So this is the experience I've been having in meditation lately, the sensation of standing on a threshold. Since abandoning the body scan a short while ago, I have found myself increasingly on this threshold. Behind, it seems to me, is where I have come from--in now twenty years of daily practice. It's a long path. Over the years, I have experimented with a variety of approaches, all of which involved some form of observation of the body with its constant shifts in physical, emotional and mental states. All of them have been useful crutches, as I see it now, offering support--not to say distraction--to see me through the sit. The challenge now has become to throw away the support system and launch myself into pure observation of space and silence.
And in doing so, I find myself often at this threshold. What unfolds in front of me is what I can best describe as the vast unknown: pure space, pure silence. It's a bit intimidating. Sometimes I feel that I have stepped across the threshold--the vertiginous experience I described the other day. It's like stepping into the groundless, losing all attachment to those passing physical, emotional and mental states, a falling through the looking-glass into what Ken McLeod describes as "mind itself." More often, though, the little mind steps in the way; it starts to analyze the situation, to put the experience into thoughts and words, as I'm doing now; or sometimes it tries so hard to make the crossing that the attempt itself is what prevents it.
Learning to let go, to be satisfied with "resting in attention," to not want to go further but allow it to happen, this is the hard part. The little mind has been my habitual dwelling for so many years, it gets alarmed when I'm about to leave it and seeks constantly to reassert its dominion. The thought of losing it, as I stand on the threshold, is at once alluring and unnerving. "Mind itself" beckons; little mind resists.