When apprehended as a field, awareness is infinitely large, with all subjective experience residing inside it.
Flow down and down in always widening rings of being.
But wait a minute…
Isn't awareness more than just a sun-like particle around which a variety of other experiences occur?
To consider this question, imagine for a moment if the sun were like all of the other non-luminous objects in the solar system – central, yes, but also dark. If that were the case, none of the planets, asteroids, moons, and other objects that revolve around the sun would be visible, would they?
The entire system would be dark.
So, we could say that, like the sun, awareness is not only central to but also illuminates the subjective experiences and external objects it finds.
But this metaphor is a bit problematic because, as we know, the light of the sun diminishes with distance. So, if the sun were the only luminous object in the universe, only a tiny part of the universe around it would be visible; the rest would be shrouded in darkness.
Awareness, however, does not share this limitation. Awareness doesn't diminish through lack of proximity.
To test these ideas, become aware of your thoughts right now. Now, focus on two distinct thoughts, such as I like pizza and I'm a good dad.
Now, instead of imagining awareness as a central point that illuminates these thoughts, can you see that a potentially better description of awareness is as the field in which these thoughts arise?
Another way to grasp this idea is to see how awareness is the internal landscape in which thoughts arise.
You can also observe your feelings in this way. To do this, see if you can focus in on one emotion – perhaps, for starters, an emotion that's not overwhelmingly strong – and notice how it occurs within the field or internal landscape of awareness.
Simply put, this feeling occurs within your awareness – that's how you're aware of it at all.
Now, focus on a bodily sensation in this way. For example, ask yourself whether you're hungry at this moment, and consult your body for the answer.
Notice how this bodily sensation, too, occurs within the field of awareness.
So, in some sense, this field of awareness has the capacity to contain all of the thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations that arise within your experience.
In fact, this field of awareness contains the totality of your personal, moment-by-moment experiences – everything that you, and only you, can subjectively experience, but which other people cannot directly experience.
To go even further, you could say that this field of awareness is you. It is the ever-present you in which subjective experience emerges, yet which remains unaltered by whatever experiences emerge within it.
If this makes sense, and you can get on board, at least provisionally, move on to Insight 23.