I use the phrase luminous absorption to describe being deeply immersed in the awareness of awareness. Spending time in luminous absorption is what shifts our consciousness beyond the limits of time and space and opens up new horizons of possibility.
Ordinarily, our awareness is almost perpetually focused on things external to us. Which, of course, includes every aspect of the material world like rocks, trees, animals, and even our own bodies. But it also includes the inner world of thoughts, feelings, and dreams. Our continual focus on the external objects of the physical world, and the mental content of our minds, is what creates our sense of time and space.
The things we see in the world around us appear to be located in space because our own bodies must move around in order to encounter them. But we need to ask ourselves, does our experience of moving through the world necessarily mean that space exists? When we dream at night we move around, sometimes crossing great distances, but in the morning we realize that the space of the dream was only an experience; there was never any distance to travel.
If we consider time, we see that we have no way of experiencing time unless something changes. If nothing changed, would time have stopped? If everything were still, would time even exist? We measure time by the movement of hands on a clock. If those hands stop, we don’t imagine that time has stopped, but if all physical and mental movement ceased, what could we possibly mean by time?
We live in an experience of reality that is embedded in the sense of time and space. Our history, or memories, our future aspirations, and everything around us, all exist in time and space. In deep meditation we have the opportunity to experience complete rest. It is possible through sustained practice to discover a place deep inside us that it has never moved. Time and space do not exist there.
We commonly think of the division between the inside and the outside as dividing mind and matter, but the content of mind and the objects of the physical world are both external to the awareness that is aware of them. What exists on the inside of awareness? What exists behind the part of us that is aware?
Luminous absorption is the experience of the inside of awareness. It brings us to that part of ourselves that exists beyond time and space. That part of us has always been perfectly still.
If we have the opportunity to rest in luminous absorption for extended periods, our consciousness liberates itself from the bounds of time and space. We experience a deep sense of limitless empty being. We become completely absorbed in beingness itself. We are aware only of being and if we keep going, there is only being aware of itself. That is luminous absorption.
Upon return to the manifest world of time and space we find that our blissful release has left us with a wondrous sense of dislocation. We are here but not here. We are in the world, but not yet of it. We are free, and with that freedom comes a profound sense of clarity. This clarity is one of the greatest miracles of meditation because it allows us to see everything differently. This is the deepest source of creative freedom in the universe and it exists within you on the inside of awareness.