Spirituality Magazine

Recognize That You Are Only Awareness #10

By Hanumandass @HanumanDass

“The one thing about an adventure is: the adventurer wants to stay around and adventure. If he’s going to be crisped in the process there’s going to be no adventurer left to have had the adventure.”

- Ram Dass, Be Here Now, pg 9

Practice conceived rightly is nothing other than the crisping of he who is practicing. Practice ought to result in the burning away of the self-assertion. If this is not occurring it’s possible we’re falling into one of the errors we noted in the last post. We either become attached to the fruit of our practice or we fall into the ignorance of believing the practice will achieve liberation.

If we go into any practice with the goal being to prepare us for recognition there should be no problem in running off into delusion. Practice does not of itself imply attachment to the illusory self-assertion. This only happens when we are not mindful of the specific utility of the practice. Practice is about meeting you where you’re at; provisionally addressing the “ego-self” until which point recognition becomes natural. Now lets look at a couple different practices and see how they cultivate the qualifications and virtues necessary for liberation.


A mantra is simply a word or phrase repeated either verbally or quietly within the mind. There’s no need to go into the details of the origins of mantras and the traditions in which they came to us. Suffice it to say any word or phrase can serve as a mantra. I am fond of traditional Hindu and Buddhist mantras but it’s not really important.

In order to prepare for the direct investigation of our nature a mantra can be helpful if we are having a difficult time calming our mind. I know I go through times where thoughts seem to be assaulting me from every angle – monkey mind. A mantra allows me to concentrate the flow of thought on one primary thought. When the mind attempts to wander off you simply bring your attention back to the mantra. A particularly clear mantra might be “I am” since it not only serves the purpose of calming the rough seas of thought but directs one to the reality we are attempting to recognize.

When we stay grounded in the constant recognition of Awareness dispassion for what is seen to be only a temporary appearance comes naturally, but working with a mantra can help move in that direction in the beginning. In addition the virtues such as mind and sense-control seem to manifest of themselves. But at first we may have difficulty maintaining a state of these virtues from moment to moment. So putting forth some effort, in this case a mantra, allows us to address an immediate issue blocking the present recognition of Awareness.


Almost all of us are familiar with the practice of meditation. It has become many things in recent times but fundamentally it is a practice whereby we are equipped to realize what we are essentially. Meditation would seem to be the main culprit that leads to the belief in doing it until it results in liberation. When I first began a meditation practice this was my understanding even though I couldn’t understand how such a practice would eventuate in enlightenment.

But meditation is really a practice that accepts the illusory self on the premise that if the mind is calmed and concentrated it can be seen for what it is. That is it addresses the false self on its own ground, in the mind; and of course this is where investigation takes place, where re-cognition sees the Truth and transcends the limitations of its own mentation.

Posture is more of a formal aspect though it can’t be overlooked that a good posture promotes alertness, steadiness, and concentration. Meditation, in whichever way you choose to do it, should focus squarely on the mind, its thoughts, its beliefs, its origin, its desires, and where it leads. In doing this repeatedly we become grounded in the virtues mentioned earlier. Meditation can put you in a position to fully direct the attention away from what is extraneous to what is purely inward, That which lies beyond the duality of outward or inward.

I’ve been rather brief in explaining these two practices. This was intentional since I don’t want to overburden the focal point of the practices. There are any number of books out there on methods and techniques on various practices; if you’re interested look to one of these sources who specialize in a particular practice. The concern here was to offer help to those who are having difficulty with direct enquiry. 

In closing I don’t see a point in restating what’s already been said so I’ll leave you with a quote from Recognize #9 on what the goal of practice is. Remember we’re simply seeking a preparedness oriented at recognizing Awareness as what we truly are. If you can confidently say practices are of no use to you then give them no more consideration, for you: focus diligently on Awareness! But if you feel trapped by a mind that chases after every desire and thought-stream, unable to break free by doing the basic enquiry of recognition, then consider a preparatory practice.

“The goal of practice is to calm and prepare the mind, the body, and the psycho/physical entity we call “I” not for the recognition of Awareness. “Work is for the purification of the mind, not for the perception of the Reality.”* In my reading I ran across a quote by Ramana Maharshi stating that practice seeks to turn the practicer into “dry wood”. Dry wood when ignited instantly bursts into flame. In contrast green wood requires a significant effort to catch fire. When you achieve the goal of practice, to prepare for liberation, you are as dry wood you burst into the flame of Awareness. Liberation is as close as stepping off a high precipice into an ocean of it!” – from Recognize that you are only Awareness #9

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