Getting to that space…

Monterey Peninsula, California
[Being that Space]

I’d like to describe an event that is occurring more frequently for me. It still only happens about once a week, and even though I go through the same steps almost every day, the experience is often inaccessible. I can’t force it, it’s counter-productive to desire it; I have to just dissolve into it when it’s “available.”

When I walk my dog every day, I use a technique that Rupert describes: I try to find the outer boundaries of awareness. I’ve found this can be done with eyes either open or closed. Sometimes, I’ll stop moving and close my eyes for this activity, but not always. I’ll also look for the center of awareness. Of course, I can find neither the outer edge nor a center point. Then, if I’m successful and remain attentive, I go through that same process with each of my senses. I know I won’t find a boundary or center of sight, hearing, taste, smell or touch, but I practice the exercise. Touch and taste are more difficult. For touch, I feel my footsteps, but where is that really occurring?

If I move through each point in the process without losing concentration, then I reach the space where there is just perceiving. The separation from everything around me melts away. I can move, manage my dog, see everything, but it’s different: It’s more luminous, and the edges of myself are gone; I’m flowing into it all. And even with the movement, it’s a single moment in time.

I notice my thoughts, but they pass by like other things in the world I’m moving through. And something interesting about thoughts: In that state, I notice how insubstantial they are, how illusory. In retrospect, I really feel like I wasn’t there, like “perceiving” was happening without “me.” Later, it occurs to me, “How can thoughts be so powerful, put such constraints on my life, when they’re so airy, spacey?”

I can describe this because it’s not like a drug-induced experience. It seems hyper-real, rather than unreal or illusory. So it’s not difficult to remember or reconstruct. Of course, it’s beyond language, and the mind must find words to reconstruct it.

The event never lasts long; probably a few minutes. Any human interaction will bring me back to the separate self immediately. Sometimes, a “strong thought” will intrude, bring me out of it. In a way, I wonder if this is like lucid dreaming in my conscious dream, my everyday life: In other words, is Awareness entering my “waking dream”?

The experience is unpredictable. When I’m trying to find it, sometimes I feel like I’m peeling off onion layers of thought and feeling that prevent me from getting there. But I look forward to the next occurrence.


Bill Smith

By Bill Smith


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