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Cory Muscara



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3 Layers of Thought Awareness

Personalized support for learning how to integrate mindfulness into your life. Delivered fresh everyday by our world renowned experts. Choose meditation duration:

Hi, welcome back to

your Daily Mindfulness.

In today's session, I want to talk

about the progression from being

unaware of thoughts to developing

a meditative awareness of thoughts.

So for many of us, when we're coming to

a meditation practice, we come to it from

a place of not actually being aware of

the thoughts moving through our minds.

The thoughts are just coming and going.

Many thousands throughout the day, and

they're influencing our emotions, what we

feel and subsequently how we're behaving.

And the majority of that is

happening on automatic pilot, which

is, is normal, especially if you

don't have much training in this.

And so the first transition that we go

to from that unconsciousness to awareness

is just a basic awareness that, oh, there

are thoughts moving through my mind and

I can notice them as they're arising.

This is a really key insight in meditation

practice that happens very early on.

In fact, for me, I remember it.

The first time I ever meditated,

it was really profound that I could

watch thoughts moving through my

mind without being caught up in them.

I could watch the tone of the thoughts.

I could watch what they were saying

to me and what I should be thinking

and what I should be feeling.

I was like, whoa, there is so

much going on here that I'm

never paying attention to.

And so it was really revelatory

for me just to be able to see that.

And it is for many people.

And so in this stage, you

go from unaware to aware.

And the way we can think of that

is I'm watching my thoughts.

The sense of you becomes awareness itself.

There's the I that is awareness

and there's the thoughts which is

something that you can observe.

And this can go on for very long periods

of time in the meditation and really

for much of our meditation career.

We can take this orientation.

But there is another maturing perspective

that happens that is more akin to a

deeper meditative awareness than this

sense of there's an I watching thoughts.

And this is the shift from I'm watching

thoughts to watching is happening.

Watching is happening.

So see if you can just

feel the distinction there.

I'm watching my thoughts

to watching is happening.

In the first one, awareness is

still kind of like a sense of self.

It's a sense of, I.

Just I'm more in the backdrop.

In the second one, the awareness is

almost something that we're watching.

It's like, oh, there are thoughts

happening, and then there's

awareness of the thoughts happening.

And it's all unfolding really without

much of a sense of me or an I doing

anything in relationship to it.

It's just arising moment

by moment by moment.

And the reason I say this is a maturing

meditative awareness is because what

is happening here is that your sense of

self is becoming more and more expansive.

In some sense, it's becoming smaller

and smaller because we're reducing that

the sense of like, oh, there's an I

who is doing the thinking and watching

the thinking and really dropping into

this much more spacious consciousness

that's just, oh, there's a thought.

Oh, there's awareness of thoughts.

There's thoughts and awareness of

thoughts is happening rather than

I have to be aware of thoughts.

The thoughts are there and the

awareness is just happening organically.

So it's a, it's a subtle distinction.

And Tara Brach says something

similar where she says, oh,

awareness is meditating.

Not I'm meditating, which is sort of

the perspective of I'm watching my

thoughts, but awareness is meditating.

So awareness is just doing the practice.

See how this lands for you.

It might be a perspective you

want to drop into your meditation.

It might not feel like the right

time and it might not land well and

that could be less about you and more

about how I'm explaining it to you.

But it is a subtle distinction and

it can be something can, can shift

how your meditation unfolds and

even some of the sense of doing

that can come up in meditation.

Like I have to do this, I

have to be aware of this.

I have to be good at this.

All of that can reinforce a

sense of ego, a sense of self.

And what we're aiming for is just more

and more of a sense of like, what is

the fundamental nature of experience.

There's thoughts, there's emotions,

there's sensations and there's

awareness of the whole thing.

And all of that can just unfold and we can

become the ultimate observer of it all.

And even the part of us that's

observing, we could stand behind

that and watch that happen as well.

So see if you can play around with

this in your meditation practice today.

Thank you for your practice and let's

settle in for today's meditation.

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