The Screen of Awareness

Yogananda once said: “Just like images on the screen of a motion picture, so is everything made of shadows and light. That’s what we are, light and shadows of the Lord, nothing more than that. There’s one purpose; to realize that the beam is you.” He means the light of awareness itself, that which is now looking out from our eyes, is our true identity. The particulars of our experience, sensations, thoughts, sights, and sounds, are mere reflections on this screen of awareness. They have no substance apart from this light of awareness, this screen of awareness itself.

To try and help clarify this, imagine if our attention was drawn to the screen you’re now reading from, we would experience the uncanny sensation of suddenly becoming aware of something we simultaneously realize is so obvious as to require no mention. And yet at the moment when the screen is indicated, we seem to experience something new.

We have the strangely familiar experience of becoming aware of something which we were in fact already aware of. We become aware of being aware of the screen. The screen is not a new experience that is created by this indication. However, our awareness of the screen seems to be a new experience.

Now, what about our awareness itself, which we all share by the way, that is aware of the screen? Is it not always present behind and within every experience, just as the screen is present and within the words on this screen? And when our attention is drawn to it, do we not have the same strange feeling of having been made aware of something that we were in fact always aware of, but had not noticed? We become aware of awareness itself.

Is this awareness not the most intimate and obvious fact of our experience, essential to and yet independent of the particular qualities of each experience itself, in the same way that the screen is the most obvious fact of the words on it, essential to and independent of each word? Is this awareness itself not the support and the substance of every experience, in the same way that the screen is the support and substance of every word?

Does anything new need to be added to the screen in order for it to be seen? Does anything new need to be added to our current experience in order for us to become aware of the awareness that is its support and substance?

When we return to the words, having noticed the screen, do we lose sight of the screen? Do we not now see the two, the apparent two, simultaneously as one? And did we not always already experience them as one, without realizing it?

Likewise, having noticed the awareness behind and within each experience, do we lose sight of our awareness itself when we return the focus of our attention to the objective aspect of experience? Do we not now see the two, the apparent two, Awareness and its object, simultaneously as one? And has it not always been so?

Do the words themselves affect the screen? Does it matter to the screen what is said in the words? Does the content of each experience affect the awareness in which, and as which it is expressed? Every word on the screen is in fact only made of the substance of the screen itself. They only express the nature of the screen, although they may attempt to describe the stars.

Every experience only expresses Awareness or Consciousness, although experience itself is infinitely varied. Awareness or Consciousness is the open mystery expressing every experience.

It is so obvious that it isn’t noticed. It is so close that it cannot be known as an object, and yet is always known just by being itself, by being aware. It is so intimate that every experience, however tiny or vast, is utterly saturated and permeated with its presence.

It is so loving that all things possible to imagine are contained unconditionally within it.

It is so open that it receives all things into itself.

It is so spacious and unlimited that everything is contained within it.

It is so present that every single experience is vibrating with its substance.

There has never been anything other than THIS.

4 Responses to The Screen of Awareness

  1. Piro papa April 7, 2017 at 3:32 pm #

    Beautiful .when that becomes realisation
    Tranquility is the expression.
    Love and light
    Piro

    • Roger Hawkins April 8, 2017 at 12:18 am #

      Thanks Piro,

      This becomes realization when we’re no longer getting stuck in attaching to desire and fears and are content with the simple aliveness
      of being. Yogananda said when we no longer anything other than God’s love, which is the simple aliveness of being, then he has to free
      you, he wants to free you.

  2. Roger Hawkins April 8, 2017 at 12:12 am #

    Thanks Piro,

    This becomes realization when we’re no longer getting stuck in attaching to desire and fears and are content with the simple aliveness of being. Yogananda said when we no longer want anything other than God’s love, which is the simple aliveness of being, then he has to free
    you, he wants to free you.

  3. Myoan April 15, 2017 at 3:39 pm #

    Absolutely one of the most practical and magnificent explanations I’ve ever read, Roger. With your permission and full credit, I’d like to adapt it into a guided class meditation. I have long used Yogananda’s movie metaphor, but this is a great update.

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