Interlude is the space between,
- between in-breath and out-breath, between out-breath and in,
- it is the space between thoughts.
- Interlude is the space – the empty non-action – before action is engaged. Often action is engaged robotically, habitually. Just as often, action is the result of chasing a desire or running away from something, avoiding it. Interlude, then, is the pregnant pause that can lead to reflection or contemplation or understanding such that action, if necessary, is wisely chosen.
Someone once asked the enlightened Tibetan yogi, Milarepa, what enlightment is. “It is the space between thoughts,” was his response. In other words, the Mind of Awareness is like the sky, not like the clouds, nor the birds or planes that fly through it. Enlightenment is the ongoing experience of the sky-like spacious, dynamic, and expansive nature of Awareness as the quality of one’s mind. Normally, one’s mind is experienced as the thoughts or feelings that roll around inside the mind. But, mind is not the thoughts, the information, the data base, memories, or emotions inside the mind, just as the sky is not the clouds, nor the birds, nor the planes.
Interlude is Step 7 of The Practice. First and foremost, it is a pause, a space between the first six steps and the next seven. The first six have focused on you getting used to sitting for meditation and giving instruction that will lead to shamatha: peaceful or tranquil abiding and a focused attention. The next several steps will use the foundation of inner peace as well as focus in order to mature these into vipassana: being able to call oneself to mindfulness easily and regularly, thus live from awareness.
But, interlude is also right now, this now, this space, this breath, this awareness as it is. Just as the sky is the sky, whether sunny or cloudy, day or night, filled with rain, snow, lightning, or empty of all of these. The sky is the sky. It is not that which filters through it or is born from it. Similarly, awareness is awareness, mind is mind, and awareness-mind is empty of that which seems to fill it, filter through it, or is seemingly born from it. Interlude is the experience of recognition of this space, this nature of one’s innate awareness.
Downloadable podcast: Entry: interlude, experience space