Practice: Turning Toward Our Essence

“Develop a mind that is vast like space, where experiences both pleasant and unpleasant can appear and disappear without conflict, struggle or harm. Rest in a mind like vast sky.”  ~Majjhima Nikaya

A simple way to connect with the spacious awareness of consciousness is to listen to the sounds around us. The river of sound can lead us to naturally open the mind, to let go and experience awareness as boundless and vast.

To meditate in this way, sit comfortably and at ease. Close your eyes.  Let your body be at rest and your breathing be natural. Begin to listen to the play of sounds around you. Notice those that are loud or soft, far and near. Notice how sounds arise and vanish, leaving no trace. After you have listened for a few minutes, let yourself sense, feel or imagine that your mind is not limited to your head. Sense that your mind is expanding to be like the sky—open, clear, vast like space. Feel that your mind extends beyond the most distant sounds.  Imagine there are no boundaries to your mind, no inside or outside. Let the awareness of your mind extend in every direction like the open sky.

Now each sound you hear will arise and pass away like a cloud in the open space of your own mind. Relax in this openness and just listen. Let the sounds that come and go, whether loud or soft, far or near, be clouds in the vast sky of your own awareness, appearing and disappearing without resistance. As you rest in this in this open awareness, after a time, notice how thoughts and feelings also arise and vanish like sounds. Let the thoughts and feelings come and go without struggle or resistance. Pleasant and unpleasant thoughts, pictures, words, joys and sorrows, let them all come and go like clouds in the clear sky of mind.

Then, from this spacious awareness also notice the body. The mind is not in the body. The body sensations float and change in the open sky of mind. The breath breathes itself, it moves like a breeze. If you observe carefully, the body is not solid. It reveals itself as areas of hardness and softness, pressure and tingling, warm and cool sensation, all floating in the space of awareness.

Relax. Rest in this openness. Let sensations float and change. Allow thoughts and images, feelings and sounds to come and go like clouds in the clear, open space of awareness.  As you do, pay attention to the consciousness itself. Notice how the open space of awareness is naturally clear, transparent, timeless and without conflict—allowing all things, but not limited by them. This is your own true nature.  Rest in it.  Trust it.  It is home.


This excerpt is taken from the book, “The Wise Heart”


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