Awareness of Awareness is the fourth step in the Four-Fold-Awareness process, by Dr Swami Gitananda Giri. First, is the awareness of the body, then awareness of the emotions/breath, then awareness of the thoughts, and finally awareness of Awareness itself - to just Be. Swamiji actually gives a very good meditation guide – a step-by-step path to meditation.
Ammaji added one more pre-step when she realised that in order to reach awareness of Awareness, you first need to be aware of how unaware you are! Therefore, Ammaji rightly insists, that an essential part of any awareness process, is the “awareness of un-awareness”.
It requires a lot of discipline to be aware of the body-emotions-mind complex. However Body-emotions-mind belong to the “temporary” part of us. This constantly changes, and will end when we die. Unlike the awareness of Awareness which is the permanent- infinite part of us. The “I am” is always there and always will be. It is the spirit (Atman). The Atman is the place to go in meditation.
But what happens to the ego (which is carried by the body-emotion-mind complex) when there is only awareness of awareness??
Does it die?
Actually, it remains dormant. How is that possible? Because the Manas (awareness) is not at the Ego so the Ego slowly becomes dormant. It sleeps. Awareness is what “feeds” the different parts of our existence. What you “feed” is what is strong in you.
The levels of sleep are simply mirroring what happens in meditation. Just like a clear lake when you can see the reflection below of everything that is above, that is what sleep is like. The reflection below is sleep and everything above is meditation. The lower bit is part of the illusion and the upper part is the reality. We live in illusion and we sleep in illusion. All these are contained in the reality of awareness of Awareness; thus meditation.
Let us realise, step by step, sleep and meditation:
The first stage of sleep is when you lie down, and somehow after a while you stay still and the body slowly becomes inactive and we lose our awareness of the body. => In meditation this is when, after sitting, the body relaxes and is left aside.
The second stage is when you are somewhere between sleeping and being awake so you are aware you are going to sleep => in meditation this is when you realise that you have lost the senses (pratyahara).
The mind then starts reviewing the day in both meditation and sleep.
And at that stage some people want to quit meditation because they feel they cannot concentrate and get frustrated. You have to understand it is part of the process. In the same way that when you are going to sleep there is a stage where you review the day, the same thing happens in meditation. You have to let it be in the same way that you let it be in dreams.
When you review the week, you review the month and when you review the month you review the year and then you review the period of life you are in right now and then you review your past and then you might even review things from another past life, so this reviewing does not really finish. It may diminish but it will always be there to a certain extent, it is part of the process of meditation. So let it be and do not get disappointed. The reviewing will never finish, it will only become quicker, and lighter.
The following stage is where the ego is sleeping. And that is where awareness of Awareness is. So we have to learn to experience meditation as the reality and use the reality level consciously.
Sometimes some of us forget and instead of moving up, we move down. We just sleep! These things happen sometimes. Our goal is to keep our awareness active and to experience it upwards and not downwards. And what do we need for that? Discipline of the mind. To be here, now. When, for example, you can listen to this part of the recording without any ‘monkey mind’ distractions, then you are ready for meditation.
Awareness of Awareness is always involved in meditation. When criticism is involved, then you know that the ego is involved. The ego can stay until you start the concentration, when you start the meditation, then you put the ego to sleep. This needs practice, so you try at first for a few minutes, and slowly you learn to do it for a longer period of time.
Yoga Step by Step course by Swami Gitananda led by Yogacharini Anandhi Korina Kontaxaki
Summer 2019 – Larnaca Cyprus