Sometimes I will notice myself just sitting, or just standing. As in deep sleep, there is actually no “myself”, no awareness of a person, until a thought manages to dredge itself up from oblivion and create the sense or facsimile of a subject. That subject wasn’t there previously. It is a mental construction, created out of thin air, and yet the habit is to take it as one’s identity, because that is how habits work — they are simply the mind’s default position in the midst of the mystery.
In the same way, when we awaken from sleep in the morning, for a moment there is only pure awareness, then immediately we add a whole storyline, a narrative of some character we are convinced that we are, just by the nature of our appearance in space time, which is actually a compounded mental event too.
While there is just this sitting, or just standing still, there is no history of a person, no anticipation of some future for a person, no sense of a person being here now, no time calculations, no regrets or projections, no creation or destruction, no wanting or avoiding. None of that arises to confirm a personal identity subject to any of it. It is not happy or sad, nor can any quality or emotional flavor be pinned on it, since it is transparent, like sky.
I love the sky, I truly do, because it is so empty I can disappear in it. Maybe suffering means to linger on, and not disappear. In any case, nothing happens then, nor will anything ever happen. What is there to even disappear? Nothing can actually come or go, except as a kind of cloud, a cloud of moisture’s imagination. Really, there is just the vastness of sky, stretching infinitely in all directions, but nevertheless, we all love the first signs of rain.
Beyond rain or shine, there is awareness, but it is not self-conscious. There is no “I am the sky” or “Here comes the sun.” It is all just standing still, as the sky, as aware space, as clear light that does not even think of itself as light. It does not think of itself, and so there is no “itself”, anymore than there is “myself”. It is not bliss, it is not anything with a name. Some say emptiness, but it is empty of emptiness too.
Why? Because it is filled with everything, everything is here. It never goes away. Things seem to come and go to the mind entangled in a duality of subject and objects, but that is only the play of consciousness, which is a kind of miracle too — that there is anything at all, rather than nothing whatsoever.
It is like a little joke, a quiet and relaxed bit of light-hearted humor that is barely noticed at all, and only mentioned because it is a good reason to take nothing seriously, especially the character called “myself”, the one sitting or standing still and just staring out into itself. Maybe there is a slight hint of a smile, because that is all there is, this nameless mystery filled with everyone and everything — all just fervently going about the humorous business of characters and props in a dream theater of itself, the totality of the universal existence, both manifest and unmanifest, absolute and relative, and so forth and so on, right up to the end of this run-on sentence.
Just so, we may be both asleep and awake simultaneously, though we tend to imagine that we are this or that exclusively, based on ideas that have no source anywhere but in our own mind. Certainly, it might seem as if others appeared who implanted programs and filters that conditioned our perception along the way. However, even that illusion has been part of the play, the convincing drama of self and others and all the stuff they get up to — tears and laughter, and sometimes just sitting or standing, not unlike characters in a dream.
We love our dream characters, because creators love their productions, and so time enters the picture, just so that all these various stories can unfold at the perfect pace, allowing for ingenious subplots to modify consciousness and so reveal the endless nature of experience expanding to infinity, until the temple bell rings at dawn, and we immediately forget all over again, and this too is part of the little joke, barely noticed at all.