Today’s meditation – in the garden again, in the morning sun – was to develop the ability to generate a yogic direct perceiver – a direct realisation of emptiness.
I began by making the appropriate preparations for meditation, and the started thinking about how my ‘self’ normally appears. It is crucial that we consider how our ‘self’ or ‘I’ appears to our mind. Normally, it appears clearly to us, and we accept it as being a true and manifest thing – in some ways, the most ‘real’ thing there is. However, when we search with wisdom, this self is unfindable.
I thought about how we see what we expect to see, regardless of what is actually there. A magician will use this propensity to trick us into seeing what he wants us to see, rather than what is actually there. He subtly manipulates our expectations until we cannot but see what we are intended to. Our belief influences – no it’s more than that – our belief actually creates our perceptions. We ‘know’ we have a self that is independent from our body, mind and everything else, and because of this very familiar and very strong belief, we perceive a self, despite the fact there is no self to be found anywhere.
I settled my mind on this belief/perception for a while. Yes – the belief creates the perception, which is so real that it is almost visible.
After thinking about this, and trying to understand how the self normally appears, I set about seeing if it did exist in that way. Whenever I perceive my body, I automatically and immediately perceive my self. Whenever I have a thought I immediately think ‘I am thinking this- this is my view’. But my body is MY body. If my body belongs to me – to my self – then my body is NOT me. And my thoughts – they are in my mind. If my mind belongs to me – to my self – then my mind is NOT me either. So where is this self – the independent owner of my body and mind? It cannot be found, despite its strong appearance.
Then I thought – how wonderful! If my self does not exist, then all the problems that I have do not exist, because those problems belong to that self. I felt a huge relief – all those problem are non-problems because the experiencer does not exist.
However, another thought came to me: if my self does not exist, and all the problems and sadness of that self do not exist, then what about all the happiness of that self – does that not exist either? This caused me a little problem for a while as I decided what to make of this thought, and then I decided that instead of worrying too much, I would step over that issue and look at what was left, if my I did not exist. Instead of sadness and happiness, there is an absence of these thoughts – there is an absence of self, of problems and happiness. What does that absence feel like? I focused on it, and it felt like bliss. I captured the whole thing – the appearance of an inherently existent self – the absence of that self – the absence of problems – the absence of happiness – and what was left – the appearance of the lack of inherent existence of my self. It was blissful, and I focused on it for the rest of the meditation.
May all living beings be free from the bondage of mistaken appearance and conception.
Practice in the Meditation Break
I will try to spot my ‘self’ in everyday life, and remind myself that I only see it because I expect to see it, not because there is actually any self there at all other than the mere appearance.