Scott Kiloby 1st Q&A Responses
Can thought recognize Awareness?
I've begun to see how truly powerful the ego is at maintaining itself. One teacher explained that ego cannot, and will not kill itself. I'm assuming he means that thought can't get rid of thought. So then how does the recognition of awareness happen if it isn't through thought? If ego is thought, would it not understand that no thought is the death of itself?Scott's reply:
The basic invitation in Living Realization is to (1) recognize awareness, (2) not move to manipulate appearances, and (3) see that appearances are inseparable from awareness. We learn to do just about everything in our adult lives through thinking or the intellect, from driving a car to studying physics. It is only natural that we would assume that the recognition of awareness happens through thinking. Although it may be helpful to have some intellectual understanding, the recognition of awareness is purely experiential. My suggestion is to read Chapter One: Recognizing Present Awareness and stick with that chapter alone for a while. It really points very directly to the fact that thought will never grasp or understand awareness.
Let's get back to the basic invitation again. Thought is an appearance within awareness. It comes and goes within awareness, like all appearances do. Trying to grasp awareness with thought is "manipulating appearances." It violates our basic invitation (see #2). Consider the basic invitation and the entire Living Realization to be an intellectual introduction to the experiential recognition of awareness. But it is only an introduction. The invitation is always to look to where the words are pointing.
For example, even the words "I am awareness" are thoughts appearing and disappearing within awareness. Simply notice the space in which that thought is happening. That space IS awareness. It is more accurate to say that this awareness is what you are. It is not an object you see. It is the seeing itself. It cannot be made into an object that we "notice." It's doing the noticing. The words, "I am awareness" are nothing more than temporary appearances within awareness. Experientially realizing this goes a long way. You start to see that, no matter what you think about awareness, that description merely comes and goes within it.
As for getting rid of the ego, thought is not really the problem. Thought has a practical function in our lives. How would I know what to wear without having some idea of what "cold" and "snow" are? How would I know which car to drive in the morning, or how to fix my toaster when it is broken, or when tomorrow's dentist appointment is? It takes thought to do these things. In recognizing awareness as the space in which thoughts come and go, you start to see that this space has no agenda to be rid of anything. It is not at war with appearances.
Only the simulated self (which is the name we give for ego in Living Realization) is at war with appearances. Yet the simulated self is nothing more than a display of appearances (thoughts, emotions, sensations, states, and experiences) that come and go within what we really are--awareness. The only thing that would seek to be rid of anything is a thought. When THAT thought is allowed to come to rest naturally back into awareness, we see that awareness is this great space that allows everything to be as it is. In that seeing, we realize our real identity is this awareness. So there is naturally no longer a need to reach into appearances for a sense of self. But this is not something the personal will achieves. The falling away or seeing through of the simulated self (ego) happens completely on its own, through recognizing awareness as the space in which all appearances arise and fall. The thought, "I would like to get rid of ego" is just one of those appearances.
Chapters in the text that are helpful on this question are Chapter One and all subsequent chapters on "Appearances." Pay particular attention in the text to the constant reminder not to manipulate appearances. To manipulate an appearance means to try to understand it, neutralize it, or get rid of it.