as the Method, Tool and Goal to Self-Improvement/Self-Realization
V. George Mathew, Ph.D
Elements of Experience
Awareness is the common factor in all
experience. All experiences have three elements in common- a
cognitive (= knowing) element, an affective (=emotive) element
and a conative (=will) element. Relative experiences take place
in a framework of our own personal construction of our self
(=limited self). In other words, between the object of perception
and the experiencer, there is the self constructed framework of
the perceiver which distorts the perception/experience. Because
of our identification with and attachment to this self construct,
we tend to conserve, defend and develop this limited self.
Ordinarily, we are not fully aware of this process.
Awareness of Awareness
The more we are aware, the more we
become aware of the process of our identification with the
limited self. This relative awareness gradually leads to the
awareness of awareness or pure awareness ( or absolute
awareness). First, one becomes aware of ones body, and then
of the mind and still later, of the process of identification
itself. This increasing awareness leads to a change in behaviour:
one becomes less defensive (=less egoistic) and less
aggrandizing. This leads to loosening of the tie-up with
ones own limited self and thus awareness becomes more and
more pure. Pure awareness is awareness that doesnt involve
any trichotomy of (1) the person who is aware, (2) the process of
awareness and (3) the object of awareness. In pure awareness,
these three merge together into one simple pure awareness. This
may be called the awareness of true self or the awareness of
awareness. This is beyond space and time.
The purification of awareness is not a mere
cognitive, affective or conative process. It is a holistic
process and involves the transformation of ones own root
self-directed effort. One cannot achieve this without changing
ones own deep rooted defensive or aggrandizing motivation.
Any selfish motivation behind the effort will have to be get
totally dissipated before awareness can become pure. All egoistic
effort, possessiveness and dissociation will have to dissolve
into unitiveness before awareness gets purified. All the
defensive and aggressive tendencies will have to get totally
wiped out in the fire of awareness before the mind becomes
spontaneously quiet and still. It is not possible to confirm
objectively that one has attained pure consciousness (awareness)
as there is no separate experiencer, or experience to validate.
It is intuitive self-validation.
Relative Awareness into Pure awareness
The transformation of relative awareness
into pure awareness will be a short or long process depending on
the degree of defensive tendencies in the person. A person who is
relatively free of deep-rooted fears can easily achieve this
transcendence whereas a highly egoistic person with a lot of
complex and defensive habits will take a long time for the same.
Hyper intellectualization and manipulative cleverness are also
blockades to the process of purification of consciousness.
Persons with strong guilt feelings cannot achieve unity unless
they dissipate the guilt. Guilt often leads to non-awareness, as
awareness of the same is unpleasant to the person
himself/herself. So the purification of awareness cannot happen
in a person with a great deal of guilt unless he nullifies his
guilt by performing sufficient good karma to compensate the
Stages of Awareness
There are three stages of awareness. The
first one is, doing whatever you do with full awareness. The
second stage is just simply sitting with full awareness. And the
third stage is sitting without doing anything physical of mental,
which is meditation. Only a person with a minimum amount of
sathwic qualities can directly practice meditation.