As a spiritual teacher, one of the most common questions I’m asked about meditation is, “What should I be paying attention to?”
What I usually say is, “nothing in particular.
In meditation, you want to discover what awareness is, free from attachment to any object. In the enlightened mind, awareness itself becomes the object of awareness. To discover what this means, you need to let your attention expand beyond all objects in consciousness—beyond the body, beyond the mind, beyond the world, beyond this infinite universe. Even the universe can become an object in consciousness. The hardest thing to understand about enlightenment is that the object of our seeking is not an object. Most of us are locked into a dualistic experience of subject and object, self and other, self and world, even self and enlightenment. And too often, spiritual techniques for practicing awareness end up inadvertently reinforcing this fundamental duality.
My teacher once said to me, “I’m glad you’ve found a friend you’ll never see.” That’s what the enlightened mind is: a friend you’ll never be able to see. That friend emerges when you discover that the most authentic part of your own self is already completely free. It is not possible to be mindful or aware of this already free part of yourself in any ordinary way, but when you have the courage to let go, you will find that miraculously, it can and will respond with great passion and incredible precision, seemingly with no premeditation whatsoever. Out of the blue, the right response will appear. And only after such a faster-than-thought response do you become aware of the fact that a part of yourself that you’re not normally conscious of is paying attention all the time. That part of yourself is always awake—even when you don’t seem to be. The expression of that wakefulness is the shocking spontaneity of enlightened awareness.