Some days it seems there is nobody there when you sit in meditation.
You start reciting your mantra or focusing on your breath. Your mind plays with a few random thoughts and, then, you come out of your meditation with a start, wondering what happened.
You know time has elapsed, since the display on your phone is telling you that it’s twenty, thirty, or even fifty minutes or more later. But where have you been?
One minute you were there breathing or reciting your mantra and, somehow, now it’s all those minutes later. What were you doing while all those minutes were streaming by? Did you go to sleep? Did your mind shut down? Did your awareness cease to exist?
It can be a bit disconcerting, especially for novice meditators, when your mind disappears. When you start meditating, you expect to be aware of what’s going on in your mind, even when it becomes still. But that’s not what happens.
Most days your mind ticks over with random thoughts and you find yourself refocusing on your breath or your mantra as you become aware of those thoughts. Some days you just watch your mind and marvel at the random nature of what it entertains itself with. Sometimes you find yourself ensnared and wandering off the path chasing a thought down a rabbit hole. Sometimes it’s difficult to meditate because the mind is so caught up in the dramas of your everyday life and won’t let them go, no matter how many times you refocus.
It’s no wonder some of the masters refer to it as the monkey or puppy dog mind. It’s interested in everything and it’s easily distracted.
Maybe, that’s why those days when your mind is quiet, or you’re able to stop listening to it, that it seems like there is nobody there.
But someone is always there: you. You are the awareness that is always there watching, listening, and feeling whatever is going on inside and outside of you.
It’s just that when the mind is still, there is nothing to be aware of – except the nothingness.
Featured Photo by Max on Unsplash