Let me speak a bit further about #3, where you say you lost me, in order to help make myself a little better understood.
: ^ )
Very often we try to capture Awareness in words and concepts. But it is actually quite impossible to do so. Words can only point at where you must look, intrinsically, in order to experience the same thing that I have witnessed.
This is because Awareness is not a group activity that can be shared among friends, or even written about in its wholeness. Awareness is more intimate than that, and takes place within our intimate solitude.
Zen Quote: "Don't look at my words. Look where they are pointing."
Awareness is not just one more thing, among many, within our mind of multiplicity. Awareness is 'One' without another. Because of this, the mind cannot see it, thinks of it as empty, and yet is conscious of it as a kind/of Intuitive Presence.
Your very Presence is Awareness. All objects are merely imaginary, and they dance before your eyes. This dance is somewhat hypnotic and draws us into it. If we lose ourselves in the hypnotic dance or dream that is going on, we begin to identify with all of these imaginary things, saying, “I am the body, I am the Mind, and I am events like sadness," etc. This is a mistaken view or "False Identification."
When the Buddha “Woke Up,” he simply disentangled himself from this hypnotic dream, and knew who and what he was not.
Quote: “In knowing who we are not, (dis-identifying with illusion), we know ‘Who’ we are.”
Our first big hint that something wasn’t right, the big problem that we couldn’t ignore as much as we would like to, was the fact that “Suffering is.” In trying to get this “monkey off our back,” we started out on a Spiritual Path, which could only end in our own Wholeness. We are healing the separation from our own Self.
Many have said that this yearning to be free of suffering, this need for the meaning behind our suffering, and this yearning to understand what the hell is going on, IS our Buddha Nature drawing us home.
When our true nature is revealed, and we know who we are, this IS Liberation. We are not trying to free our mind so much as; we are trying to be free from the mind. The mind in its very nature is a burden, because it has not got the capacity to be content once and for all. The mind lives in perpetual dis-satisfaction. Granted it can grab a little pleasure once in a while, but this can never be maintained, and so mind is a bumpy ride of constant ups and downs.
Our hearts grow, "sick of this unto death." Paraphrased, Kierkegaard.
It is the very perpetual separation (dualism) that takes place within the mind, which refuses to be healed.