This phrase (coined by Zen Master Hongzhi):
The essence is to empty and open out body and mind,
as expansive as the great emptiness of space
has been my mantra for several days, together with Ramana’s statement:
We are in our Self
Here Ramana was responding to a visitor asking how to reach the Self. I have had several insights like this, a few of which lasted several hours and once even several days. The impressions I gained from those experiences are still alive in me: who is there to address my questions to if all around me is Self? What need is there to take any action in order to “find” the Self? What is the root of any fear that something in this Existence might go awry and present a danger to me or the world?
The first statement by the Zen master is clear: let go of all and anything that is like dust on the mirror of my mind. This, I find, is demanding trust – only with deep trust from the bottom of my soul am I able to “empty and open out body and mind”. This statement is asking me to not even examine all of what the mind has captured and holds on to, just like I do not examine what is in the rubbish bin before I let go of it.
At this point I find my mind wants to be sure that it is not letting go of something ‘important’ that it might need later. Once that thought captures my attention I have a slim chance of releasing thoughts as my mind can always ‘find’ some reason to keep thinking the thoughts that are connected to that one. Here I find Ramana’s “We are in our Self” helpful, as I am often able to surrender all of these musings and fear-based thoughts from some place that is beyond thought and is more of a visceral sense of Self that surrounds me and in which “I” am safe.