There are two meditation techniques which are connected with awareness. One is being aware of our breathing itself; and the other is using general awareness while the body is breathing: we can be aware of our thoughts coming and going, and come back to our breath as an anchor. In this way we can learn to have some mastery of our thoughts, otherwise they can control us. And we can do the same with our emotions.
We can use the breath and awareness to experience the present moment, the here and the now. It’s interesting to reflect that most of the time in our daily life, we are either with something which has happened in the past or we are thinking about something which is going to happen in the future. And this happens mechanically, without our knowledge. So if for even a few seconds, a few minutes, we can be in the present with the help of the breath, those moments are moments of freedom.
I often like to speak of using our breath as a friend. And the breath is a very good friend because every time we are with the breath, it reminds us of the present moment. And breath is the only friend who is with us all the time; even when we are sleeping, the breath is there. So until the last moment, the friend is always with us, and our last breath we spend with our friend. So in this way, if we can make a connection with our friend, the friend will always help us. Another aspect of this technique is that once we have developed awareness with the help of our friend, then we can continue to have that awareness in our everyday life.
Another meditation which is related to the use of awareness is to meditate without an object. In this technique you allow any thought to arise, any emotion to arise, even the emotions that you don’t like. You allow any sensation to arise from your body and just know what is happening from moment to moment in relation to your mind and body. It is simply allowing our minds to do anything they like and just knowing, just being conscious, just being aware of what is happening in our minds and bodies. It is like a very friendly mother allowing her child to do what it wants and she just watches, just knowing what the child is doing. In the same way, we watch and know what is happening in our mind and body.