I have been listening to Audio Dharma podcasts on Awareness Meditation and they have inspired quite a few questions, some old, some new. I'll try to express them to see if others out there have thoughts about them.
The first question is at the core of the Buddhist philosophy: the theory is that if suffering is caused by craving, and we can stop suffering by removing craving, then we should strive to let go of craving. But then, aren't we craving for the cessation of craving? If we aim at this cessation, if we long for it, are we not falling into the cause of suffering? Isn't some kind of contradiction there?
A second question is about what we can expect to obtain in this life: listening to experienced meditators, it looks like the most they have attained are instants of complete awareness and detachment. Is that all? Can't that state of full awareness and enlightenment be maintained in a more or less continuous way? Are we doomed to live a normal life, even after putting a lot of effort, with just short glimpses to a higher knowledge and level of consciousness? Is Nirvana out of our reach?
The third question concerns more directly my own experience while meditating. When I manage to calm down my mind, and be aware of my body and my mind and realize I'm not either of them, I think I'm being aware. But, is that not a thought? Am I not thinking that I'm aware of my thoughts? If so, then I'm just thinking, I'm just a thought, a thought about other thoughts or about feelings or sensations, the thought of being aware of them. It may sound paradoxical, but how can I know if I'm reaching a higher level of consciousness and being really aware of my mental states, or if I'm just concentrated on my mental states and thinking that I'm aware of them?
I hope you people out there can contribute your personal thoughts about these questions.
Thanks a lot.