The root cause of suffering is the “split” within the consciousness that is identified with duality based thinking. There is no “split” in reality, so when you create an illusionary split through duality based thoughts, you end up suffering. People who practice staying as a “field of awareness” can also move from a place of duality and this whole practice can end up being another form of suffering. The truth is that there is no duality and hence any dualistic thinking will cause suffering. All practices involve a “Me” doing the practice, and hence there is an inherent duality – so I always emphasize that practices should only be used temporarily to gain some insight and then they should be let go of.
Who is watching the mind?
The practice of watching the mind is a useful one, because it helps bring awareness to your thought processes. But one must be careful not to get “attached” to this practice as a permanent way of living, because it’s only a practice not a way a life. When you “stay aware” there is an “I” and then there is that which “I” is aware of – so there is ultimately a duality. Anyone who is practicing watching the mind should do so in full recognition of this inherent duality that is created.
Ultimately, it’s about ending all form of duality within you. It’s about closing the gap, healing the split, ending the conflict within. That’s what the Buddha meant when he said – “No self, No suffering” – he was pointing to a simple place of no duality because the sense of self or “I” creates a duality within. “Me” and my awareness, “Me” and my transformation, “Me” and my awakening, “Me” and my enlightenment – as long as the “Me” is in the center duality will always exist within.
The practice of watching the mind is to simply raise your awareness. Once your awareness is strong enough you need to move to the next level and recognize all the conflicts present within. Thoughts based in duality are the biggest source of conflict and suffering. The “Me” thought is what creates this duality, one needs to become deeply aware of this. Don’t try to remove the “Me”, because it’s again another movement of the “Me”. Just bring awareness to this inherent duality which is present inside.
Who you are is one “whole”
Any label that you give yourself is just another idea. I use the terms pure awareness, consciousness, true nature, source nature or higher intelligence to define who you essentially are, but one needs to also understand that these are just pointers. There is a bigger problem when the “Me” starts identifying with these new words, and start creating a new imaginary identity for itself. It’s so common to find people who carry around an image of themselves as the “spiritual one” who has transcended the world and yet anyone who is authentic would see that they are not really free in any way.
So I may be talking about watching the mind, staying as awareness, staying in the now, staying as pure witness – but these are all just practices to help rise your awareness, nothing more nothing less. Once your awareness is strong enough you need to start moving deeper, and see through all the conflicts within. All conflicts are created by the presence of the “Me” entity. The “Me” is created through illusionary thinking because the “Me” does not have any reality – it’s not something real, or solid, it’s just created in imagination or thought.
Who you are is a “whole” – the form and the formless together. A part of your consciousness manifests as the body, the mind, the thoughts, the feelings, while the entirety of who you are is formless, un-manifested consciousness. So don’t identify yourself with an “idea” or imagination. Use these pointers to recognize the wholeness you are, don’t make the pointers into a practice or idea to be followed.
The “Me” is always seeking some identity and it will use anything to make a new identity for itself. Freedom is all about becoming free of needing “identities” and moving as a “whole” being. Ultimately it’s about bringing an end to dualistic thinking. When the “Me” starts dissolving in force, your whole movement is based on “non duality”, you become whole.