From Chapter Six of the book
How to Achieve Peace of Mind
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Shifting Focus: From the Outside In
By Jerry Dorsman
“Look upon some object,
then slowly withdraw your sight from it,
then slowly withdraw your thought from it.
All our lives we tend to move outward, into the world; rarely do we move inward, toward ourselves. It’s natural to move outward. We need things outside of ourselves. We need food, water, shelter, clothing, and other goods, so we need to work to make money for purchasing these things.
Understanding the world, and moving into it, is crucial to our survival. Hence we tend to focus almost exclusively on what’s happening outside of ourselves. That means we lose sight of what’s happening inside. We hardly ever bother to move inward, and now, when we try we tend to lose our way, and struggle to find the center. We have lost touch with our inner core.
What would we find at the inner core? Peace. This is the deepest, happiest peace you can know. It’s there, close at hand, waiting. It’s just below the surface, and once you have practiced moving inward, you can find it.
It’s not hard to do this. But you need to take some time to learn how. As easily as you learned to move outward into the world, you can learn to move inward to your center. That’s what this sutra is all about.
Look upon some object. Pick an object you enjoy, something that pleases you visually—a flower, a face, some dearly cherished possession. It’s better to select something simple in its features. Now look upon it. Drink it in with your eyes. Become one with it. Notice the point of vision where you become one with this object, the point at which you merge. Notice that this point feels as if it’s outside of you! Is it? Your eyes are at one with the object.
Then slowly withdraw your sight from it. The image of this object is impressed on your sight. Now slowly close your eyes while keeping the image strong in your mind. Visualize it fully. The image is now a thought in your mind. The object has become a thought. Where is this thought? It’s near your sense of sight, at the surface of your mind, on the tip of your brain—somewhere just between your vision of the object itself and your deep inner core.
Then slowly withdraw your thought from it. While keeping your eyes closed, allow the image of this object to dissolve. Carefully but purposefully, let the thought dissolve until all you “see” is a blank screen. Then, as the thought disappears, go deeper and deeper, to an undisturbed center, a place behind the thought, a place behind all thought. Here, you are in a windless place where no thought stirs.
Then. At this calm center, then. . . . Quietly, you become one with inner peace at this deepest place within. There exists no thought, no symbol, simply a feeling of imperturbable calm. Now you are at one with yourself, as completely as you were at one with the object in your vision a few moments ago.