When you stop identifying with things as self, you don’t suddenly disappear. You don’t walk around feeling vague or lost. You actually feel more alive than ever, more focused and intelligent, thought your intelligence isn’t based on knowledge acquired over time. Emptiness has the ability to know. When the mind is clear and empty, it is much more trustworthy in terms of what it sees and the actions that come out of that seeing.
So, to practice with the contemplation of not-self, you sit and breathe, with some amount of composure and clarity. You see the mind wanting, wanting, wanting, but you don’t identify with the wanting and create a self. You just see it, see that it lacks a core, and stop attaching to it.
The final question of this practice, and all of spiritual life, is, Who are you? At the beginning you answer with conventional ideas about yourself. As they fade away, you come into contact with something that has tremendous depth and space, that is very alive. It’s a vast extraordinary space that can be lived in and from, but it is unnameable. The message of this practice is liberation.
ever have that feeling like you’ve been watching yourself from afar? a little like deja vu?
inquiry for today~ imagine watching yourself from the end of the walkway, through the window, into the dusky light, seeing yourself in all of your mundane beauty as if for the first time……
Coming to terms with the intangibility of our thoughts, with their lack of reality, can liberate us from enormous suffering and anguish. A thought or a fear can develop into a full-blown story line that can cause us incredible pain and upset. Our thoughts often escalate, and meditation helps us learn to de-escalate suffering. We make a huge deal out of our thoughts, but just like dreams, they have no real substance.
So when you realize you’ve been thinking, you can just touch the thought and let it dissolve back into the vast blue sky. When you say, “everything is a dream,” another way to say that is, “there is so much room.” We have an enormous amount of room to move around in. If we can loosen the grip of our thoughts, regarding them as dreams, we’ve just made the world and our ability to experience this world evermore larger.