Meditation: Resting in the gap

Generally the mind is filled with an uninterrupted flow of thoughts and feelings that can feel overwhelming or oppressive. If you practice mindfulness, you may gradually develop an inner spaciousness that allows you to breathe deeply and negotiate the flow. In the direct approach you may spontaneously discover natural spaces or pauses between the thoughts where an inner silence and stillness reveals itself effortlessly.

Take a few minutes to sit quietly and pay mindful attention to your breathing. Now turn your awareness to the cascade of thoughts and feelings. Even though it may feel incessant, every now and then you’ll notice a tiny gap between the thoughts that’s open, silent, unfurnished. One thought arises and passes away, and before the next thought arises, there’s a gap.

Let yourself breathe into this gap; sense it fully, and gently prolong it. For the next 10 minutes or so continue to notice, sense, and prolong the gaps or pauses between thoughts in a relaxed and gentle way, and feel into the silence and stillness that these gaps reveal.

You may notice that the sense of a me disappears in the gap; that is, unlike thoughts, the gap is not self-referential, it’s just open and aware. This is a glimpse of your natural state. Continue to explore the gaps from time to time as you go about your day.

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