Staring into space yoga - don´t move!



I have experienced, that "staring into space" in a specific way can be consciousness-changing in a profound way.


About space yoga

Space yoga is a rather old open-eyed Mahamudra meditation technique. I came across a variant of it in a surprisingly effective beginners´ retreat of Mahamudra / Dzog Chen meditation with Daniel P Brown. Space Yoga is attributed to Tilopa but is likely much older.


In the book "Pointing out the Great Way", Daniel Brown notes that this meditation is "only suited for highly capable individuals". But that book appeared several years ago, and it seems, that Dr Brown now believes that the technique applied by him is useful even for absolute beginners (like I was at the time).


Here is a very short original version of the instructions by Tilopa:

If you block seeing by staring into space, and the mind is likewise viewed by the mind itself, having blocked the elaboration of thought, you attain the highest realization. (quoted in Brown & Thurman, 2006, p. 278)

Another version is by Wangchung Dorje

You should turn both eyes to the space in front of you. Don’t move your body. Establish the coming-and-going breath freshly, leisurely, silently. (quoted in Brown & Thurman, 2006, p. 279)

Longchenpa

. .. Should take the sitting position and project their awareness into the vault of space.. (Longchenpa, 2021)


Daniel P Brown explains the mechanism and benefits as follows:


"There are two parts: (1) stare into space, and (2) view the mind by the mind itself. The first instruction pertains to the intended object. Space as an intended object is categorized as a nonsupport (rten med). One way of eradicating the habitual tendency to construct and elaborate coarse-level cognitions is to turn away from objects and stare into space. The second instruction concerns how to observe the mind. The mind becomes aware (rig pa) of its own functioning at the subtle level." (Brown & Thurman, 2006, p. 277)

  • First, staring into space is the same as chosing a meditation object "without support". The term "without support" means a meditation object that is without apparent substantialities like a piece of wood or a stone. Such a meditation object is more difficult to meditate on, since it is more "subtle".


  • Second, the instruction gives instructions for how to view the mind. Try to look into space without reacting to anything, without attaching to any mental event, thought, emotion, without forming concepts etc. The Buddhist meditation technical term for such a state is to leave the mind "in its own way."


Overall, the effect is one of


  • calming thoughts

  • suppressing emotions

  • "However, peace (..) of the mind is not the main benefit of the exercise. Awareness of the workings of the mind is the essential benefit. According to Wangchug Dorjé, the practitioner “recognizes immediate occurrence” (...). The practitioner becomes aware of an event exactly as it happens, at the moment that it arises. All such immediately occurring events pass almost as quickly as they come forth." ((Brown & Thurman, 2006, p. 280)



Resources


Daniel P Brown (Pointing Out)

Brown, D.P., & Thurman, R. (2006). Pointing Out the Great Way: The Stages of Meditation in the Mahamudra Tradition. In No Title (Annotated). Wisdom Publications. https://www.amazon.de/-/en/Daniel-P-Brown/dp/0861713044/



Till Gebel (Level 1 Retreat)

Gebel, Till. (2021f, May 24). Dr Daniel P Brown´s Level 1 Mahamudra Retreat. Till Gebel. https://www.till-gebel.com/post/8-years-or-8-days-to-awakening An attempt to reconstruct why the retreat was so effective


Bernardo Kastrup (Analytical Idealism)

Jaimungal, T. O. E. W. C. (2021b, February 20). Bernardo Kastrup on Analytical Idealism, Materialism, The Self, and the Connectedness of You and I. YouTube. Retrieved 5 September 2022, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=6650&v=lAB21FAXCDE&feature=youtu.be

https://youtube.com/clip/UgkxGyUhkK4uA3TqebBbKDNvr0XjPpfqb4XY (Clip)


Longchenpa (Three aspects)

Longchenpa. (2021, April 6). Longchenpa - The Three Aspects of Meditative Absorption - Dzogchen [Video]. YouTube. Retrieved 5 September 2022, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bMINKHaIMZQ+&feature=youtu.be


Tilopa (Wikipedia)

Wikipedia Contributors. (2022, April 30). Tilopa. Wikipedia. Retrieved 5 September 2022, from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tilopa


Tilopa: The Ganges Mahamudra, read by Samaneri Jayasara

Tilopa, [Samaneri Jayasara]. (2020, June 19). Tilopa’s Song to Naropa - Mahamudra - ‘The Ganges Mahamudra’ - Kagyu Lineage [Video]. YouTube. Retrieved 5 September 2022, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_wVcxfeFZgQ&feature=youtu.be


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