Skin is but a wall that divides
Meditate on nothing inside nothing outside
It’s difficult to meditate upon
In the 25th dharana of Vigyana Bhairava Tantra, Shiva leads us into a tricky terrain. Vedic scriptures talk about the concept of ghatakasa and mahakasa. Akasa means the space. Ghatakasa refers to the space within us. Mahakasa refers to the space outside. Ghatakasa means the gross body with its limitations of mind, body, ego etc. Mahakasa lies beyond as the cosmic consciousness. I can confuse you more with high-sounding words, but this explanation captures the essence of what Shiva wishes to convey.
Shiva says that our skin separates the ghatakasa and mahakasa. This may seem simplistic. Yet, this improvisation can lead to wonderous truths. When we talk about Indians, Chinese, Arabs, Americans or Europeans, or Christians, Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists, nothing but the skin lies between and separates. We all descended from some single cell entity and later from an ape that wandered in what today seems Africa. When we really scratch the surface, the blood, muscles and bones seem surprisingly the same! Nothing special lies inside. Nothing special lies outside. Yet, the skin separates. We see ourselves as special and others , especially those who refuse to think the way we do, as disposable. Some cultures see nothing wrong in killing those who do not align with their views.
Shiva’s dharana, when understood becomes a practise. You don’t even need to sit and meditate. Awareness creates Action.
If we discard the skin boundary and embrace the cosmic space outside, the mahakasa, which too in nothing comprises everything, our perception of ourselves and others changes. We become free. We reach moksha, nibbhana, satori, kaivalya, enlightenment or whatever nonsense word we wish to call it, which would still mean nothing.
A Zen Koan from Chiyono illustrates this.
In this way and that I tried to save the old pail
Since the bamboo strip was weakening and about to break
Until at last the bottom fell out.
No more water in the pail!
No more moon in the water!
Let the bottom fall out, let the skin disintegrate and there will be no more ego in the mind body and no more judgment about others.