Openness: Openness is the goalless goal. A goal is an object, but openness is the space between objects. As the flow of ducks into the pond slows, empty spaces between ducks become apparent. With the calming of the mind, mental objects come and go like a quiet drive on a Sunday afternoon. It is here that the meditator begins to notice that where no mental object is present; there is empty space. As meditation progresses, the empty spaces between mental objects become as focal as the mental objects themselves. Eventually, the gaps replace the ducks and without the ducks the gaps are wide-open places like a meadow at the edge of a forest.
Sometimes, when the focus on the gaps is sustained for a long enough period of time, the meditator can witness the birth of a mental object, as it seems to rise from the depths. This shadowy immergence from the interior of consciousness is in contradistinction to the everyday sense that the world exists solely outside our minds. In this case, the mental object that immerges is not the result of contact with a sense event, but instead comes from a place deep inside and projects itself on to the world. If the birth of this shadowy mental object had not been observed, it would have seemed to emanate from the outside. In fact, it is an inside job. Have you ever been staring right at something and not seen it? The scene existed in memory without the missing object so it is not there until someone points it out.
The raw unmoving space between mental objects is pure awareness. Awareness is like oil in a glass bowl. The body is the glass bowl, which is experienced as the edge of awareness or where awareness makes contact with the other. The other is anything that is believed to be non-self. The transparent nature of the glass bowl is eyes, ears, nose and feelings e.g. the senses. There is no real contact between awareness and the other. The body is the membrane between the two and has the quality of being at the edge of the inner at the same time as being other itself, wholly outside awareness. The oil is always background and the foreground, a mental object, is like a paper boat floating in the oil but, the paper boat is really a reflection of the projected paper boat that is believed to exist (as other) outside awareness or is believed to have existed (as other) in a memory of a past encounter. Awareness cannot reflect itself because the minute it tries it forms an idea (a paper boat), which is the foreground to the invisible background of awareness.