the excluded middle way

“may all suffering quickly cease”

A noble thought indeed. A thought designed to inspire. A wish that, if truly heartfelt, could turn a sloppy sod into a shinning saint.

The desire to end our suffering must have begun at the dawn of self-consciousness, the first moment a boundary was drawn between self and outside – me and my experience.

The Buddhas prescribe two remedies for suffering. a quick fix and a final solution…


Absorption of the cessation of gross conceptual thought

A deceptively simple method, once you get past the tongue twister of a title, but like all mind trainings it is incredibly hard to get immediately satisfying or verifiable results.

This is a ‘subtle mind’ meditation. The subtle mind can only manifest when gross minds cease; when we let go of mental awareness, imputation, naming, gross memory, gross thoughts.

We can first gain some experience and confidence in the various ‘levels’ of mind by observing our mind as we fall asleep, or when we wake.

See also: hypnogogia

If we can become skilled in recognising this threshold consciousness we can watch our ego-grasping kick in as we awake each morning. That’s why we want to hit the snooze button… we want to get back to a state that is free of grasping.

At the moment our sense of self-grasping, the root cause of all our suffering, is all pervasive and very difficult to spot. You’d think it would be easy to find something that is present every waking moment of our lives, but self-grasping is like background noise, like the hum of an air-conditioning unit that you never notice… until it is switched off.

So we can train in turning gross mind off.


We’re trying to get some experience, to get a feeling for the subtle levels of mind. We’re looking for an absence and a cessation. We can’t prove and negative but we can certainly feeling a positive absence: a cessation of the background noise that we’re usually too gross to notice. It’s like wishing for a late-night party next door to turn the music off. If you really want it, and it happens, the absence is almost blissful.

We need to develop the same wish. We want to want to experience life without self-grasping and it’s attendant worries, stresses and woes.

If we engage with the meditation we’ll eventually gain some results and this will further deepen our wish to do it again and again, going deeper and deeper, into the silent depths of the mind. And, because it’s such a yummy feeling, we’ll find time to do it again and again.

Become addicted to inner peace!


  • Start with a strong determination: ‘I am going to stop gross minds’
  • Stop thinking
  • Stop being aware of anything
  • Stop imputing
  • Remain like a block of wood
  • Just try, for 10mins

These so called Arhats have pleasant feelings
That they apprehend to be truly existent.
Because of feeling, craving develops –
So they must be subject to the craving

Although for a person who has not realised emptiness – the lack of truly existant things
Manifest delusions might be temporarily abandonded, eventually they will manifest again,
Just as feelings and discriminations return when the concentration on the absorption without discrimination ends.
Therefore, you must strive to realise emptiness to attain even solitary liberation

Further Reading:




Filed under: dharma, meditation, self-grasping, subtle mind, suffering

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