Krishnamurti & the Art of Awakening
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What is awareness?


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Wed, 11 May 2016 #1
Thumb_farside0411 m christani United States 650 posts in this forum Offline

This morning on my steps, an ant was moving toward me. I stepped down my foot in front of it, and it stopped, and changed direction. My cat has much more awareness than I. Is awareness anything special, or just something nearly all animals have?

I feel awareness here has usurped the place of "intelligence", or attention. You can be aware partly, somewhat, to a degree. A drunk person is aware. Someone steeped in the self is aware, buried in problems, worries, desires- all of which tint awareness, yet they are aware. Why make such a big deal out of it? That sparrow watching for predators, looking for food, darting between the trees, is likely more aware than any of us will ever be.

I think we need different words. There is awareness, choiceless awareness, attention, intelligence.

To me, awareness is just awareness, whether you're a three-toed sloth or someone on cocaine. But attention seems to be a state of sustained, centerless passive alertness. It is far beyond simple awareness that all 2, 4, 6 or 8 legged creatures have.

Can we forget awareness as something particularly special, and look for other words? -intelligence, attention, perception...?

mike

This post was last updated by m christani Wed, 11 May 2016.

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Wed, 11 May 2016 #2
Thumb_farside0411 m christani United States 650 posts in this forum Offline

April 20

...And that leads us to an awareness without choice - to be aware without any like or dislike. When there is this really simple, honest, choiceless awareness it leads to another factor, which is attention. The word itself means to stretch out, to grasp, to hold on, but that is still the activity of the brain, it is in the brain. Watching, awareness, attention, are within the area of the brain, and the brain is limited - conditioned by all the ways of past generations, the impressions, the traditions and all the folly and the goodness of man. So all action from this attention is still limited, and that which is limited must inevitably bring disorder. When one is thinking about oneself from morning until night - one's own worries, one's own desires, demands and fulfilments - this self-centredness, being very, very limited, must cause friction in its relationship with another, who is also limited; there must be friction, there must be strain and disturbances of many kinds, the perpetual violence of human beings.

When one is attentive to all this, choicelessly aware, then out of that comes insight. Insight is not an act of remembrance, the continuation of memory. Insight is like a flash of light. You see with absolute clarity, all the complications, the consequences, the intricacies. Then this very insight is action, complete. In that there are no regrets, no looking back, no sense of being weighed down, no discrimination. This is pure, clear insight - perception without any shadow of doubt.............

This whole movement from watching, listening, to the thunder of insight, is one movement; it is not coming to it step by step. It is like a swift arrow. And that insight alone can uncondition the brain, not the effort of thought, which is determination, seeing the necessity for something; none of that will bring about total freedom from conditioning. All this is time and the ending of time. Man is time-bound and that bondage to time is the movement of thought. So where there is an ending to thought and to time there is total insight. Only then can there be the flowering of the brain. Only then can you have a complete relationship with the mind.

-K to Himself

mike

This post was last updated by m christani Wed, 11 May 2016.

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Wed, 11 May 2016 #3
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 5098 posts in this forum Offline

Glad you brought up this subject, Mike. I have a feeling that we tend to shy away from it, perhaps because it not something our intellect can really touch. But after all, awareness/attention are the very heart of K's teachings, are they not?
I think I posted this recently, from the discussion with Buddhist Scholars on death. K draws the distinction between concentration, awareness and attention. He suggests attention is much deeper that awareness.:
Glad you brought up this subject, Mike. I have a feeling that we tend to shy away from it, perhaps because it not something our intellect can really touch. But after all, awareness/attention are the very heart of K's teachings, are they not?

I think I posted this recently, from the discussion with Buddhist Scholars on death. K draws the distinction between concentration, awareness and attention. He suggests attention is much deeper that awareness.:

Glad you brought up this subject, Mike. I have a feeling that we tend to shy away from it, perhaps because it not something our intellect can really touch. But after all, awareness/attention are the very heart of K's teachings, are they not?

I think I posted this recently, from the discussion with Buddhist Scholars on death. K draws the distinction between concentration, awareness and attention. He suggests attention is much deeper that awareness.:

“K: Yes, sir. You tell me, be aware of it. I am blind. I think that is an elephant, how am I to.? You follow? I am blind and I want to see light. And you say, "Be aware of that blindness". I say, "Yes, what does it mean?" It is not concentration. So I say, look, awareness is something in which choice doesn't exist. Wait, sir. Awareness means to be aware of this hall, the curtains, the lights, the people sitting here, the shape of the walls, the windows, to be aware of it. Just a minute. Either I am aware of one part, part by part, or as I enter the room I am aware of the whole thing: the roof, the lamps, the curtains, the shape of the windows, the floor, the mottled roof, everything. Is that what you mean, sir?
R: That also is a kind of awareness.
K: That is awareness. Now what is the difference - I am not categorizing, please I am not being impudent, or inquisitive, or insulting - what is the difference between that sense of awareness and attention?
R: It is wrong to put 'sense' of awareness. Awareness.
K: All right. That awareness and attention. You see we have abolished concentration except when I have to drill a hole in the wall, I hope I am drilling it straight, I concentrate.
R: We have not excluded it. There is concentration but that is not the main thing.
K: No, that is not awareness.
R: But concentration may be useful or helpful.
K: To drill a hole straight.
R: Yes. In awareness also, it may be helpful but it is not concentration on a simple point.
K: There must be a certain sense of concentration if I have to learn mathematics.
R: For anything, sir.
K: Therefore I am just putting that aside for the moment. What is attention? To attend.
R: How do you explain, for instance, awareness, mindfulness, attention, how do you discriminate these three: awareness, mindfulness and attention?
K: I would say awareness in which there is no choice, just to be aware. The moment when choice enters into awareness there is no awareness.
R: Right.
K: And choice is measurement, division and so on. So awareness is without choice, just to be aware. To say, "I don't like, I like this room", all that has ended.
R: Right.
K: Attention, to attend, in that attention there is no division.
R: Also that means no choice.
K: Leave it for the moment. Attention implies no division, me attending. And so it has no division, therefore no measurement and therefore no border.
R: In attention.
K: In complete attention.
R: In that sense it is equal to awareness.
K: No.
R: Why not?
K: In awareness there may be a centre from which you are being aware.
SS: Even if there is no choice?
R: No, that is not awareness.
K: Wait, I must go back.
N: You are making a distinction between awareness and attention.
K: I want to.
SS: Are you saying attention is a deeper process.
K: Much more, a totally different quality. One can be aware of what kind of dress you have. One may say, "I like it", or "I don't like it", so choice doesn't exist, you are aware of it, that's all. But attention, in that there is no attender, one who attends, and so no division.
R: In awareness also you can say the same thing, there is no one who is aware.
K: Of course, that's right. But it has not the same quality as attention.
R: I don't want to go into these words, but the Buddha's teaching is that in this practise of meditation there is no discrimination, there is no value judgement, there is no like or dislike, but you only see. That's all. And what happens will happen when you see.
K: In that state of attention what takes place?
R: That is another explanation.
K: No, if you totally attend, with your ears, with your eyes, with your body, with your nerves, with all your mind, with your heart in the sense of affection, love, compassion, total attention, what takes place?
R: Of course what takes place is an absolute revolution internal and complete revolution.
K: No, what is the state of such a mind that is completely attentive?
F: It is free of the stream.
K: No, that's finished.
R: The stream is dried now, don't talk about it! It is desert now!
K: I am asking what is the quality of the mind that is so supremely attentive? You see it has no quality, no centre, and having no centre no border. And this is an actuality, you can't just imagine this. That means has one ever given such complete attention.
SS: Is there any object in that attention?
K: Of course not.
R: Object in the sense of.?
K: Subject and object. Obviously not. Because there is no division. You try it, do it, sir.
SS: I mean not merely physical object but any phenomenal object such as sorrow, or all those.
K: Give complete attention, if you can. Say for instance, I tell you meditation is the meditator.
R: That is right. There is no meditator.
K: Wait, wait, wait. I say, meditation is the meditator. Give your complete attention to that, and see what happens. That's a statement you hear. You don't make an abstraction of it into an idea, but you just hear that statement. It has the quality of truth, it has the quality of great beauty, it has a sense of absoluteness about it. Now give your whole attention to it and see what happens.
R: I think Buddhist meditation is that.
K: I don't know, sir.
R: Yes.
K: I'll accept your word for it, but I don't know.
R: And I think it is not misleading to accept my opinion.
K: No, no. I don't know.
R: Satyabhatana is that. Real satyabhatana is that. Now if you ask people who practise it, there are many meditation centres, I openly say they are misleading. I have openly written it.
K: Yes, sir, that is nonsense.
R: When you ask how it happens, I said that presupposes a method, a technique.
K: No, I am asking, can one give such attention.
R: You are asking whether it is possible?
K: Yes, is it possible and will you give such attention - not you, sir, I am asking the question. Which means do we ever attend.
F: Sir, when you say can one attend...
K: Will you attend.
F: That's it.
K: Not exercising will.
F: Quite.
K: Will you... you know, do it. If that attention is not there truth cannot exist.
R: I don't think that is appropriate. Truth exists but cannot be seen.
K: Ah, I don't know. You say truth exists but I don't know.
R: But that doesn't mean that truth does not exist.
K: I don't know, I said.
R: That is correct.
K: Jesus said, Father in heaven. I don't know the father. It may exist but I don't know, so I don't accept.
R: No, not accepting. I don't think it is correct to say that without that attention truth does not exist.
K: I said without that attention truth cannot come into being.
R: There is no coming into being.
K: No, of course not. Let me put it differently. All right. Without that attention the word truth has no meaning.”

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Wed, 11 May 2016 #4
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 5098 posts in this forum Offline

"There is inattention and rare
attention, and we are trying to bridge
the one to the other. Right? We say
how can my inattention become
attentive? Or can I be so totally,
completely attentive all the time?
Right? Is that the question? Right.

Inattention can never become attention
- right? How can it? How can you make hate into love? You can't. But if you
investigate the ways of inattention,
watch it, how inattention grows, be
aware of it and not try to make
inattention into attention - be
inattentive - right? Take it the other
way - be inattentive, and know that
you are inattentive. Right? Watch it,
what is happening, look at it very
carefully! Do listen, do listen. I
said - the speaker said, not me - be
aware that you are inattentive. Right?
Don't try to make inattention - force
it to become attention. Right? You
can't do it. But if you say ' I'll be
aware that I am inattentive' - you
understand? - be aware that you are
inattentive, then you have changed it.
You understand what I am talking
about?"

I have moved this quote from mike from the 'Do things just come from one' thread, for obvious reasons.

I will add something K said on inattention which I find important. “I don't think that inattention is an issue” (or maybe the word was 'problem'. I tend to interpret that as meaning once one realises one has been inattentive, that state is already in the past. And we cannot change the past. As K said, the very realisation of the inattention IS awareness, is it not?

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Wed, 11 May 2016 #5
Thumb_farside0411 m christani United States 650 posts in this forum Offline

Clive Elwell wrote:
R: I don't think that is appropriate. Truth exists but cannot be seen.

K: Ah, I don't know. You say truth exists but I don't know.

R: But that doesn't mean that truth does not exist.

K: I don't know, I said.

It is an excellent dialogue (the whole of it), into, awareness, choice, attention. I highlighted the above because that might make for an interesting topic itself.

mike

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Wed, 11 May 2016 #6
Thumb_farside0411 m christani United States 650 posts in this forum Offline

Clive Elwell wrote:
I will add something K said on inattention which I find important. “I don't think that inattention is an issue” (or maybe the word was 'problem'.

Clive Elwell wrote:
As K said, the very realisation of the inattention IS awareness, is it not?

I was scouring all of The Awakening of Intelligence this morning to find that, didn't. But he did say something like "I don't think that inattention is important", and that the key is to be aware that you have been inattentive- that is attention. I think he also said to be attentive all day long is impossible, but again, to be aware that one has been inattentive is the important thing. I think we're saying the same thing.

mike

This post was last updated by m christani Wed, 11 May 2016.

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Wed, 11 May 2016 #7
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 5098 posts in this forum Offline

m christani wrote:
think he also said to be attentive all day long is impossible, but again, to be aware that one has been inattentive is the important thing. I think we're saying the same thing.

Yes. And he did say that to be attentive all day long is impossible - it takes so much energy.

I know in the past I have made the mistake of thinking 'I should be aware', probably like many people coming across K's teachings.

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Wed, 11 May 2016 #8
Thumb_original_avatar max greene United States 1324 posts in this forum Offline

Does being attentive require energy? It would seem that propping up the self all day long, the conflict of self with other selves, the endless turmoil of thought, is the need for energy.

max

This post was last updated by max greene Wed, 11 May 2016.

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Wed, 11 May 2016 #9
Thumb_farside0411 m christani United States 650 posts in this forum Offline

max greene wrote:
Does being attentive require energy?

You know, I think it makes its own energy. It is certainly not effort. From what I have experienced, with awareness, choicelessly, comes energy, comes attention. it's all one movement. It just doesn't always come. But sometimes, it comes out of nowhere...

mike

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Thu, 12 May 2016 #10
Thumb_profiel Wim Opdam Belgium 816 posts in this forum Offline

" Awareness ", what a beautiful word, but Words can be clarifying
as well as mystifying that "what is" the force behind them.

lately there are more replies which are not posted or - and now it is dangerous how it is described - was somehow obvious that it was only a continuation of an old pattern.

Some messages on the forum have such a nature which forms an image of the person
and even his / her motives.

Knowing that they could be wrong it affects what and how to behave myself.

The quotes from K. when reading or rereading do not form images,
only the insight that what is writen is not a matter of words but deeds.

some replies have the character of knowledge and others of provoking and
counterarguments on what others are saying seems rather to initiate a fight
than to develop a corresponding vizie.

Is it that attitude, that understanding, which so often is missed ??

Truth will unfold itself to those who enquire their own actions.

This post was last updated by Wim Opdam Thu, 12 May 2016.

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Thu, 12 May 2016 #11
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 5098 posts in this forum Offline

Wim Opdam wrote:
lately there are more replies ..... etc

All that you write is true, Wim, most of us fall into these errors from time to time. Why is that? Is it a lack of awareness when we are responding? I would say lack of awareness is responsible for all our mistakes, our lack of caring, our blindness.

Yet thought does not respond in this light. Thought responds in its usual patterns (for example see the recent thread 'what can thought do?'.

Is it that thought IS unawareness?

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Fri, 13 May 2016 #12
Thumb_profiel Wim Opdam Belgium 816 posts in this forum Offline

Clive Elwell wrote:
Is it that thought IS unawareness?

No thought is different from awareness, within awareness thought can have its place. For example, the awareness that it is more of the same or leads to a fight.

we humans exists at various levels, so are we as well as quantum energy, also organic, biological and spiritual beings with at every level other laws.

But if we apply the laws of one level on the other it becomes a mess.

Truth will unfold itself to those who enquire their own actions.

This post was last updated by Wim Opdam Fri, 13 May 2016.

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Fri, 13 May 2016 #13
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 5098 posts in this forum Offline

Clive: Is it that thought IS unawareness?

Wim: No thought is different from
awareness

I am confused by your reponse, Wim. Did you misread my question?

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Fri, 13 May 2016 #14
Thumb_profiel Wim Opdam Belgium 816 posts in this forum Offline

Clive Elwell wrote:
I am confused by your reponse, Wim. Did you misread my question?

Understood, but difficult to explain.

Is the tree not the forrest or does it belong to the forrest.??

something like that.......

the tree is different and at the same time in a certain way the same.
But if the tree on his own says he is .....
that seems to me thought on its own and so unawareness..!!

but if the tree sees and feels he belong to the forrest..

does this one make it clear... I still have doubts ...

Truth will unfold itself to those who enquire their own actions.

This post was last updated by Wim Opdam Fri, 13 May 2016.

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Sat, 14 May 2016 #15
Thumb_profiel Wim Opdam Belgium 816 posts in this forum Offline

Clive Elwell wrote:
Is it that thought IS unawareness?

Clive I want to come back on my respons #14

Wim Opdam wrote:
does this one make it clear... I still have doubts ...

after a good night sleep and maybe something else I'm convinced that awareness does not' have an opposite as unawareness, as Love has not an opposite as hate.

one can be unaware of a lot of things but it seems to me that unawareness is not existant.
I can't argue about it but it feels with the the same peace as Love with no opposite.

Truth will unfold itself to those who enquire their own actions.

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Fri, 20 May 2016 #16
Thumb_kinfonet_avatar Clive Elwell New Zealand 5098 posts in this forum Offline

I don't know about attention, as described by K, which is apparently a sort of absolute awareness with one's whole body/mind, but I can see (although I can only see by looking back) that the state of concentration, which I was encouraged into as a child, is very very dangerous.

Concentration may be necessary at times (is it?), it is the mode for “getting the job done”, but it excludes everything else outside that something, excludes everything that does not contribute to that goal.

It comes now that the guards at Auschwitz were concentrating on getting things done. As were the ISIL guys as they dropped their prisoners slowly into vats of nitric acid. It is because I am concentrating on one thing that I absently mindedly loose things. Perhaps it is concentration that explains all bad things. With attention, would wrong action be possible?

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