Book Freak 148: Being Aware of Being Aware

Rupert Spira's insights into understanding our true nature

Get Being Aware of Being Aware

Being Aware of Being Aware, by Rupert Spira, is an exploration of consciousness and the nature of reality. Spira, with a profound interest in the nature of reality from an early age, studied under the guidance of teachers in the Advaita Vedanta tradition and others, leading him to the Direct Path teachings of Atmananda Krishna Menon and Kashmir Shaivism​​.

The Pursuit of Happiness

“Everybody loves happiness above all else… This search also takes the form of resistance to whomever or whatever is perceived to jeopardize our happiness… seeking and resistance are the two main impulses that govern the thoughts and feelings… most of us never question the origin of our suffering.”​​

This quote highlights the universal quest for happiness, often sought in external factors. This relentless pursuit, a mix of seeking pleasure and avoiding discomfort, underscores a deeper, unexamined sense of lack or suffering.

Awareness in Experience

“All objective experience is known. We are aware of our experience… Our current thought, a memory of childhood, whatever emotions or feelings are present, the sensation of pain or hunger, the sound of traffic, the sight of these words or the view from our window are all known or experienced.”​​

This passage emphasizes that awareness is a constant in every experience. Regardless of the nature of our thoughts or sensations, their very existence proves our awareness.

The Peaceful Nature of Awareness

“Just as a screen is never agitated by the drama in a movie, so being aware or awareness itself is never disturbed by the content of experience… This is not a fragile peace… but an inherent peace that is always available in the background of experience.”​​

Spira compares awareness to a screen, undisturbed by the myriad experiences it witnesses. This metaphor illustrates awareness’s inherently peaceful nature, unaffected by life’s volatility.

Meditation and Self-Awareness

“Meditation is the disentangling of awareness from its own activity… Meditation is the subsidence of the activity of mind and the subsequent revelation of the very essence of the mind –pure knowing or awareness –to itself”​​.

Here, meditation is redefined as not just a practice but as a state of being where awareness recognizes itself, separate from its engagements and activities.

Practical Strategies for Readers:

  • Reflect Deeply: Consider how your external pursuit of happiness might be a response to an unexplored inner sense of lack.
  • Cultivate Mindful Awareness: Regularly pause to acknowledge your awareness of thoughts and experiences, rather than getting lost in them.
  • Embrace Meditation: Use meditation to understand the nature of your mind and awareness, focusing on awareness itself rather than seeking specific states.
  • Practice Self-Inquiry: Frequently ask, “Who is experiencing this?” to direct your attention to the essence of awareness.


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