“When we begin to see through the illusion we once took to be “me”, there is a simultaneous emergence of our true nature from the background, where it has been waiting patiently for us to sober up from the intoxication of seeking. What was never lost need not be sought. When we realize directly that we have been like a wave searching for the ocean, the momentum of the search is undermined, and we can finally exhale... In doing so, we begin to feel the Mystery at the heart, rather than relying solely on the thought energy which constitutes the mind. Moreover, in seeing through and discarding any lingering struggle and recoil, it at last becomes obvious that this Mystery, this Life, is who we are, have always been, and will always be..” ~Bob O’Hearn
The following are excerpts from The Conscious Process, a collection of essays by Bob O’Hearn, a modern mystic living in Northern California. Bob studied Zen formally for a number of years during the 1960s and 1970s, with Shunryu Suzuki & Joshu Sasaki. His teachings are aligned with the non-dual view presented by Advaita & Dzogchen teachers. Links to the full essays on his blog follow each excerpt.
Consciousness & Awareness
“The Buddha made an eminently astute observation when he noted that what we are is the result of our thinking: “As ye think, so shall you be.” Indeed, it is consciousness — the power of thought-energy – which creates everything we take to be reality… Consequently, taking responsibility for our thoughts is a necessary step in our being able to function effectively in this realm.
One perennial obstacle in the consideration of consciousness, however, is that the terms “consciousness” and “awareness” are often used interchangeably, resulting in a lot of ensuing confusion and misunderstanding… Essentially, consciousness can be regarded as mind with objects, whereas awareness refers to mind without objects.
In this perspective, consciousness might be considered the relative nature of mind, since it is transitory and dependent on conditions, whereas awareness would be regarded as a reflection of the absolute nature of mind, since it is the unchanging background..