Skygazing Meditation

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Adapted from Natural Radiance, by Lama Surya Das (Sounds True, 2005).

SkyGazing is a natural meditative awareness that helps us relax, let go, and let be in the natural state of things, just as they are. We gradually release our small, narrow, egotistical, dualistic minds into the nondual, sky-like infinite Buddha-mind; we merge the finite, thinking heart-mind with the absolute, unconditional infinity of essential Buddha-like being.

SkyGazing Meditation leads us into a way of being that is in perfect harmony and oneness with nature: we become one with the open sky.

There are three stages to SkyGazing meditation:

* Arriving
* Intensifying
* Allowing

Sit on the floor, on a cushion, or in a chair. Your back should be erect, but not rigid. Rest your arms on your thighs, wherever they naturally fall. Your eyes remain open for this Meditation.

Bring your awareness to the out-breath. Do not change the rhythm or depth of your breathing–just notice how the air feels as it leaves your body. Your out-breath takes you outside of our small self and connects you with everything that is. Let the in-breath occur naturally, but without placing any special attention on it. Rest your gaze softly on your surroundings. About half of your attention should be on your breath, while the other half is aware of the sky.

Lean back slightly and raise your gaze until the sky fills your field of vision. Open your senses to the elements. As thoughts, feelings, and perceptions arise–as they inevitably will–release them gently, without judgment. Neither follow nor suppress them. Just be a flow of pure energy in the infinite vastness of space.

It is important to keep in mind that there is no way to do this Meditation “wrong.” Whatever you feel, whatever you are aware of, is simply what is. Your practice is to keep letting go of the speedy, judgmental, reactive everyday mind and return to this restful, innate awareness. If you find your mind wandering or your body tensing, stop and relax.

Take a break, take a deep breath, chant “AH” and start again-refreshed, vivid, wakeful. How long you manage to remain aware is not important: it is the quality of awareness, not the quantity that counts. There need not be a struggle involved. You can start again every moment, every second. What is important is the quality of your experience. It might take a while to get used to this, but try to relax into it and let go of ordinary ideas abut meditation and habitual reference points.

SkyGazing means opening up and decontracting, space-mingling, dissolving in the infinite. You can practice it at any time: while resting at home, taking a break at work, or during transitions in your day.

At these times, simply gaze into the sky or any undifferentiated expanse of space–such as a ceiling, a blank wall, or a green lawn. Use this infinite panorama of emptiness as a metaphor for openness and awareness, release your fixations and preoccupations, breathe out–and simply let go into it.

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