OLD NOTEBOOKS: East Anglia: Dreamy half-formed images swim before the eye without identity, no recognizable or known parts of the image. I’m trying to see it this way: no identity, otherwise ‘self’ intervenes and it ‘becomes’ something [bhava]. I’m falling asleep again; still early morning, comfortably dark and sitting on the cushion on a futon on the floor in the upstairs room. One advantage of sleeping on the futon is that you can roll over and up into the sitting position on the cushion quite easily – a smooth transition from sleep to wakefulness. The disadvantage is that it’s difficult to stay awake.

The process of waking up in the morning means the mind is in the process of getting shaped into a form, a ‘self’, and it all gets locked down then; ‘becoming’. So what I’m trying to do here is not let that happen. Without the habitual inclination towards ‘self’, conscious attention gently searches out another way, one that is identity-free, no ID card. The problem is, of course, ‘self’ tries to take over, as usual and if the identity-free state is present, ‘self’ understands it to be sleep. So I start to drift off to sleep again. I see it happening and think: Hey! Why should the ‘self’ impose itself like this? But the ‘self’ goes around imposing ‘itself’ and making assumptions about everything all the time and if I were to just let it go on doing that, I’d not see that things are actually quite different from how they appear to be.

Continue the meditation by following the breath, and a curious feeling that I’m sitting at an angle, or the weight of the body is over on the right side and on the left side there’s something like an empty space… what’s happening? Next thing is, I’m thrust into another dreamlike scenario and some sort of memory sequence. Here we go, I’m falling asleep again and losing it all in the dreamy half-formed images of the sleep I just emerged from. Mindfulness cuts in when I remember to let it all go. Hold on and let go… I need to hold on to the intention to let go. Everywhere I look there’s a ‘self’ searching for an opportunity to create an identity, (sakkayaditthi) ‘personality view’. It’s what holds beings in the cycle of rebirth. Breaking out of the cycle is arrived at by non-becoming – allowing it to ‘become’ without becoming.


It does not appear or disappear.
It is not born and does not die.
It is neither constructed nor raised up,
Neither made nor produced.
It is neither sitting nor lying,
Neither walking nor standing still,
Neither moving nor turning over,
Neither at rest nor idle.
It does not advance or retreat,
Knows not safety or danger,
Neither right nor wrong.
It is neither virtuous nor improper.
It is neither this nor that,
Neither going nor coming.
[Lotus Sutra]

Photo: Louk Vreeswijk

3 thoughts on “non-becoming

  1. Pingback: becoming | dhamma footsteps

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