Most of us take awareness for granted much the same way we take our eyesight, hearing and breathing for granted. But awareness is much more than a sense. Awareness is always with us. We don’t have to summon it. In fact, it is so close to us we hardly even notice it.

How do we define awareness? It is, for all practical purposes, our essence, our consciousness, our being. To define awareness we are forced to define ourselves. We are all beings.

To Be or Not to Be

The ancient Greeks began questioning the topic of being. Aristotle made substance the “starting point” of all the meanings of beingness, one of which is the word “is.” The Greeks realized that after all other questions are answered, one more question still remains. What does it mean to say something “is” or “is not.” The question was so big that Aristotle sometimes called it the “first philosophy” and sometimes “theology.”

It belongs to the sciences, he declared, and the subject found itself implanted in something called metaphysics. Legend has it that is the name the ancient editors gave to a collection of writings in which Aristotle pursued his question. Since his writings came after the books about physics, they called it metaphysics.

Metaphysics remains the accepted name for inquiry or science that reaches beyond physics or natural science in that it asks about the very existence of things.

To this day, within the entire field of learning, philosophy is set apart from history, the sciences and mathematics, and all other disciplines by its concern with the problem of being. It alone asks about the nature of existence and the properties of being.

Awareness as Wisdom

The question of awareness goes to the heart of mindfulness. Practicing mindfulness makes you aware of paying attention to what’s going on in your mind, body and emotions, moment to moment. It is your awareness, the bare, naked, aware, conscious nature of mind, according to Lama Willa Miller. Or, put another way, the nature of awareness is wisdom. The idea links awareness, in and of itself, to the idea of Buddha-nature, or wisdom-nature. Wisdom-nature means coming face to face with the nature of your awareness. It does not mean embracing the objcts of your awareness as wisdom; rather it means embracing your awareness itself as wisdom.

Become a Skilled Observer

The goal of mindfulness is to become a skilled observer of both the inner and outer pressures that disturb your emotional balance. While the content of your thoughts and emotions changes, your awareness permiates every waking experience. The longer you practice mindfulness, the more you become acquainted with its qualities. Then you will begin to recognize awareness for yourself.

This report is not a diagnosis. We hope this information can guide you toward improving your life.

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