A. This is a very good example to illustrate the fundamental difference in attitude and application between the pure awareness approach to practice and the more usual approach to practice.

With the conventional approach we see the so-called hindrances as being just that – something that we need to either avoid or deal with in order to nurture still deeper our understanding of the path. Because we see these experiences as blocking the path, we may indeed view them with some negativity and frustration and would dearly like them to clear off and stop making our practice more difficult than it already is. I suspect that it would not be too difficult to imagine they may even be sent to us from some outside agent such as mara, in order to deliberately impede the practice. A ‘me and it’ dualistic relationship becomes inevitable. We then give these hindrances a lot of attention as we work to eliminate them with the various ‘skilful means’ of practice available to us. But if we are committed to the pure awareness path, we have an approach to working with them that is quite radically different, even seemingly contradictory.

The pure awareness approach is revolutionary. Instead of dealing with the hindrances as described above, in cultivating ‘Entering Pure Awareness’ or, as I like to call it, ‘Cultivating the Dharma Mind’, we actually do nothing.

Instead of perceiving these experiences as something negative and dualistic, and perhaps even not ‘me’ at all, we embrace everything with a spirit of openness. We do this with the clear understanding that these so called ‘hindrances’ are a fundamental part of ourselves that have broken off into delusion and which we are no longer prepared to be in conflict with nor enslaved by. Now we willingly accept them for what they are, without any sort of reaction whatsoever. Acceptance means that rather than buy into the reactionary habit that we have developed towards these experiences over our lifetime, we now choose to embrace and contain them instead. No longer do we think of these so-called ‘hindrances’ in the manner that we used to, but rather they are now seen as a golden opportunity, something to make friends with, indeed love. We now know them as fundamental parts of our makeup that somehow have broken off into dualistic conflict, and only serve the purpose of creating the karma that keeps us bound to the eternal wheel of becoming.

This accepting means that we not only resist getting carried away physically, emotionally, and verbally, but we don’t even mentally label the experience. For example, as being ‘good’ or ‘bad’ or ‘skilful’ or ‘unskilful’. No judgments at all. Become like a reflecting mirror that impartially reveals what comes into its field without judgment and reaction. If it becomes an emotional experience, learn to carry that emotion and hand yourself into the present moment. Most crucially, carry in your body whatever is the emotional impact, and with it learn to function in a normal human way. Carry those ‘hindrances’ with a willingness and openness, and soon you will no longer be creating the karma that you once did and will cease to create the seeds of yet another unknown rebirth. Soon those so-called ‘hindrances’ will reveal themselves as being nothing other than the Buddha himself, as you awaken to your pure intrinsic awareness – that awareness which, not for a single moment, has ever been in conflict with or even been touched by your ‘hindrances’.