This dialogue is in response to a post:
While meditating, we are bound to find ourselves carried away by trains of thought. When we recognize this has happened, we may react with frustration, disappointment, or restlessness. All such responses are a waste of time.
Alan Wallace, Tibetan Buddhism From The Ground Up
D: Oh I love Alan’s response..its just a “waste of time”…I am going to try and remember that when I those thoughts start proliferating
Jay: I can relate to that too! The way it feels to me is that suddenly there is a moment of waking up and in that moment it’s somehow instantly clear that there had been nothing but daydreaming for a while. Now the daydreaming is over for this moment and there is an interest in staying in this presence without daydreaming. It’s not too hard to notice that there can also be a powerful movement for the thinking to take over this spaciousness. It’s detectable! And often it’s a negative thought pattern trying to take hold – “Why did I let myself get lost in daydreaming again? I have to do something to prevent it. I have to practice something or remember something!” But it is also noticeable that these thoughts of doing something to stay present are actually thinking trying to move back into the daydream realm. How ironic!!
What is really interesting and vital and passionate for me is wondering about the possibility of finding out what it is to live in this presence.
Another aspect of this is that sometimes the thinking goes on in Presence. In other words, the way it feels to me is that now there is awareness that includes some thoughts going around. This feels very different from being lost in daydream.
I’ve learned over the years that this kind of thinking has a life of its own and it’s important for me not to try to get rid of it or change it. I find that it’s very revealing to allow the thoughts to unfold in the space of awareness. It may be that some processing just needs to happen and when given that chance, it will finish on its own. Or it may be that some pattern of thinking that is a deep habit is coming to light. For example, maybe it becomes noticeable that the thinking is centered around a fear of angry people.
The miraculous thing is that all of this revealing and unfolding of thoughts happens on its own. I don’t need to know how to do it. I don’t need to have any guidelines or words of wisdom or practices to manage it. It all unfolds on its own if I don’t try to change it.
And along with the unfolding of thoughts that might be happening, the sound of birds, the feel of the air, the sensing of other people, the feel of the body, and the vast unknowable space in which it all takes place are all also revealed. It doesn’t matter whether or not there are thoughts. What matters is this wide world of Presence.
D: Oh yes…long retreats are so helpful…… and I have noticed now that I can more quickly settle into those places starting early in the retreat. I remember in the early days it took 2-3 days to get over drowsiness (sloth and torper)…and restlessness. Oh the fruits of practice. I am looking forward to living here where I have easy access to long term retreats in Taos. I would love any recommendations as most of my experience is from IMS on the east coast.
In response to your comment about experiencing all at the same time..I need to think about that …. that may be what I refer to as an extended gap. I have only experienced that for a long period once on a concentration retreat. It was amazing..and as often described I find myself wanting to experience it like that again….and of course that doesn’t work.
Jay: Thanks for responding.
The kind of perception I was referring to is, in my experience, a natural, whole way of perceiving that functions when something drops away. I can’t say what that “something” is but in my experience when wholeness and agendaless presence is functioning, perception is whole. Hearing, seeing, feeling, all happen in the same space without a sense of division. And one doesn’t feel like they are separate from the rest of life. It is just wholeness that encompasses everything, including this body and mind.
To me when this is functioning, it is clear that it is the natural state of things. Whatever was going on before that chopped experience up into separate things has dropped away in such moments. And this very definitely affects the sense of being a separate entity.
D: Sounds like a very deep and lovely experience – the absense of all boundaries 🙂
Jay: Yes. This is our true nature – just one vast still space of being. We’ve all lived in this at moments. We lived in this all the time when we were babies! Animals live in it all the time, it seems.
To me, our work is to uncover together the habits in the human mind that create this very strong impression of being separate. Once uncovered and brought to light, there is a chance of these habits opening. There is a chance of the one who feels it needs to be separate to discover that what it really wants is to return home to wholeness.
We do this work together because in reality we aren’t separate! That’s amazing. And all of life helps us do it because we aren’t separate from that. It’s amazing to see that truth unfold as we come together to listen and speak in dialogue, learning to trust that we are all in this together, along with the wind, the sky, the sun, and the darkness.
Thanks for engaging in this wonderful conversation.