Also see:

There's No Such Thing As Awareness / Redditors Who Realized Anatta
Three levels of understanding Non-Dual
No Awareness Does Not Mean Non-Existence of Awareness

Here is something I wrote today. Cut and pasted from another online discussion. Thought it would go nicely here as well.

No, I'm saying something completely different. I'm questioning your assertion that "at every moment, experience has two components -- (1) appearances (thoughts, perceptions, sensations) which come and go; and (2) awareness, which does not come and go." This, I maintain, is a misunderstanding.

I'm suggesting that there is no experience of awareness. Awareness is always inferred. The experiences you are calling "awareness," however subtle, exquisite, profound, and self-validating, are just experiences, with no more or less claim to Ultimate Reality than an itch, or a thought, or gas pain. I'm suggesting that neither you, nor I, nor anyone else, past or present has ever perceived or apperceived, quasi-perceived, or otherwise-perceived awareness, either personally or impersonally. What people (understandably) mislabel "Awareness" is, in fact, a mental construct, a composite of physical and mental phenomena. I'm suggesting that the next step for you (and anyone who is talking about Awareness) is to grieve the death of your projection. With this understanding, this process of awakening takes a sharp turn into territory we never bargained for and couldn't have anticipated in advance. This is why it's hard, and rare. Most people will not take this step. They will park themselves in their mental constructs, surround themselves with people who believe the same thing, and fail to move beyond their current understanding.



Also elsewhere:

" Hi Pawel, here are brief answers to your questions: 1. Yes, on at least two occasions, for periods lasting several years at a time, I thought I'd found something static, constant, or perhaps abiding, within experience. The first was what seemed to be a kind of witnessing consciousness that could be found within any moment of experience irrespective of whatever else was going on. I was able to cultivate this into a recogizable and reproducible state that I thought of as the witness. I also believed that this witnessing consciousness was there in the background even when there was no conscious recognition of it. The witness, when cultivated as a state, was compelling because it felt like an upgrade from my default identity as Kenneth; from the point of view of the witness, there wasn't any concern for whether Kenneth lived or died. There was very little sense of time; it felt like riding the razor's edge of now, without reference to past or future. The second candidate for an abiding phenomenon was a subtle, exquisite, diffuse presence that seemed to underlie and pervade or contain all experience but had no location or individual identity. From this point of view, which I thought of as primordial awareness, "I" seemed to disappear and merge within the totality of experience. This was, subjectively speaking, the best of all; it felt wonderful to meld into the universal consciousness and cease to exist as a separate entity. In both cases, as I continued to cultivate, explore, and investigate the experiences, the orientation toward them changed. It became apparent that as wonderful and valuable as these experiences were, they were still experiences. For "experience," I'm using a simple, common-sense definition: if it can be remembered, it was an experience. If there was consciousness during it, it was an experience. Notice that this definition of experience doesn't posit an "I" to have the experience; that's a separate question. As the experiences of the witness and primordial awareness were integrated through the years, it became increasingly difficult to think of them as special, or to believe that they were more real, more valid, or more ontologically significant than an itch, a sound, or a thought. This was simultaneously devastating and liberating. I could no longer privilege even the loftiest of phenomena as the "right" way to be or the "truth." The common habit of spiritual teachers to speak of Reality as though it had a capital "R" no longer made sense to me. Here is my current working model: all experience has exactly the same ontological status as any other. In other words, there is no reason to believe that any experience, however subtle, exquisite, or profound, gives one special knowledge or insight into the ultimate nature of the universe. As humbling and discouraging as this may sound, it turns out to be a great relief, once integrated. It's terrible when Santa Claus dies, but at least you don't have to drag him around anymore. Now, having grieved extensively the death of my sacred states, I am much more likely to be delighted than discouraged upon noticing that there is nothing in this or any other world that we can be sure of. From this point of view, experiences of the "witness" or "merger with the cosmos" can still be valued as beautiful and enriching, and one can enjoy them for their own sake. 2. I'm hoping this is covered in my answer of question #1, but happy to clarify if you want to ask a followup question. " -- kenneth

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