When the mind pays attention with defilement, it feels the defilement. Paying attention with wisdom, that is the meditating mind or awareness.
When we pay attention without right view or wisdom, the defilement is already there. If we are watching or paying attention with defilement, the defilement increases.
New yogis, when they try to be aware of unpleasant feelings, the mind resists more and more – when they watch pain, the mind becomes more and more angry. When they watch anger, the mind becomes angrier.
The mind is paying attention, but there is no wisdom.
Awareness means that you must have right view, right thought, right understanding, and right knowledge. If you have right idea and pay attention, that’s awareness. Then, the defilement comes down.
This applies to pleasant experiences too. Many yogis enjoy the calm when the mind becomes peaceful. Already there is lobha, greed.
Because there is no wisdom, the mind feels the object. In Burmese, we say ‘knowing or feeling?’ We need to check if the mind is knowing or feeling the object because the mind can pay attention in 2 ways.