As you are reading this page on the computer screen, look at the space surrounding the screen without taking your eyes off the page. Simply become aware of the surrounding space. You are basically using the screen to become visually aware of the space around it by virtue of the contrast between them.
Once you are established in the ability to panoramically see the objects, meaning you have the ability to see not only the object but also the surrounding space, shift your awareness (not your eyes) to the visual quality of space: "emptiness.” Although your eyes are fixed on the object and you are seeing the surrounding space, your awareness is on the emptiness of space—the visual quality of that space. If you are not able to anchor your attention on the emptiness of the space, silently say the word “emptiness.” Keep repeating it until your attention is anchored in the emptiness. When that happens, you will be able to feel the space. Remain aware of the feeling aspect of your vision and thus become mindful of space as “the feeling of emptiness.”
Once you are established in the mindfulness of space (the feeling of emptiness), shift your awareness back to the object of focus. Notice how such mindfulness leads to non-reactive or equanimous observation. For example, while you are looking at horrific pictures of war, disease, or destruction, if you become mindful of the space surrounding the pictures, you are more likely not to react to them with fear, disgust, aversion, pity, or sorrow, but rather with courage, concern, and compassion. You are more likely not to classify what you see as good, bad, beautiful, or ugly, or to get carried away by it. You are likely to pay more attention to visual objects and to use visual clues to your advantage and to the advantage of others.
Similarly, you are more likely to feel wholesomely enchanted by the beauty of a flower or a woman if you observe the object with mindfulness of the space surrounding it (the feeling of emptiness). Note that the feeling of emptiness coupled with non-reaction makes your observation charming, enthralling, and delightful. At the same time, it protects you from getting carried away by beauty or lust.
If you become established in the awareness of the emptiness and stillness of space, no ugliness or disorder will disturb your peace of mind. At the same time, the orderly, the extraordinary, and the beautiful will wholesomely enchant you. Sooner or later, due to consistent practice and the experiencing of wholesome enchantment, whenever your eyes are open you will abide neither in fear nor awe, but in peace in the midst of varying scenery of the world.
* * *
Now, lets see how we can hear silence and feel it to experience liberation.
To begin, take a few deep breaths and become aware of your breathing. Then, breathe normally and move your attention to your ears. By touching them mentally, try to feel their interior and exterior. If necessary, insert ear plugs to remove outside noise. Now, listen for a continuous, soft humming sound in the ears, which is always present. Anchor your attention in the ears using that sound. Pursue this action for about five minutes and then let go. Do not be concerned if you are not able to hear the continuous, soft humming sound. Simply keep your attention on the ears.
SOUL RESEARCH INSTITUTE NEWSLETTER, FEBRUARY 10, 2012
EVENTS AT S.R.I.
Soul Reseach Institute
After the gathering.
Would you like to serve our communities?
Call 7194880548 for details on joining the board.
"..Space is the home of the awakened mind."
"..space is the mode by which we (should) think and not a condition
in which we live."
"From silence you come, to silence you go. Enter your inner space and know where you come from..."
"Silence is the wisdom's best reply."
"A note of music gains significance from the silence on either side."
Also now available at Tatteredcover bookstore in Denver, Colorado's largest and most famous bookstore.
Always available on amazon.com
All profits go to S.R.I.
Turn on a chosen piece of slow, relaxing music or a mantra recording with the sole intention of hearing the gaps of silence that exist between words or musical notes (rather than the music or the mantra itself). Once you have set this intention, start actively listening for the gaps.
While listening to these gaps of silence, anchor your attention on them and hear everything else in relation to the silence. Make a genuine effort to hear it conspicuously. It is easy to hear the gaps of silence if you were able to experience the constant humming sound in the ear in the beginning of this meditation.
Now, pay attention to sounds or words in relation to the silence that you experienced in the gaps. Due to the contrast, you will become aware of sounds or words as a vibration in the ears. You will be able to feel the sounds or words. The idea here is to become mindful of sounds or words as a feeling (of vibrations).
This practice will help you not to react with craving or aversion to the sounds you hear. This will also help you not to classify what you hear as loud or soft, harmonious or atonal, fair or unfair, praise or criticism. This will help you become equanimous to the screaming of a child or to the sweetness of her laugh, and ultimately it will make you an unconditionally caring person.
If a craving or an aversion arises to words or sounds, become aware of it and immediately take your attention back to the gaps of silence. Understand experientially how mindfulness of silence facilitates non-reaction to words and sounds.
Douglas County Library District now carries Sam's book
"The Elements of Soul"
Once you have practiced this meditation for several months, try applying it to sounds in your everyday life. While listening to someone in a conversation, anchor your attention in the gaps of silence between spoken words and notice how this anchoring automatically results in you not arguing or interrupting to contribute your own comments.
Notice how you neither feel shy nor reclusive in conversation when you listen in this manner. Notice how you become a good listener, how you better understand the other person’s point of view, how you transform negativity into positivity, and how you develop higher sociability. While attending a lecture, notice how you are able to remain non-judgmental and detached from the contents of the conversation by anchoring your attention in the gaps of silence between the words. Most importantly, notice how your mindfulness of the gaps of silence and non-reaction to words give rise to concentration and wise attention. Notice how easy it becomes to increase your attention span, enabling you to learn faster and have better comprehension of everything you hear.
As you develop the habit of remaining mindful of gaps of silence, a day will come when the gaps will lead you to the undercurrent of silence. In other words, the gaps will serve as a portal to the “ocean” of silence that is ever-existing, but not experienced due to its subtlety. You will begin to abide in this undercurrent as you listen to whatever comes in contact with your ears. You will begin to notice that all sounds are underlain by perpetual silence. It is somewhat like noticing the all-encompassing space that occupies every object in the universe.