The book Opening Awareness, subtitled “finding vividness in spacious clarity,” is a guide for a foundation practice for Dzogchen.
I’ll lead with its own description on its back cover:
Opening Awareness is a practical manual for a method of accurate perception, leading to passionate engagement and productive action. Opening awareness, the method, provides panoramic vision and connection with whatever is happening.
Spacious clarity, the result, reveals dynamic creative space around thinking, making previously inhibited choices available. It empowers creative, effective individuals to live and lead with courage, kindness, and grace.
As opening awareness pervades your experience, you may find:
- Confidence in meaning and purpose
- Courage to stay present and engaged in any situation, however unexpected or challenging
- Heightened awareness of sounds, sights, sensations—your world becomes colorful, vibrant, and clear
- New spontaneity and responsible autonomy in relationships: family, work, projects, and society
- General contentedness punctuated by moments of irrationally exuberant joy
You may be familiar with some form of meditation, such as vipassana. This guide is for you! The book explains why the method, goals, and effects of opening awareness are different.
You may be coming to opening awareness without having meditated before. This guide is also for you! It is a detailed, practical manual with no prerequisites. It is written in plain language with no jargon.
You can read a sample online. It includes enough of the beginning of the book to get a good sense of what it’s like and whether you’d want to read the rest.
My spouse Charlie Awbery wrote it. I edited it. Almost all the writing is Charlie’s, but I tightened up the structure; and you may notice a few of my characteristically bizarre turns of phrase.
So, I may not be objective about this, but I think that, among introductory “meditation” books, it’s outstanding.
We crafted the back cover blurb to make clear this is not another of THOSE meditation books. Opening awareness—the practice—is partially similar in method to “meditation,” but it’s partly almost the opposite. Its purpose is almost the opposite: to open into greater intimacy with the whole world, whereas meditation in Sutrayana styles ultimately aims to sever your connections with the world.
Opening Awareness is a more down-to-earth, nuts-and-bolts manual for Dzogchen-style meditation than has been written before. There are many practical manuals for Sutric styles of meditation, but the Dzogchen ones have all been abstract and theoretical in comparison.
Dzogchen is supposedly “the most advanced” Buddhist practice; but opening awareness itself has no prerequisites. Opening Awareness, the book, can get you started, and can take you quite a ways by itself.