Open Awareness by Joseph Goldstein



This morning we’re going to do a guided meditation.

Affectionally known as the “Big Mind” meditation.

And so, sit in a, comfortable, but reasonably straight posture.


We begin by opening to sounds.

And may occasionally ring the bell, because it’s so quiet, give you a sound to pay attention to.


But first just open to sound.

The sound of my voice.

The occasional distinct sound that may arise.

And even the sound of silence.

Staying soft, relaxed, receptive.

Not looking for anything.

Simply being open to the sounds that appear.


Let’s the mind be at ease.


Open to whatever arises in the realm of sound.


Notice how effortlessly, each sound is known in the moment it appears.

The knowing is not anticipating.

It’s not lagging.

Let the mind become like the Big Sky. Empty Sky. Empty Space.

Different sounds appearing, changing and vandishin in the open space of the mind.


Mind is open, receptive, aware of the sound of my voice.

The other sounds that may appear.

Sound of silence.

It’s not looking for sound.

Rather it’s simply opening to them.


Mind is like open space.

Sounds appear and disappear.

In this open emptiness of mind.


And open to different sensations that arise and appear

Sensations are points in feeling.

Like stars in the night sky.

There’s no solid body.

There’s no back or knees.

Only points of sensation.

Points of feeling.

Appearing and disappearing in the open emptiness of mind.

There’s no inside. No outside.

No boundaries of separation.

Only sounds, sensations, appearing and disappearing in the open space of mind.


There’s no solid body.

Or head or shoulders, back or chest.

Arms or legs.

Only particular points of senaation.

Points of feeling.

Like stars in the night sky.

Appearing and changing the open empty space of mind.


Notice how effortlessly how each sound is know the moment it appears.

Notice how effortlessly each sensation is known in the moment it appears.

Be aware of thoughts and images like clouds in the sky.

Just appearing and disappearing in the open empty space of mind.

Theres’ no inside, no outside, no boundaries of separation.

Just sounds, sensations, thoughts and images, hearing and dissolving in the empty openness of mind.


Not wanting, not looking.

Simply resting in the empty aware space of mind.

As sounds appear.

Sensations appear as points of feeling.

Thoughts and images appear.

Rest and ease the weary mind.

There’s no solid body.

No head, no shoulders.

No back, no chest.

No arms or hands or legs or feet.

Only points of sensation. Points of feeling.

Like stars in the night sky.

Appearing and changing in the open empty space of mind.

No wanting, no doing.

All experience appears and changes and disappears by itself.

Experience directly your own mind.

It’s invisible.


Without color, without form.

Directly experience your own mind.

Empty, open.

It is but it doesn’t exist.

Experience directly your own mind.

Knows all things but is not composed of them.



Directly experience your own mind.


Experience directly your own mind.

Can’t be seen.

Can’t be touched.

No color, no form.

Empty like space.

It knows all appearances but is not composed of them.

Looking for it…there’s nothing to find.

And yet it knows all things.

Experience directly your own mind.


There’s no inside, no outside.

No boundaries or separation.

Only sounds, sensations, thoughts and images.

Hearing and changing.

In the empty openness of mind.


There’s no solid body, no head or shoulders, back or chest.

Arms or legs.

Only points of sensation.

Points of feeling.

Like stars in the night sky.

Appearing and changing in the open emptiness of mind.


Experience directly your own mind.

Look for it, there’s nothing to find.

Open, empty.

Without color, without form.

It is but it doesn’t exist.

Directly experience your own mind.

It knows all things but isn’t composed of them.

Unformed, unborn.


Experience directly your own mind.

The cognizing power of emptiness.

There’s no inside or outside.

No boundaries.

No separation.

Sounds, sensations, thoughts and images.

Known immediately the moment that they appear.


Sounds appear, sensations appear, thoughts and images appear in the empty openness of mind.

There’s nothing to do, nothing to be, nothing to have.


Sounds are known.

Known by what?

Experience directly the nature of mind.

Empty, open.

No color, no form.

The cognizing power of emptiness.


No inside, no outside.

No boundaries, no separation.

Just sounds, sensations, thoughts and images.

Appearing and changing in the empty open space of mind.


If you found this helpful at all.

Simply including the visual field as another appearance of mind.

It’s just like sound or sensation.

Sights are being known.

Color or form is being known.

If you didn’t find it helpful, forget about it.



Open Awareness by Jack Kornfield


This morning I’d like to do a guided meditation for the instructions working with the sense of sound and space.

If the way that you’re practicing the skillful means of your practice is most helped by staying in your body, connected to the breath very closely, or the sensations and you have a sense that sound and space is not necessarily the right focus that’s also fine.

But as we’ve talked about and as I’ve talked about, even last night, the sense of resting in awareness.

This is a meditation that invites that possibility for you.

So letting yourself sit comfortably and at easy

It’s helpful for this practice that the body be still, allow your eyes to be closed gently, and just as you have initially paid attention to breath or body sensations, for the establishment of awareness.

In this practice let go o the initial focus of breath and body sensations and instead bring your awareness to the play of sound. To the door of the ear which receives vibrations and sounds and in a relaxed and easy way begin simply by listening.


There are soft sounds in the room.

Distant sounds.

The sounds of these words appearing and disappearing.

The sound of bells.

And as you listen, relax into the space of listening.

Into the space of awareness itself.

The bells arise and vanish.

The words appear and disappear.

Listen as well to the silence between sounds.


And as you listen, let yourself begin to sense or feel or imagine any way you can that your mind is not limited to the size of your head.

That the mind is open and vast like space or sky.

Let yourself feel or imagine that the mind is as big as this room.

As big as the whole sky.

And the sounds that you hear.

These words.

The soft sounds in the background.

The silence and bells.

Arise and pass like clouds or bubbles in the vast open space of mind.


Relax into spaciousness in its true state.

The mind is transparent.


Open like the sky.

Allowing for everything.

Containing all things yet not limited by them.


Being of the voids.

To know if this is so or not, rest in the space of awareness.

Relax into it.

Trust it.

The sounds come easily appearing and disappearing like clouds.

And the sky remains at ease.


And as you relax I spacious awareness.

Just as sounds appear and disappear.

Notice too how images and thoughts arise.

Word thoughts.

Picture thoughts.

Appear like clouds.

Arise for a moment.

Display themselves.

Images. Sentences.

And then vanish leaving no trace.

The mind is like space.

Vast, open, uncompounded, untroubled by what arises and passes.

Receiving all things as awareness itself.

The space that knows.

Completely at rest.

Vast and silent.


Words appear and disappear.

And thoughts and images arise like clouds and then vanish.

Rest in the space of awareness.

Relax into it.

Trust it.


Sounds appear and disappear.

Arising like clouds and passing away.

Thougts and images arise in the same vast sky.

Appearing for a time and dissolving leaving the sky open, vast, and silent.

Notice too emotions and feelings that may arise like weather, joy, or ease, delight, calm.

Sadness, fear, frustration, longing, love.

Like weather appearing in the sky.

Emotions too arise, are felt and known, exist for a time, and pass away.

Just as sounds come and go.

So too emotions.

Like clouds or bubbles arise for a time.

Rest in the vast sky of awareness.

Trust it.

Relax into it.


Sounds come and go.

Thoughts and images appear and disappear.

Moods and emotions like weather arise for a time and pass away.

The mind is vast like space without boundaries — transparent, open.

Allowing for all things yet not limited by them.

Rest in this innate awareness.

Silent and vast.

Notice too, that within the vast sky of mind, the space of awareness, while there are sensations of the body there is no solid body.


No head.

No limbs or torso.

Just a field of sensations that float and slowly change in the sky of mind.

Warm and cool areas of vibration and pressure.

Of hard and soft.

Tingling. Pleasure, painful sensations, tensions.

If you’ve sense the body from the sky of awareness.

It is a field of vibration, pulsing, tingling.

With space in and around it.

Nothing solid.

A flow of sensations and experience.

And the breath itself moves like a breeze in space.

No inside or outside.

Just a slow dynamic change of sensations of breath.

Floating in the vast space of mind.


Sounds come and go.

Sensations float and slowly change.

The breath moves like a breeze.

Thoughts and feelings arise like clouds.

Appear for a time and vanish.

Rest in the vast space of mind.

Silent, transparent.

Awareness itself.

Trust it.

It is your own true nature.

It is home.


Open, silent.

And allow a sense of compassion to fill the vast space.

For all the times you forget who you really are.

Get contracted to small. To self. Frightened. Worried.

And know that this vast mind and heart is just a breath, a moment away.

Relax into it.

Trust it.

Let it become a compassionate and loving awareness to hold all the troubles of your life.

With graciousness and space.

And feel how this loving awareness spreads out vast like the sky

To receive all that arises and passes with the natural awareness and the great heart of metta.

You sit as the Buddha.

Wise and loving.

And know that this is your home.


And even as you open your eyes, allow the vast sense of space with appearances of sights.

Arising, remain with the vastness.

And the stillness.

Of loving awareness.

Vast as space.

Heart Meditation by Ken Wilber

This is a guided meditation about bringing us to our higher self.


Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.


The first thing to keep in mind where there is a desire to reach your higher self is to stop having that desire to reach your higher self.


I’m being funny but what I mean is, if you’re accessing your lower self — if you’re feeling anger, insecurity…fear, anxiety, worry, stress, selfish, jealous…

We just respond with compassion to that — automatically you’re bringing yourself up to the heart.


This  idea of “opening the third eye”, “crown chakra”, and adding “awakening”, “enlightenment”.

I think our work really is to get ourselves to the heart — and then, nature will take the rest of the way.


But, people do like menus and processes and Ken Wilber and all of that stuff so…I have this one chart that may be a useful guide.

And it’s all about kind of what the mind is doing.


Our goal is to follow the heart.

We’re spending our lives following what the heart wants or the mind’s attempt to manipulate the reality.


So at the base level, we’re just trying to ask, the mind is trying to ask, “What’s in it for me?” So “material status” or “money”, or “time”, “reputation”.

And in stage 2, it’s like, you know, “I want this identity as a good person”…or “smart” person…or an “enlightened” person.

But if there is no need to escape this moment. No need to change or fix either yourself, your child, your partner.

What wants to happen through us — not by us — but through us?

Now — we get stuck in these menus and these recipes and we can lose track of what the heart wants — cause that’s all mind stuff.


Heart doesn’t need to make a plan. Doesn’t need to have a map. Doesn’t need to have stages. Doesn’t know any of that stuff doesn’t want any of that stuff. It just wants what is loving. What is unifying.


And so we have this interesting paradox as a human being.

Halfway between the microcosmic and the macrocosmic size of galaxies and universes.

Here in the middle, we’re a paradox.

We’re…part of us, our heart, wants to just be relaxed, and connected, and loving.

…And a part of us, built into our nature, is to strive for “more”…”safety”, evolution is requiring that. Theoretically, requiring, that process.


So — what’s it all about?


Well, you can interpret it any way you want. Probably all interpretations are true.


But the one I like is that:  it’s probably all an opportunity for the heart to love. It’s an opportunity for the Universe to love every aspect. Even those aspects of the Universe that think they’re apart, apart from or separate from, the Universe.



The Breathing Space with Jon Kabat-Zinn


In Step 1 of “The Breathing Space”, becoming aware of the present moment in its fullness.

By deliberately adopting an erect and dignified posture.


Whether sitting or standing.

Allowing your eyes to close if that is possible or appropriate at this moment.

Otherwise, keeping them open.


And in either case, resting in an  awareness of your experience.



Opening to it and asking “What is my experience, right now”

“What thoughts are going through the mind.

As best as you can, noting thoughts as mental events.

Perhaps even becoming aware of their contents in words.



“What feelings are here?

Turning towards an opening towards any discomfort or unpleasant feelings.



“What body sensations are here right now??”

Perhaps quickly scanning  the body to pick up any sensations or tightness

or bracing.



Now in “Step 2”, gathering and redirecting  your attention to focus on the physical sensations of the breath.

Just breathing itself.



Moving in close to the sense of the breath in the belly.

Feeling the sensations in the abdominal wall.



As it expands with each in-breath and falls back with each out-breath.



With full awareness  — following the breath, all the way in,  and all the way out.

Using the breathing itself to anchor yourself into the present moment.


And now in “Step 3”, expanding the field of awareness around your breathing so that in addition to the sensations of the breath it includes the body as a whole.

Your posture, and your facial expressions.

How they feel from the inside.


if you become aware of any sensations of discomfort, tension, or resistance, experimenting gently with breathing into them on the in-breath, and breathing out from them on the out-breath.



Perhaps feeling a softening and releasing with each out-breath.

If you care to, perhaps saying to yourself on the out-breath, “it’s already here. whatever it is, it’s already here. let me feel it.”


And now, as best you can, bringing this expanded, more spacious and accepting awareness to the next moments of your day.

Whatever circumstances you find yourself in.

As it continues to unfold.

“How Sharon Salzberg Found Real Happiness” from Lion’s Roar


Sharon Salzberg knows suffering. At age nine, she was dressed in her Halloween ballerina costume, watching Nat King Cole on television, when something went horribly wrong. Her mother started bleeding violently and was whisked away amid the panic of flashing ambulance lights. That was the last time Salzberg saw her mother, who died two weeks later.

Salzberg was sent to live with her grandparents, and when she was eleven her estranged father appeared—a troubled, dishevelled stranger who told her, “You have to be tough to survive life.” Six weeks later, he overdosed on sleeping pills, and for the second time, Salzberg watched her parent being rushed away by ambulance. Her father was never to function outside of the mental health system again.

The adults in her life never talked about loss or grief, and Salzberg learned that silence meant safety. Little did Salzberg know that someday, plunging into the heart of her suffering would be her greatest teacher—and make her the renowned Buddhist teacher she is today.

— Lindsay Kyte in Lion’s Roar

“A 3-Minute Mindfulness Practice to Ground You in the Moment” with Zindel Segal

So what exactly is going on in the 3MBS. At one level, if you’re in the middle of an automatic, or multitasking moment, there is a place that you can move your mind to that allows you to step out of these routines and the the demands they place on our attention. Simply sitting down and allowing your attention to move in these different ways can be quite beneficial throughout the day.


But what exactly is going on with our attention? The 3MBS as we’ve designed it really is a lot about moving attention in specific ways to help us free ourselves or to get unstuck from some of these automatic routines.


In the space of about 3 minutes we go from wide, to narrow, to wide again.


This happens in the configuration, if you will of an hourglass, which can be seen as having a wide opening, a very narrow neck, and a wide base.


These are metaphors to describe the movement of attention. And the movement of attention is one of the things that I believe is really helpful about the 3MBS. Because when we’re caught in multitasking, or automatic routines, often our attention is not really available to us, and it’s not really being guided or directed by our intentionality.


So, these are some of the speculations, my own ideas, about how to 3MBS is helpful. The important thing is that if you do find it helpful just continue to practice it and figure out, maybe from the inside, how it continues to bring value and grounding in your own life.



“The Three-Minute Breathing Space Practice” with Zindel Segal

We designed the 3-Minute Breathing Space as a practice for approaching experience from two attentional lenses, both narrow and wide.


There are three steps to the practice:

  1. Attend to what is. The first step invites attending broadly to one’s experience, noting it, but without the need to change what is being observed.
  2. Focus on the breath. The second step narrows the field of attention to a single, pointed focus on the breath in the body.
  3. Attend to the body. The third step widens attention again to include the body as a whole and any sensations that are present.


We wanted to create a sort of choreography of awareness that emphasized shifting attention, checking in, and moving on. Accordingly, each step of the Three-Minute Breathing Space is roughly one minute in length. Perhaps because of this flexibility and real-world focus, the Three-Minute Breathing Space is one of the most durable practices utilized by participants well after MBCT has ended.




Gratitude Meditation by Rick Hanson

There really is so much to be thankful for.


I am grateful to my friends. For their good qualities, for the good things they have done for me. For the ways they are fun, for the good times we’ve had.


I am grateful for my children – if I have any – for the delight and love they bring, for the sweet smell of their hair and the soft touch of their skin. For the first time they smiled at me or walked into my arms. For the meaning they bring to life. For receiving my love and lessons. For being their own persons, for giving me their own love and lessons. Having them at all is a miracle, and the rest is details.


I appreciate myself. For the love I have given to others, for all the conversations had, for all the helpful acts toward others, for all the dishes done. For the long hours I’ve worked, the hoops I’ve jumped through to keep all those balls up in the air. For the efforts I’ve made, the many times I’ve stayed patient, the many times I’ve found more to give inside when I thought I was empty.


I appreciate my lovers and mates, past and present. I can focus on one of these persons, perhaps my spouse or mate if I’m currently in a relationship, and bring to mind the ways he or she has been good to me. I appreciate the fun we’ve had together, the humor and the companionship. I feel grateful for the times of support, understanding, and sympathy. For sweating and suffering too.


I feel thankful for the life I’ve already had, for the good parts of my childhood, for everything I’ve learned, for good friends and beautiful sights. For the roof over my head and the bread on my table, for being able to have a life that is healthier, longer, and freer than most people have ever dreamed of. For this beautiful world, where each breath is a gift of air, each dawn a gift of light. For the plants and animals that die so I may live. For the extraordinary gifts of evolution I carry in each cell of my body, for the capabilities accumulated during three and a half billion years of life’s presence on our planet.


I feel thankful for the wonder of the universe, for all the atoms in my body—the carbon in my bones, the oxygen and iron in my blood—that were born in the heart of a star billions of years ago, to drift through space, to form a sun and planets, to form the hand that holds this piece of paper and the eye that reads this word.


I feel thankful for all that was in order for me to be. For grace, for wisdom, for the sacred, for spirit as I know it. For this moment, this breath, this sight. For every good thing that was, that is, that ever will be.

— from Rick Hanson, A Meditation on Gratitude