As we practice, we begin to change our basis of operation in our minds. We practice interrupting our self-centered desire system that produces our decisions and actions and open up to a mind-ground that has quite a different perspective. As our understanding of the truth of reality opens, our minds can be connected to the universal mind as we function in the world of form. Acknowledging the needs and functioning of the conventional world, we begin to behave in our ordinary lives with a consistent connection to universal consciousness.
A tall order? Yes, indeed, but this is the practice. It requires very strong concentration and mindfulness, to see emptiness and impermanence in each moment. In the Tibetan lingo, this is called “automatic emptiness”. Ironically and simultaneously, we take loving care of the form or mental state that appears in each moment. This is wholeheartedly embracing the totality of our life. The universal perspective and the unique specificity of each moment meet and express life.
First, we have to make a connection to the universal mind-ground. That is why we emphasis zazen or meditation. Through quieting our discursive mind, we can begin to feel the mind-ground of all beings and all places.
To really feel or know the universal mind-ground, there are subtle practices that help us discern when we are still attaching to a view and clouding this clear, open, unencumbered Mind.
There are three differentiated practices, I have learned from Dan Brown.
- Ever-present awakeness, boundless, and timeless
- Ever-present, right here and now, there is no where we need to go or something we need to find in order to connect with it.
- Awakeness — open your eyes and heart to this very moment which requires an ability to concentrate without mental distractions.
- Boundless — we learn to not compartmentalize life in terms of space. There is no isolated unit such as the body that is separated from our inter-being or inter-dependence.
- Timeless — again we learn not to compartmentalize life in terms of time. Past, present and future, all centralize around now. There is no other time besides now and now doesn’t have boundaries.
- Ever-present, awakeness, boundless, timeless, AND non-dual
- No preferences, we call this in Zen. All the opposites, equally express suchness, emptiness and unbounded openness.
- No state is more important than another state — There is an equality to phenomena.
- There is no differentiation between something that is high or superior and another something that is low and ordinary.
- Ever-present, awakeness, boundless, timeless, non-dual AND no longer individual consciousness
- Seeing things as coming from the seeds in the alaya-vijnaya or storehouse consciousness.
- We do not see our life from Manas — our individualized desire system. We can see things from universal consciousness and not twist reality around an idea of a centralized self.
When I feel stuck or contracted by the story of the present moment, I just practice saying the word, “Timeless” or “no individual consciousness” or “no preferences, welcome this just as it is” and observe if there are changes in my mind and body by making this slight shift of focus. Then, we must practice this over and over, until this is done with ease and no effort. It becomes automatic!