Control as a disturbing side effect to awareness

john's picture

Average: 4.9 (8 votes)

The more I am being aware of, the more mind is being in control of.

Every new thing my awareness brings from unconsciousness soon is grabbed by the mind in mischievous silent ways and put under control of the mind.

It is hard to notice this disturbing side effect.

I tried all sorts of ways - releasing control, letting go, observing... but to no end.

I know it is a common phenomenon. I read similar accounts but haven't encountered any practical advise or technique to eliminate this disturbing side effect of awareness.

Anyone with an experienced advise?

kaput's picture

Dislocate to the Heart

Yes, I know very well what you are talking about and I'm glad you raised this important question.

What you describe is a very common trick of the mind, especially in the case of less-emotional more-rational people who come to spirituality with a background of a very intellectual and strong mind and a tendency to self control.

I used to be such a person (and still am to some extent)

What I found more helpful is the cultivation of the heart and emotions which is so important for the spiritual development of our type of people. You will find out that this change will also diminish the strong control of whatever is available to the conscious mind.

I would recommend you for this purpose to follow the helpful suggestions in and

kaput | Mon, 07/06/2009 - 10:43
nancy pro's picture

Unfortunately, great pain helps

Unfortunately, great pain helps.

It has an impact of shaking the control of the mind over the conscious.

As a result, most of what is already conscious stays conscious but the control over it breaks.

This is the unpleasant cosmic role of great pain.

But do not let this frighten you. This pain comes only in the right proportion and dosage and is solely for your higher good. It is not necessarily needed at all cases.

nancy pro | Mon, 07/06/2009 - 19:48
Annamalaima's picture

Awareness is Awareness

This is a very interesting issue you have brought up. And it is common with many people, as well as many "teachers". My take on this is to sit quietly. Watch what is arising in this consciousness. It is a trick to do it with non-judgement and non-attachment, but see what is arising and what is arising with it! What issue keeps it important to you? Keeps you in love with it, instead of the "Self. In your daily life, in your "meditation in action" (Trungpa), in your movement, also watch. It takes subtle awareness to see it and a subtler non-grasping and surrender, in the moment, to let it go. Most people have reasons why they can't let it go: Fear is basically the underlying reason. Fear of vulnerability; intimacy, fear of loss of pride, of knowledge. Fear of loss..... (of control). Watch! Stay aware in your movements. Keep quiet! In Quiet you will not move to grasp. And if you do, you will see it faster than it will grab you. And there, you can surrender it. As long as you identify with being a certain "someone", this will have a foothold. As soon as you find that "no one" is far more expansive and knowledgeable in it's no-place, then this "someone" can dissolve into the heart and this grasping will not be important. Hope this helps. Hari OM

Annamalaima | Thu, 07/09/2009 - 14:32
happy together's picture

Awareness without meditation

If you bring precious diamonds from the dungeons of the house while the mighty lord of the house is still in power, surely he will snatch these diamonds from your hands each time you go up from the dungeons. Make sure you weakens this lord of the house before so that he will be sleeping when you raise from the dungeons.

The problem you raise is a sort of epidemic among spiritual people, mainly from the west. The main cause for this problem can be defined as "exercising awareness while not exercising meditation". One should not be done without the other, if the balance is not maintained all sort of illnesses occur such as tacit control of the mind over what is witnessed.

Awareness brings stuff from the unconscious. Meditation weakens the mind. Many are too lazy or too afraid to the latter. What you get is someone with remarkable insights while you see that he is still very mind-oriented and in control, no transformation happened to him, his conduct and behavior remained the same.

happy together | Sun, 07/12/2009 - 08:18
Phroggy's picture


What the OP is talking about is just part of the process of awareness. Mental control was always happening but there was no clear awareness of it's depth; it was hidden precisely so that the control could continue unobserved. When the awareness is allowed, it suddenly appears that control has started, but it is just the awareness of the control, and it will ultimately weaken in this awareness and nothing more need be done.

Your comments come from your predudice against westerners and your grasping of meditation as a superior mode of seeking. Nobody gets "remarkable insights" without these insights impacting their whole lives. If they do not, they're just conceptual ideas, perhaps eloquently spoken so as to trick you into believing insights have been gained. The unconscious will see wisdom as ignorance and ignorance as wisdom, according to egoic perception.

Phroggy | Sun, 07/12/2009 - 21:08
seeker's picture

meditation is indeed a superior mode of seeking

You are projecting your fears of meditation. He/she is very right. You realize this when you drop your fear of meditation and just try it. Then all your conceptual theoretical ideas drop. It takes time but only when you try it you realize the importance, until then mind cannot grasp this. And yes, we at the west are too hectic and mind-based and so miss the most important tool until we face this fear. Unfortunately, you see this in many western sanghas. They will come with all sorts of excuses and ideologies why not meditate. I did for many years until I had the courage and support to embark on it.

seeker | Sun, 07/12/2009 - 23:29
Omkaradatta's picture


> You are projecting your fears of meditation.

Telling others what they're doing is ridiculous, when not only is one not in contact with the other (doesn't know them, nor is 'inside their head' with them) but one is ignorant of oneself as well.

Omkaradatta | Mon, 07/13/2009 - 07:05
Annie's picture

For the mind it is ridiculous

For the mind it is ridiculous, for the awareness one has beyond mind it is not. You base your analysis on a skeptic secular point of view of a mind knowing using the senses over the physical medium.

In the above case, no supernatural feeling is even necessary, as it is so evident that the fear of meditation is there. Almost anyone in spirituality has been in that preliminary stage of thinking and doing anything but meditation, sometimes it takes years to be stuck in that phase until the fear of meditation is processed. Such one recognizes that fear very well in others.

Annie | Mon, 07/13/2009 - 08:04
Omkaradatta's picture


"You base your analysis on a skeptic secular point of view of a mind knowing using the senses over the physical medium."

Again, telling someone else what they're doing is absurd.

Annie hasn't a clue from what position Omkaradatta is really 'coming from' -- but instead, 'other' is projected, constructed from a pre-existing memory pattern known as "myself", one's own self-image.

Even our own family and friends, we don't know their true motivations. And yet one is supposed to believe a total stranger, encountered via a few brief messages, is to be 'known' so well... is ridiculous. A little of awareness can see through this game easily.


Omkaradatta | Mon, 07/13/2009 - 08:20
Phroggy's picture


Meditation is useful for folks like you. If you live long enough, you may discover that this, too, has it's boundaries, and you may tire of the mind states it leads to, and then you will get serious about your seeking. The "fear of meditation" is not overcome through a transcendence of that fear in meditation, but by a filling of that existential emptiness with mind contrived states of bliss and feelings of peace and love, or whatever your preferred fantasy is. If meditation has not obliterated you, then it has fed you. If your meditation does not consist of an emptiness that is unbearable to mind, then this is not true meditation, just another mind game.

Short story here:
Marie and I were at the park today, and I was talking about a darkness that came over me today, without apparent cause. She is remarkably intuitive and alligned with what I was experiencing immediately. she said, "You're on the edge of the void again", and she felt the darkness and said "It's horrible!". I said, "Yes, that's it!", and in seeing that, I remembered my own words "Come empty". I fell into a gentle, softness and faded into the background, and the darkness left me.

The reason i mention this is that there is a fear far beyond the 'fear of meditation' and the boredom it brings. If you are not constantly standing on the threshold of your own dissolution, you're just playing games with yourself and you don't give a damn about Truth. Truth wants to kill you. The only question is, do you have the courage to die?

Phroggy | Tue, 07/14/2009 - 00:52
Omkaradatta's picture

The barrier

The actual barrier, the 'gateless gate', may be a total aloneness. It's good to see you have someone else, someone close, walking the path with ya, Phil. My guess is that it softens the 'blow'. Not that the 'blow' is ever really remembered as anything important. "Here and now" is all there is.


Omkaradatta | Tue, 07/14/2009 - 08:06
Phroggy's picture


Yes, Marie gives me the courage to 'look' and the support that allows me to just be with it without the expectation that I 'snap out of it'. She shares in the joy of it, and the terror of it. I'm most grateful to her.

Phroggy | Tue, 07/14/2009 - 19:05
Omkaradatta's picture

As close...

I figure when things 'even out' more (e.g. into 'peace in the now') there'll still be plenty to talk about and share... probably even more, as mind is 'preoccupation'. Send her my best wishes, will ya?

Omkaradatta | Tue, 07/14/2009 - 23:47
genep's picture

courage to die

" Truth wants to kill you. The only question is, do you have the courage to die? "
courage to die – who the hell needs courage?

Death needs no courage,
life does.

-- really, Really, REALLY.

genep | Thu, 08/06/2009 - 18:28
Omkaradatta's picture

Advice 'as requested'

From here, the 'control' is attempted resistance. The mind attempts to resist its demise by attempting to control things.

The mistake is to reject such control. This creates a secondary movement, to reject the rejection, etc. which makes the issue worse.

Try something different: Just let it be.

Let everything be as-is 'for now'... not permanently, just for now, an undefined period that can change any time.


Omkaradatta | Mon, 07/13/2009 - 10:12
davids's picture

Real time awareness

Yes, this is a known phenomenon. It indicates that your mind is still too strong. It is a mind process that observes and when it is strong, especially in the case of those who used to be "control freaks" it is accustomed to exploit the new revealing spaces and to try to gain control over them. You have more crusts to peel from the center and with time the observing center will get purer and purer. Meanwhile just be aware in real time to the movement of control when a new mental object enters your awareness.

davids | Wed, 07/15/2009 - 01:24