I love exploring consciousness and most of my classes and workshops usually involve one or more meditative processes. The reason for this is that our states and stages of consciousness flow from the inside out. The best way to create physical reality as showing up differently or to activate or expand some potentials is to turn your attention within and then to make changes in the areas of subtle energy, consciousness, imagery, etc. and then see how physical reality shows up differently.
One key challenge is that the pace of modern life is more rapid and to create some degree of mental stillness and one pointed focus can be the cause of much difficulty and lack of enjoyment who are looking to make changes in this way. I have found a number of ways to help greatly increase mental stillness and enjoyment for even people who are new to meditation and I have seen massive changes in those who have applied the techniques.
A quality like mental quiet can be a great one to pursue and expand, but if we become attached to this idea, then it can cause difficulty. If we experience moments of great mental quiet and later have a mind that is very active, we can feel like we had something and then lost it. In our modern achievement focused culture we might feel like we were “succeeding” and then “failed” when our minds were not quiet.
I started meditating when I left home for college and just had a mat, zafu and Phillip Kapleau’s The Three Pillars of Zen. It was a great guidebook as a start and I was focused on my classes and didn’t have access to a live teacher.
After I was able to sit comfortably in the half lotus posture on my mat and zafu, I had some great sessions where I felt a great deal of peace where my mind felt naturally quiet. I was excited at the progress I was making but when things became more hectic with my college classes, it was more difficult for my mind to settle in to the meditation. The more my mind was active, the more frustrated I would become which then added to the activity in a downward spiral. Before I started using feedback loops to deepen my meditations (see the video below) they were mostly a source of rapidly expanding frustration!
After a time, I let go of all of this and just allowed myself to enjoy the sensation of sitting without any agenda or sense of progress. With this “letting go” I had the most powerful meditation I had up to that point! I felt like a large rock sinking into soft earth and being totally supported by it. It was a totally blissful experience and for the first time realized that enjoyment was one of the most powerful ways to deepen meditation. Up to that point, I had been focusing laterally at how long I had been meditating and how much “progress” I had made. This was my first time that felt vertical, where I dove into the process and had a very deep experience where my mind was blissfully and easily quiet.
I have since found a number of other tools that help with mental quiet and meditation that I share in the video below.
It’s kind of a long recording, so here are the timings of the subjects that I cover so you can skip to what interests you:
6:19 Why meditate and explore consciousness?
9:00 Illuminating Shadows
26:36 Mental Chatter and Freedom
31:24 The Motivational Mechanism, consciousness and mental stillness
37:50 Chakras, trauma and consciousness
49:04 Feedback loops, appreciation and consciousness
53:22 Guided Meditation to putting it all together
1:16:00 Going Further with “Subtle Energy Evolution”
I was very happy with the experiences that people have had with what I presented in this webinar as well as in the Subtle Energy Class where I go much deeper into it.
There is a natural paradox that comes up with consciousness. The more we attach to the idea of mental quiet the more elusive it can be. The more we resist and judge the thoughts that do come up, the more they proliferate. The best way I have found to deepen and enjoy meditation is to use whatever meditative technique as a way to tune into the potentials that the technique can offer and dive in and enjoy the process with no attachment to the outcome. Any time thoughts arise, allow them and give them total space and non-judgment and non-resistance and they will dissipate on their own. The more you welcome and allow whatever arises, the more light and flexible your consciousness will become.
Enlightenment is intimacy with all things. – Dogen
Whether there is a specific technique or not, the presence is the most important thing. It can be helpful to not only be non-attached to the idea of mental quiet as well as any specific meditative technique. Any time you feel that you have found “The Best” technique, that can limit your willingness to use a different technique that can offer another form of expansion that may be best at a future time.
I like to think of each technique as a nutrient that may serve us and different times may call for different types of nutrition to support our life and expansion. If we become fixated on one type of nutrient, we can easily throw off our balance based on attachment to ideas of what we feel is right instead of choosing from a place of consciousness in the moment.
Last, I would just like to leave you with one thought that I share with my workshop participants:
Curiosity over time = Knowing
Blind certainty over time = Dogma
The approach that has worked best for me as well as for individuals who I have had the honor to teach at one of my classes and workshops is to stay open and curious like a child and just play with different techniques to see what the effect is. Once you have an experience you can continue to play and learn in a fun way from that new place. I have studied how children learn and this light and playful way of exploring things is one of the reasons that they learn and grow so rapidly!
I would love to hear from you with any thoughts, experiences, or questions.
P.S. If you got something from this post I would appreciate it if you could share it on Social Media platforms like Facebook and Twitter!