I am sitting on my porch on a sleepy summer afternoon here in
Springfield. I close my eyes and listen to the house wrens and
cardinals calling to one another. Now and then my dog, Shadow, barks at
a biker or another dog barking in the distance. A truck rumbles by on
the street at the end of the block. I feel warmth and tingling in my
feet, especially the arches. The bumpy wicker chair’s arm presses
against my elbow and the computer heats my lap. Jenna, my neighbor,
walks out of her house while talking on the cell phone, opens her car
door, puts a bag on the seat, closes the door, and returns to her house
still talking. Two flies chase each other around the bird feeders. The
soft breeze moves the branches of the sycamore. A circular saw whines
down the block. Patterns of light and shadow wander over the green wood
of the porch floor. My stomach tenses thinking of some nebulous worry.
The sun shines on a spider’s web between bricks and porch railing,
turning it into crystal. A thought of my cat, Pumpkin, who died Friday,
forms and dissolves. Another thought that my mother will die someday,
too, forms and dissolves. The red arm of the thermometer registers 82.
Bushes waiting to be planted lean against one another at the end of the
drive. The thought ‘I see all of this’ forms and dissolves. Now more
birds. Discomfort in the left elbow.
Is there someone
experiencing this? Look closely in your own experience right now.
Outside of the thought ‘I am —–‘, are you? The thoughts, whether
they shout ‘I am somebody’ or ‘I am nobody’ or anything else, are just
like the wrens – flying back and forth through emptiness.
your senses to point you home. Come to your senses now. Listen. See.
Feel. Taste. Smell. Pick one sense. Notice everything arising as that
sense. Notice, too, the thoughts that arise simultaneously. The
thoughts just arise – there is no one ‘deciding’ to think them.
Thoughts are simply seen, too, just like the sense objects. Even the
thought ‘I see them’ is itself another thought and, upon direct
looking, is seen to refer to nothing other than this openknowingness .
Everything, absolutely everything, that has ever taken form (including
what we refer to as ‘states’)has arisen within this formless awareness.
What ‘you’ typically refer to as ‘I’ or ‘me’ has also always and only
taken shape within this same formless awareness.
At this very
moment, the reading, the computer, the sounds, the smells, the
thoughts, the sense of ‘I’ – everything – is forming and dissolving
within and as this Great Knowing Formlessness. You ARE this Great
Knowing Formlessness. Relax. Enjoy the birds.