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Instant HealingWhat happens between your thoughts?
“If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change.”
Do you know what’s in the space between your thoughts? Here is an exercise that will help you get close to the source of thought and open up your common awareness to pure awareness. You only need to tread the path once. It’s like wearing a jacket on a chilly day. Once you put it on, it will stay there keeping you toasty warm. Even when you forget you are wearing your jacket, it is still protecting you. At any time you can become aware that you have your jacket on. Likewise, once you have found pure awareness, you only have to become aware of it to know that it is still with you. Are you ready to get started? Okay then, let’s go.
Experience 1: Stopping Thoughts
Sit comfortably and close your eyes. Now pay attention to your thoughts. Just follow them wherever they may lead. Simply watch them come and go. After you have watched your thoughts for five to ten seconds, ask yourself the following, and then be very alert to see what happens immediately afterward. Here is the question: Where will my next thought come from?
What happened? Was there a short break in your thinking while you waited for the next thought? Did you notice a space, a kind of gap between the question and the next thought? Okay, now reread the instructions, and perform the exercise again. I’ll wait. . . .
Did you notice a slight hesitation in your thinking—a pause between thoughts? If you were alert immediately after you asked the question, you will have noticed that your mind was just waiting for something to happen. Eckhart Tolle, the author of The Power of Now, says that it is like a cat watching a mouse hole. You were awake, waiting, but there were no thoughts in that gap. You might have heard that it takes many years of arduous practice to clear the mind of thoughts, but you have just done it in a matter of seconds.
Please do this exercise several more times. You can use substitute questions such as What color will my next thought be? or What will my next thought smell like? or What will my next thought look like? The question is not important, but paying attention is. This will expose the gap, the space between your thoughts. This gap is pure awareness. It may be fleeting, but it will be there. As you become aware of this mental pause, it will begin to work its magic on you.
Now let’s get back to work. Do this exercise for two to three minutes more, reintroducing the question every 15 seconds or so. Pay attention to the gap when it is there, and look for it when it is not. Within just a few minutes, you will notice that your thoughts are calmer and your body is more relaxed.
Why is that? You didn’t set out to relax or become peaceful—it just happened naturally, without your trying. Why does becoming aware of awareness make such a big difference in the way one feels and behaves? By being aware, you are able to contact your thoughts at subtler and more refined levels. Each level offers more order and energy. The gap you noticed between thoughts is the experience of non-experience I mentioned earlier. That non-experience was pure awareness.
Throughout the day, do a one-minute meditation where you ask yourself a new question every 15 seconds. You will soon become aware of the space that you found between your thoughts even while you are doing other activities such as conversing or driving. If you were to do nothing more than regularly observe this brief interval between thoughts, over time you would notice that you have more energy, less stress, and even a fluid easiness in relationships with others. You might even detect a lighter mood bordering on impishness. Feeling good is fun. This perception is the foundation for more profound and fulfilling experiences to come, but even by itself, this single exercise is worth the price of admission.