Enlightenment Tip – Look at the Space, not the Thing

Warning – this is a really short topic. Phewwww, I hear you say.

There’s nothing complicated about it. It’s really easy to understand the theory. Easy to do. And really effective.

For those of you jumping into the subject of Enlightenment for the first time, simply put, Enlightenment is the point where the mind loses all control over you and you are able to use the mind like a tool rather than letting it be the master. You don’t become one with the universe, you are the universe.

It’s much deeper than that, but lets keep it simple.

The process usually starts with the “understanding” that you are not your body and not your mind. At first, this understanding may be completely faith based because you read it somewhere, or stumbled upon a Youtube video that sounded interesting. But through a careful process of meditation and playing games with the mind, you will experience phenomena that seem to back this claim up.

Silencing the mind to reach some sort of stillness is often the most difficult part of the enlightenment process. And once reaching that stillness you realize you didn’t need to do that in the first place (again, lets not get sidetracked and just keep it simple for now).

This technique falls into the “game play” category. Meaning, you can do this while interacting with the world around you. You don’t just sit and meditate.

Our minds have evolved to identify objects in the environment around us. For millions of years, our minds have looked for sources of food or signs of danger, and it has got really good at analyzing the environment for threats. Essentially it has built up a database of objects that it regards as safe or dangerous.

You may be unaware of this, but as you walk down a street or through the woods, your mind is scanning and identifying objects. However, if you flip that process on its head and instead force your mind to look at the space that surrounds everything, there’s literally nothing for you mind to identify.

Your mind can’t see the air, so what does it label it? The mind is silent. Just try it. Look for some oxygen molecules in that big space in front of you.

When you stare at nothing for long enough, eventually everything becomes clear

Invisible Hermit

When you’re sitting in your living room. Just take a moment to look around the room and notice your mind focusing on objects and then moving on to the next. It’s not like your mind shouts the name of the objects, but notice how your eye momentarily stops as you gaze around the room.

So now that you’ve looked around your room for a while and identified all the stuff. Hopefully you picked up on your mind doing that little pause. Now look into the room but this time, try to “see” the space instead. Try to see the air. While you’re doing that, observe the mind and see how silent it is.

Look at that giant empty space that sits between you and the opposite wall.

Sometimes you might get a feeling of falling when you do it. It’s like your body suddenly notices the openness for the first time. It’s like a little expansion in your awareness.

See the space, not the object
See the space, not the object

Take a look at the picture above. What do you see? What does your mind do? It jumps from the apple, identifies it, then jumps to the orange, identifies it and then not much more. It doesn’t look at the details, just the identifying features.

Now look at the same picture, but this time, look at the space between the two fruits. Notice there’s nothing for your mind to identify, so it remains silent (at least for a while until it finds something to chatter about).

No matter how much “stuff” you can see, there’s a whole lot more of what you can’t see. Try seeing the “not stuff” for a few days and see what happens to your mind.

You can play this game during your waking hours. Just keep coming back to it. It’s like a personal meditation that nobody knows you’re doing.

Try it while walking through a forest. Look at the space between the trees and pay attention to your mind. Enjoy that peace.

Let me know how the technique works for you by leaving me a comment below.

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