Where Is Me? The Joker Revealed
This morning in meditation one of the questions that arose was, “where is attention, where is awareness?” It wasn’t an intellectual question. It was as simple as, where’s my other sock? I started looking for it.
As I gently guided my attention to look for awareness itself, I could immediately feel it— feel awareness itself, easily, obviously present. Things were rising up in awareness— thoughts, physical sensations, images, memories, sounds from the street outside. So in order to keep my attention on awareness itself, I had to resist the habit of attending to all these things that were rising up in awareness.
The simple feeling or experience of awareness itself is subtle, and feels a bit tenuous, even fragile. And yet, it also feels very natural, very familiar, commonplace. It’s the “background” feeling that we all know all the time, like the feeling of wearing socks. We’re not accustomed to putting our attention there— on our socks—yet when we do, the feeling is familiar, comfortable, ordinary.
Such is the feeling of awareness itself.
Sitting, resting with the feeling of awareness itself, another question spontaneously arose: where is me? Or more specifically, where is the me? And even more particularly, where is Bear Jack?
Resting as awareness itself, it was quite obvious: the “me” – and more particularly the separate entity known as Bear Jack—was not—is not– awareness itself. That entity is something that rises up in awareness, and then falls away again. That entity does not have awareness. That entity is a set of mental and emotional constructs, ever changing, ever elusive, ever disappearing that rises up in awareness itself. That entity is in fact a house of cards, in relation to awareness itself. And not even a real player— it’s the joker.
Stretching that metaphor just a step, let’s pretend that the things that naturally rise up in awareness itself— such as the sun, the earth, the wind, the coffee cup or our belly buttons — are individual cards in the “deck of consciousness,” the deck of awareness (two words for the same magical presence.) The separate entity that views itself as separate from all these things is indeed the joker— it has no real place or function or meaning in the game.
Things rise up in awareness itself— the jack of hearts, the two of clubs, the seven of diamonds— are played, as it were, and then discarded. That’s the delicious game. That’s what’s here happening for us to enjoy. When we throw in the joker— when we insist that the separate entity has a time and place and function in the game— we are playing a game, of our own invention, that we can’t win, won’t win.
When we discard the joker, seeing that it has no real awareness, no real function of its own, and rest in awareness itself, we immediately, spontaneously begin to see and experience the real game being played here, and how the cards are falling. With such seeing, such experiencing, we win the jackpot.
Or at least, that’s how it felt— feels— in this morning’s joker-less meditation.