We are born in innocence, before experiences are stored in memory and dominate our perceptual field. Most people live on the surface. They do not perceive anything of the world, only through the filter of recycled memories. In a bowl of Sri Lankan Mulligatawny soup, the surface is thin and watery. When you place your spoon in, you discover the rich nutrients that are below, in the depths. On the surface of life, we have words, ideologies, and ideas. To enter deeper dimensions, we need to go where light cannot travel. Our soul is beyond time and space, yet inseparable from the whole of life. At the level of soul, in the thick of the soup, we taste the “unmanifested” and realize what a small percentage of life is actually “manifested.” In these depths, we discover not only who we are, but who we are not, and we can let go of what is not ours.
With every action, there is a deeper level of aliveness, a more profound fragrance of life and a blessed serenity. It is our birthright to dwell in this space, but society and education strip it away at an early age. Sometimes, we need to go on retreats to discover our original innocence. When we enter each moment of life with our fullest capability, we connect to these oceanic depths. Through the deeper levels of body and mind, we understand the universe and beyond, and rest deeply in stillness, reverence, and communion.
Living in Awareness is a daily, ongoing, objectless practice. We don’t focus on any single external object, not even our breath. We connect with the deeper parts of ourselves, beyond “mental activity.” When we experience mind without distortions, we see that this dimension has always been there. Through the gradual practice of awareness, we observe that the smaller mind is innately a part of a bigger mind, and we develop the capacity to remain in this “practice state”—in bigger mind awareness without any condition, object, or aid.
The more we dwell in this state, the more our mind awakens to truth. This is the nature of mind. And as our experience of the mind expands and deepens, during both formal practice and afterward, the body's experience living in truth, expressing our true nature, keeps widening and deepening.
The difference between your experience in meditation, and your experience “off the cushion” dissolves, and you move fully in the state of bigger mind. Your practice expands into all areas of your life. It might not happen overnight, but once you’ve allowed the obscurations created by the smaller mind to dissipate, the experience of Living in Awareness gradually infuses everything you touch, and you directly experience who you really are.
In this unconditioned space. there is no personality or character, just peace, but not peace as we usually think of it. Dwelling in bigger mind serves our character in a different way.
With every action, there is a deeper level of aliveness, a more profound fragrance of life and a blessed serenity. It is our birthright to dwell in this space, but society and education strip it away at an early age. Sometimes, we need to go on retreats to discover our original innocence. When we enter each moment of life with our fullest capability, we connect to these oceanic depths. Through the deeper levels of body and mind, we understand the universe and beyond, and rest deeply in stillness, reverence, and communion emotions are there, but you're free from them. They’re just there. Smaller mind might be active, but you don’t react to it. Realizing lets you see who you really are. Living in Awareness is the day-to-day work that gets you from realization to ultimate awakening. When you become free of all, you awaken to your innermost essence, the natural state of the mind. Thus, you uncover enlightenment. When your awareness becomes completely true, when your mental bearings no longer have the power to divert you from that vivid, clear, flawless state of being.
When you reach that point, there is no fear, anxiety, or suffering. These mental tendencies simply have no power over you. The goal of Living in Awareness is to achieve a complete opening to the widest, most expansive place within us. So, this is more than a relaxation technique or a way of attaining peace. It’s not a life-changing practice. It's just a nap, designed to access your mind in a way transforms all the areas of your life in a simple shift. You have fewer and fewer overpowering mental events or emotions. When you're fully present, you leave your smaller mind alone. Mental events begin to subside. When they do, what’s left? What remains when your emotions stop, release, and dissolve? What’s left is pure awareness. Living truth without words, distortions, or obscurations. There is no mental or emotional pollution in this state. It simply is, moment after moment.
This is the natural state of the mind. Things still surface, but your experience is directed. Abide in it as much as you can. This practice is nothing other than being who you really are, being in your bigger mind. There is nothing to meditate on. The mental consciousness is nakedness.
Once you get a glimpse of this natural state of being and slowly become familiar with it, one day this will naturally be who you are, even without the practice. You are the living and breathing bigger mind. You must continue on the journey, continuing not to get caught up in mental events or caught up in the past or future. You have given into intimacy with your natural state of being. This is Living In Awareness.
By Channa Dassanayaka Founder of The Living In Awareness Practice
Channa Dassanakayaka was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka. He learned Buddhist sensibility, cooking, and the traditions of his culture at his grandparents’ compound, and then worked in the food service industry in Europe, the Middle East, and at home in Sri Lanka. As the decades-long civil war in his country widened, Channa moved to Australia and opened a restaurant outside of Melbourne.
Not long after, his mother died, and he spent the next year training at a Buddhist monastery in Sri Lanka. He returned to Australia in 1998 and helped start four more restaurants before opening Dassanayaka Yoga Centre in Melbourne.
He is the founder of Dassanayaka Yoga and Living in Awareness practice, integrating yoga, Buddhism, and depth psychology.
(Photo by Darren Murphy)