Further to the previous Blog post regarding the ‘Not Me’ teaching of Jim Newman, and the “Comparative” Non-Dual Teachings of Advaita Vedanta as elucidated by Ramana Maharshi, this post attempts to clarify the use of the term Awareness in each teaching.

Both teachings are supported by the actual experience of each teacher after awakening into a Non-Duality, and I (author) accept the validity of both of these pointings. The inexactness of language to describe the “indescribable” must be taken into consideration if one suspects a basic discrepancy in the pointings.

The following discussion explores the context and presentation of the use of the word awareness and I continue to review these teachings, each of which make claim to be the most ‘DIRECT PATH’, to clarify my own understanding and relationship to them.


Jim Newman does not use the word Awareness to describe his experience of ‘What Is Happening’ as it is superfluous to any explanation of his ‘transcended state’, and he also appears to disagree with the way the term is used in Advaita. I surmise that this may be related to a suspected dependance on interoperation as it can be suggestive of an ‘a priori’ recognition; whereas, ‘What is Happening’ is already a fully self contained experience requiring no recognition or governance, and I look forward with interest to further clarity what may arise in further conversation of any usage at all.

Michael James confirms that the term awareness is a central pointer in most explanations of Advaita, and Pure Awareness as our own True Nature equates to that which is ‘only aware of itself’, the ‘Sat-Chit’, or existence-consciousness. An excellent detailed commentary of it’s principal uses by Ramana Maharshi is included in his Satsang at Ramana Maharshi Foundation UK on 02-110-2021, at around the 1hour 10 minutes, a summary of which is given below.

Awareness Definitions

Michael James ascribes two usages to the term awareness in what he calls Transitive and Intransitive Awareness. Transitive awareness is defined as the awareness of objects, whereas Intransitive awareness is when we are NOT aware of anything, as in the sleep state. He goes on to explain that this Intransitive awareness is the state of sat-chit-ananda, the state of pure self knowledge.

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So transitive awareness includes a VERB, and needs an object like say ‘kick’; whereas Intransitive awareness is like a description of ‘Standing’, where there is no action or time or place. (I the author, would not describe this as a “state of being”, rather it could be just ‘being’, independent of reliance on anything other than itself.)


The ‘Not Me; teaching is very clear in stating the term awareness has no place in the experience of ‘What Is” and I acknowledge that I still need to find further understanding as I process the similarities and differences in these two teachings more closely for myself. I suspect that when Jim Newman suggests awareness as inappropriate in use, it may also be to do with ‘Transitive Awareness’, however this remains unconfirmed currently.

The Michael James Satsangs are extremely detailed and revealing of the nuance and meaning that underlies the written word and commentaries Ramana Maharshi provided on Advaita, and hence are highly recommended for both the novice and experienced student of the mystery stories of the underlying nature of life itself.

In the meantime I will just accept the obvious conclusion that both teachings are valid pointings to the occurrence of Non-Duality for each of the advocates, and both continue to appeal to me.

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