , on a basic level the four 'forces of the psyche' must be in order and in balance ;  The spirit and inspirations, the emotional body , the mind and intellect and the physical body . The 'Master'  ( or 'The Immortal Osiris' , I have seen it termed )  is the 'one' that orders and regulates these forces, stands apart from, yet partakes in their dynamics .

 

For those that need a definition it is also termed  'Centrum in Trigono Centri ' .

 

And of course , the whole thing is also 'a mystery'  .   ;) 

 

From 'The Rite of Jupiter.'

 

C. I. C. T. ; " Feeling, and thought, and ecstasy

Are but the cerements of Me.
Thrown off like planets from the Sun
Ye are but satellites of the One.
But should your revolution stop
Ye would inevitably drop
Headlong within the central Soul,
And all the parts become the Whole.
Sloth and activity and peace,
When will ye learn that ye must cease?


TYPHON. How should I cease from lethargy?


HERMANUBIS. How should I quench activity?

 

SPHINX. How should I give up ecstasy?

 

C.I.C.T. What shines upon your foreheads?

 

S.H.T. (together). The Eye within the Triangle.

 

C.I.C.T. What burns upon your breasts?

 

S.H.T. (together). The Rosy Cross.

 

C.I.C.T. Brethren of the Rosy Cross! Aspirants to the Silver Star! Not until these are ended can ye come to the centre of the wheel."

 

 

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On 1/25/2023 at 3:34 AM, Kojiro said:

Awareness can only be a first and basic step towards the goal of self-knowledge and cultivation. The mere sensations that we feel are only brute signs that we need to interpret and understand. This requires knowledge and intelligence, something that goes well beyond all this awareness and mindfulness. Just being aware of our state of being is nothing, a correct interpretation of the way we feel and the proper management of this is still necessary, and this is probably much more difficult and important than just being aware.

 

This is why there is a noble eight fold path of which awareness (mindfulness) is but one part. It is not a one fold path.

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