The following is an outline …
It’s really very simple. There is sense or sensation that is of the body. You can feel the tingling in your hands or feet, as grains of sand or dots of light in dark inner space, separate and immersed … smell the rain and see what’s in front of you. That’s sensation with no need to think about it, and sense that arises from it. Then there is thought and emotion that is of the mind. Worry, stress, anger, fear and all the other negatives of mind.
Meditation, the practise, is to determine which you give your attention to until you can do it at will and it eventually becomes a subconscious reality and your mind no longer troubles you.
An example of the mind and how it works – as a problem – is when you lie down to sleep at night and it just won’t stop. In fact it seems to get louder the quieter you are. It runs on in thought about some past that you don’t need to think about – or if you need to think about it do it properly. It does this because it has at its base the momentum to reproduce itself, like everything in existence. It gets this momentum from you giving it your attention.
The rule is what I give my attention to grows, what I don’t give my attention to dies.
First off sit in a darkened room in a straight chair. Take a few deep breaths and let any tension go with the exhalation, relax. Relaxation is fundamental and you learn as you go. With eyes closed and looking straight ahead watch inside as the mind arises as thought or emotion. Let it come and go without thinking about any particular image or feeling, without holding on as if you need to think. And when you catch yourself running on with thought just return to observing without involvement. Sit and practise observation, let thought pass without holding on. The observer is not the observed.
Looking inside, go around the body feeling or seeing the pure sensation. The sensation, best described as a tingling – dots of light in the darkness, moving, alive – that can more easily be felt in the hands. And if you have any difficulty feeling it press your forefinger and thumb together and apart and you will feel it as it diminishes to its normal ‘volume’. The ‘volume’ of the sensation varies in different parts of the body, inside, and it takes time to become sensitive enough to feel all of it. If while looking at the sensation you observe any tension see it, let it go and back to the sensation. There is no forcing it, and no suppression, just observe the sensation.
The sensation looks like dots of light in the darkness, in motion, a living thing. It’s the actual feeling and not the image the mind would make. There is space between each grain or dot and space in and behind. Look into it until there is nothing else but that. See the sensation, be the sensation, until the sensation disappears and there is only the space.
However it is perceived it is in inner space and space is in it – a pressure, a pulsing, whatever it is for you is what you focus on – the actuality. The mental image is not the actuality.
Everything occurs in space, inside and ‘out’. So there must be something profound or fundamental about it. Could it be the beginning of our reality, that and the intelligence that observes it … Have a look inside.
Space, after focusing on the sensation for a time your sense of space grows and it is good to be aware of this. Be conscious of the sense of space, be the space, let everything else pass. Relaxation is the essence, and focus is easy. Relax, focus, and be the space you see. Just allow it to be.
As you become effective at this practise of clearing your inner space your clarity will be tested. The mind can come back with a strength but as long as you stick to the practise it is you who has the strength, remember that. So be prepared for that possibility.
The reciprocal of the inner work of clearing your space is the life of circumstances. One is the reflection of the other and as your inner clarity is tested by the past trying to get back in as thought and emotion so will the past come at you in your circumstances. You deny thought or emotion a place inside and it can appear to return with renewed strength, circumstances reflect this – be aware. It’s the past in some form, as thought inside or someone’s sad story or a situation that triggers your thinking emotional self.
As reminded – it helps to keep the corners of the lips up, against the down pulling of emotion, the gravity of self. You may also sense the energy at the corners of the eyes rise, let it be so.
Persistence will get you home, without you aiming at anything, but doing what is right for you in any situation – it’s your life after all.
If you practise this for a while, ten minutes is enough to start with, morning and night – and any other time you are free or are moved or reminded to, you will begin to see a real difference to the intensity of mind and your general sense of well-being. As you begin to reduce the effects of mind your sense of well-being grows. A sense of proportion returns.
It’s better to do it properly for five minutes than half-heartedly for twenty. It’s the quality that matters, not the time taken. So focus on the sensation and see the space.
And that’s the beginning of the work to change your inner space from clutter to clarity, from mind to sense, and enjoy more just being alive.
The rub is it has to be done, by you. And the beauty is it works – mind eventually returns to its rightful proportion.
With a bit of work …
*** The best book I know of on this subject is by Barry Long, a most extraordinary teacher, largely under-appreciated while alive, or dead.