Non-Dual Awareness: Seeing Through Your Assumptions

Words and design by Brian Thompson.

Our lives are built on assumptions.

Coincidentally, what we call being “spiritually awakened” is the self-realizing of our own habitual pattern of mis-perceiving that distorts reality, and therefore, also obscures our own truth. It is this not-knowing of ourselves, based upon all of our assumptions, that is the true source of emotional and existential suffering.

We assume the world is exactly as we’ve been taught and that our personal memory speaks the truth. These are both conscious assumptions that we knowingly make, but what about the countless assumptions the mind makes on our behalf, that we are unconscious of? What are we missing?

For the most part, our lives are virtual, a projection of mind filled with to-do lists, goals and plans, stresses and worries, fears and desires, opinions and knowledge, memories and random thought. We’re so busy with our conceptual lives that we fail to truly experience the actuality of what is here and now.

In other words, we overlook what is real so that we can ponder over what is not.

On a subconscious level, the mind is continually filling in the gaps that exist within our direct experience of the present moment. These assumptions create the fluid continuity of sensory perception, appearing as the environment in which we seem to move, as it has been compiled and pieced together from all of the mind’s prior conditioning, knowledge, memory, and experience.

And so, most of we presume to know is actually an assumption.

For example, I assume a wall exists behind my back, but in my direct and immediate experience, I don’t actually know it as fact. The mind assumes it is there, based on common sense, but I can’t actually confirm it to be true until I turn around and look in its direction.

It is human nature to be attached to our assumptions.

In many ways, they make our lives more cohesive and reliable. It would be quite an interesting experience if we were perpetually surprised with every turn of our head because we don’t expect anything to be there. But, we also suffer because of these very same assumptions. Whenever our assumptions prove to be untrue, we experience disappointment, confusion, rejection, worry, or loss. If I turned around and didn’t see a wall behind me, I would unsurprisingly be quite alarmed.

However, only direct and intimate cognition is true knowing, anything else is simply a conceptual assumption, one that we presuppose as being a reliable truth. It is the things we rely upon that set us up to fail.

So, to truly understand yourself, you must ask the question, Who am I? You must investigate the nature of what it truly means, to be, emptied of the mind’s assumptions and projections. To realize your truth you must be critical of your intimate experience of experiencing.

What am I? What is my actual experience of being? What is my experience of this present moment made of? How is my present experience shaped and perceived? What is this “I” that I attach onto everything I sense? What is I?

For this intimate exploration of self, you will need to completely disregard the concept of your personhood for a moment.

Your experience of being, here and now, is not your personal name or your “sense of self". It is not what you are thinking. What are you actually experiencing, in this precise moment? You are experiencing the contents of awareness, are you not? You are experiencing the collected input from the sensations of sight, hearing, taste, smell, touch, and the often-overlooked sixth sense, mind.

Your experience is comprised of all of these things combined—your experience is made from objects of sight, just as your experience is also made from objects of thought. But, who is the subject that is perceiving? Where is the subject?

What is the subject of these experiences? There isn’t one. The truth is beyond any such duality of subject and object opposition. It is not a part of your actual experience, it is nothing but an assumed concept the mind asserts on top of your actual presence of awareness.

To be clear, “you” are not present, there is only presence. The you, the subject, is merely presumed. It is not experiential. There is no you.

What you traditionally consider to be “you” is actually the experience of the entire field of awareness in which you are presently aware. You are not limited to the sensations of the body or mind, you are one with every sensation that is sensed and perceived.

In other words, you are awareness itself.

The mind however, places a false border between what it assumes is ‘you' and what it assumes is ‘not you’. This imaginary border, one that we believe contains the self, is the skin. Anything inside the skin, we call "me", and anything outside the skin we call "not me".

But if you move beyond all knowledge and conceptual conditioning, and you strictly investigate your direct experience, you will realize that there is not any actual distinction between any sensation—inside or outside. They are all ‘received’ in the same centre of knowingness that is your aware presence, that is your Self.

Ignore what the mind is telling you about this moment. A sound is a sound, which you are aware of. A sight is a sight, which you are aware of. A sensation is a sensation, , which you are aware of. Combined, they create the totality of your alive experience, of your aware presence, that is always, and only, here and now. Wherever you go, whenever it seems to be, this is your experience—the “contents” of consciousness.

The sound of a bird chirping in the distance. Your knowledge (which is merely a memory, an object of object that is perceived) says the sound is far away, that it is coming from over there, from something that is not you. But in terms of your intimate experience of the sound itself, is there any difference to your knowing of it than to your knowing of the itch on the end of your nose?

Does awareness separate one sensation from the other? Knowing is knowing, is it not?

It is only the mind that divides experience into conceptual parts, while Awareness remains one, unified whole, absolute and complete, not relative to anything. Undivided.

The mind tells us we heard a blue jay chirping far away, while the awareness of direct experience simply informs us of a beautiful sound. Awareness makes no assumptions—and this is the truth of your Self. When we live only through the lens of our assumptions, we miss out on most of our actual experience of awareness. We miss life itself. One point of view is inclusive, while the other is dismissive.

You are not your senses, you are that which perceives them. Shift your life perspective to awareness, rather than to your concepts.

Your experience of being alive, of existing, is the totality of your alert and aware presence in this precise moment. This is life. This moment, which contains these very words and whatever else is being sensed within your environment. Anything that happens outside of your intimate presence of awareness, in this precise moment, remains only as a concept—an assumption. Do not be concerned about what isn’t here and now. Without your direct knowingness, all things remain simply as an emanation of mind, either as a memory of a past experience, a conceptual fear or desire, or as a piece of second-hand knowledge which has been acquired.

You are your environment. This is not a metaphor.

You are not separate from that which you are intrinsically a part of, regardless of how distant other things seem to be from you. You are a part of all that appears to you, and they are all a part of you. You affect each other, because you are one another.

And so, as you contemplate the existential question, What am I?, it can be realized that you are a stream of consciousness—always flowing. You are forever refreshed. You are not the personal self you assume to be, for that is merely a mask of false identity.

Non-dual awareness is the absolute truth of your present experience of experiencing, here and now. It is your entire presence of being, without which you wouldn’t be.

I Am every moment, and every moment is my presence of I Am.

In other words, I Am nothing other what I am aware of, here and now.

Don’t limit yourself. Don’t confine yourself to your concepts and assumptions. Don’t be fooled by projections of mind. Know yourself and you will know the world, because the world is you. You are not separate, you are one.

You are not confined to the body/mind entity that you assume yourself to be, you are a field of consciousness that unconditionally embraces and accepts everything that appears within it.

I Am, is Awareness.
I Am, is Consciousness.

I Am, is my world.
The world, is my I Am.

I Am, Absolute Reality.

I Am.