>> I have been practicing "emptiness of mind" for about 6 weeks now. On a good day, my mind stays free of all but the most fleeting thoughts for minutes at a time. Lately however I have started to experience something new. As my mind empties of thoughts and (more or less stays that way) I have started to feel strong emotions (mostly joy). I can, with some effort, put that out of my mind too --- but should I? Is this emotion a distraction in the sense Bardon means it or is it OK to simply let this feeling flow through me while I practice EOM? <<
Sorry, but you can't have a true *emptiness* of mind when you're experiencing strong emotions. These are indeed "distractions" in regard to the EOM exercise. However, that doesn't mean they are without value. I suggest that the next time this occurs, you shift gears, exit your EOM and enter into a one-pointedness with these emotions as your focus. Explore them through one-pointedness but not through EOM.
When pursued over time, the EOM exercise will reveal different layers of the mind. The first layer that's mastered is the level of thoughts in Step One, but there are other layers as well, such as that of pure emotions which you've just encountered. If you also treat this layer as a "distraction" and learn to ignore it in the same way you have learned to ignore thoughts, then your EOM practice will reach an even deeper state.
My best to you,
:) Rawn Clark
05 May 2003