The purpose of this mediation is to develop a lovely feeling of understanding how all things are empty of inherent existence, and then to contemplate what this means in light of equalising self and others.

I began with a session of breathing meditation to calm my mind and developed a very pleasant feeling of focusing on my breath, and then focusing on the absence of thought.

After a while of this, I moved on to the main topic – emptiness. Initially we need to use sound reasons to gain a feeling of emptiness because we are not able to perceive emptiness directly.

I began by contemplating my body. Where exactly is my body? The body I normally see seems to be a solid, single object and that is how I relate to it, but where exactly is it? I looked but all I could perceive were the parts of my body, and then their parts. I reached the conclusion that although I clearly perceive my body, it is just an appearance with no firmness or solidity to it at all. I felt my body have emptiness rather than inherent existence. I also considered the other objects I knew to be in the room – my son’s chair (I meditated in my son’s room today – I checked that it was ok with him first), the chest of drawers and so on. Each object I looked at became empty as I thought about how it exists and appears.

By extension, I perceived everything as empty and I realised that if I could always see things in this way, they would have no power to generate feelings of anger, attraction or indifference. They would simply be appearances and I would be able to maintain a peaceful equanimity towards everyone and everything. I felt like I could see ‘through’ everything – I could see the appearance and also it’s emptiness. It felt extremely peaceful and balanced. I stayed with this feeling for a while.

I then (somewhat reluctantly) moved on to thinking about what this means in light of equalising self and others.

If I can see myself and others as lacking inherent existence, I would regard my own ‘self’ and others as being equal in emptiness – there would be no difference between them and I – we would be truly equal.

I returned to my meditation on the emptiness of phenomena and came back to that beautiful feeling of peace and balance. I remained there until the end of my session.

Dedication

May all living beings experience the ultimate nature of phenomena, and become liberated and enlightened for the benefit of all.

Practice in the Meditation Break

I will try to remember all things lack inherent existence, and see them as powerless to cause delusions to arise in my mind.