While I’ve always been a fan of contemplative practice, I’ve always thought of it as being forced to pay attention to one thing, preferably one thing you enjoy but requires concentration, in order to clear your mind of thinking about anything else. For me, that’s generally been riding a motorcycle, preferably at high speed.
On the rare occasions I’ve attempted guided meditation, there has always been an instruction at some point to “clear your mind.” This, for me, is the point of failure of meditation. My mind races from when I first awake to when I finally fall asleep. Thus my prior statement about being forced to pay attention to one thing to clear my mind.
A couple mornings ago, something strange happened. My mind seemed to clear of its own accord. I woke up very early, and it was still dark. A moment after I realized I was awake, my mind was clear. I was thinking of nothing. No thoughts entered my head, no question of what to do next. Just nothing. In that peaceful moment I realized what it meant to “clear my mind.” It was probably one of the most stunning experiences I think I’ve ever had, to be completely thoughtless.
It was over in a fleeting moment, but I may never forget it.