Satguru Bodhinatha Veylaswami gives an upadesha on the concept of awareness from the yogic perspective.
Consciousness and awareness are the same when awareness is totally identified with and attached to that which it is aware of. To separate the two is the artful practice of yoga. Naturally, the Shūm-Tyeīf language is needed to accomplish this. When awareness is detached from that which it is aware of, it flows freely in consciousness. A tree has consciousness. Awareness can flow into the tree and become aware of the consciousness of the tree. Consciousness and mind are totally equated as a one thing when awareness and consciousness are a one thing to the individual. But when awareness is detached from that which it is aware of, it can flow freely through all five states of mind and all areas of consciousness, such as plants and the Earth itself, elements and various other aspects of matter. Here we find awareness separate from consciousness and consciousness separate from the five states of mind attributed to the human being. In Sanskrit we have the word chaitanya for consciousness, and for awareness it is sākshin, meaning witness, and for mind the word is chitta. Consciousness, mind, matter and awareness experience a oneness in being for those who think that they are their physical body, who are convinced that when the body ends, they end and are no more. ¶We have three eyes. We see with our physical eyes and then we think about what we have seen. Going into meditation, we see with our third eye our thoughts. Then we choose one or two of them and think about them and lose the value of the meditation. It is the control of the breath that controls the thoughts that emerge from the subconscious memory patterns. Once this is accomplished, and the iḍā, piṅgalā and sushumṇā merge, we are seeing with the third eye, which is the eye of awareness, wherever we travel through the mind, inside or outside of our own self. ¶The minute awareness is attached to that which it is aware of, we begin thinking about what we were aware of. Controlling the breath again detaches awareness, and it flows to another area of the mind, as directed by our innate intelligence, this intangible superconscious, intelligent being of ourselves that looks out through the eye of awareness in a similar way as do the two eyes of the physical body. This then divides what we are aware of and thinking of what we were aware of, or distinguishes the process of thinking from that of seeing during meditation. ¶Awareness travels into the wonderful strata of thought, where thought actually exists in all of its refined states. First in these strata of thought is an area where ideas are only in a partial, overall, conceptual stage. Deeper into this stratum, they, as concepts, become stronger and stronger until finally they almost take physical form. Finally, they do take physical form. But you are the pure, individual awareness, the ball of seeing light that is seeing all of this occur within these strata of mind and not identifying too closely with them. The quest is to keep traveling through the mind to the ultimate goal, merging with Śiva. When you are conscious that you are awareness, you are a free awareness, a liberated soul. You can go anyplace in the mind that you wish. ¶The mission is: don’t go anyplace. Turn awareness back in on itself and simply be aware that you are aware. Try to penetrate the core of existence. Become conscious of energy within the physical body and the inner bodies, flowing out through the nerve system and drawing forth energy from the central source of the universe itself. Now try to throw awareness into this central source of energy and dive deeper and deeper in. Each time you become aware of something in the energy realm, be aware of being aware. Finally, you go beyond light. Finally, you go into the core of existence itself, the Self God, beyond the stillness of the inner areas of mind. That is the mission and that is what humanity is seeking—total Self-God Realization.
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