Contentment and the Empty Room

Physical and Virtual Reality

Physical and Virtual Reality

MELBOURNE, FL — #Technique #Remember #Emptiness

January 31, 2015 2:58 PM

At various times over the day, I checked in on my happiness level and found that yes, only when I’m taking the mental noise too seriously is when I’m not feeling happy (content is probably the more appropriate word).

First thing this morning I spilled coffee on my foot as I juggled too much stuff while trying to unlock my parents’ front door. Then I unwrapped my breakfast sandwich and saw McD’s had screwed up my order. Neither of these situations caused me any aggravation, because as soon as I saw the mind spooling up to be pissed, I focused on Physical Reality.

I focused on the present moment (reality) rather than the noise in my mind.

This didn’t last long though, as I rapidly contracted when I found myself defending my actions to my mother who doesn’t agree with many of my lifestyle decisions. Not anger, just frustration while trying to explain myself. But as soon as I saw this, saw how the noise in my mind was causing the feeling of frustration, I was able to let it go, shift my attention to the physical world (the table, the pressure of the chair, …) and contentment—the stillness that all the mental noise arises within—resumed.

The day continued in this manner, the pattern consistent: Feeling discontent when I focused on the mind’s noise, and feeling contentment when I focused on physical reality.

I’m thinking—like an empty room that is still and quiet—the mind’s default nature is contentment… is stillness.

While I don’t think it is possible to silence the mind, it is possible to change our focus: Focus on the swirling noise inside the empty room and feel disharmony… or focus on physical reality and feel the emptiness of the room/mind (contentment).

That’s do-able: Sucky mental noise or beautiful Physical Reality. Hell, with a little self-monitoring, it’s even practical.

Note: Since the empty room (you-as-the-Witness) can’t see yourself, it is impossible to see the empty room, so all you can do is focus on physical reality to help empty out the room of its swirling, illusionary contents. Though we can never experience the empty room, we can at least experience the emptiness of the room (peace, bliss, contentment) that lies behind all the noise.

Regardless of the above spiritechy paragraph, there seems to be only two options open to us:

Focus on mental noise and (possibly) suffer… or focus on physical reality and be at peace.

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3 thoughts on “Contentment and the Empty Room

  1. Some individuals, who are claimed to be self-realized or enlightened (or whatever adjective is appropriate), do say the mind can be permanently silenced. Enlightenment is said to be when the ego/mind dies forever, and then life continues on as normal without any thoughts. Everything then happens spontaneously, by itself. Apparently this is the true end of the journey, the end of seeking, the end of thought, and thus eternal stillness. And since there are no thoughts, there is permanent joy.

    Why do you think the mind can’t be silenced? I have no idea either way.

  2. Very helpful post Wayne.
    You have discovered that emotions have 2 component parts, thought and sensation. Focusing awareness on sensation (passive attention) starves the thought part and the emotion dies. But you can also focus awareness on the thought part (active attention) specifically to question its validity (see Byron Katie or Noah Elkrief on YouTube). This is more difficult for most people unless they have the skill for sustained creative analytical thought.

  3. I’ve been realizing how draining unproductive thinking is. Focusing on my breath has never felt right to me, and I have realized why. It’s because breathing will cease. I cannot identify with anything that doesn’t survive this go round. Instead I ground myself with the fact of the life-spark. The life essence continues, so I can identify with it. It’s an instant grounding method for me.

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