Freeing Ourselves from Our Stories: A Meditation Practice

Imagine getting into a frustrated story about someone else, about how they’re behaving. If you can free yourself from the smallness of this worldview, drop the ego and let your mind open into the vastness of the open sky, you are suddenly much more open, much less constricted, much more relaxed. You can deal with the other person in a loving way—in an appropriate way that doesn’t come from pain or fear.

 

By Leo Babauta

 

Body like a mountain
Breath like the wind
Mind like the sky
~Tibetan Meditation Instruction

A number of meditation traditions have practices that involve a dropping of the ego into wide open awareness.

I’d like to share this kind of practice with you, because it is one of the most powerful experiences we can have.

What happens when we open our minds to seeing its vast open nature, is transformational. We are no longer stuck in the smallness of our usual self-centered world. We become free.

Imagine getting into a frustrated story about someone else, about how they’re behaving. If you can free yourself from the smallness of this worldview, drop the ego and let your mind open into the vastness of the open sky, you are suddenly much more open, much less constricted, much more relaxed. You can deal with the other person in a loving way—in an appropriate way that doesn’t come from pain or fear.

Just as important: you are all of a sudden fully immersed in this moment.

You are experiencing the moment just as it is, without the added layer of your story about what’s going on. Without judgments or ideals, without getting caught in thoughts about the other person. Just pure experience. And it is absolutely gorgeous.

So let’s explore this practice.

Practice With Me: The Vast Open Sky

Start by sitting in a comfortable but upright position, with your eyes open, relaxing into an awareness of your body and breath. Just notice what it’s like to be alive right now.

After a minute or so of that, tune into the sounds all around you. Just receive them, without judgment, without labeling them. Just notice how you can have a wide open awareness of all sounds. You don’t need to do anything about them. You are just experiencing the sounds, arising and then fading away.

Next, open your awareness to all sight sensations around you, without labeling or judging them. Just notice light all around you. Be aware of shapes and colors and textures. Let your awareness open to soak in all sight sensations, from all around you.

Let your awareness relax into an openness that takes in all sensations all around you. Open to the sensations of your body, the sensations outside of your body, and let them all become one big field of awareness—no separation between what’s inside you and what’s outside you, just one ocean of sensation.

You can sit in this vast open sky of awareness, and then the cloud of a thought might arise. Instead of getting caught up in the cloud, allow the sky of your mind to observe the thought cloud floating gently by.

Be the sky, observing everything without getting caught up in one thing.

Notice the vast open nature of your mind. This is the primordial state of your mind, what the Buddhists call your “Buddha nature” or your innate goodness. It is free, wide open, unconstricted, egoless.

It is pure awareness, pure love.

Using the Vast Open Sky Practice in Daily Life

If you didn’t quite get the above meditation, don’t worry. It can take a little practice, but what’s important is to just relax into it, don’t strain yourself, don’t strive to attain it. It’s already there, you just need to relax and get out of the way of it.

Practice it daily, every morning.

Then try it when you’re walking somewhere. Open your mind like a vast open sky. Walk as you practice this open awareness, letting your ego drop away and just being present with the experience of the moment.

Try it when you’re washing a dish. When you’re showering. When you’re drinking tea.

You can maintain this vast open mind even while talking to someone, doing a task, engaging with the world. With practice.

When you get better at this, it becomes freeing, in any moment. You might be caught up in your thoughts about someone or some situation, but then the thoughts become less heavy, and you suddenly have space to consider them, to let them float away or to consider a loving or appropriate response.

You can be with someone and connect with them in a deeper way, as you realize that they too have this vast open nature, this innate goodness.

In fact, you are both a part of the same limitless blue sky.

 

What happens when we open our minds to seeing its vast open nature, is transformational ~ Leo Babauta Click To Tweet

 

 

Leo Babauta is a regular guy, a father of six kids, a husband, a writer from Guam (now living in San Francisco). He eats vegan food, writes, runs, and reads. He is the founder of Zen Habits which is about finding simplicity and mindfulness in the daily chaos of our lives. It’s about clearing the clutter so we can focus on what’s important, create something amazing, find happiness.

 

 

Photo: Pixabay

Editor: Dana Gornall

 


This article was published on the author’s blog and re-published with permission.

 

Did you like this post? You might also like:

 

In Honor of Food.

By Peter Schaller Last Tuesday was a long, exhausting day. I spent the entire day in the field, working with small farmers to identify areas on their dusty properties for reforestation. The day was full of climbing and descending the mountains in this arid region of...

The Skeptic: Are You Suspicious of Happiness?

  By David Jones Have you ever been suspicious of feeling happy? Do you have anxiety because things are going good for you at the moment? When something good happens do you slide into the dread of waiting for the inevitable bad thing that's going to...

Feeling Stressed? Here are 5 Things You Can Do Today to Slow Down:

By Jennifer Mazzoni   Summer is the season for warm weather, gardens in full bloom, farmers market visits, vacations and relaxation. Although the season has changed our environment and some of our daily activities, we may still find ourselves hurrying...

Isn’t Meditation About Emptying My Mind?

  By Jennifer Mazzoni Empty Your Mind. I hear this phrase often in pop culture and in the media when describing meditation. Until I took the time to learn about meditation, I had a false sense of what I was supposed to do while meditating....

Comments

comments

The Tattooed Buddha

The Tattooed Buddha strives to be a noncompetitive, open space for the author’s authentic voice. We offer a dialogue that is aware and awake to the reality of our present day to day, tackling issues of community, environment, and compassionate living. A space for the everyday person, whether Buddhist, Hindu, Jew, Christian, Pagan, or secular humanist, we hope to provide a platform for a voice that seeks to change the world one article at a time.