“[T]houghts often come and go as a kind of reflex, passing so quickly that they go unnoticed, if we take the time to focus on the stream of mental events, we soon observe that we are almost always thinking… in terms of their content thoughts tend to be trivial and repetitive. They recycle the same themes and images, call up the same memories, dwell on the same concerns. They react to whatever stimuli present themselves, leading nowhere in particular. As we go about our day, thoughts cycle through our minds like the background hum of a household appliance or a nervous gesture that we repeat almost unconsciously.” …. ‘Dynamics of Time and Space’, p. 51
So in class, we were invited to look into this more deeply, into the very awareness that allows us to notice our thoughts… “look within each arising moment for the quality of awareness it carries. Be sensitive to the way that awareness transfers from one experience to the next. A perception or thought goes forward, carrying awareness; then a second perception or thought recollects and passes that awareness on. What is the quality of this experience?” DTS p.247
We were advised to take care and NOT dictate the nature of the experience, to simply notice how awareness becomes more refined as, “a sense of inner knowledge enters into each experience”.
I looked up from my computer and took a deep breath. Immediately, my narrow focus was expanded, visually, the wide windows revealed leafless trees, and windblown evergreens waving to a greying overcast sky… a browning field extending out to the horizon. The room inside was also included in a full peripheral depth of vision… near and far. At first, my eyes darted around, flitting on this object and that, but then I gave that up and relaxed into the open vision. Sounds were available, but I didn’t rush to name them. What I was feeling was not focused on specific sensations, but all ‘felts’ were present.
The ‘quality’ of the awareness was OPEN, it was NOT narrowed by ‘me’… the usual controller of a narrow world, the imperial ‘I’ centering each second, the self-narrator of events, of my stories, feelings, and judgments… all the selves that requires locatedness and ownership just weren’t active as usual. It began to dawn on me that this openness seemed the source of knowing these fleeting moments… I didn’t require the exclusive control of an agent… a constellation of me… there was room for a broader more inclusive knowing.