Blank Mind Exercise
Traditional exercises for gaining a blank-mind state usually involve the practitioner meditating upon a mental image of blackness, or nothingness. I’ll admit to having had considerable difficulty with this method, though I did eventually gain the ability to enter the state at will. It wasn’t until years later that I was referred to Wayne Dyer’s work and found a far easier method.
In his book, Getting in the Gap, Dr. Wayne Dyer describes a method of achieving a blank-mind state that I’ve found to be very useful. The “gap” described in the book’s title is the gap between thoughts. This is a clever way of causing the mind to come to rest. Rest is the objective word here. If you attempt to shut down your thoughts by fighting them, you’re fighting a losing battle. Your thoughts are yours to control. Dyer’s method consisted of reciting the first ten words of the Lord’s Prayer, “Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name,” and pausing between each word. The practitioner begins by seeing the word “Our” in his mind, and then moving on to the word “Father”. Then they pause, and rest in the “gap” between the two words, then saying (or vibrating, to use the traditional term) the name of God. They then return focus the word “Father” and move to “who”, and move backward to the gap and vibrate the name of God. In this fashion, the practitioner moves through the sequence, ending with the word “Name”. The exercise is obviously of a spiritual nature. Once the trappings of religion are dispensed with, we are left with a very useful tool for inducing a blank-mind state. By placing the focus on the space after one thought ends, and before the next begins, we are placing the mind in a state of waiting, a state of rest where the next thought is yet to be realised and the mind is silent. This takes some effort, but you’ll find it is surprisingly easy. There is no attempt made to block thought. The pracititioner already knows what the next thought will be. With practice, the gap between thoughts becomes longer and longer, and eventually the entire exercise can be dispensed with. As you will have noticed with the focal exercise, such states are easily induced once you have become accustomed to entering them. If you ever find yourself unable to enter the state at will, you have an exercise which has been used successfully in the past, which you can rely on to guarantee the necessary state. If you have practiced the focal exercise diligently, you will find this exercise will pose no difficulties at all.
Begin, as with the focal exercise, by finding a quiet place for practice where you will not be disturbed. Perform the basic breathing exercise in its entirety, starting by closing your eyes and focusing on your breathing, and continuing until you have the rhythm of breath flowing without thought or effort. You may prefer to keep your eyes closed, or you can perform the exercise with them open. Acclimatise yourself to the sounds around you, acknowledging them and allowing them to deepen your focus.
Rather than the Lord’s prayer, we will use the phrase, “I am the silence of the mind at perfect rest”. Any phrase will do, so feel free to substitute something with a more personal meaning if you prefer.
Mentally say the phrase, “I am the silence of the mind at perfect rest.”
Mentally say the word, “I”. See it in your mind’s eye, as though projected onto a screen. Take your time doing this, and make it clear.
Deliberately move your attention from the word “I” to the word “am”. Focus on the word “am”, seeing it in your mind’s eye. Again, spend some time on the word before moving on.
Pause, and move back in your mind from the word “am” to the space in between “I” and “am”. As with all things, there is a trick to it. Do so without effort, without strain and without attempting to force your mind. Simply allow your mind to come to rest. Your mind should be in a state of waiting, ready for the next thought, but not yet there. Hold this until your hold on the state begins to slip, and then move your attention back to the word “am”.
Focus once more on “am”, saying it again mentally and holding the image in your mind. Move then to the word “the”. As before, hold the word “the” for a few moments, then slip back into the gap between the words, the gap between thoughts. Come to rest on the space, or the gap, between “am” and “the”.
Continue the exercise until you have completed the entire sentence.
The aim of this exercise is to introduce the practitioner to the state of mental silence which occurs when no active thought is taking place. Once identified, the state is easy to slip into, though it can be difficult at times to maintain it. The sequence of words is nothing more than a focus, designed with the sole purpose of leading from one period of mental silence to the next. Try to maintain the blank-mind state for a longer period with each word in the sentence, and with each repetition of the exercise. With practice you will be able to induce the blank-mind state without effort, and after a time you’ll find you can maintain it for a longer period of time.