Awareness is the basis, or what you might call the “support,” of the mind. It is steady and unchanging, like the pole to which the flag of ordinary consciousness is attached. When we recognize and become grounded in awareness of awareness, the “wind” of emotion may still blow. But instead of being carried away by the wind, we turn our attention inward: Oh, this is what I’m feeling, this is what I’m thinking.
As we do so, a bit of space opens up within us. With practice, that space—which is the mind’s natural clarity—begins to expand and settle. We can begin to watch our thoughts and emotions without necessarily being affected by them quite as powerfully or vividly as we’re used to. We can still feel our feelings, think our thoughts, but slowly our identity shifts from a person who defines him- or herself as lonely, ashamed, frightened, or hobbled by low self-esteem to a person who can look at loneliness, shame, and low self-esteem as movements of the mind.
‘Meditation is a lie,’ my father said. ‘When we try to control the mind or hold on to an experience, we don’t see the innate perfection of the present moment.’ Pointing out through the window, he continued, ‘Look out into the blue sky. Pure awareness is like space, boundless and open. It’s always here. You don’t have to make it up. All you have to do is rest in that.’