This week’s episode of Sedona Meditation Adventures is episode #5 and it is about the meditation technique called open awareness.
An open awareness meditation is one which does not have a specific focus, such as breath awareness, body sensation, or visualization – all of which I have talked about in previous episodes. In these types of meditation, you use the focus as a way to keep your mind locked in on something specific. When your mind wanders away, you simply bring it back to the focus.
In open awareness, you allow your awareness to watch the thoughts or sensations passing through you but you notice them only as observations. You simply observe without fixing on any particular thing. You monitor yourself, your thoughts, and your sensations without evaluating them or getting pulled into their story.
You approach this type of meditation with an acceptance for everything that is passing through you. You do not have to judge these things, pretend they aren’t there, or consider them problems to be solved. You approach your open awareness meditation with the attitude of “this is all part of who I am right now – all of these thoughts, moods, sensations, joys, and pains – and I am sitting here amongst it all in peace simply letting it be.”
You can think of the open awareness meditation as if you were sitting in a glass of soda water. Each of the bubbles that rises up around you is some sensation, thought, etc. You simply observe it going by. Allow the bubbles to float by without judgement, contemplation, or labels. Just let them percolate through you. In this way, you bear witness to the habits of your mind. You relax and receive what passes through you instead of denying, dwelling on, or attempting to problem-solve your thoughts and feelings.
Practicing open awareness meditation helps you to develop the ability to be and remain present with whatever arises within you. It helps you to accept and simply be with yourself and to let go of the desire to pretend the feelings do not exist or distract your attention from the realities of your world.
Another analogy is imagining a panoramic sky and each thought, sensation, feeling, etc, that passes through you is like a cloud floating across the sky. You can imagine sitting on the beautiful Sedona red rocks and looking up at the electric blue sky and watching those puffy white clouds floating by – unattached and nonjudgmental.
In an open awareness meditation, you welcome everything, expect nothing, and resist nothing. Just be with what is. Keep your intention on your meditation and watch the clouds go by. This meditation technique may be more difficult for new meditators, most of whom find focusing the attention on something specific, like the breath, to be easier. Don’t let that stop you from trying open awareness, but if you find it too challenging, then stick with a focused awareness technique.
This week’s meditation is about 3 minutes long. Make yourself comfortable and join me in an open awareness meditation.