Disappearing into Perceptions and Inner Silence
One of the simplest practices for understanding the deepest part of our nature, in my experience, is disappearing into perceptions. My favorite way of doing this is to stop paying any attention to thoughts appearing in my mind (or, sometimes in my case, it’s music or songs appearing) and to be ‘simply awake’ to perception. I find it particularly easy to ‘disappear’ into the seeing that’s automatically occurring, instead of paying attention to my ‘language generating mind’ that’s chattering away. It feels as if seeing is all that’s occurring and there’s nobody seeing and nothing seen. “I” disappear into seeing. This is a wonderful one time experience; imagine when it becomes a more regular part of life?!
When I move attention totally to perception, including sight, smell, sound, touch and sometimes taste, then the “I” disappears altogether. It is then that I experience the “I” as an artificial ‘gap filler’ that makes it seem like the “I” is something more important than perception and therefore distracts from perception. This is a great contrast to the normal experience we humans have that this ‘mind chatter’ is an all-important ‘person’ or ‘self’ that I must pay attention to constantly. If you stop paying attention to the ‘mind chatter’ or ‘I chatter’ your whole ego-self actually subsides into oblivion, at least momentarily. It’s a great relief when this happens!
I most often do this exercise when I’m outside, because I happen to live in a rural area where there are lots of trees, birds, and animals. I walk my wonderful dog Maya every morning that it’s not pouring with rain, and do this ‘disappearing into perception’ frequently when walking. I do it at other times too, sometimes when eating or sitting still or even doing chores that don’t require thinking.
If you have doubts that you are more than a chattering-ego-mind calling itself “I” or “me,” then try simply moving your attention to your perceptions. You’ll see that there is something perceiving everything (including perceiving thought!) that is separate from and deeper than thought. This is a quick way to discover and experience what is called your True Nature or Pure Awareness or Consciousness or the Atman. The more you practice this kind of exercise, the more obvious (and permanent) the conclusion that Awareness is deeper than thought becomes, until your ‘center of gravity’ eventually, and permanently moves from thought to Awareness. This is an integral step towards fully awakening to your True Nature as The Absolute.