Friday, August 08, 2008
Natural Radiance of the Mind
One of the hardest things for any normally developed human mind to do is to think of nothing for any extended period of time. For the mind to be full of worries, anxieties, pleasurable thoughts, fantasies, reveries, plans and anticipations is the usual state of affairs, and our awareness is ordinarily so taken up with those kinds of mental ripples that as a consequence we are mostly unaware of even the details and nuances of our immediate surroundings.
And if we find it difficult to focus our awareness on our immediate environments, and it's a task of no easy accomplishment to eliminate the mental static that interferes with doing so, how much more difficult would it be to take as the mind's object an awareness of only awareness itself, or in other words, to think of nothing?
The teacher of my teachers, Gary Kraftsow, refers to this kind of pure awareness as "that which never changes," as opposed to those malleable, finite, and short-lived thought formations which are the normal and ordinary objects of our consciousness. Pure awareness, then, would be a subject with no object, and aware only of itself.
I've been finding out first hand just how hard it is to achieve this rare and fleeting state of mind. The mind abhors an empty room, and seeks to occupy itself with any object that comes conveniently to hand. This morning as I attended to my breathing, I attempted to prevent the natural inclination of my mind to grasp for an object -- any object -- if left unattended for more than a fraction of a second. I actually succeeded for brief periods of up to maybe half a minute, in keeping at bay any mental object other than an awareness of the breath.
What happened during those brief seconds was unusual for me (although I'm sure it wouldn't be for those accomplished at this sort of thing). I felt as if the mind's eye was seeing, at some distance, a white light or white radiance of some sort, although where it was coming from I couldn't tell. It seemed to arise somewhere on the left side of the inner vision.
I'm pretty certain more will be revealed.