Emptiness Practice: Follow Up

North No Longer

North No Longer

ALCOA, TN—I just responded to Michelle who was describing how, in practicing Emptiness finds herself bouncing back and forth between the noise of the mind and the stillness. I may have misunderstood what she meant by “stillness,” but even so, my reply might be of use to those of you interested in Emptiness:


One thing to remember is that the experience of stillness is also in your head—just like noise (if by ‘stillness’ you mean the lack of noise). Nothing in your head is important.

And, contrary to what it may feel like, ‘you’ are not in your head. All the noise, and the ‘you’ (ego story) and even the stillness arise inside of You (capital Y)… inside the Emptiness.

You’re not to try to quiet the mind, but to dis-identify with it and anything in it (or in the case of stillness, the quiet in it). This is why I find visualizing pulling away the portal and dropping it to be so effective. Same with the noise (and even the stillness): pull them away and drop them (not to quiet them, just to dis-identify with them).

This pulling away and dropping is like imagining outer space, then ‘pulling away and dropping’ every planet and star. What is left when there is nothing? When there are no landmarks? When there is no center or boundaries? When there is no such thing as distance or time or stuff or ‘me’?

When you pull and drop the portal, the noise, and even the silence, the mind will ask, “Well then, what am I?”

But there is no answer as any answer (or question) is just mind stuff, just more unimportant noise, just another planet in the Emptiness of space.

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