Pure Awareness Transcends Thinking – February 28 2020

Pure Awareness Transcends Thinking – February 28 2020

You can’t stop the triggering of unhappy memories, negative self-talk and judgmental ways of thinking–but what you can stop is what happens next. You can stop the vicious circle from feeding off itself and triggering the next spiral of negative thoughts. And you can do this by harnessing an alternative way of relating to yourself and the world. The mind can do so much more than simply analyze problems with its Doing mode. The problem is that we use the Doing mode so much, we can’t see that there is an alternative. Yet there is another way. If you stop and reflect for a moment, the mind doesn’t just think. It can also be aware that it is thinking. This form of pure awareness allows you to experience the world directly. It’s bigger than thinking. It’s unclouded by your thoughts, feelings and emotions. It’s like a high mountain – a vantage point – from which you can see everything for many miles around.

Pure awareness transcends thinking. It allows you to step outside the chattering negative self-talk and your reactive impulses and emotions. It allows you to look at the world once again with open eyes. And when you do so, a sense of wonder and quiet contentment begins to reappear in your life.

Mark Williams, PhD and Danny Penman, PhD, 


The practice of mindfulness does not ask of us to be mindless. It does not suggest that we ignore the information our mind is presenting to us. It is suggesting, however, that we have become stuck in a way of using our mind that is not helpful. We try to solve the ‘problem’ of our unhappiness, anxiety, worry, and/or regret by thinking about it in just the right way, losing sight of the fact that these feelings are not problems to be solved, but rather simply sensations in our body that must be experienced. The mind in its ‘Doing mode’ will analyze why we have these ‘bad’ feelings, listing all the reasons–I feel bad because I am bad, because I didn’t do it right, because I screwed up, because the world hates me, because I’m different, separate, lonely and apart from everyone on the planet–each thought triggering more bad feelings, leading to more negative thoughts, and on and on.

By interrupting this habitual process and becoming present to what is, we can begin to experience the pure awareness that is always available to us. From this place of pure awareness we become able to see the world, and our place in it, as an ongoing experience to be had, rather than as an unsolvable series of problems. The authors above speak very clearly in their work about the advantage of being able to find this awareness that awaits us outside the bounds of thinking. The practices they recommend are simple yet powerful, and there are very few of us who would not benefit from them.

Those of us who have an eyes-closed form of meditation already have a leg up on this process of mindfulness. Twice each day we settle into our simplest form of awareness, transcending the thinking mind, letting go of all thought, of all control, of all need to hold on, and building in our self a familiarity with the fullness of consciousness itself. With pure awareness. We have a touchstone already in place of how pleasurable this can be, how simple it is to find, how natural it is for us to live without the need to over-think.

When we couple our practice with the practice of mindfulness, we are on the road to the full and joyful experience of life that is our birthright.

We humans are designed to live the fullness of consciousness. We are the apex of the evolution of consciousness. We are meant to be happy, joyous and free. No one in the history of the world has ever thought their way into happiness, joy or freedom. Perhaps it’s time to try a different way.

Today I will meditate once in the morning and once in the evening for twenty minutes, and throughout the day, whenever I think of it, I will recall the experience of peace I felt in meditation and I will ask myself if that same sense of peace might be available here, in this moment, if I step out of my thinking.

Looking West from 37th and Broadway, New York NY