by Luangpor Teean Jittasubho
Let us be aware of the movements of the body, for example, while we are blinking, be aware; while we are breathing, be aware. When thought arises, be aware. This is what we call Sati or self-awareness.
Self-awareness is invaluable. We cannot buy it, nor can anyone cultivate it for others. For example, when I am clenching my hand, is anyone conscious of my feeling? No one is. Outwardly, you can see I am making a fist, but you are not conscious of my feeling. Similarly, when someone is making a fist, I can see but I am not conscious of his feeling.
There are certain techniques to do certain jobs in order to achieve the end. In the same way, the cultivating of self-awareness to achieve Sati-Samādhi-Pańńā (Awareness-Attention-Insight) needs technique too.
Do not sit still. Move rhythmically all the time.
Do not close your eyes.
You can sit in any position or on a chair, stand or lie down.
Now I will suggest the method to you. (See illustrations).
This is a practical way of cultivating self-awareness. We do not have to study
the Scriptures because they are only words. Studying the Scriptures is no the way to Enlightenment. This practice is the way to Enlightenment.
There are 8 steps of rhythmic movement in standing, 7 steps in sitting down.
We should also be aware in other positions, such as lying on our left-side, right-side or laying flat on our back; getting up form the left-side, from the right-side and from laying flat on our back.
You should cultivate self-awareness frequently.
Walking back and forth (Cankama Walking)
After sitting for a long time, which may cause pains and aches, we can change the position to the walking back and forth. After walking for a long time, we can change to the sitting posture.
This is called changing the positions; sitting, lying, standing, walking. You should allot them properly.
Do not move the arms while walking. We should fold the arms across the chest, or clasp the hands behind the back.
While you are walking back and forth, be aware of the feeling or the feet. It is not necessary to say to yourself, “right foot moves”, “left foot moves”.
Do not walk too fast or too slow, walk naturally.
Be aware while you are walking. If you walk without self-awareness, it is useless.
Cultivating Self-awareness in Daily Life
To cultivate self-awareness, we must practice as much as possible. We can practice even when we get in a car or on a bus.
While we are sitting on a bus or in a car, we lay our hand on the thigh and turn the palm up and down, or we run the thumb over the fingertip, or we make a fist and open it repeatedly. Do it slowly and be aware.
Wherever or whenever you practice, take it easy like playing. Only move one hand at a time, do not move both hands at the same time. If you move the right hand, do not move the left hand. If you move the left hand, do not move the right hand.
Someone might say, “I am very busy. I do not have time to practice” or “I cannot do it, I am not pure enough.” These are excuses.
If we intend to so something, we can find time to do it. Whatever we do, be aware. For example, if you are a teacher, when you pick up a pen, pick it up with awareness. While you are writing, be aware.
This is the natural way of cultivating self-awareness, learning Dhamma with nature.
While you are having a meal: pick up the spoon, be aware; take the food into your mouth, be aware. While you are chewing food, be aware; swallowing food, be aware.
Practice Continuously Like a Chain
I guarantee the teachings of the Buddha and the method I teach. I guarantee what I am saying, if you are serious enough and practice continuously like a chain or the hands of the clock that rotate all the time.
To practice continuously like a chain or like the rotating hands of the clock does not mean that you have to cultivate self-awareness by doing rhythmic arm movement or walking back and forth all the time.
The word “to practice all the time” means to be aware while doing all daily tasks; washing clothes, sweeping floor, cleaning house, washing dishes, writing, or buying and selling, just be aware. This awareness will accumulate little by little like the raindrops fall into a good container and fill it to the brim.
When we walk forwards or backwards, move the hand in or out, be aware. When we go to bed, we can make a fist and open it repeatedly until we fall asleep. When we wake up, we should continue our practice. This is called cultivating self-awareness.
Practice the rhythmic movements continuously like a chain as the Buddha taught. Be aware of it at every moment; standing, walking, sitting, lying, bending or stretching.
When you practice the rhythmic movement; turning the palm up and down, raising the hand, lowering the hand, be aware. When you are nodding, and raising your head, be aware; leaning to the left, leaning to the right, blinking the eyes, opening the mouth, breathing in and out, be aware. When thought arises, be aware. Be aware of the movements all the time. Do not sit still.
This is the technique of cultivating self-awareness.
The essence of practice, a “handful leaves” Dhamma, is being aware of the movement of the body and the movements of the mind.
I guarantee, if you practice continuously and seriously as I have taught, in at most three years, suffering will end. It may take only one year. For some people it may take only one to ninety days. The result is that suffering will decrease or cannot disturb you any more.
Part Two: Walking on the Path
The Lord Buddha and a group of monks went into the forest. He held a handful of leaves up and asked the monks, “ The leaves in the whole forest and the leaves in my hand which one are more?” The monks replied, “The leaves in the forest, sir”. The Lord Buddha then said, “What I know are as much as the leaves in the forest but what I teach you are as much as the leaves in my hand.”