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Buddhadharma : Summer 2005
buddhadharma| 49 |summer 2005 can have endless comments about this and form further perceptions about these perceptions, but that’s not the point. Simply deliberately think, “I am an unenlightened person.” Say that to yourself with attention, listening. This deliberate thinking allows you to listen to yourself as you think. When you are caught in the wandering mind, you lose yourself; you just go from one thought to another. One thought connects to another and you just get carried away. But deliberate thinking is not like that. It’s intentional, for you are choos- ing what you are going to think. The important thing is not the thought, or even the quality of the thought – whether it’s stupid or intelligent, right or wrong – it’s the attention, the ability to listen to your deliberate thinking. When I do this, being aware of thinking in this way allows something to happen to me (and I assume will happen also to you, but I don’t know, maybe I’m just an unusual case). Before I start thinking, “I am an unenlight- ened person,” there is a space. There is an empty pause before I deliberately think. When you do this kind of deliberate thinking, notice the pause before the full-blown thought. That is just the way it is; there is no perception in that space, but there is attention to it. There is awareness. You are certainly aware before “I am an unenlightened person” arises. Thinking in this way is not wandering thinking; it’s not judging or analyzing, but just noticing, “It’s like this.” When you deliberately think, you can use thought to keep pointing to this, noticing the way it is. If you listen to the pronoun “I” in a sentence, such as “I am an unenlightened person,” and the words that follow, you will realize that you are creating this consciousness of yourself through the words you are deliberately thinking. That which is aware of your thinking – what is that? Is that a person? Is it a person that is aware? Or is it pure awareness? Is this awareness personal, or does the person arise within that? Explore. Investigate. By investigating you are actually getting to notice the way it is, the dhamma. You come to recognize that there is actu- ally no person who is being aware. Nevertheless, awareness will include what seems personal. When one says, “I am an unenlightened per- son who needs to practice meditation in order to become an enlightened person in the future,” one assumes that “I am this body. I have this history. I am so many years old, born in such and such a place. I’ve done all these things and so I have a history to prove that this person exists.” I have a passport and a birth certificate, and people even want me to have a website. But, in fact, there doesn’t seem to be any person in the awareness. Self Portrait, 1999