Primary Awareness: A New Perspective

Mar 17, 2024

When we are in touch with our Primary Awareness, we experience a sense of “what is” without need for additional evidence, argument or defense.

You are in the middle of a meltdown, raging, sobbing, perhaps on the floor in a fetal position.  In the midst of the devastation, when overwhelming emotion has consumed any last crumb of rational thought, you sense an observer, neutral and without judgement, quietly acknowledging the magnitude of your emotional state.

Possibly you experience this observer as an idea or an understanding, but one that feels different from a typical thought. Quickly, the connection passes, and you are back in your grief.

This gentle spectator is an incredibly powerful part of us, but, in our ongoing entanglement with thoughts, feelings and everything external, is often obscured. This is Primary Awareness.

Separate from the body, Primary Awareness is found in the part of the mind that lies behind the personality. The personality is our earthly identity and includes our unique emotional and psychological wiring present from birth.

Our personality is driven by thoughts and feelings which arise from our thinking mind as we interact with the environment. But there is another part of the mind that precedes our birth and is not defined or limited by the strengths and weaknesses of our personality.

Whether or not we accept its existence or choose to listen to its intelligence, it remains present in each of us. Primary Awareness is sometimes referred to as the highest self. It can also be understood as an aspect of our soul, the part of us that is eternal and transcends our earthly body and human experience.

Regardless of how we characterize or define Primary Awareness, it offers us information and direction while conveying the vastness of our existence. If life is a school, Primary Awareness is our teacher, giving us space to do the work, yet quietly offering guidance if and when we are interested.

When we are in touch with our Primary Awareness, we experience a sense of “what is” without need for additional evidence, argument or defense. It is an encounter with innate insight that can illuminate clarity and purpose.

Primary Awareness is calm and loving and never experienced as negative or critical. This defining feature can be helpful in learning to separate Primary Awareness from thinking brain generated thoughts or feelings. If the message isn’t delivered with kindness, then it isn’t Primary Awareness. 

Other than being a fabulous source of information and wisdom, why is Primary Awareness so significant? Perhaps most importantly, it aids us in connecting to our Intrinsic Worth. 

Primary Awareness is aligned with our Intrinsic Worth, even if we are not. And whether or not we notice our Primary Awareness, it continues to be present and available.

As we begin to access this powerful aspect of ourselves, our sense of self naturally broadens. Becoming mindful of our profound natural wisdom reveals a beautiful essence that is not tied to our human failings. We are pushed to consider the limitations of our thinking mind with increased understanding that our narrow earthly perspective may be more than a little naive. 

Learning to consistently access Primary Awareness begins simply as just noticing. Because we are so dependent on the thinking mind as our life navigator, we tend to stay entrenched there. 

Freeing ourselves is a process of learning to witness rather than join with our thoughts and feelings. It is similar to being the passenger in a car, driving through unfamiliar country on a road trip.

Unlike your daily route to work or school which becomes almost meaningless in its familiarity, you pay attention to what passes by. Looking out the window you observe with interest, but also without emotion. You will likely never live in this town and probably won’t see this particular landscape again.

As a result, you become a conscious but neutral observer. You are able to take note of the scenery without becoming a part of it. I promise that if you set the intention to apply this idea to your daily life and start observing what is produced by your thinking mind, you will begin to sense the awareness that lies patiently waiting.

It is both an exciting and powerful experience to see the distinction between what is happening within us and us.

Journaling is another useful tool in accessing our internal observer. Begin with recording current thoughts and emotions and return later to read what was written. This process illuminates the experience and shifts our perspective, especially when our thoughts and emotions have changed.

Another helpful exercise is to identify a challenge or issue. Write the problem in the form of a question. Then take an opportunity to “free write” about emotional, behavioral or external aspects as well as potential resolution.

But rather than focusing too intently on what to write or even specific solutions, attempt to relax and without pressure, allow information to be shared on the page.... even if it doesn’t seem to make sense.

While you may not immediately reveal an epiphany, overtime this exercise will begin to feel more natural, each attempt strengthening the connection to your Primary Awareness. Primary Awareness isn’t hidden, and as such it really isn’t all that complicated to find. 

Meditation may be the most potent way to practice connecting to our Primary Awareness. The goal of meditation is to create space. We give a lot of power to our thoughts as well as to the feelings generated by those thoughts....with good reason. We need our thinking mind to be our navigator and without which, we might find ourselves utterly disengaged from our lives.

On the other hand, because we are so dependent on our thinking mind, it is too easy to never take the time to step back or take a break. So, we spend many of our days (and nights) incarcerated with our thoughts, and of course, our feelings.

The practice of meditation offers an opportunity to liberate from the on-going cycle of the thinking mind and experience moments of true peace.

Throughout my life, I have been time and again guided by a sense of knowing, sometimes as an epiphany of enlightenment and other times as just a matter-of-fact certainty. I have never been let down. There have also been times when I sensed this wisdom, but I didn’t like the advice.  It was contrary to “what I wanted” and so I chose a different path.

The choice to go rogue always led to unsavory consequences and the later recognition that I really should have listened to what I already knew. You also have likely had many experiences of being guided, whether or not you were fully aware of the force behind the information. Primary Awareness continues to be present. It just needs to be heard.

The more we practice connecting to our internal awareness, the louder and clearer it will become. 

My loving suggestion is to pay attention. Close your eyes and notice the thoughts forming in your thinking brain. Notice the feelings the thoughts generate. Can you sense another presence behind the thoughts and feelings?

You are light. You are love.