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Vibrating Awake Space and Freedom

Freedom

Meditation

As usual, we’ll do an hour-long guided meditation, and as usual, feel free to participate in the guided meditation, or not. It’s up to you. Very often it starts out easy and gets more difficult. If it goes to a place either that feels too hard, or you don’t want to do it, just stay where you’re at. If I keep getting weirder and weirder, and at a certain point you’re, “Whoa, okay, that’s too much!” You can back up a little bit, and stay there. You’re in charge of your own feeling good, okay?

Let’s begin, as usual, by just checking in with yourself. Go within and just see how you’re doing, or, as I usually say: ask yourself the question, “what’s it like to be me right now? Then look, feel, check out how your emotions are doing, how your body’s doing, how your thoughts are doing, whatever else–how your astral council is doing. Just “what is it like to be you right now? How is it going in there?” Check it out, and however it’s going, just let that be okay. There’s not some other place you need to get to, or other things you need to do, or something else that needs to be happening. Just let whatever’s happening be okay for now. For at least the next hour, we’re letting go of the idea that we must change how we are. Instead, we’re allowing ourselves to be exactly what we’re like in this moment. Letting go of the fundamental self-aggression of the idea that however I am right now is not correct. Just for now, let it be correct. Whatever it’s like, even if it’s real uncomfortable, for now, it gets to be that way. It can change, but we’re not judging it, trying to control it, trying to make it into something it’s not.

Okay, good. Now, to the very best of your ability, just let your mind do whatever it’s going to do, and instead occupy the space outside of your mind–the space that is like the sky. Thoughts can continue doing whatever they’re doing, but we’re just not worried about it. Instead, we’re resting with awareness like the sky. We’re just allowing ourselves to notice that there’s a naturally occurring part of awareness that is just wide open, very awake, very clear, and not involved in the thinking mind. Just let yourself be like the sky without any striving. This isn’t imagination, this isn’t trying to make something happen. Just notice the part of experience that’s wide open, bright and clear, very spacious. There might be other parts that aren’t like that, but we’re just moving into inhabiting that zone of openness and awakeness and clarity, rather than being all gripped down inside the thinking part. That’ll probably just keep going, and we’re just going to let it toddle on its merry way, but we’re not involved with it. Notice that there’s nothing to do there. We’re simply resting as wide open sky-like mind, uninvolved with the thinking process. 

Now we’re going to do a mixture of breathing and mantra for a little while. The Mantra is a very very very very ancient one, time-honored. It goes “soham hansa” so everybody just say that out loud so I know you got it. “Soham hansa.” Very good. Then we’re just going to do it silently, but that’s just actually linguistic. The words in Sanskrit mean “I am he/ she or it.” It’s not specific in Sanskrit whether it’s male female or neuter: I am she, she is me. What we’re talking about is “I am the source of all consciousness, I am awake awareness itself and awake awareness itself is me.” If we were in a theistic mode, we could say I am the goddess the goddess is me. 

So, beginning with breathing into your belly, literally imagining that the air is coming into the belly on the in-breath.  It’s “soham,” and then breathing out the belly on the out-breath, with a real sigh type of a feeling there, “soham hansa,” like that. You’re imagining the breath coming in just below the navel, actually entering the body through a hole just below the navel and then exiting out the same spot, “soham hansa.” On that in-breath, on the “soham” feel the energy growing stronger, energy in the belly. On the out-breath, feel any tension leaving any, sense of constriction tightness tension gripping, crimping, all just releasing and opening and dissolving and vanishing. Then, on the in-breath, again, “so hum” — feeling that energy growing below the navel really strong. A sense of bright, clear, fresh, energy out-breath. All tension, all tightness, releasing, so let’s go with that for a few moments.

Of course, this is all happening in the context of remaining as the wide open sky-like mind. We’re not getting all thinky about it. Thoughts can be happening, but we’re just not involved with that, we’re just being wide open awareness, breathing in. Reciting the Mantra and breathing out, feeling clearer and brighter on the in-breath more and more relaxed on the out-breath. “soham” she is me, I am he, he is me, I am awareness itself, awareness itself is me.

If you want to make that a little more difficult you can also see a bright light in the spot where you’re breathing in. If that’s hard, don’t do it, but if that’s an easy addition, go ahead and add that.

Good. Then we’re going to move up to the heart. Let’s do the same thing. Not the physical heart on the left, but the energy heart right in the center, the middle of the body, but a little bit back. It’s not on the front of your chest, it’s way deep in there. Feel that air now breathing in the chest, an opening of the heart, and energizing, even more energy. Again, if you’re good at visualization, you can see bright light there. Then, on the out-breath, instead of relaxation, it’s radiating energy to the whole body, into your feet, into your hands, into your arms and legs, into the torso, into the head, and, especially into the central channel. Breathing in, opening the heart, energizing and opening the heart, breathing out, feeling that energy flowing to the whole body and radiating even further out. Still doing the mantra, “soham hansa.” “Soham” on the in-breath. 

If you want to go a little further with it, feel the energy radiating out, not just to your whole body but to every other meditator in the room. Feel the energy of all the other meditators coming back to you, so that you’re both giving and receiving this open-hearted strong bright clear awakened loving energy. Remaining like the sky, uninvolved in thinking but wide open, clear, spacious, bright. The heart growing brighter and more awake, more open. The whole body lighting up with energy. 

Very good. Now move the visualization up to the third eye. Breathing right between the eyebrows, breathing in through a hole in the third eye. But this time, instead of relaxation or heart opening, we’re feeling wisdom and clarity in the third eye on the in-breath and on the out-breath, breathing out tremendous openness, brightness to our entire being, into the whole world. If you find yourself involved in thought also on the out-breath, the mind just dissolves into space. Again, we can see that the third eye spot is very bright. Soham hansa. Really feel that wisdom, clarity, energy filling all of awareness. This is a kind of wisdom and knowing that is completely non-verbal and non-conceptual. it’s not ideas, not about anything. It’s direct “soham, hansa,” breathing in through the forehead and out through the forehead. If you’re visual, then see a very beautiful bright light there, maybe almost blindingly bright.

Very good. Now let’s do the same thing through the top of your head. This time breathing in enlightenment energy. Absolute awakening enlightenment energy all the way down to the perineum at the base of the central channel. Breathing in all the way down to the perineum from a hole in the top of your head. “Soham,” all the way down, that enlightenment energy filling the entire body, and then breathing back out through the top of the head, radiating enlightenment energy to every other person in the room and all Buddhas everywhere. Feel enlightenment energy on the in-breath coming from everyone else in the room and all Buddhas everywhere, all bodhisattvas everywhere.

We’re radiating and receiving enlightenment energy on the in-breath all the way down all the way down and then on the out-breath, just giving it away, utterly freely, utterly wantonly. Just giving all that enlightenment energy away to all beings. Feeling it also filling our own body. It’s not a mind thing, it’s a body thing, it’s a heart thing and awareness thing. Can also fill the mind, but it’s not just the mind thing. Feel that total awakening, total enlightenment energy coming in and then flowing out, massively powerful, just utterly profligate. You’re just giving it away. Radiating and receiving awakening energy.

Good. Now let go of that entirely,  and simply feel your body. In this case, body means your whole body including your head. Just feel the whole body and feel how every sensation in the body is simply a kind of vibration. If we live in the ideas about the body, it will feel all kinds of solid and like it’s made of bones and essentially like pipes and levers and wiring and so on. But that’s in the mind. If you feel the body itself, outside of the mind, you just feel vibrating energy, buzzy, tingly, magnetic, electrical-type feelings. Sometimes unpleasant, like maybe a little intense; sometimes very, very subtle, very sweet, very gentle; and everything in between. Every single sensation is a kind of buzzy tingly energy, vibratory. That’s not something you’re pretending or trying to visualize, that’s just what it feels like. 

Notice that the whole body, every body sensation, the feeling of the entire body, is nothing other than layer after layer of vibration. It may be very subtle, maybe very gentle, maybe not. Wherever it still seems to be solid, or stock, or heavy, or dense, just breathe into that spot as if there’s a hole there. Breathe right into it and breathe back out of it until you notice it’s nothing other than vibration. Let go of any idea about what the body really is or really isn’t. That’s not what we’re doing here. We’re feeling what it feels like–vibration, lots of vibration, vibration occurring in the wide open awake space of awareness. Awareness is aware of vibration. Vibration is occurring within awareness. A wide open space of wide awakeness in which vibrations are noticed. 

With a lot of clarity, you notice something quite interesting: that the vibration itself is none other than awareness vibrating, the space of clear awakeness itself vibrates into being the body. The body itself is nothing other than awake awareness and space exuberantly vibrating. The body itself is wide open space, wide awake, clear, bright, wisdom, clarity, compassion. The deep experience of the body is vibration, but even deeper, even more clear, is the body is space, wide awake space, utterly clear, utterly exuberant. If there’s discomfort in the body, or pain, or something feels off, notice that that, too, is none other than vibration, and the vibration itself is just the energy of awake space. Even the discomfort in the body is nothing other than wide open wide awake space. 

Look into whatever you think the most fucked up, gross part of your body is, whatever you hate the most about your body, or that you think is disgusting, and sick and wrong. Feel into that, not as an idea, feel into it, and notice that that too is nothing other than wide awake space vibrating the exuberant expression of awakeness itself.

Good. Feel free to keep working with that, or if you want to go a little deeper, and maybe a little more challenging, notice now the thing we set aside earlier, the thinking mind. See if you can notice the thoughts in the mind, whether they’re visual, verbal, or any other kind of thought, as nothing other than vibration, movement, change. The talk in the mind is just a kind of lullaby even if you know what it means. It’s still just vibratory sound in the mind. Any images in the mind are just colors, shapes–but patterns, textures, moving through the mind–it’s all just vibration below the level of meaning. It’s just vibration in the thinking. Tune into that vibratory quality of thought. It’s simply motion. There’s no need ever to stop or interrupt that motion, or try to get it to be quieter. We just simply notice that it’s just a kind of beautiful vibration, just a kind of beautiful flow of energy, flow of activity. There’s no need to interrogate it for meaning but simply to just feel it’s almost a kind of body sensation of just energetic flow. If you feel that flow very clearly and deeply, you notice it doesn’t even come from the head. It originates much more deeply in the body, and it’s just a flow of energy activity, and as a flow of active vibration, it actually feels kind of wonderful, kinda nice, no problem. Letting go of trying to get into all the meanings is completely relaxing, and instead, it’s like the mind is a hot tub with vibrating bubble jets that are just continuously offering the soothing stream of energy activity.  

Notice, even more deeply, that vibratory energy of the mind is simply what simply awake space exuberantly vibrating the mind into existence is–none other than awake space itself. It’s impossible to get caught in the flow of thinking as a flow of energy because it’s just continuously pouring past–a stream of bubbles that you can’t get caught up in. Very deeply we can notice it’s simply vibrating space, wide open boundless space. What is there to get hooked on? What is there to hook? There’s just wide awake space, vibrating with energy into all these various forms. 

Now, if you want to be challenged a little more. If you’re okay with what we’re doing, stay with that, but if you want to be challenged a little more, look into the most unpleasant, sickest, darkest, most fucked up, and gross part of your mind–the part you’re afraid to even recognize, but you know it’s there. See it clearly, the really bad thing. Then notice it’s not any different, it’s just vibrating flow of energy awareness, a stream of thought activity pouring forth from awake space and back into awake space, and never leaving awake space. Utterly wide awake, utterly primordially pure from beginningless time, primordially pure awakeness energy. 

If there are some real problems you’ve been grinding, on real stuff that needs to be solved, that too is none other than awake space vibrating. Bring that up now, bring up the problem now, and notice that the thoughts are nothing other than awake space, nothing other than vibration that is primordially pure, utterly awake. Involution and evolution continuously trading back and forth, not a problem, now just rest as vibrating space.

The person meditating is vibrating space of pure awakeness, the person you think you are who comes from somewhere and does stuff and has opinions and all that–nothing other than wide awake vibrating space. The wide awakeness doesn’t come from anywhere, it’s just there. The sense of being anybody, doing something, just wide awake, primordially pure space, itself shining with brilliant clarity.

Any sense of a floor, or even ground, or even Earth beneath you, just opening up into nothing but vibrating space. Nothing holding anything up, just vibrating space. Any sense of any walls or limits at all–wide awake boundless space, boundaryless space.

Any sense that you’re trying to get somewhere–nothing but vibrating awakeness. From this view, bring up now, if you feel like being challenged, bring up now the thing that’s wrong with you that nobody’s ever allowed to see, that you really know deep down inside is fucked up. Notice that that, too, is wide awake shining bright pure space itself: the space of pure awakening, and nothing but exuberant expression of pure awakening. Bring up those things that are wrong with your partner–those, too, are nothing but vibrating wide open, wide awake, brilliantly clear beautiful expressions of boundless primordially pure space itself.

Now, just let the clarity and brilliance of this primordial awakeness just shine in the boundless endless halls of space as it vibrates all things into existence and swallows them back again, and is never separate. Notice that there’s so much energy that it’s just ridiculously playful, utterly spontaneous and free, dancing the world into being moment by moment, and then disappearing back again into itself moment by moment. Wild and free, utterly beautiful, giving it all away.

As we end the meditation, notice that everyone around you is nothing other than awake space vibrating into existence. The room around you–nothing other than awake awareness vibrating into existence. The whole world continuously just an expression of awakeness itself vibrating into being, utterly full, never beginning never ending.

Q&A

We have a microphone for this part of the program so if you want to speak just raise your hand and we’ll bring a microphone to you but remember that we’re being live-casted onto the web so it’s not just the folks in this room. So anything anyone would like to report about that or things coming up raise your hand, and let’s talk about it.

Feel free to stand, but you don’t have to.

 Questioner 1: Did the lights go up in intensity at some point during the meditation?

Michael: Nope. Did it seem to you like they changed intensity?

Questioner 1: It’s much brighter, yeah.

Michael: It’s very bright and clear and wide awake, so it starts to look different sometimes. It’s  not necessary, doesn’t always do that, but that’s cool. A lot of times, if we’re still inside the thinking mind, still coming from the machinery of thought, that’s very lossy and it’s very frictiony, and tons of our clarity and energy is getting bound up and so it’s not available right, it’s just kind of in the friction of the gears, so to speak, and when we step outside that, there’s a lot more energy available for just noticing. So it can sometimes be the case that things get literally brighter and clearer, not always, but certainly one of the common effects that’s kind of cool. I think it’s interesting for you that it just was sudden.  Very good, what else?

Questioner 2: Hey Michael, I was curious about what you meant by quieting the mind, because it felt like there can be a definition of quieting the mind which is getting away from the thinking mind. But then you also talked about paying attention to the buzzing of the thoughts so is that also a form of not quieting the mind? Can you clarify that?

Michael:  Did I say the quiet the mind?

Questioner 2: You said, I think, don’t quiet the mind. What did you mean by that? 

Michael: I mean don’t try to stop thinking. It’s a very common misperception. In lots, not all, but lots of meditation traditions, that is really important to stop thinking and people get really focused on stopping the thinking. But, you can’t do that really, and if you try to do it directly, it backfires. We can calm the body down and calm the prana down, the mind will calm down. But then you have the problem of what do you do the rest of the day while you’re walking around and doing your job. Are you going to do your job with your mind all you know squashed? So you can’t really take that outside of a meditation hall that easily. Rather, what we do is let the mind just be the mind and do its stuff, but we don’t engage. You’re not up inside it, not up in the mind. You’re just being the awake space, within which the mind is occurring, but you’re not really paying attention to it, basically. Eventually, when you get used to that then you can come back and notice the energy of it, and even get into it, without being caught up in the gears again. Does that make sense?

Questioner 2: Yes, thank you. 

Michael: Then, for example, you can do work that takes a lot of mental energy, you have to think and so it’s not somehow like “oh, I was in my beautiful thought-free meditation and now I gotta go, now I’m bummed out I, gotta go work and think,” and that’s a problem or something. Rather, your mind is just flowing and it’s able to do that kind of work very easily and yet you’re not caught up–so no bummer at all. That’s the idea.

Questioner 3: Thanks Michael. When you’re talking about seeing things as awake space…

Michael: I’m saying it IS awake space. Be awake space:  There’s no other thing to see the awake space.

Questioner 3: I’m having trouble with the point, I think the awakeness of it is so self-evident, but the conceptual mind kind of making it into a bigger thing and–

Michael: Don’t make it into a bigger thing. It’s the self-evident part I’m talking about.

Questioner 3: I know it’s self-evident but it’s difficult to put down.

Michael: What knows that? Right? It’s so obvious. 

Questioner 3: I’m saying it’s almost too obvious. My intellectual mind is saying it’s

self-evident, not that I’m perceiving it as self-evident.

Michael: Oh, that. Well, that’s different.

Questioner 3: Sorry, I misspoke.

Michael: Are you having any experience right now? 

Questioner 3: Yeah, 

Michael: Okay, that. Is that awake? 

Questioner 3: Yeah… 

Michael: Well, is it or isn’t it?

Questioner 3: It is, but…

Michael:   But what?

Questioner 3: It’s just immediately the conceptual mind is like…okay but.

Michael:  Don’t do that, or notice before it does it. So, try again, are you having an experience?

Questioner 3: Yeah.

Michael:  That’s it. There’s no need to think about it. It’s right there, and even the thing that’s noticing the thinking, that’s the awake space. Are you with me? Not conceptually, are you noticing it right now?

Questioner 3:  On some level, on some level.

Michael: rrrr. Outa here! [laughter] 

Questioner 3: I’ll try 

Michael: That was a total fail. [laughter]. Notice how that feels. What’s noticing? There it is. So, it’s actually you said, it’s too easy, too obvious. That’s an actual deeply traditional point. Most people have a problem not because it’s too hard, but because it’s too easy, and they think it has to be harder. So they keep missing it, because it’s like, no, it really is that easy. Also they keep thinking it couldn’t be that obvious, it must be harder or more arcane, or more hidden, or something. So they miss it because it’s so obvious. 

The thing you’re talking about is really traditional, right? So what’s the deeply traditional answer is: No, it really is that obvious, okay. Just there, it is not more complicated than that, it’s not a special awareness, it’s just the awareness, okay? Good job. 

Questioner 4: Hey Michael. My question is, how does trauma make the awake space contract so much? There’s a lot of awake space, but somehow when there’s trauma even when I recognize I just feel like my whole face is vibrating, like very aggressively, and it sometimes loosens up or lightens up, but I just noticed that there’s just a lot of vibration.

Michael: The first thing I’m always going to say with a question like that, I just have to say it: I’m not a therapist. I can’t give you any trauma advice in terms of that. I’m just a knucklehead, right, so don’t listen to me. I will just say, everything causes contraction. It’s just that trauma is a big contraction, and so we work with that slowly, because it’s really reactive, right, and so if you go at it, it’s going to react really big, and really squeeze down. So you just be really gentle, really gentle, really gentle, don’t go at it. We are very loving and spacious with it, okay? That’s the knucklehead version.

Questioner 4:  No problem, thanks.

Michael:  But it’s really important to not trigger it, right, so we go real gentle, real gentle. Very good.

Questioner 5: This has to do with the poetics of what you’re pointing out. 

Michael: Good. Thank God! Awake space, we need some Poetics. Not enough Poetics

Questioner 5: This was one of those rare sits where I felt like I was beginning to notice a little bit more what you’re consistently pointing out, and when that started to happen, there’s a way in which it really seems very spacious, but there’s also a sense in which, it also felt like absolute spacelessness, like it had no extension whatsoever.

Michael: Well, nobody said how big vast is. Nobody made any comment about the dimensions of boundlessness. It’s just boundless. Which literally means we don’t know what the boundary is. It might be infinitely small, we just don’t know, right? So I’m using language really carefully. It might feel super huge, but it might not, but we don’t know. It’s not a specific size.

Questioner 5: Yeah, that’s clarifying, and resonates because there’s a sense in which it seems as if it’s infinitely huge, and it seems as if it’s an infinitesimal spaceless point at the same time.

Michael: If you go into any specific part of my body or mind and you drill down, tinier and tinier, it will just get big in there or it might be tight–you don’t know. The whole idea is: quit defining the size. That’s a box we put everything in: What size is it? This is saying that you don’t know what size it is, and you can’t know because it doesn’t have a size. Okay?

Questioner 5:  Yeah, makes sense.

Michael: Very good. So you’re getting clearer and clearer, right, oh I thought it was supposed to be big but sometimes it seems small, right? That’s direct, so very good.

Other stuff coming up out there? Anybody think this just doesn’t make any fucking sense, I don’t know what he’s talking about. Between each question I get to have some Thai iced tea. That’s the reward.

Questioner 6: Hello. I have had previous experiences where it felt like I went from contraction to absolute openness very quickly, and it was a very emotionally intense experience. Like getting rocketed into it, whereas how I’m feeling right now I would describe as equanimity plus plus. 

Michael: Yeah, we went slow, right?

Questioner 6:  Is that all that is the difference–it’s just how we entered?

Michael:  It can be really dramatic, in the average sense of that would be to just pop into there, and then oftentimes our reaction is contraction. But if we go slowly enough to kind of acclimatize, it’s like we’re doing sort of the opposite, coming up slowly from scuba diving, we’re just slowly acclimatizing to openness, and then we’re not reacting as much.

Questioner 6:  Thank you.

Questioner 7: Hey. First of all, thank you. I have a bit of a strange experience I want to share and see if you can riff on it. It’s something that I have noticed happens pretty much every time I meditate. I feel like my awareness expands almost like a quilt is opening up, and then there’s like one point where it’s snagged, and it always feels like the same spot on my back, slightly to the left, as if that’s like a dead zone or something. I’m curious if that’s an experience that other people have, and if there’s like a special way to work with that.

Michael:  It might not be specifically the lower back on the left for other people, but oftentimes there are spots like that somewhere that feel stuck or feel like the constriction stays, and there’s tons of ways to work with it. But no matter what, we’re going to notice that, if everything else is wide open, vibratory, awake, eventually, that it is so all-pervading that if we look back at that spot, it will release. It’s very hard for one spot to stay reified like that if everything else is not reified. So you just keep allowing everything else to be as open as possible, and then come back to that place.

On the other hand, there are literally thousands of other things you could do, but most of them are going to tend to reify it more, and then eventually you’ll open up to it. Do you think it’s the case that everything else in the universe is vibrating awake space but your lower back on the left isn’t?

Questioner 7: It feels that way, yeah, but I don’t think it’s the case, but..

Michael: Right, so let it feel however it feels, but, I mean it could be that’s where the aliens put the implant. We just got to work with that, but even that is vibrating awake space, eventually you just keep looking, and don’t force anything. It’s not like I need you to believe this for it to work. This is direct observation. So if your direct observation is that it feels tight and constructed, okay. Look at what doesn’t feel that way, and then go from there. None of this is an idea about something you have to believe in, it’s just describing how stuff looks if you work with it in a certain way.

Questioner 7: Okay, thanks.

Michael:  But I will say that’s pretty common, except in other spots. Thanks.

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