Big Mind, by Howard Cohn:
This afternoon, I’d like to do a short guided meditation that will hopefully bring alive the sense of the unconditional quality of awareness and I’d like to think of this as taking off the training wheels where you can let go of any primary anchor, your breath, etcetera. And if there’s any anchor, let me, my words be, your anchor and support in the practice. Otherwise, let go of all holding on to any particular support.
For this practice, it’s helpful if you find a posture that you can remain relatively still, luxurious, if there is such a posture at this point. And then settle in. Completely let go into the support of the earth and contact of your rear, or the cushion of the chair so that there’s no mistake that you are feeling the sense of being here. That you’re sensing immediately that the past is gone and the future is not yet a reason.
And once you feel a little settled, feeling that sense of stilling that happens when the eyes are closed, the body is relatively quiet. I invite you to imagine or sense, or feel your mind, to be like a clear, empty sky without limits.
And begin by being aware of the sounds that arise and pass within that sky-like nature of your mind.
Noticing the sounds in the room, the distant sounds, it’s not that my voice, the sound of silence. Let all the sounds, loud and soft, arise and pass without naming them, judging them, simply hearing.
Sounds come and go. Mind is like space. Sounds arise in that space and they pass away. Make no effort to hear the sounds. Let the sounds arise and let listening happen by itself.
In that clear, open, vacuous space of mind, become aware again of physical sensations, like points of feeling, stars in an evening sky, flickering that clear openness of mind.
In our immediate and direct experience, there is no head, no shoulders, no arms or legs, nor front or back. Just points of sensations like stars flickering in the sky. A vast openness of mind.
Sounds and sensations. There’s no inside, no outside, simply these appearances. Rising, passing, making no impact on the open freedom of mind.
Allow the mind to remain perfectly still. Allowing the sounds, and sensations, to appear and disappear in the open stillness of mind.
There is no head, no neck, no shoulders, no arms or legs. Just points of feeling. Stars flickering in that limitless nature of the mind. Remaining perfectly still. Not the slightest movement toward or away from any experience. The mind’s essence is motionless.
The clear, sky-like vastness of mind.
Be aware of thoughts and images like clouds drifting through an empty sky, bubbles appearing and disappearing in the sky-like nature of the mind. The thoughts, like clouds, have no roots, no home. Like a footprint of a bird in emptiness, appearing, vanishing making no impact in the vast openness of the heart-mind.
Keep the mind soft and steady, perfectly still, no reaching for, or pushing away any experience. Allowing the sounds, sensations, thoughts and images to arise and pass by themselves in the sky-like nature of the mind.
There is no inside or outside, simply these appearances, rising, passing, inseparable from the vast openness of mind. Look within the nature of the mind. It’s clear. Invisible. Like open space.
Look within your own mind. Clear. Empty. Not made of anything. Shining. Containing all experience, but not limited by it, not bound by it. Look within your own mind.
There is no solid body, no head, no back, no front, no arms or legs. Just points of feeling. Arising, flickering like stars in an evening sky. Free in this vast openness of mind. No inside, no outside.
Remaining still. Be the stillness. The immaculate, vast, limitless space of mind. Look within your own mind. Clear. Open. Impartial. Welcoming, containing all experiences, but not limited by them. Unconditioned. Deathless. The vast, sky-like nature of your own mind. Home. Free. Rest… in the nature of the mind, rest in this natural, great, peace.
Rest in the nature of the heart-mind. Rest your weary mind. Be aware, be free.
The next bell marks the end, but when the sound appear and disappear in the vast, sky-like nature of the mind.
I apologize for the shortness of that little practice. We had a little time crunch, but I wanted to offer you a reminder that your mind has a limitless space and capacity to accommodate virtually everything. Often, we think of our mind to be stuck between our ears, but nobody has ever seen one there, so when we see that everything is known within the nature of our mind, and so, even this room is within your mind as opposed to this room outside of your mind. I’m showing up in your mind right now. Anyway, you can feel free to use that and when you walk out today, you’ll see the whole scene of magnificent scene here as part of the vastness of your own mind and you’ll see that you’ll have a lot more freedom than you know.
And for some of you, this metaphor of the sky may not be exactly the right metaphor. Our mind is not really a sky. Just so you know that, because I’d like to say it’s so much juicier than a sky. It’s open like the sky, but it’s imbued, it’s filled with so much intelligence and love and clarity, and yeah, compassion. You know, and when we are open, we register those things. Those qualities within the nature of our mind are able to flow more freely. So, some people, you can think of it as the ocean too. I want to read a poem, but I think we’ve ran out of time, so save it for another moment. It’s about the vast ocean.
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