The mind as illumination

This morning in meditation I had the following passage from the Anguttara Nikaya in mind:

And what is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to the attainment of knowledge & vision? There is the case where a monk attends to the perception of light and is resolved on the perception of daytime [at any hour of the day]. Day [for him] is the same as night, night is the same as day. By means of an awareness open & unhampered, he develops a brightened mind. This is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to the attainment of knowledge & vision.

Basically I was working in keeping in touch with the sense of light within the mind. It’s a fairly simple practice and also enjoyable. It does seem to me that the mind is internally illuminated, and that when I pay attention to that sense of illumination there’s a decrease in the amount of mental activity, but perhaps more importantly my relationship to that mental activity changes so that I’m less caught up in it. My relationship to the mind also changes. It seems to me that the mind is generally taken for granted. It’s like we’re busy looking at things on a projector screen, and not noticing the screen itself, not to mention the projector. When I start to notice that there is a mental screen and that the images on it are coming from an inner projector I realize that my experience is an internally-generated movie and I’m therefore less caught up in it. There’s a loss of the delusion that the movie is reality.

This isn’t a new approach to meditation for me, but one that I’ve let slip for a while as I’ve been dealing with getting my mental affairs in order after a busy summer with a reduced meditation schedule and more external “stuff” to process. It seems like it’s now time o look at the bigger picture — or to look beyond the picture at the projector and screen.

Twitter Updates for 2008-08-28

  • @visuddhimati URL? #
  • Watched the first episode of ITV’s “Primeval”. It wasn’t fantastic but didn’t totally suck either. Henshall’s accent? Weird. #
  • Didn’t get any writing done yesterday because I was working on Wildmind’s newsletter. Very frustrating. Hoping to get more done today. #
  • I love writing. I hate starting writing again after an interruption. Causes despondency. #
  • Playing with SecondBrain. Still in beta – a few bugs. Looks like it might be useful. #

Gail v. Frank

I hereby officially state that Gail Collins is my second-favorite columnist at the New York Times, after Frank Rich. Or maybe she’s my favorite and Frank’s in second place. Damn, I’ll get back to you on that one.

Anyway, here’s an example of why I like Gail’s writing so much:

Hillary looks 10 years younger than she did when she thought she was about to become the first woman president. She’s developed this … glow. It appears that not only does she possess superhuman resilience; she positively thrives on crushing disappointment.

Perceptive and funny.