In this second part we will discuss the vitally important topic of awareness. This is the essence of kriya yoga as well as other meditational techniques. The ability to witness all events, whether internal or external with an attitude of detachment is the means to concentration of the mind. Generally, the mind is constantly flooded with a stream of both outside stimuli and inner chattering. There is a continuous ‘noise’ in the mind. The mind screen, the field of perception, is overwhelmed by this never-ending turmoil, which acts as a veil to deeper exploration of one’s inner being. In meditational practices and in everyday life, it is necessary to reduce this chatter. One of the most powerful methods is to adopt the attitude of the witness of all events.
It is emotional association with both inner and outer events that acts as fuel for this mental chatter, it is emotional attachment that supercharges one’s thoughts and reactions to thoughts. Acting as a witness cuts the emotional ties, which stops the inner noise and makes the mind peaceful. Under this condition shanti (peace) and dharana (concentration) can arise in the mind.
Concentration and awareness – a definition
Concentration means to focus one’s attention on one point or object to the exclusion of all other things and thoughts. Generally, concentration is associated with suppression of extraneous thoughts.
Awareness is widely used in two different senses:
1. Awareness as a practice of witnessing.
2. Awareness as a spontaneous state of meditation; a state of perfect inner silence combined with heightened wakefulness.
In this text, and in the context of kriya yoga, the meaning of the word awareness will be as in the first definition. That is, awareness will mean the process of witnessing one’s acts and thoughts. It means the process of dissociating oneself from the workings of the mind. The mind is allowed to do its own thing, to carry on its normal functioning without suppression, yet you cease to identify with it. This is awareness and can be applied in one’s daily duties as well as in kriya yoga and other meditational techniques.
Unawareness means identification with objects, ideas, etc. This is called thought, when the awareness is ensnared and trapped by the objects of perception, whether inner or outer. This entanglement can be severed so that objects and ideas are separated from one’s self-identification. That is, one remains a witness to all mental perceptions and physical actions. This is called awareness.
Awareness, according to our definition, also implies that no forceful attempt is made to concentrate the mind by suppressing thoughts. This is particularly important in kriya yoga.