gazing into vacancy



Yes. It is really like gazing into vacancy

or a dazzling crystal or light.


Question: Can a line of thought or a series of questions induce self-hypnotism?
Should it not be reduced to a single point analyzing the unanalyzable, elementary and vaguely perceived and elusive ‘I’?

Ramana: Yes. It is really like gazing into vacancy or a dazzling crystal or light.

Question: Can the mind be fixed to that point? How?

Ramana: If the mind is distracted, ask the question promptly, “To whom do these distracting thoughts arise?” That takes you back to the ‘I’ point promptly.

source PDF file p. 37 


My Comment: Ramana’s response to a visitor’s question here gives me a new sense of what he is wanting to bring our attention to with the question “Who am I?” By describing the quality of this inquiry as “gazing into vacancy” I have an inkling that he is telling us something significant. Our habitual way of looking or ‘gazing’ is generally to look at some THING, some object, some point of interest. Vacancy is not that. Vacancy is gazing WITHOUT an object and realizing that what is perceived is THAT, which is never an object. When we are prompted to ‘turn our attention inward’, again we generally look for some THING – and object in our inner space. Actually, though, it is the fact of turning our attention ‘away’ from ALL of the objects in our life, including our own ego, our self. This turning away is of the quality of daydreaming without purpose and without landing anywhere; merely drifting free of all moorings of our memories, thoughts, assessments, associations, etc.

When we ask

“To whom do these distracting thoughts arise?”

and we are able to realize that they arise to that, which is never an object, then we are taken back to the ‘I’ point, which is again not an object, and not a point.

Have fun!






2 thoughts on “gazing into vacancy

  1. Isn’t that like being stoned? Being aware without being aware? If we can achieve that state we can become one with that truth and consciousness…..but to experience it, I have my doubts!! How can we come out of the mind and yet experience awareness, however subtle!! Isn’t it as good as sleeping deeply where there is no duality and no ego?

    • The difference may be that in the state Ramana speaks of, we are actually highly alert to all that is going on. There is a kind of awareness that I call “floating consciousness” – it is 360 degrees awareness with no need to turn your head and look at something. One could say that we tune in to the awareness of intelligent infinity. Here is a link to an article by Erwin Lazlo that you might find interesting:

      The deep sleep state is indeed said to be a state in which our consciousness is merged into its natural state with the substratum of our waking consciousness. However, it is temporary and when we again find ourselves in the ‘waking state’ we are confronted with all of our dissatisfaction, torment, doubts and sufferings of various kinds. The question Ramana poses is “Can we merge with that deep sleep state while in our ‘waking state’?

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