Sometimes when sitting or walking, there is an awareness that thought has stopped, and when very alert I am able to calmly notice the absence of thought without being distracted into thinking about it. At such times I can almost ‘see’ when a new thought is forming. It bubbles as it were into the inner vision from a deep dark area below and to the left , then takes weight as fragmented imagery, and then suddenly blooms into a full thought-word-image containing memory, presence, and charge. At that point, I can let the thought pass, or let it provoke mind-chatter, and whichever happens it takes some time to return to the silence.
During a telephone chat with a dear friend, a contemplative, I described that experience and she said, ‘hmm, sounds like sunyata.’ I considered that, and then asked some monks and swamis about it. After getting more information I did not talk about it further with anyone, but dwelt on it, wondering if the experience were of significance, or just mind-noise.
After a long interval, my friend called again, and as that unusual space between thoughts was now a somewhat frequent occurrence I mentioned the details again. She was quiet a few seconds, and then said “Are you sure you’re not just sleeping?”
In an open sky
two birds sit on winter branches
Bell of silence reigns