Try a little experiment. Close your eyes and say to yourself: "I wonder what my next thought is going to be." Then become very alert and wait for the next thought. Be like a cat watching a mouse hole. What thought is going to come out of the mousehole? Try it now.
TPON chapter 5 paragraph 3
By the time I first sat down on the bench I was well-acquainted with the concept of applying non-judgment to thoughts which would arise ... how that would cause them to dissolve and how uncannily the awareness in absence of thought would be brought into such stark relief by experiencing the dissolution. Much of what I've read here from kiki and Ananda influenced this facet of the practice toward a point of refinement and for this I'm very grateful.
What I had neglected, and have been leaving out for the past year was the invitation to thought that is inherent in this short simple paragraph from Tolle. While I knew that trying to blank the mind was just the voice coming in again through the back door the "posture" that I'd adopted while watching the mousehole had been one of studied neutrality.
Changing this posture to one that borders on actual expectation had a striking effect.
Rick wrote:Snow, One of the ways I've learned from ET to stop the mind cold is to become aware of space. Sitting on your bench, simply notice the space between you and the nearest tree, shrub, rock, anything. Just notice it.
This is literally going to stay with me in a cool still place deep in my heart for the rest of my life, every time I look up at a cloud. If I understand the term right, one word for this is "Satori" -- and while like many I'd been doing this all of my life, perhaps instinctively, I realized yesterday when looking at the red-outline of the reflected sun in the distance that yes, these intense, almost surreal details had always been there, and had always been that indescribably beautiful.
This re-reading of the mousehole suggestion coincided with circumstances which put me on the bench for an unusually long period of time. Almost always I just get up spontaneously at some point, and the time usually varies from about 10 to 20 minutes, but on these occasions I was actually coordinating with an errand so I was there for about an hour.
I remain intensely grateful for the various perspectives presented here about the lack of need for practice and conceptually this makes perfect sense. It is easy to see how someone could lose themselves in such a chase, because iteratively going back into the state of no-mind does seem to result in a deeper and deeper .... something. This actually manifests itself physically -- there are various internal cues, the blankness of the closed eyelids seems to change with no correlation to external input, there is a sharp and deep intake of breath and a straightening of the spine. Sounds are heard -- in parallel all at once, the number of sources quite remarkable as is the apparent collapse of distance. Afterword the thread to the stillness is felt strongly and for a greater duration of clock time.
But those signposts from the others who have either been here before or never had to trod the path, along with the understanding, such as can be had by the mind of what all this means saves me the trouble of wondering or even really being curious about what that something that is felt deeper and deeper really is. A second, a day, it's all the same. There is no progression to this ... the mind will judge some meditations as successful, others not. There is nowhere to go, no goal, no path, because it is always just a hairsbreadth away, always very simple, always completely accessible, and that perception is in and of itself just an illusion.