Scott Kiloby 2nd Q&A Responses
I understand that awareness is prior to thought, and as it is what we are, cannot be affected by thought. Thought cannot understand awareness, because it's an appearance of awareness, easy enough. Here's what boggles my mind:
Prior to recognizing awareness, we lived our lives through the simulated self. The knowledge of that self was all that we knew was needed. So then, what is it that leads the simulated self on the spiritual search, if that spiritual search is going to make the simulated self fall away (lose control, die)? Is it just inevitable? Is it what the simulated self is always headed towards? Or does the simulated self not know what is in store for it through the recognition of awareness?
For me, the spiritual search is an identity crisis. It comes from not knowing what we are. Everyone is on a search. Some are seeking enlightenment. Others are seeking a new girlfriend, a new car, or a promotion. Others are seeking drugs. It's all the same. There is this unexamined notion that the future holds our salvation, whether it be an intoxicating high or a relationship.
Although those things can give us temporary satisfactory feelings and thoughts, they cannot give us what we are. This dissatisfaction, for some, leads them to want to know the truth about life. It's beautiful when that search for material things and self-centered pleasures turns to seeking to know the truth about what we are. Awakening can, however, still be about ego if the movement to look for that truth continues as a movement towards future rather than present awareness. For others, dissatisfaction is very painful, leading to depression, addiction, anxiety and/or hopelessness. It becomes a matter of necessity, "I need to find the truth because I can't live like this anymore."
But this search is all about not knowing what we are. For that identity crisis, there must be a direct recognition of awareness. This recognition releases the personal seeking and suffering. The simulated self, which is a time-bound story, essentially, is doing everything it can to avoid this recognition. We come to see, however, that it isn't real at all. It is merely a set of appearances that were being interpreted a certain way, as if life was happening to "me." It's as if it is all about a "me" at the center. We come to see there is no "me" there. There is only that set of appearances. And what sees those appearances is awareness. In that recognition, the identity crisis is solved. The moment we go seeking this in future, the story is behind the wheel again. This is why the invitation is always to recognize present awareness and see that the story, "I must find something in the future" is only a thought coming and going within awareness.
Chapters 1 and 2 of the text are relevant to this post.