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Check my understanding of awareness

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Check my understanding of awareness
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1/5/16 11:56 PM
I want to write about awareness.  This will seem to
meander, but that is the intention here.  Last night, I sat down and
meditated.  I was transitioning between three sitting postures assisted by a
cushion on my back to keep myself upright.  First, I started off with the most
sustainable posture I have, which is sitting on the legs with the feet
pointing backwards.  I did this until my left foot (always the left foot) fell
asleep, then stood up and walked around until the feeling returned.  Then I
sat on the couch with a back cushion cross-legged until the left foot was too
painful to maintain the position any longer.  I then moved to the floor after
standing and walking until the foot felt fine.  The floor position was
similar, but easier to maintain due to the firmness of the floor.  |X_ I held
this position for as long as possible, then uncrossed the legs and sat with
bent knees, feet ahead of the rest of the body, hands resting on the knees.
|/\_  Once I was no longer fatigued, I went back to a similar position to the
cross-legged position done earlier, but with the left foot a bit further out.

This was comfortable for a while, then I returned to the bent knees position.
This position became incredibly stable.  The visual effects I describe later
were done during this position.  No effort was required to maintain it, and it
seemed that there would be no fatiguing due to the lack of effort to maintain
it.  With gravity still in effect, it became desirable to do an L-sit and lift
myself up slightly.  I treated this position the same way, despite the effort
required to hold the arms straight and not give into the weight.  I would have
no problem calling this "easy yoga".  Once the position could no longer be
maintained, I went back to cross-legged and began the cycle again.  

Now, I mention this to describe the substrate on which awareness was
happening.  Somewhere during this the thought occurred to touch the fingertips
together in sequence.  This is a common hand exercise I do that helps relieve
some strain due to repeated motions of typing and computer programming.  Tap
the thumb to the index finger, then another finger, find a pattern and keep it
going.  Interruptions that occur are other valid patterns, not failures.
Counting the number of fingertip touches per second is an altogether different
activity than registering the touches.  It remains useful to be able to
distinguish the touches, so noticing the speed becomes important.  The hand
can be held stiff while performing this action, but also the wrist can be
slightly rolled back and forth while doing it.  Rolling the wrist this way
causes one finger to touch the thumb, with all other fingers being held apart
by effort.  Rolling it away from this position causes the adjacent finger to
touch and for the first finger to release its touch and stand apart from the
others.  This rolling motion can be built into something where the fingers are
being touched together in any sequence desired with no effort aside from the
rolling of the wrist and the spacing of the fingers, i.e., attending to
everything but the desired outcome.  

Another form of this is the trite position of holding curled index fingers to
the bent thumbs.  I'm not sure if people who copy this action touch the
fingers or if they do what I do, which is to get them into the position where
touching or not touching are both equal positions.  An inherent jitter to the
hands is noticeable while holding the fingers near to touching.  When touch is
easier than not touching, the intent becomes to not touch.  The reverse is
also true.  They start tapping and touching at a faster rate due to the
jitteriness.  By moving the other parts of the hand, the finger positions can
be changed to move closer and closer to each other with neither extreme being
predominate.  

I used to play a game with intention when I was a child that I could call
"explode".  Sit still, then decide "When this is over, I'll shoot out my limbs
in all directions with great force".  The stillness remains for as long as it
can do so while intention builds until it can no longer be contained.  At no
time is the act of exploding contrived, but happens naturally at some
indeterminate time.  

Waiting for the finger touches or releases is kind of like this, but at a much
faster rate.  The intention is always the focus that keeps this going.  The
space around the jittery fingers starts to develop an understanding of how it
can move and stay stable.  There even seems to be an intent to find a
"perfect" "ideal" position that neither moves away from touching nor towards
touching, but somehow is both.  Whether this is found or not is irrelevant.
Subtle enough that it can be maintained yet ignored without it dissipating,
sort of like attending to a point of light that appears at the corner of
vision when the head is in a specific position.  

This kind of thing was happening last night with sounds.  A supposed defect in
my left ear gives a consistent tone that can be heard without difficulty.
Other sounds are noticed that seem to be derived from these original sounds.
Mind-made sounds appear as instruments and can be created by moving the head
slightly and noticing how it changes the tone of whichever sound from
whichever ear.  Analogous to noticing an echo in a small room with bare walls.
These mind-made sounds have indefinite position, while the "others" seem
"external" and with a fixed position.  Holding onto the derived sound implies
attending attending to the original sound this one is derived from, and this
can be taken further.  Maybe there is a third sound that can be taken, on and
on like that.  This too is irrelevant.  

The sensation of the fingers touching the top of the knees, or the fingers
lightly touching while the wrists rest on the side of the knees, both of these
positions allow for the perception that the fingers are not actively moving
and touching, yet the intention to hold them in place but not touch allows for
a more interesting game of noticing touching and not touching whenever they
occur.  The gross action of tapping fingers and noticing a pattern is no more;
attending to that missing action is what I would have to consider a sensation
of nothingness.  There was once this pattern that persisted for a time, but no
more.  It can be returned to at a moment's notice with the same intensity and
accuracy in its motion.  The intention to return to this builds until a spurt
of action happens and the fingers touch in sequence, then return to their
resting position.  

The motion cannot be taken up indefinitely, it seems impossible.  I have
proved this to myself with another simple wrist exercise.  Spinning a pen in
the hand, the requisite directive to maintain this action seems to be "don't
drop the pen".  Whenever I have researched this activity on youtube and found
people naming tricks and identifying positions between digits, it all seems
superfluous and dangerous compared to allowing for the action with no
other conceptions.  This directive is enough to find every possible position
of hand and pen (with much trial-and-error).  Nothing beyond this is
important.  If asked to do a specific motion, there would be difficultly, like
asking someone who typed randomly on a keyboard to reproduce the exact same
action.  

I bring this up because it seems to be of the same nature as noticing the
fingertip touches or easing into a sitting position.  These small incremental
changes that intention can make, like creating a curve between the knocking
positions allowable by the muscles.  Creating a map of the possible positions,
one could create in the mind an image of a field of actions to be taken.  The
fingertip touches between this motion of the wrist and this other extreme
would allow for one touch per second over the full range that the muscles are
capable of, while this other extreme would allow for x number of touches that
are beyond a distinguishable rate.  Then in the middle, there is the edge of
clear perception, some perfect ideal to strive for before noticing the next
level of this awareness.  This is my concept of perception of consciousness
among space.  

While doing this, another thing was happening.  The eyes were closed, but due
to lack of attention there they were being opened.  This ended with a point
where they were neither fully open (definable by the necessity of blinking)
nor fully closed (objects in the field of vision were visible; sight was
occurring).  This seemed to be a preferable state, as near to the pivot point
between closed and open as could be done.  An aside: the same can be done with
the breath between using the nose and using the mouth, with the lips touching
lightly.  The state is indeterminate, whether they will be closed or open when
the time comes that the in-breath is to be done.  There was a yellow circle on
the mat I was sitting upon that had good contrast with the black background.
This circle was not visible while the eyes were closed; was not visible when
the eyes were beginning to open, but was visible when the middle position was
attained.  The game was to notice the circle coming in and out, which absolved
any idea of needing effort to maintain the position of the eyelids.  This was
considered my conception of neither perception or non-perception; the circle
coming and going.  This too is irrelevant.  

I have never whistled, but I would not say that I do not know how whistling is
to be done.  Spending enough time to find the positions of the mouth and when
to apply a certain amount of air and then apply a transition for the duration
of the whistle would realise it inevitably.  This direction has never been a
priority, so I've never whistled.  Where else have I not directed awareness
and explored the possibilities near to that point?  I started this meditation
session soon after reading a post describing using attention as a beam (like a
flashlight) and placing it over the "third eye", wherever that is.  By
convention, I have to assume this is the pineal gland, which is positioned
ahead of the area that controls the muscles.  I sat down with the intent to do
this, started moving the fingers while the rest of the body was still, and
attempted to "move" it ahead by following sensations that seemed to touch
against this remaining active area of the brain inside my skull.  It seems
foolish to reflect and attempt to determine if this was successful.  How would
I know it?  Doing this consistently enough to see a causal link between the
two would help.  Enough to say there were sensations of colors, such as "there
is red/purple/blue" when viewing something in the mind's eye, viewing the blob
of color in the center of the eyes, binocular vision seeming to add and
subtract from visions in each eye around a static central point.  Some naïve
speculation about particle physics was occurring in the thoughts here.  This
could all be imaginary, but the blob of color was without doubt the reality
that was the basis of this.  The dominant thought was that the three
characteristics were obvious.  At some point, the thought occurred that it
would be nice to eat some frozen fruit.  After cycling sitting positions, I
got up and took out some frozen dried cherries and frozen fresh blackberries,
ate those, then went on to do more meditation of the same nature.

Now, onto the real question.  Is this awareness?  Calling it the Dao seems to
me to more accurately describe the intended meaning I want here.  Return to
the hand/fingertips/wrist action being described earlier, consider what I'm
pointing towards here.  Awareness is not the motion being performed.
Awareness is not the space around the moving fingers.  Awareness is not the
knowledge of the possible position space.  Awareness is not the attention
being placed on individual moments that make up the action.  There is an
observation of the happening that is inseparable from the act being performed
that needs no further conceptualisation other than registering it as it
happens.  Once it has happened, there is another perception of it having
happened and no longer being.  While occurring, there is the sense that
improving or diminishing the action are both directions in which this
awareness can move without effort.  Maintaining the awareness requires a
stable base, but at the same time this stable base is made up of awareness of
the same nature that has become able to allow for other aspects of itself to
be attended to without effort, like the fact that breathing goes on and on and
resistance to gravity goes on and on without significant effort.  This is my
question.  Is this the thing, the real thing I'm supposed to notice and
understand?  It seems to be something available to everyone, not noticed by
everyone as being usable by everyone, and seems more useful than conceptual
understanding to achieve limitless possibilities.  There seems to be some
utility to this thing I'm attempting to describe, yet with the benefit of not
requiring contrived effort.  I can see the way that this could lead to a full
cessation, in that every part of it would be stable except the focus of
attention, wide as it may be, until everything in the field of experience is
understood with the three characteristics.  It seems possible.

I post this expecting these concepts to be knocked down.  This would be great.

RE: Check my understanding of awareness
Answer
1/4/16 6:05 PM as a reply to Chris.
I don't know about the about the awareness thing, but I like to use a small mediation bench to avoid the foot falling asleep issue, that way you can fold your legs under you without your body weight actually pressing against them.  Don't know if you've tried those but I like them.  Such benches have a slight pitched forward angle on the sitting plank so that the body seems to hold straight easily with minimal back strain.  At the facility I used to meditate at, a lot of people used the benches, especially older people and people with back, leg or circulation problems. A few would even just use a normal chair.  The goal there was to be able to safely sit still for at least 30 minutes.   I am aware of no info that indicates pretzel legs are a requirement although there may be added tendency to fall asleep with the more comfortable positions.  ;-P
-Eva

RE: Check my understanding of awareness
Answer
1/4/16 7:24 PM as a reply to Eva Nie.
Eva M Nie:
I don't know about the about the awareness thing, but I like to use a small mediation bench to avoid the foot falling asleep issue, that way you can fold your legs under you without your body weight actually pressing against them.  Don't know if you've tried those but I like them.  Such benches have a slight pitched forward angle on the sitting plank so that the body seems to hold straight easily with minimal back strain.  At the facility I used to meditate at, a lot of people used the benches, especially older people and people with back, leg or circulation problems. A few would even just use a normal chair.  The goal there was to be able to safely sit still for at least 30 minutes.   I am aware of no info that indicates pretzel legs are a requirement although there may be added tendency to fall asleep with the more comfortable positions.  ;-P
-Eva
I'm most often doing what I consider meditation while lying flat on my back, but working my way up to being able to do this in any sitting position.  I've seen those benches pictured, but my thinking immediately dismisses them as not strictly necessary if I find another (slower but more complete) way.  Another position I did not mention is sitting at my computer desk (I'm a programmer; this position is sustainable for hours at a time, you can guess why).  One thing I've done in this position is to hold my hands palms-down and slowly raise them off of the table, feeling my way to a position where the stickiness of touching at any point of the hand goes to the in-between state I was mentioning earlier, then moving the hands around.  It's done like a game to keep me concentrated on sitting.

In general, sitting avoids the possibility of falling asleep for me.  Lying on my back with the legs crossed eventually brings the same pain, preventing me from falling asleep.  The same goes for meditating until sweat develops without falling asleep while wrapped in a blanket that causes that kind of thing to happen.  You know there's some defined end point, so time becomes irrelevant, and quitting early becomes less of a challenge.

RE: Check my understanding of awareness
Answer
1/5/16 7:35 AM as a reply to Chris.
for my money the word awareness expresses a capacity for experience.  it , as you point out, is not identical to knowing.  it is without content and some posit that awareness is an aspect of all experiencial objects.

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