When we enjoy an activity, such as dance, or playing the guitar, our minds can become very focused, usually around the enjoyment of the activity. For purposes of focusing the mind during meditation, the approach I use is in following sensations deeper and deeper into subtlety.
This simple practice has a way of showing different perspectives of mind, one that is connected to superficial, habitual thought patterns of our day-to-day lives and one that is connected to subtle sensations of the body.
The mind that is connected with subtlety is able to observe the superficial mind without getting stuck in the distractions that roil on the surface of mind. Having this reference point, the experience of observing the mind doing its “thing” of bouncing around from one distraction to another allows a very different perspective of the mind.
Normally we get caught up, lost in the habitual patterns of our day-to-day lives…and we lose touch with the deeper aspects of consciousness that are connected with the inward flowing currents of subtle vibrations.
To be able to calmly witness the superficial mind in motion, without getting caught up in endless thought loops, requires a perspective of watching from a center-point that has a different feel and texture than our normal waking mind.
This “center-point” of awareness seems to be an experience of feeling all sensations as one resonance…and quite surprisingly (at least to me), the day-to-day, stuck-in-the-drama, familiar mind, also gets absorbed into the overall sensation!
Another way of explaining this: When we endeavor in our meditations to feel into sensations as widely and as deeply as possible, the feeling experience brings our attention to the moment, as feelings can only be experienced in the moment. Our “surface” mind then may continue its patterns of thinking, but our perspective as viewed from the “center point” will be as from a great distance.
As you begin to tune into subtle sensations, another aspect of mind surfaces: the Observer. The experience of the overall sensation can be resolved to a center point of awareness. This awareness is the Observer, around which all vibrations and distractions revolve around.
If the above sounds all too complicated, think in terms of how it is when you surrender yourself totally to the enjoyment of dance, or when listening to music that is so beautiful that it “hurts.”
The suggestion here is to follow the sensations of what you enjoy to finer and finer reverberations. At a certain point you will find your mind embedded, riveted to the finest pulsations of the underlying “grid” of scintillating sensations!