The Sensation of Awareness

I became vividly aware of the fact that what I call shapes, colors, and textures in the outside world are also states of my nervous system, that is, of me. In knowing them I also know myself. But the strange part of this apparent sensation of my own senses was that I did not appear to be inspecting them from outside or from a distance, as if they were objects. I can only say that the awareness of grain or structure in the senses seemed to be awareness of awareness, of myself from inside myself. Because of this, it followed that the distance or separation between myself and my senses, on the one hand, and the external world, on the other, seemed to disappear. I was no longer a detached observer, a little man inside my own head, having sensations. I was the sensations, so much so that there was nothing left of me, the observing ego, except the series of sensations which happened – not to me, but just happened – moment by moment, one after another.

To become the sensations, as distinct from having them, engenders the most astonishing sense of freedom and release. For it implies that experience is not something in which one is trapped or by which one is pushed around, or against which one must fight. The conventional duality of subject and object, knower and known, feeler and feeling, is changed into a polarity: the knower and the known become the poles, terms, or phases of a single event which happens, not to me or from me, but to itself.*

A Little Pool of Rain*by Alan Watts

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2 thoughts on “The Sensation of Awareness

  1. The different ways we can sense objects in the world is interesting to me. If the individual is part of rather than the detached observer of the objects in the world this is a blessing.

    • Yes; when I think of the five senses, I think of them as all interrelated and interconnected. Is not the sense of touch another way of seeing, the sense of smell another way of touch, and so forth? Each sense is but a form of perception of the world, so could not be anything other than connected. We really have one sense of perception, displayed in five (or six) ways.

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