the world disappears

img_0019POSTCARD #224: New Delhi: Learning how to sleep without the pain meds and all those chemicals that used to help me so much before, but I’m just left there thinking about things in the darkness. Stories come and go, pondering over this and that, and the awareness of being caught up in the thinking thing gets included in the wandering. Searching for a way out, but if I think about how to stop thinking, the mind gets busy looking for a solution; finding something and comparing it with other reasons why I can’t stop thinking. Thinking has its own momentum, takes time for it to slow down, there’s the opportunity to allow it all to fizzle out. Everything evaporates for a moment.

In that instant there’s a no-thinking state, a great space opens up – an awareness of being aware. Silence and emptiness, held on pause. Then, somewhere on a different screen, the mind is alerted, there’s the desire to be actively thinking again, and an invitation to be engaged with it, but that fizzles out too. “Footfalls echo in the memory, down the passage we did not take, towards the door we never opened, into the rose garden.”*

The outbreath from the nostrils, so faint and light, stirs only the tiniest thing; the movement of a single strand of hair could wake me. No other sensory input the mind needs to be engaged with, no sense object activates the chain of events and all that remains is the mind’s cognitive function. A curiosity about this stirs; ‘self’ is a sensory experience. The experiencer is an experience – there is only experiencing.

Another wave of thoughts comes rushing in, stays for a moment and goes out again. I see it as if there’s an watcher seeing it from some hidden place, aware of it. Then the watcher disappears and it seems like only the awareness itself is left there. Then the awareness disappears and in its place, a sequence of half-seen obscure mental events, each one linking with the next. Some time later sleep comes and the whole world disappears.

‘The range of what we think and do is limited by what we fail to notice. And because we fail to notice that we fail to notice, there is little we can do to change; until we notice how failing to notice shapes our thoughts and deeds.’ [R. D. Laing]

Photo: Dhammakaya monk collecting alms by boat.
*Excerpt from Four Quartets T. S. Eliot
This post was rewritten from earlier posts


18 thoughts on “the world disappears

  1. Losing yourself in the dance, your body gets things right. Notice you are getting things right and the body falls over its feet with the effort of maintaining the rightness.

  2. Trying to get to that place of no thought. Sometimes it will happen in meditation but, being Bipolar, I often have a manic mind. I thinks it’s the meds but doc says no. Any how I loved reading of your experience of it. But then you have had so much training. Nature often helps. Just staring get up at the sky. Great quote and photo.

    • Thanks Ellen, the problem is of course trying to get to that place of no thought requires thinking. Easily said, and I don’t know how to bypass thought except that it’s a passive action, an allowing of things to be let go of. A manic mind is something that’s driven, we can say there is no ‘me’ to whom this hectic thinking is happening, it can go off someplace by itself and be forgotten about. The idea of staring up at the sky, the emptiness…

  3. When my mind is racing in the night. I say to myself while breathing from the diaphragm. Inhale peace. Exhale release. This wave helps me drift off… Counting backwards from 50 with the inhale and exhale is also a good focused meditation to try. Instead of trying to get to no thought, give the mind something else to do 😊

  4. “Self” is a construction of mind, a derivative of sensory experience, that is gradually limited by the lack of attention Liang describes. Each Self is a unique pattern of inattention. HA!!! I love it!

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