09 April 2010

Rest in the foreground, not the background.

Many people write to me how they enjoy resting in attention on the background, which no one can really well describe.  Generally, it is felt as some "thing" a presence or phenomenal solidity somewhere behind the body and head, or above it.

Yes, it is enjoyable and peaceful, and sometimes appears to be what Langford recommends as a meditation.

But, if you are aware of this background, and most people are not, then you should also be aware of a "foreground."  By foreground I do not mean the "void ahead" as Rajiv mentions, but the place in the middle that is closer to the sense of I.

Sometimes spatially this is felt as being coextensive with the body sensation, sometimes it is felt to be the totality of awareness as well as the totality of phenomena that inhabit the field of awareness.

If you are aware of the background, you can become aware of the foreground. This is more essentially close to the existential sense of I, and is the better object to focus on an abide in.

This is the sense of consciousness burning brightly, the manifestation, as opposed to the background, which is the borderline with the unmanifest. It is more productive to join and abide in that foreground and, in a sense, to burn with it than rest in the background.

This is just one of many meditation hints I'll be giving over the next few weeks.


  1. Thank you, this is clarifying. I like the description of abiding in the sense of consciousness and burning with it. This is what I am discovering when I meditate. I don’t visually perceive light, but the sense of radiance, not that I am something that is radiating light, but am somehow what is being radiated. I often perceive it as a gentle heat. Just burn with it, this is meaningful to me.

  2. Thank you Ed for this clarification. I've been wondering about this but couldn't put it into words, so thanks!