Who are you? Who is it that’s paying attention to this right now? Take a moment and think about yourself, look within.

By Daniel Scharpenburg

The last Lojong teaching we discussed was: “Train in the Preliminaries.” This leads us to the next teaching, “Examine the Nature of Awareness.”

That seems really profound, doesn’t it? The implication in this statement is that awareness is what we are. If we dig deep in examining ourselves, all we really find is awareness.

Who are you? Who is it that’s paying attention to this right now? Take a moment and think about yourself, look within.

How much of what you tell yourself is “you” comes from labels you put on yourself? Or labels others put on you? If you look within you can see lots of labels, thoughts, emotions, baggage and stories, but is any of that you?

When we do meditation practice and come to a point of stillness, sometimes there is a point where we’re just aware, and not holding on to all that other stuff—just here, now. When we really look at our minds honestly, we find nothing at the center but awareness.

So, what does this mean?

Well, if we’re looking at ourselves and the nature of our awareness, maybe we can see things as they really are. Maybe we can experience the world without the filter we have in our perception and without the emotional baggage and neuroses that are holding us back.

If we don’t cling to the mind that says “I-Me-Mine” all the time, then maybe we can have a better relationship to the world around us. We can be a little less angry, or a little less selfish…just a little less. We can be a little kinder, a little more compassionate, and maybe even a little wiser.

The truth is that if we can look at ourselves more clearly, even for a short time, we can see everything else more clearly. We don’t realize, sometimes, how much our filters and baggage hold us back from experiencing the world in an authentic way.

And that is what this is really about: seeing things more clearly so we can be more real. It’s so we can be more open and vulnerable with the world around us.

You are not your baggage. You are not your emotions. You are not your expectations.

And you are not your past.


Did you like this article? You might like: The Chan Teaching of Huineng


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Editor: Dana Gornall



Daniel Scharpenburg

Daniel lives in Kansas City. He's a Teacher in the Dharma Winds Zen Tradition. He regularly teaches at the Open Heart Project and he leads public meditations. His focus is on the mindfulness practices rooted in the earliest Zen teachings. He believes that these teachings can be shared with a little more simplicity and humility than we often see. He has been called "A great everyman teacher" and "Really down-to-earth"

Find out more about Daniel here and connect with him on Facebook

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