10/27/2013 – Open Awareness

This Sunday, Michael guided our reflections, centering them around a talk by Toni Packer, the revolutionary teacher who centered her work on the natural practice of open awareness.  Can something so simple cultivate insights of depth equal to traditional Buddhist practice?  The talk by Toni that was played is not available on the internet, but another one deeply characteristic of her work can be found at

Toni Packer described open awareness this way:  “Sitting quietly, doing nothing, not knowing what is next and not concerned with what was or what may be next, a new mind is operating that is not connected with the conditioned past and yet perceives and understands the whole mechanism of conditioning.  It is the unmasking of the self that is nothing but masks–images, memories of past experiences, fears, hopes, and the ceaseless demand to be something or become somebody.  This new mind that is no-mind is free of duality–there is no doer in it and nothing to be done.”

A good description of what it was like to work with Toni can be found in the introduction to “The Wonder of Presence,” and perhaps her freshest insights into practice can be found in “The Work of This Moment,” her first book.