Experiment

First of all, relax.

Now, turn your attention to the thoughts that are appearing.

Notice how they are, more often than not, based on the past or the future.

In this experiment, simply continue relaxing, but refrain from entertaining any thoughts about the past or the future.

Sustain that attention for a few minutes.

When you can remain for a few minutes without thinking of the past or future, then also let go of thinking about whatever is happening now. Just withdraw your attention.

Whenever thoughts or emotions arise about the past, present, or future, don’t try to suppress them, just refuse to grant them energy, or the fuel of attention.

Now, release the mind’s focus on any sound, sight, smell, touch, taste, or any bodily contact with the environment. If any sensation does arise, don’t try to suppress it, just refuse to grant it lingering attention.

Notice here that, even though you no longer are dwelling on thoughts or physical sensations, the mind stream or the body, something is still present.

Consider now: if you are no longer identified with the body, or the thoughts and emotions which arise within the body, what is it that is still here, still present?

Does it come and go, or does it simply remain as it already is, and as it always has been?

Whatever this presence is, remain as that for as long as possible. When thoughts or sensations arise, refuse to grant them energy. They will vanish on their own. Just stay with what persists, prior to, after, and regardless of whatever appears.

When you find yourself becoming preoccupied by some thought or sensation, simply return attention to that which persists regardless of the thought or sensation — the gap between their appearance and the next appearance — this motionless timeless presence.

Notice that the more you experiment in this way, the more spacious that gap grows, and the easier it is to remain relaxed as that — free of thought or fixated identity.

This innocent, transparent presence: it is just pure awareness, without object or subject. It requires no name or praise, no temples or worship places.

It is not holy, sacred, enlightened, mysterious, superior, or magical. It is just the simple awareness that we all are, prior to, during, and after our adventures in thinking and feeling, prior to, during, and after our identification with an idea or sensation, or even of being some individual person, age, size, gender, race, nationality, or matrix of attention in time and space.

Experimenting by relaxing as this presence provides no special advantage, except freedom from the complications we tend to create for ourselves by identifying with any thought or feeling, any separate sense of person, age, size, gender, race, nationality, or matrix of attention in time and space.

 

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About Bob OHearn

My name is Bob O'Hearn, and I live with my Beloved Mate, Mazie, in the foothills of the Northern California Sierra Nevada Mountains. I have several other sites you may enjoy: Photo Gallery: http://www.pbase.com/1heart Essays on the Conscious Process: https://theconsciousprocess.wordpress.com/ Poetry and Prosetry: http://feelingtoinfinity.wordpress.com/ Writings from selected Western Mystics, Classic and Modern: https://westernmystics.wordpress.com/ https://freetransliterations.wordpress.com/ Wisdom of a Spirit Guide: https://spiritguidesparrow.wordpress.com/ Thank You!
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8 Responses to Experiment

  1. Bob OHearn says:

    “When looking into the nature of mind, don’t expect to gain some exceptionally high or profound realization, or to see anything new. Nor should you hesitate or doubt your ability to meditate. Just trust that the nature of mind is simply the mind itself left in an unaltered state, and do all that you can to sustain this, without distraction, at all times, during and between the meditation sessions. Don’t expect to gain realization in just a few months, or even years. Whether you develop any of the qualities that come from the practice or not, remain steadfastly determined and resolve to continue the practice with diligence, day and night, throughout this life, future lives and the bardo state. ”

    ~Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

  2. Dash R. says:

    Beautiful. helpful and cogent. Thank you.

  3. Bob OHearn says:

    Empty Cognizance, by Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche

    “Try to imagine what it’s like when this moment of empty cognizance suffused with awareness starts to last for a full hour, unbroken. The very first moment of empty cognizance already has the potential for full omniscience, as well as the potential for compassion and loving kindness – the potential ability to protect and help other beings, as well as to manifest the activity that functions for the welfare of all. All these qualities are present, but not fully manifest. The longer this duration lasts, the more the qualities become visible, actualized. They don’t just appear later on, when realization is fully experienced. When the sun rises in the morning, do we have to wait for it to shine for it to be warm and brilliant? Although the noon sun may be stronger than the dawn sun, all of its qualities are present from the very first moment, though they may not be fully manifested. It’s the same in this training. What is essential is to train in order to attain stability.

    Please understand that ‘rangjung yeshe’, self-existing wakefulness, is primordially endowed with all perfect qualities. The qualities of enlightenment are not a fabrication or a product. They are not a new achievement, an unprecedented new discovery, or something that we achieve. They are present from the very beginning. It’s like the unchanging brilliance of the sun shining in the sky. It can be obscured by clouds, but these clouds are neither primordial nor intrinsic to the sky; they are always temporary, momentary. What prevents full realization of our innate nature of self-existing wakefulness is the momentary occurrence of thoughts and fixation. Because this occurrence is momentary, it can be cleared away. It’s very important to understand this.”

    – Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, from the book “As It Is, Vol. 1”

  4. Bob Ford says:

    Indeed.

  5. garyhorvitz says:

    Bob–You refer to a “motionless, timeless presence,” but the timeless quality, for me, is not something that automatically arrives. I’ve been familiar with this approach for some time, and have noted a potential addition to the method/exercise, which is to step out of time slightly more deliberately. The activity of breath alone anchors us in time, but in the space between breaths is a moment in which it is possible, however briefly, to “drop” time itself. I grant that this may be conceptual, becoming attached to another “thought,” but the rest of the experiment entails deliberate intentions. Adding one more can–at least briefly–convey a deeper, deathless quality of “timeless presence.”—which has no qualities whatsoever. 😉

    • Bob OHearn says:

      Thanks for your comment, Gary!

      There are certainly a number of yoga techniques dealing with breath and its temporary cessation. That is not what I am referring to in this essay, however, but am more pointing to the re-cognition of the fundamental presence of our own awake awareness, regardless of any temporary bodily disposition.

      Also, it is easy to get fixated on verbal descriptions, such as “timeless” or “motionless”, and as you know this can be distracting since it engages the conceptual apparatus, but if we realize that it is just the pointing finger, so to speak, and not the moon, we can return again and again to the immediate appreciation of our “self-existing wakefulness”, not as some special yogic attainment, but as our simple, natural state that is already always present.

      Nevertheless, if experimenting with pranayama and/or the yogic samadhis appeals to you, by all means enjoy the adventure! My essay was by no means intended to convey some exclusive or ultimate approach, but as I termed it, an “experiment”.

      Blessings!

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