When awareness is identified with the processes of the personality – sensations, emotions, thoughts – everything becomes hooks. Awareness is caught up in the conditioned responses of the personality, triggered by inner/outer situations. And the stronger and more intense the response, the more caught up it tends to get. There is little sense of spaciousness, overview and choice (although there is of course the perception of choice).
When awareness becomes aware of itself as distinct – yet inseparable – from the particular and changing experiences of the personality, there is a sense of overview, perspective, and more conscious choice. We can choose more how to relate to the inner/outer world, and what actions to take.
In the first situation, strong and intense experiences serves as an even stronger hook. There is a sense of awareness being trapped in a very small space, with few options. It fuels or pushes away the experiences, which leads to a contraction. The stronger the energy in the experience, the stronger the contraction.
In the second situation, strong and intense experiences are just that – experiences. They unfold within and rage through awareness, and the energy in the experiences often lead to a sense of expansion and clarity.
The latter is of course the tantric path. When our center of gravity includes awareness, all experiences becomes food for clarity.
Even here, there is the possibility for hooks. Something may be triggered that brings awareness into identification with it. This can especially happen when wounds not brought into awareness – wounds we are not comfortable with – are poked.
A solution is to familiarize ourselves with our particular pattern of contraction, recognize it when it occurs, and then bring focus to awareness through any tool that works for us – the breath, weight of the body, Big Mind process, Can I be with what I am experiencing right now?