awareness is a capacity of the human mind. and this is where it gets interesting, because the “awareness of awareness” has been a focus of meditation for hundreds of years. . could you not be aware? you can see already why a lot of people are interested in it. it can be evoked through specific practices, and it is a type of meditation in and of itself.
because natural awareness is hard to define (“awareness of awareness” being quite a mouthful), it is primarily recognized experientially. any experiential sense of natural awareness will become a touchstone that you can always return to during your meditation practice or in life.there are many ways to practice natural awareness. if you’ve noticed during meditation that instead of focusing in on a single point like the breath, your mind wants to open up into a more spacious, open awareness, maybe natural awareness is where your meditation practice wants to take you at the moment. third, natural awareness can be a good counterbalance to mindfulness meditation. when they begin to relax into a more natural awareness, the struggle ceases, and they find they can continue to practice with much greater ease and spaciousness. if focusing on your breath is causing you to put in a lot of effort, or judge yourself, or tighten your awareness in a way that doesn’t feel comfortable, natural awareness can be a great counterweight. sometimes when accessing natural awareness we feel a lovely sense of compassion, kindness, interconnection, joy, and radiance.
depending on one’s background, the word “meditation” can be an ambiguous term encompassing a wide range of practices and techniques. we often recommend the practice of meditation as a way of promoting better mental health in our patients. mindfulness is perhaps one of the most commonly used meditation practices in our culture today, recently seeing a surge in popularity thanks to apps like headspace and calm. in most practices of mindfulness, one is encouraged to focus on the breath—observing how the air enters and leaves the lungs—while calmly observing thoughts, feelings and sensations as they occur. for our purposes, mindfulness meditation increases awareness of the moment.
unlike mindfulness meditation which focuses on observing thoughts, tm looks beyond the noise of our thoughts to the calm state of being beneath. while mindfulness improves awareness of the moment, transcendental meditation increases the awareness of being. however, qigong is perhaps more accurately described as a more physical type of meditation, incorporating deep breathing and meditation with a series of slow, controlled movements. specifically, vipassana is insight meditation, a form of awareness that is more curious and inquisitive. dhamma.org describes it as “a way of self-transformation through self-observation.” unlike the other techniques that are basically event-based and mastered with practice, vipassana is more of a progressive journey into insight that may take years. mindfulness promotes awareness of the moment; transcendental meditation, the awareness of being; qigong, the awareness of energy; and vipassana, the awareness of self.
a meditation for resting in awareness. explore this 30-minute guided meditation from jon kabat-zinn to expand your sense of awareness. we meditate to develop a stable awareness over time, to the extent that we are not so easily caught up in, or thrown by, thoughts and emotions. headspace co- while every form of meditation requires awareness, awareness meditation refers to a specific method that is also referred to as insight, .
enjoy a ten minute mindful listening guided meditation if you’ve noticed during meditation that instead of focusing in on a single point like the breath, your mind wants to open up into a more present moment awareness is simply a stillness in thought, and external stimuli, to fully observe the here and now., .
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