Take a moment to look at something nearby. A tree out the window, a friend or family member over your shoulder, even a book on a shelf next to your desk. Notice the mind labeling it, “tree”, “Julia”, “book”, whatever the name is. Do you then turn back to this note, or something else, having “seen” that person or thing? Or do you stop, let the mental label pass and really look, feel, experience the person or thing for what it is, right now?
So much of our perception is seeing what ought to be there, what we remember from yesterday, or last month. We are actually projecting outwards as much as we are receiving inwards. Take a moment to notice the leaves on the tree, one by one, to be aware of the complexity of it, the details, how even as you watch it, it is moving and changing. See your friend or loved one, how do they look right now, how do they feel, how do you feel? Even the book; really see the spine, the title, the color and texture.
Yesterday I was out walking and letting my mind go I noticed that my whole being was perceiving. Walking over stone gravel, my being was experiencing stone, both in general and these particular stones, no two alike. Walking over grass, green again with the recent rains, feeling the life and energy of the grass. The blue open sky, the trees in all their phases of fall transformations, each leaf a different shade of green or yellow or brown. Setting the mind and the labels aside I was experiencing, perceiving in a deeper way.
Now shift your attention inwards. Close your eyes, let go your ears, your external feeling, even your sense of smell. What do you experience?
If you know any sort of meditative practice, are you already into that practice? Setting things up in a certain way, running through a routine, or a check list, creating some visualization? Even if you are noticing things along the way, how much is your mind involved in guiding this process?
Let yourself for a moment release all this experience. Give your self space to be in the dark, or the light, inside yourself, and notice what you notice.
Perhaps you have learned this years ago. Great! but the mind will project itself inwards as well as outwards. It will call out well known land marks, name them and check them off; it wants structure and pattern, all the rest. Not that working with the mind on the inside is not productive, but what happens when you just create a space, without conscious mind? what shows up then? Who shows up then?
Just as we walk through the world thinking that we are receiving sensory experience when we are often crafting and shaping and projecting outwards from our minds, how much of our inward experience is of a similar nature?
If we are beings of light and energy, beings with higher/deeper aspects, does the mental effort in meditation help us to connect with these levels of self? or not? Try some time just creating space inside, releasing the projects and inviting your higher self to show up. Perhaps it’s that simple?
You may find that other things, other aspects will appear first. As Rumi says, welcome them in the front door and show them out the back. Continue to make space and invite your higher self to show up. Remember that it is always there, always has been, you are just learning to recognize it more for itself, and less for what you think it is.
Just as releasing the mind’s external projections and creative efforts shifts your experience into a deeper more direct level of being, and being in touch with the spirit loose in the world, so setting aside the inner mental creations opens more space to experience your spirit and deep self directly, rather than through the forms of the mind. This is the self made of love and joy. Breath in, let go and ENjoy.