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These lectures were transcribed by T Vd Broek. Heartfelt gratitude is offered for all the hours of work spent on this Dharma activity. These talks are offered free of charge. They have been slightly edited.

Nanaimo Sept 1 1992
The focus is to gain better awareness of one's own mind stream and the causes of various mind states we have. We live right at the leading edge of our consciousness. And often we are unconscious of what is creating our idea of ourself at that moment. If we have an inability to step back a bit and be conscious of the dynamics that are playing on us, then we are at the leading edge we do not realize why we are pushed in different directions. To why different feelings or needs are so demanding on us. Therefore our ability to have conscious awareness is limited. Also, we have a lot less freedom. If we do not have any depth to ourselves as individuals, when someone says something we get caught up.
Vanity is interesting. And where we have particular identifications with how we think or feel about ourselves. Like are we dressed properly and such. We put our personality very close to the surface in certain areas and are easily hurt when things are said about ourselves. Or even observations make about our personality. If we don't have depth, we have to do a lot of patching together very quickly. We become defensive and cannot appreciate what is going on.
The real emphasis of meditation is awareness of where we are coming from and how we are participating in reality. If you step out of that into the context or philosophy given to you, such as impermanence, your creating of negativity through your body, speech and mind, you are creating suffering for yourself and secondly, you will set yourself up so when you come into certain situations to receive a negative experience, which is the ripening effect of negativity. That is philosophy.
The emphasis is really awareness. So how do we gain the insight to allow ourselves to understand what dynamics push us, so we become more in control of ourselves? For example you could think of a horse. If you ride the horse up on it's neck, you do not have a lot of control other than hanging on for dear life. For an unconscious person, that is very much what is happening with the dynamic of the personality. They are right there with very little control. If you can relax and back off, like moving back to the horse's back, then you have an opportunity to see that there is more control available and you can take the reins of your own conscious awareness and be able to direct your path a little better. To be conscious of when certain things are coming up and have some control in those situations. Have good energy or whatever is necessary. That awareness is the real key. And whether you utilize the awareness of impermanence or of cause and effect, is not that important. It is that you have awareness.
The point is, it isn't necessary to put oneself into an incredible philosophical system. You don't have to have the belief that you are Buddhist or this or that. The real emphasis is self awareness. Awareness of the dynamics of yourself as an individual. And if you are fortunate enough, within the process of awareness, realize your own true nature, then of course you have the key to liberation.
So in regards to the meditation technique we have been working with, trying to stop the mind, "In this state when you have realized the true void nature of your mind in the above manner, ...finally when you have eliminated all extraneous mental activity and your mind is in a cleared state, you should continue the meditation in a relaxed and natural manner concentrating on the mind as a clear cognizer without letting your memories slacken."
The point is when you develop your meditation, you should develop an ability to step back on the horse of your being and to become conscious of the dynamics of what is going on for you as an individual. Whether you are aligning with good energy and a positive point of view, or if you are going toward a negative view. So putting yourself in a position of conscious awareness. So you are aware of the dynamics of your being.
From there, within conscious awareness, you have the ability to become conscious of the actual nature of your being. And the meditation actually then in the next session will go into detail on developing that inner awareness which allows one to become more aware of the real or actual nature of one's inner being.
But for this evening I wanted to put emphasis on conscious awareness as the most important thing. If you don't have it, you have no ability to appreciate the dynamics. You set up defense systems, various barriers around yourself to protect your fragile personality, but you do not have any ability other than to suppress unhappy feelings and things like that. So it is not really a point of realization. Rather, if you can move back into the point of realization you can become fearless. Rather than freaking out, you can be calm. And we should try to develop a fearless mind, a mind which can be there and when we get criticized, we can take it with a better state of awareness.
The personality, if you have no inner depth will then be affected by the circumstances and dynamics about you because you are shallow and brittle. So you want to have more depth in the point of consciousness awareness and realizations. So when things are thrown at you, you can accept them and recognize they make you unhappy. But you don't cling to the unhappiness. Or maybe someone said something nice. You don't cling to it! It's not some incredible thing. So you are developing inner depth rather than being on the surface on the time.
The way that is received is through awareness, not through anything else. For the meditation the point is to try to follow the techniques covered over the last while. To allow oneself to become settled, when thoughts arise, not to identify with them but just let them flow by. A good analogy for that is to think of oneself as a person on a bridge. There is a large flow of water underneath. At any one moment, various objects will flow by. In that way, in meditation, allow the various thoughts to flow by, but allow yourself to be an observer. Not identify with them. It is not that you should be critical of what your thoughts are, just let them be. See it for what it is and let it go.

Copyright 1994  Daka's Buddhist Consulting  All Rights Reserved