Having An Empty Mind Is A Healthy Mind

how to empty your mind

img src Relaxing Music via flickr

It is often said by many meditation practitioners that to focus on stopping thoughts from going in and out. This often becomes a huge source of frustration for many. I think I could say with great confidence that most of us have what is called a “monkey mind” in which thoughts are going all over the place which makes it almost impossible to stop that momentum or to get caught up in thought. I’m actually going to talk about the empty mind and clear up some misunderstanding when it comes to this by talking about a few points,

  • What does it mean to have an empty mind
  • Getting into the feeling of emptiness
  • How to empty your mind

What does it mean to have an empty mind

This is what I’m talking about. When we typically think about this subject we automatically think of something which nothing is going on content-wise. However this is a misunderstanding, as there is always going to be “something” going on. Empty doesn’t actually mean nothing like the common term leads us to believe so the striving to silence the mind is not necessary. It’s that thoughts are grasped onto (or clung to) that seems to be the roadblock.

they are taken to be inherently existent or separate from everything else. That they stand alone. Which is false.

By seeing that empty just means that thoughts are actually empty of content, or of essence is enough. They do not stand alone separate or objectively from everything else. Thoughts are completely dependent on other processes taking place. When this is seen that they are depend on other things, and when those dependent variables are pulled away, there is empty or conventional existence.

Getting into the feeling of emptiness

And this is how we ease into the empty mind. We see that the story that the thoughts bring up really have no weight to them. They depend on other thoughts, and sensations for their existence.

Now you start to see that thoughts don’t have to disappear at all, they can be there but are no longer a problem, because of their conventional existence. This also leaves open the opportunity for the mind to reach into stillness (or silence). And again there is nothing wrong with this either. It should be ¬†easier to focus on just seeing thought and letting it go rather than having the idea that, “I should be subduing thought.”

Subduing thought is not a motion of emptying, it is an effort at controlling or clinging, and will only bring resistance anyway.

The less fight there is, the more this receptiveness turns into equanimity which is the feeling of well being.  This feeling of emptiness is something that is very beneficial to meditation and can even be practiced in everyday life with thoughts just in general. Focusing on breath can also be a form of this practice.

How to empty your mind

So again this might be a recap but I can just put in some typical bullet points on what this typically looks like in my sitting meditation.

  • Focusing on the in and out breath
  • Thought floats in where it can be experienced
  • I then evaluate it and see how thought stands separate and independent of everything else.
  • I actually see how it does not and depends on other process’
  • Seeing thought is dependent and without those things, it is now empty
  • Thought no longer have their potency and now focus back on breath and how gentle it is.

And then heart typically recognizes this as an opportunity to open. This makes for a healthy mind.

As a final not, I will say that emptiness is not the same as stillness but one could lead to the other. Emptiness often leads to a state of stillness as a by-product depending on how deep the insight is operating at in you.

About these ads

Nick Myers, a 27 year old serial blogger. Also minimalist, zen participant, philosopher, author of Emotional Alchemist, and tea disciple. I am one who sees a potential lesson in every experience in life. Life is who we are and life is our ultimate guru. I seek to bring us together through our own shared experiences. And hope to not only learn deeply who I am but to learn deeply who others are by dropping my ideas from moment to moment about you.

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Posted in Emptiness
4 comments on “Having An Empty Mind Is A Healthy Mind
  1. Jazz says:

    I believe we use different terms for similar processes. I like to think in terms of acceptance that the interacting processes involved in cognition are entirely dependent on varied degrees of consciousness. Perception as an effect can never be immaculate because our thoughts bump into other “existing” (or not) processes. Therefore, I believe (subjectively of course) that this “emptiness” you underline can be perceived as a feeling – a sense of acceptance and peace that we can never know anything objectively.

    Your thoughts?

  2. zenkitties says:

    Hey Jazz,

    Thanks for the visit first of all, and I am very appreciative that you’ve come to share your lens of perceiving with me. Acceptance and letting go is part of the game and can be describe as this Emptiness.

    The feeling is a by-product of the seeing, and you are right, will not really be known objectively as something to be pin-pointed as any one ultimate truth. Each human being is unique in how these process are played out into the “Big event” and so ones experience may differ from another but never be gauged.

    The objective view (inherent existence) is what gets us into trouble, when we think we have, “figured it out.”

    Blessings to you Jazz.

  3. Colin Chadwick says:

    There is nothing to work out.

    It all happens whether we desire it or not.

    The key is to be at peace regardless of what the inherent existent mind tells us we should be feeling. We create our own reactions/feelings/classifications.

    I no longer pay attention to the creator of these illusions, it is ultimate emptiness and peace.

    Peace to you and all.

  4. zenkitties says:

    Hey Colin,

    thank you for your post, sorry it took so long to get back to you.

    Agreed, from the “soul” sense, yes there is nothing to work out, it is well and coming back to emptiness and directly perceiving it is essential. However this site is particularly directed at living a practically happy life.

    Some may or may not need more practical advice then others and so this is my sharing experience of that so that others may get to the point where you are in your seeing.

    Blessings to you my friend. :)
    -Nick

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