Mind the gap

Yesterday my wife and I participated in Earth Hour. We had a nice candle light dinner and then moved to the couch. Surrounded by little flickering flames we chatted about random things. When we were silent for a while, I stared at the beautiful shadows the plants made on the walls.

Suddenly a thought popped up: “Hm, I seem to be thinking of nothing.” I looked around the room, without words appearing in my mind, no associations. Now and then a similar thought would arise, like: “Are there really no thoughts?” or “Is this still going on?”, but the gaps of ‘silence’ between them were really long.

Apparently I did notice this and record it to memory. There was some sort of curiousity observing it all. After a couple of minutes my wife asked why I was giggling. I answered with a broad smile: “You know how I always tell it’s impossible to have no thoughts? Well, I’ve had as good as no thoughts since we last spoke, and for some reason it’s very funny.”

We talked about it a bit, and when we stopped, it just went on: no thoughts at all, just me smiling like an idiot because of the funny feeling in my belly and looking around or staring at a flame. This feeling in my belly even continued when we talked, it would be so strong at a given point that I stopped in the middle of my sentence, just baffled by this easy accessible silence in my mind, until my wife nudged me to finish my sentence. I found it hard to continue talking. It was like I was not willing to think anymore.

This probably lasted for about ten minutes. There were moments I felt annoyed when we talked, because then there would be an underlying thought like “Hey, I want to stay silent so I can go on checking this out”.

I’ve been meditating vipassana-style for about 3 years I guess, but nothing like this ever happened during meditation. My thoughts then are numerous and I consciously have to bring my attention back to my breathing or the experiences of the present moment, again and again. But last night I didn’t practice anything. It was just there all of a sudden: a blank mind. And the feeling that came with it was close to hilarity. 🙂

In the end the gaps between thoughts were rapidly becoming smaller again, until the normal continuous flow of associations was back.