The sky pays no attention to the features of bird or plane, rain drop or snowflake, butterfly or autumn leaf dropping. The space that the leaf falls through is neutral to the leaf. The leaf is without characteristics to the space.
The second contemplation in practicing looking correctly is that everything is without the features or characteristics that the habits of our mind-emotions put upon, impute, ascribe, prefer or push away of those things. People, events, and circumstances, too. Classically, the phrase given for this is that “all phenomena are without characteristics.”
In a meditation session, the understanding is that whatever arises in the mind, including stories, memories, or fantasies about a future event are void of the importance or character that each of us puts upon such. Furthermore, if the story is from the past – the past is gone. If the projection or fantasizing is of the future – the future does not yet exist. Therefore, both of these types of arisings are about that which is non-existent, thus the thoughts themselves have no basis. Since these have no true foundation (because the past is gone and the future does not exist), then one can bring impartiality to those arisings. With practice, they will arise less and less; and awareness-mind will remain spacious and impartial like the sky.
Through one’s day, one would chose to listen to the ascriptions and imputations, projections and preferences going on inside so as to pay attention to how frequent these are. Then with that self-recognition, one can smile, take a long slow deep breath and smile again. These self-imposed characteristics are just that: self-imposed! One can chose to be impartial, neutral, open, and free.
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