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Empty Awareness—Aware Emptiness (Nondual)

Empty Awareness

Nondual Guided Meditation by Michael Taft

Meditation begins at 4:20 and lasts for one hour.

We start with with raising bodhicitta.

9:22 – Then focused relaxation (shamatha with an object).
24:00 – We being “relaxing the core of the mind” (shamatha without an object).
43:55 – We look into awareness and see that it is empty; and we look into emptiness and see that it is aware.

Followed by dharma talk and Q&A.

Emptiness, Awareness, God, and Nihilism

Being able to contact and remain in natural mind is, in some ways of looking at it, a powerful and significant spiritual “achievement.” Never mind, for now, the paradox of attempting to achieve something which has always been completely present and accessible. Nevertheless, it usually represents an important phase shift for the practitioner, and rightly so.

There is a common mistake people make at this point, however, that it’s important to be clear about and either not make or correct. Actually, two mistakes. The first is to see awareness as an object. Awareness is always present, and is the one actual fact of our experience. Everything outside of awareness is an inference; awareness is the one undeniable thing—that is, you know you are definitely having an experience right now.

The centrality and—once you see it—almost shocking totality of awareness makes it particularly prone to being reified. That is, we tend to make it into an object; into a “real thing.” It’s ironic that once we see all over things to simply be appearances in awareness, and they lose their thingness, we transfer all of that thingness onto awareness. Awareness becomes things like God, Universal Consciousness, Self, and so on.

That’s a mistake. Awareness, for all its simplicity and generality, is also empty. It is not a thing. Not even the One True Thing. Don’t make that mistake. See that emptiness for yourself.

The same thing is true for emptiness. Once we see even awareness as empty, we can transfer all the thingness onto emptiness. Then emptiness becomes the new god; the new truth. Don’t make that mistake. Emptiness isn’t a thing. Emptiness is empty, too.

Which leads to a third mistake. I know I said that there were two, but actually there are three. The third mistake is to understand statements like “emptiness is empty” to mean that there is nothing. Do not infer or make a nihilism out of this powerful way of seeing. Instead, see the emptiness of ideas like “nothing matters” or “nothing has meaning.” These nihilistic concepts are just as empty as everything else.

Look closely at what is having experience. Look very, very closely. What is experience? What is experiencing this right now?

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