Enjoy the space between your thoughts.
Begin by sitting in a chair with your back straight. Place your hands comfortably in your lap, legs uncrossed, feet flat on the floor. Or sit on a cushion, legs crossed. Close your eyes, raise your eyebrows, look gently upward. This will immediately produce strong bursts of alpha brain rhythm, the “relaxation response,” replacing stress producing “fight or flight” beta rhythm. Experience a lifting in the forebrain area. Open your eyes a bit. Place your unfocused gaze three feet in front of you. Now, gather the “wild horse of the mind” by placement of attention on your breath. Simply be present to your breath. Let mind settle in its spacious natural state, this basic space of mind; your safe place, beyond concepts and beliefs, free of fear, anger, greed and pride. Thoughts, emotions, images naturally arise. Release it all on the breath, again and again. Relax your eyes, jaw, neck, gut. Let being be.
As you inhale, receive luminous, purifying “life energy”, that energy which animates and sustains all life. In the East this energy is ch’i or prana (Chinese and Sanskrit for breath/spirit). In the West, for Greeks and Christians it is pneuma. It is “bio-energy”, the very breath of life. This life energy is the subtle face of physical light energy (E=mc²) arising from the vast spacious unbounded whole, the primordial awareness ground of everything. Inhale, receive life-light energy into every space of your body-mind. As you exhale, release thoughts, feelings, goals, all ego-grasping. Feel your roots in our mother earth; your stability deep in earth. Whatever arises—beautiful, painful, fearful—release on the out-breath. Surrender it all. Absent thoughts you are now selfless, natural clear-light mind with its inherent peace, clarity and bliss. From this ground state spontaneously, effortlessly arises in your mind-stream the kind, compassionate activity of love, the secret, the very cause of human happiness. Now exhale this, your peace and light that it be received by all beings. The change you wish to be rides the breath. Enjoy the ride.
The in-dwelling presence of this unbounded whole—by whatever name—may be directly experienced, prior to thinking, as luminous white clear-light energy essence. Focus this energy at the crown of your head. Open your crown and expand upward; then direct the flow downward to your throat, heart, and hara in the lower abdomen. Now focus this light anywhere you feel discomfort, that self-contraction from your natural life-energy flow: tension, pain, doubt, guilt, grief, fear/anxiety, anger/hostility. Be for a moment with whatever arises. Know it is already self-liberated. Let this light penetrate and pervade your entire body-mind: brain, nervous systems, heart, organs, muscles, bone, cells, down to the very atomic structure of your physical/emotional/spiritual being. Let it fill and overflow into your subtle energy field, this light of you that embraces you, and continues around your physical body. Awaken to this basic goodness that you already are. Relax and enjoy. Rest in That. Be That now.
In this bright space of basic mind nature there is no past nor future, no attraction nor aversion, no right nor wrong, no judgment at all. No need to change or fix anything. Know now that your clear-light mind is profoundly awake, flexible, useful, kind and wise. Moment to moment let it be as it is; calm and clear. Our wisdom traditions know such practice as the Path to liberation from ignorance that is the root cause of suffering. Herein lies happiness itself; the happiness that cannot be lost. So, happiness is a skill set. No belief, no leap of faith, no authority but your own is required. Simply empty your mind, open your heart, and be fully present to this presence now.
Now you know this precious secret place of mind. Choose to enter in often. Breath by breath purify, stabilize, beautify your mind; a most courageous act; your most important activity. Who am I? This presence of that vast whole, That I Am, without a single exception. That is the Teaching. That is the View. It’s like coming home.
By this good, make the aspiration for the benefit of all beings: “May I and all beings be free of suffering, and the causes of suffering. May I and all beings have happiness, and the causes of happiness“. Is not your happiness inherently linked to the happiness of others? We’re all in this together. Now arise, and do some good. Thus it is. So be it.
Practice mindfulness each moment; a few breaths, a few minutes. No time? Know it is present each breath. Enter in this presence at your heart before sleep; let it be, all night long; then again upon rising. Practice while walking, and working. When anxious/angry, take three breaths! Purse your lips on out-breath. Voice primordial seed syllable OM AH HUM, a touchstone, at the end of practice, and through the day and night, to re-enter your awakened state. This power of mantra shall greatly enhance your well-being. OM is formless boundless whole. AH is light/energy/form arising in it. HUM is the intention/action to benefit other beings. As your peace, clarity and confidence deepen, let your practice open into your next kind, selfless step.
David Paul Boaz Dechen Wangdu www.coppermount.org; www.davidpaulboaz.org (Rev. 9.16)