When You Empty Your Mind of Thoughts, What Does it Fill With?

Dear Integral Meditators,

This weeks article takes a look at what happens when we empty our mind of thoughts, and offers a simple technique that will enable you to practice emptying your mind in order to fill it with that which flows into the empty space!

I’m going to be holding the early bird offer for the Integral Insight Meditation Workshop until the end of Monday, 2nd September, so if you are in Singapore, wish to attend and want a reduction in the price, do make your booking and purchase by then. Click on the link for full details…

Yours in the spirit of empty fullness,


Upcoming Classes at Integral Meditation Asia:

Coming up on 7th  September:  Integral Insight Meditation – Discovering the power of awareness to heal and maximise the potential of your body, mind and emotions
Special early bird offer of $80 for all who sign up for the Integral Insight Meditation Course before Sept 2nd! Full cost of the workshop is $95

Online course in September – The Power of Deep Calm – full details up shortly!

When You Empty Your Mind of Thoughts, What Does it Fill With?

In meditation one of the ‘basic’ (but not quite so easy) skills that we focus on is being able to empty the mind of thoughts temporarily. We can readily understand that emptying our mind of thoughts is relaxing, but what beyond that is it helping us to do?

When you empty your mind, that emptiness starts to fill with something. What is that something? Awareness.  Awareness is the experience of being. When you empty your mind of thoughts, awareness flows in naturally to fill the space. Sitting in a state of awareness has many benefits, here are a few:

  1. It helps us to develop and improve the quality of our mind – By dropping our thoughts and simply being aware we develop our capacity to witness our life objectively and in the 3rd person. This development of a stable 3rd person perspective helps us to develop the quality of our rational mind in an holistic and balanced manner. By temporarily dropping the mind, the mind itself improves.
  2. It takes us beyond our mind – When we sit in a state of fullness of awareness and emptiness of thoughts we realize that we are not our thoughts, that there is something beyond our thinking mind that we are. The essential sense of ‘I-ness’ that we have is retained when we stop thinking. Thus we gain the ability to go beyond our experience of self as the thoughts in our mind, and move into a sense of self that is the possessor of our mind and yet something more than the mind. So you could say that instead of “I think therefore I am” it becomes more like “I am (aware) therefore I think!”
  3. It allows our body and mind to rest and regenerate themselves deeply, accessing a deeper level of healing energy that flows from a deeper level within our being.
  4. It gives us a sense of something bigger than ourselves – A sense of a mind, identity, intelligence and order in the universe that is bigger than ourselves, that you might call spirit, but you might equally call it something else. The point is that in a state a pure awareness you start to feel it experientially.

“Pulling the plug”

Here’s an exercise that you can do to help you empty your mind:

  • Imagine your mind is a bath and the thoughts in your mind are like the water.
  • Imagine you “pull the plug” in the bath; see and feel the water of your thoughts draining away down the plug hole, leaving the bath of your mind empty. Rest in that empty space.
  • Now feel the bathtub of your mind filling with awareness. If your mind is empty you will feel the awareness flowing in quite naturally.
  • What does this awareness feel like? Rest and relax in this state of empty mind/full awareness for as long as feel appropriate. Centre your being, your sense of self in this full empty space.

You can pull the plug anywhere you like, for as long as you like. This week you might like to try integrating into your routine it as a short daily exercise to help develop your experience of the true fullness of an empty mind.
© Toby Ouvry 2013, you are welcome to use or share this article, but please cite Toby as the source and include reference to his website