November 17, 2010

The Boundaries of Awareness

We might ask ourselves, what is the nature of our own awareness in terms of its shape or configuration? 

Many times we may think that our awareness is just in our head, or if we're more sophisticated we might feel that our awareness is coextensive with our body.  On the other hand we may have various experiences that suggest that this is really not quite the case. For example, when we're with an intimate partner we might have the experience of being in conversation and discussing an important issue, maybe there are two points of view, and then all of a sudden we see it from our partner's angle.  It's almost as if we are in our partner's body looking back at ourselves. When this happens, we can both see ourselves and also see our partner's experience.  Maybe we're talking and I'm insisting on one point of view but then all of a sudden I see how my partner sees me, and it's like all my clothes are taken off, and I'm exposed.  The conversation stops, and I suddenly see a whole extra dimension of "me" and what I was doing before.  Somehow intuitively we know that what we've seen isn't just our mind but actually is our partners mind, it's our partner's awareness, and our awareness has actually extended to include them.  This raises the question, what is the actual extent of our awareness? Is it confined to "me" "here"? And if it's not, if our awareness extends beyond the confines of our body to include another person, are they at the end of it? Or is there more to it? 

There have been experiments carried out between Stanford and Princeton by a man named Russell Targ, which he called "distance viewing" experiments and in them he was able to demonstrate statistically that someone sitting in a laboratory in Stanford was able to see the disposition of objects, the nature of objects, colors, etc. that were going on in Princeton simply by his or her intention.  These were very interesting experiments that again suggest that the nature of our awareness is not confined to our body. 

-Reginald A. Ray, from Week 3 of his Tricycle Retreat, "Touching Enlightenment"

 

Reggie's "Touching Enlightenment" Tricycle Retreat is currently in session. To participate, become a Tricycle Community Supporting or Sustaining Member.

 

 

 

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Dominic Gomez's picture

re: "what is the actual extent of our awareness? Is it confined to "me" "here"? And if it's not, if our awareness extends beyond the confines of our body to include another person, are they at the end of it? Or is there more to it?"

Brings to mind what I heard Alan Watts say almost 40 years ago in describing the buddha nature, i.e. the greater "self". Imagine you are at a masquerade party with countless others dressed in all manner of costumes and disguises. When the clock strikes midnight and it's time for everyone to remove their masks, you discover that they are all...you.