Category: No-Focus

Open Awareness by Joseph Goldstein



This morning we’re going to do a guided meditation.

Affectionally known as the “Big Mind” meditation.

And so, sit in a, comfortable, but reasonably straight posture.


We begin by opening to sounds.

And may occasionally ring the bell, because it’s so quiet, give you a sound to pay attention to.


But first just open to sound.

The sound of my voice.

The occasional distinct sound that may arise.

And even the sound of silence.

Staying soft, relaxed, receptive.

Not looking for anything.

Simply being open to the sounds that appear.


Let’s the mind be at ease.


Open to whatever arises in the realm of sound.


Notice how effortlessly, each sound is known in the moment it appears.

The knowing is not anticipating.

It’s not lagging.

Let the mind become like the Big Sky. Empty Sky. Empty Space.

Different sounds appearing, changing and vandishin in the open space of the mind.


Mind is open, receptive, aware of the sound of my voice.

The other sounds that may appear.

Sound of silence.

It’s not looking for sound.

Rather it’s simply opening to them.


Mind is like open space.

Sounds appear and disappear.

In this open emptiness of mind.


And open to different sensations that arise and appear

Sensations are points in feeling.

Like stars in the night sky.

There’s no solid body.

There’s no back or knees.

Only points of sensation.

Points of feeling.

Appearing and disappearing in the open emptiness of mind.

There’s no inside. No outside.

No boundaries of separation.

Only sounds, sensations, appearing and disappearing in the open space of mind.


There’s no solid body.

Or head or shoulders, back or chest.

Arms or legs.

Only particular points of senaation.

Points of feeling.

Like stars in the night sky.

Appearing and changing the open empty space of mind.


Notice how effortlessly how each sound is know the moment it appears.

Notice how effortlessly each sensation is known in the moment it appears.

Be aware of thoughts and images like clouds in the sky.

Just appearing and disappearing in the open empty space of mind.

Theres’ no inside, no outside, no boundaries of separation.

Just sounds, sensations, thoughts and images, hearing and dissolving in the empty openness of mind.


Not wanting, not looking.

Simply resting in the empty aware space of mind.

As sounds appear.

Sensations appear as points of feeling.

Thoughts and images appear.

Rest and ease the weary mind.

There’s no solid body.

No head, no shoulders.

No back, no chest.

No arms or hands or legs or feet.

Only points of sensation. Points of feeling.

Like stars in the night sky.

Appearing and changing in the open empty space of mind.

No wanting, no doing.

All experience appears and changes and disappears by itself.

Experience directly your own mind.

It’s invisible.


Without color, without form.

Directly experience your own mind.

Empty, open.

It is but it doesn’t exist.

Experience directly your own mind.

Knows all things but is not composed of them.



Directly experience your own mind.


Experience directly your own mind.

Can’t be seen.

Can’t be touched.

No color, no form.

Empty like space.

It knows all appearances but is not composed of them.

Looking for it…there’s nothing to find.

And yet it knows all things.

Experience directly your own mind.


There’s no inside, no outside.

No boundaries or separation.

Only sounds, sensations, thoughts and images.

Hearing and changing.

In the empty openness of mind.


There’s no solid body, no head or shoulders, back or chest.

Arms or legs.

Only points of sensation.

Points of feeling.

Like stars in the night sky.

Appearing and changing in the open emptiness of mind.


Experience directly your own mind.

Look for it, there’s nothing to find.

Open, empty.

Without color, without form.

It is but it doesn’t exist.

Directly experience your own mind.

It knows all things but isn’t composed of them.

Unformed, unborn.


Experience directly your own mind.

The cognizing power of emptiness.

There’s no inside or outside.

No boundaries.

No separation.

Sounds, sensations, thoughts and images.

Known immediately the moment that they appear.


Sounds appear, sensations appear, thoughts and images appear in the empty openness of mind.

There’s nothing to do, nothing to be, nothing to have.


Sounds are known.

Known by what?

Experience directly the nature of mind.

Empty, open.

No color, no form.

The cognizing power of emptiness.


No inside, no outside.

No boundaries, no separation.

Just sounds, sensations, thoughts and images.

Appearing and changing in the empty open space of mind.


If you found this helpful at all.

Simply including the visual field as another appearance of mind.

It’s just like sound or sensation.

Sights are being known.

Color or form is being known.

If you didn’t find it helpful, forget about it.


Open Awareness by Jack Kornfield


This morning I’d like to do a guided meditation for the instructions working with the sense of sound and space.

If the way that you’re practicing the skillful means of your practice is most helped by staying in your body, connected to the breath very closely, or the sensations and you have a sense that sound and space is not necessarily the right focus that’s also fine.

But as we’ve talked about and as I’ve talked about, even last night, the sense of resting in awareness.

This is a meditation that invites that possibility for you.

So letting yourself sit comfortably and at easy

It’s helpful for this practice that the body be still, allow your eyes to be closed gently, and just as you have initially paid attention to breath or body sensations, for the establishment of awareness.

In this practice let go o the initial focus of breath and body sensations and instead bring your awareness to the play of sound. To the door of the ear which receives vibrations and sounds and in a relaxed and easy way begin simply by listening.


There are soft sounds in the room.

Distant sounds.

The sounds of these words appearing and disappearing.

The sound of bells.

And as you listen, relax into the space of listening.

Into the space of awareness itself.

The bells arise and vanish.

The words appear and disappear.

Listen as well to the silence between sounds.


And as you listen, let yourself begin to sense or feel or imagine any way you can that your mind is not limited to the size of your head.

That the mind is open and vast like space or sky.

Let yourself feel or imagine that the mind is as big as this room.

As big as the whole sky.

And the sounds that you hear.

These words.

The soft sounds in the background.

The silence and bells.

Arise and pass like clouds or bubbles in the vast open space of mind.


Relax into spaciousness in its true state.

The mind is transparent.


Open like the sky.

Allowing for everything.

Containing all things yet not limited by them.


Being of the voids.

To know if this is so or not, rest in the space of awareness.

Relax into it.

Trust it.

The sounds come easily appearing and disappearing like clouds.

And the sky remains at ease.


And as you relax I spacious awareness.

Just as sounds appear and disappear.

Notice too how images and thoughts arise.

Word thoughts.

Picture thoughts.

Appear like clouds.

Arise for a moment.

Display themselves.

Images. Sentences.

And then vanish leaving no trace.

The mind is like space.

Vast, open, uncompounded, untroubled by what arises and passes.

Receiving all things as awareness itself.

The space that knows.

Completely at rest.

Vast and silent.


Words appear and disappear.

And thoughts and images arise like clouds and then vanish.

Rest in the space of awareness.

Relax into it.

Trust it.


Sounds appear and disappear.

Arising like clouds and passing away.

Thougts and images arise in the same vast sky.

Appearing for a time and dissolving leaving the sky open, vast, and silent.

Notice too emotions and feelings that may arise like weather, joy, or ease, delight, calm.

Sadness, fear, frustration, longing, love.

Like weather appearing in the sky.

Emotions too arise, are felt and known, exist for a time, and pass away.

Just as sounds come and go.

So too emotions.

Like clouds or bubbles arise for a time.

Rest in the vast sky of awareness.

Trust it.

Relax into it.


Sounds come and go.

Thoughts and images appear and disappear.

Moods and emotions like weather arise for a time and pass away.

The mind is vast like space without boundaries — transparent, open.

Allowing for all things yet not limited by them.

Rest in this innate awareness.

Silent and vast.

Notice too, that within the vast sky of mind, the space of awareness, while there are sensations of the body there is no solid body.


No head.

No limbs or torso.

Just a field of sensations that float and slowly change in the sky of mind.

Warm and cool areas of vibration and pressure.

Of hard and soft.

Tingling. Pleasure, painful sensations, tensions.

If you’ve sense the body from the sky of awareness.

It is a field of vibration, pulsing, tingling.

With space in and around it.

Nothing solid.

A flow of sensations and experience.

And the breath itself moves like a breeze in space.

No inside or outside.

Just a slow dynamic change of sensations of breath.

Floating in the vast space of mind.


Sounds come and go.

Sensations float and slowly change.

The breath moves like a breeze.

Thoughts and feelings arise like clouds.

Appear for a time and vanish.

Rest in the vast space of mind.

Silent, transparent.

Awareness itself.

Trust it.

It is your own true nature.

It is home.


Open, silent.

And allow a sense of compassion to fill the vast space.

For all the times you forget who you really are.

Get contracted to small. To self. Frightened. Worried.

And know that this vast mind and heart is just a breath, a moment away.

Relax into it.

Trust it.

Let it become a compassionate and loving awareness to hold all the troubles of your life.

With graciousness and space.

And feel how this loving awareness spreads out vast like the sky

To receive all that arises and passes with the natural awareness and the great heart of metta.

You sit as the Buddha.

Wise and loving.

And know that this is your home.


And even as you open your eyes, allow the vast sense of space with appearances of sights.

Arising, remain with the vastness.

And the stillness.

Of loving awareness.

Vast as space.

Mindfulness Of Sound by Alan Watts


The easiest way to get into the meditative state is to begin by listening.


If you simply close your eyes and allow yourself to hear all of the sounds that are going on around you.

Just listen to the general hum and buzz of the world as if you were listening to music.


Don’t try to identify the sounds you are hearing.

Don’t put names on them.

Simply allow them to play with your ear drums.

And let them go.


In other words you can put it,

“Let your ears hear whatever they want to hear.”

Don’t judge the sounds.

There are no, as it were, proper sounds or improper sounds.

And it doesn’t matter if someone coughs or sneezes or drops something.

It’s all just sound.


And if I am talking to you right now and you are doing this.

I want you to listen to the sound of my voice just as if it were noise.

Don’t try to make any sense out of what I’m saying.

Because your brain will take care out of that automatically.

You don’t have to try to understand anything.

Just listen to the sound.


As you pursue that experiment.

You will very naturally find that you can’t help naming sounds..


Identifying them.

That you will go on thinking.

That is to say, talking to yourself inside your head, automatically.


But it’s important that you don’t try to repress those thoughts by forcing them out of your mind.


Because that will have precisely the same effect as if you were trying to smooth rough water with a flat iron.

You’re just going to disturb it all the more.

What you do is this.

As you hear sounds coming up in your head — thoughts — you simply listen to them as part of the general noise going on.

Just as you would be listening to the sound of my voice.

Or just as you would be listening to cars going by or birds chattering out the window.

So look at your own thoughts as just noises.

And soon you will find, that the so-called outside world and the so-called inside world come together.

They are a happening.

Your thoughts are a happening.

Just like the sounds going on outside.

And everything is simply a happening.

And all you are doing is watching it.


Now in this process, another thing that is happening that is very important…

Is that you’re breathing.

And as you start meditation, you allow your breath to run — just as it wills.

In other words, don’t do, at first, any breathing exercise.

But just watch your breath breathe the way it wants to breathe.


And then notice a curious thing about this.

You say in the ordinary way, “I breathe.”

Because you feel that breathing is something that you are doing voluntarily.

Just in the same way as you might be walking or taking.


But you will also notice that when you are not thinking about breathing, your breathing goes on just the same.

So the curious thing about breath is that it can be looked at both as a voluntary and an involuntary action.

You can feel on the one hand, “I am doing it” and on the other hand, “It is happening to me.”

And that is why breathing is a most important part of meditation.

Because it is going to show you, as you become aware of your breath, that the hard and fast division that we make between what we do, on the one hand, and what happens to us on the other, is arbitrary.


So that as you watch your breathing, you will become aware, that both the voluntary and the involuntary aspects of your experience are all one happening.

Now that may, at first, seem a little scary.

Because you may think, am I just the puppet of a happening?

The mere passive witness of something that’s going on completely beyond my control?

Or on the other hand, am I really doing everything that’s going along?

Well if I were, I should be God.

And that would be very embarrassing because I would be in charge of everything.


That would be a terribly responsible position.


The truth of the matter, as you will see it, is that both things are true.


You can see that everything is happening to you.

And on the other hand you are doing everything.


For example, it’s your eyes that are turning the sun into light.

It’s the nerve ends in your skin that are turning electric vibrations in the air into heat and temperature.

It’s your ear drums that are turning vibrations in the air into sound.

And in that way you are creating the world.


But — when we’re not talking about it, when we’re not philosophizing about it.

Then there is just this happening, this…

And we won’t give it a name.


Now then, when you breathe for a while, just letting it happen.

And not forcing it in any way.

You will discover a curious thing.

That without making any effort, you can breathe more and more deeply.


In other words, suppose you are simply breathing out.

And breathing out is important because it’s the breath of relaxation.

That’s when we say, “Sheeeeeww” and heave a sigh of relief.


So when you are breathing out, you get the sensation that your breath is falling out.

Dropping, dropping, dropping out.


With the same sort of feeling you have as if you were settling down into an extremely comfortable bed.


And you just get as heavy as possible and let yourself go.

And you let your breath go out in just that way.

And when it’s thoroughly, comfortably out

And it feels like coming back again.


You don’t pull it back in, you let it fall back in.

Letting your lungs expand, expand, expand.

Until they feel very comfortably full.

And you wait a moment and let it stay there.

And then, once again, you let it fall out.


And so in this way you will discover that your breath gets quite naturally easier and easier.

And slower and slower.

And more, and more powerful.


So that, with these various aides, listening to sound, listening to your own interior feelings and thoughts.

Just as if they were something going on.

Not something you’re doing but just “happenings”.

And watching your breath as a happening that is neither voluntary nor involuntary.

You are simply aware of these basic sensations.

Then — you will begin to be in a state of meditation.


But don’t hurry anything.

Don’t worry about the future.

Don’t worry about what progress you’re making.

Just be entirely content to being aware of what is.