Our minds tend to get caught up with thoughts of attraction or aversion to objects, but the space around those thoughts is not attractive or repulsive. The space around an attractive thought and a repulsive thought is not different, is it? Concentrating on the space between thoughts, we become less caught up in our preferences concerning the thoughts. So if you find that an obsessive thought of guilt, self-pity, or passion keeps coming up, then work with it in this way – deliberately think it, really bring it up as a conscious state, and notice the space around it.
It’s like looking at the space in a room: you don’t go looking for the space, do you? You are simply open to it, because it is here all the time. It is not anything you are going to find in the cupboard or in the next room, or under the floor – it is here right now. So you open to its presence; you begin to notice that it is here.
– Ajahn Sumedho, from “Noticing Space,” Tricycle, Fall 1995
Sign up for Tricycle’s newsletters