With all the tips, techniques, and pointers available in meditation instruction, there’s going to come a time when you’ll be ready to set the doing aside. You’ve spent some basic time learning the skill of attention and the territory of human awareness. You’ve practiced knowing body sensations as just exactly what they are, and you’ve figured out which to handle and which to just allow to pass through. You know thoughts and images as the product of a conditioned human mind, and you know which ones carry some useful truth and which ones you can simply discard. You know emotions as your heart’s response to all the moment-by-moment perceptions. You can take in all of the arising, lingering and passing events, inside and outside your skin, with interest and without getting too tangled up in any of it. This is wonderful.
Now comes the time to release even the subtle activity of directing attention toward any given object. With this steadying into the territory of awareness, you can relax any movement of doing and rest in simply being. It doesn’t mean that there are no thoughts, no flickers or waves of body sensation or emotional movement. It’s just that there is a resting into awareness itself, that allows all of the movements of mind and body to be as they are.
This is ultimate relaxation and resting. In this way, no opinion is held regarding the inevitable activities in the domain of the body, mind or heart. It’s so relaxing that even deep physical tension or bubbling mental proliferation doesn’t disturb this restfulness. This is awareness so vast and allowing, that these normal arisings are known as inconsequential and immaterial relative to the encompassing quality of restfulness.
You may experience this at first in small bits. The habit of mind comes online quickly to comment about such an experience. The heart leaps in wonder, or contracts in fear, at the unknown quality of such restfulness. None of this is a problem. As quickly as possible, as you get to know the possibility of “mind wide open,” remember your carefully cultivated stance of allowing such thoughts and emotions to pass through without getting tangled up with them. Return to your intention to simply be. Orient toward and relax into restfulness.
This doing of non-doing is paradoxical. It’s radical in non-achievement and non-productiveness. It is the frontier of insight and inner freedom. It provides access to heretofore unrecognized sources of compassion and creativity. Practicing this as a formal element of your ongoing meditation pursuit is foundational to bringing insight and freedom into your non-cushion time. This is the doorway to the essential end-game, in my book. You step into radical being.
What lies beyond that step, only you can know.