We often hear the expression “stilling the mind.”
And many people think that’s the purpose of meditation—to still the mind, to empty the mind of thoughts.
We need to understand that stillness is not the absence of movement. In the mind, or anywhere else.
Stillness is Suchness.
To put it another way, if we understand stilling the mind to be simply making the mind quiet, we are perpetuating the self—we are perpetuating dualism, in a slightly disguised way.
Who or what is it, if not the self, that is trying to control experience?
Who is it?
What we must understand about delusion is that it always locates itself in a slightly different position from where we think it is—that’s how it works.
Rather than trying to control our experience, what we need to do is to drop off our attempts to control or to limit our experience. Anything else is just a form of spiritual narcissism.
It’s as if, in the dark, there is a great building, but the only part which is lit up is the attic.
To our eyes that’s the only thing there, suspended in darkness.
There’s all these familiar noises which we think come from the attic; like familiar people who we can’t quite see; We just wish they would be quiet.
But our practice is not to make the attic—the mind- quiet.
Our purpose is to illuminate the whole building.
And not simply the building but the ground and the vast space all around which, in their different ways, hold all being.
If we can do that, we can start to understand that the noise, which we think is up here somewhere, which we think is ours, is just one aspect of the whole vibrancy of the universe, of dependent origination.
That same vibrancy will appear in the mind as thinking, in the heart as emotions, in the body as feeling and energy and in the world as aliveness and intimacy.
That is our purpose.