What's remarkable about this period in my life is that even in the midst of this tumultuous, wacky and insane world, even when I'm thinking, "How damn long can this persist?" or, "Oh sh*@, not another challenge!" there's been this aspect of me that is completely unperturbed by all the rubbish that I'm finding myself wading through. And, I mean, seriously - some days I look in the mirror and say, "What kind of drugs are you on? Why the hell are you so happy?!" And, to be honest, on other days I look in the mirror and say, "Oh no, you again!"
So, why am I so happy? I'm not sure, but I think it's because after hearing it a few...thousand times, I'm beginning to get it that the part of my mind that underlies all of the confusion of thoughts, emotions, sensations is actually starting to shine through. Sogyal Rinpoche frequently talks about the sky-like nature of mind that's never, ever stained by the cloud-like nature of our thoughts and emotions. I think that recently I've been seeing the sky through the clouds.
I'm even hesitant to say that it's part of "me" because when I'm engaged in or with that undistracted mind, it seems less "personal." It almost feels like it “transcends” me. Meditation teachers and masters from many traditions and lineages tell us that there's an aspect to our mind or to our nature that does transcend or is beyond our day-to-day travails and concerns. In Christianity this may be known as the "Divine mind" or "Holy Spirit," in Hinduism it's known as "Atman," to someone who is Jewish this is the "Shekhinah," and in Buddhism this is "Buddha Nature." Great, but where is this...whatever? How do you experience it? Is this what I'm talking about when I say undistracted?
So, you may say, "How do I access that undistracted state of mind?" Or, more likely, you'll say, "I've experienced that too! It happens when I'm practicing mediation." Or, maybe even, "I'm not sure what you're talking about. What do you mean 'undistracted?' What does that mind look like?"
I’m not one for reinventing the wheel, so the best way to describe what I’m experiencing is to rely a quote from the video found on this site, titled “What is Meditation?” Here’s the text:
Just let go and relax and remain in the pure awareness of the present moment. When we allow our mind to settle in its own natural peace, we discover a deep stillness that’s always with us. We begin to discover the true purpose of meditation, which is to introduce us to the unchanging pure awareness that underlies the whole of our experience. The practice of meditation is to become more and more familiar with this awareness in every aspect of our life. This is what meditation really is.
That is what I’m talking about. That is what’s so amazing! That is what’s always behind the confusion that you experience in your life and that you can use, anytime, to extricate yourself from the labyrinth of confusion into the clear light of day, into the sky-like nature of your being. And, that’s why I seem to be happy…even when I’m bloody miserable! It’s like stepping out of the dark, crowded, noisy, and smoky nightclub into the clear, fresh air beneath a vast, spacious starlit night sky, ahhhh!
I don’t always remember that there’s a door that’s always open. Nor do I always exit the “nightclub” of my confusion even when I know that there’s another way! But knowing that there’s another way, that there’s a nature of our mind that is never, ever affected by smoke and noise, and remembering this as often as possible is why I smile more these days…even when my outer life isn’t perfect. That’s what’s amazing!
So, what do you do to get out of your mind’s nightclub? Does meditation work in supporting you in stepping out? When do you find yourself standing beneath the starlit sky, experiencing the vastness of the space and the brilliance of the light?