Hello and good morning! I woke up today with greater depth and clarity in my meditation than usual. It begins with a simple process shift.
You see I’ve been meditating for a long time. But what does that mean exactly? Ah that is the question. That’s like saying, “I’ve been DOING for a long time”.. what does DOING mean? Doing means a lot of things.. a nearly infinite number of things you could be doing. And the results you are experiencing could be vastly different than what someone else experiences depending on how different your DOING is.
So meditation is similar in that you could meditate or concentrate on just about anything. Meditation itself is not a thing, so much as an act. An act of concentration. Ultimately it’s the process of putting your conscious attention on something. Which, even if you intend to do – can be very difficult. With the mind (the monkey mind the Buddhists call it) still wanting to go everywhere but where you intend for it to go.
Meditation in the case of settling the monkey mind becomes a practice.. with very different results for people depending on how successful they are at asserting their intention through just making space for meditation every day, let alone what their inner practice is like.
So what I want to touch on today is more of the INNER PRACTICE , the specifics of what I do to experience a greater degree of control over the monkey mind. And it’s very simple.
Outer listening: The first thing I do is listen to the EXTERNAL sounds.. this grounds me in the present. There is usually always something going on around me, rather than try to avoid it I decide to just integrate it into my practice from the very beginning.
Inner listening: Once I have been able to ground myself in the present through listening to the external sounds, I find it much easier to hear the voice running in my head all the time. I call this the “running analyzer” or “narrator” .. it’s usually very subtle, but once you start listening you’ll hear it. This voice is very easily confused with ‘you’ .. meaning its very easy to identify with it and believe this voice is you. But once you can actually tune into it, you can begin to direct it. This is actually what affirmations and positive self talk are.. just having a little more awareness and control over the inner voice that’s ultimately either coming from the subconscious or programming the subconscious with repetition.
Outer feeling: Next I shift my focus to the outer feeling of my body.. and move that sense of feeling into my breath.. from the outside to the inside.
Inner feeling: now that I move my awareness inside my body through breath, I also pay attention to any feelings that arise from within me, it becomes much easier to detect and sense the subtle emotions that arise from stray thoughts or other sensations.
One of the interesting things I notice is just how UNAWARE I am of my feelings until I really tune into. It’s as if they are stagnant or hidden until I really tune into them.. and once I do, they start moving again. I am able to relax my shoulders. Make a sound. Move my body a little more freely. It’s as though some of my conditioned thought patterns freeze my body or breathing and only when I tune into it can I get it moving again.
So the more I tune into it, the easier and better I become at it. I still have a physical pain in my back and chest though that’s been there for over 10 years.. I wonder if this is energetic as its really where the Heart Chakra is. Through the power of focusing on feeling more often I’ll let you know if this energy clears, I believe on the day it does, there will be lightening and thunder from the clearing of deep subconscious energy that’s been hidden away for years.
Inner Seeing: Because my eyes are already closed at this point, I just try to notice any visuals that come up during this meditation. But when my eyes open I try to be very present and curious with what I’m seeing.
One thing I noticed already is that when a strong visual comes into my awareness, I can get so completely absorbed into it (like a dream) that when I return back to my meditation, I forget what I just saw. Read that again, it’s not that I didn’t see something, it’s that I forget what I saw – and to my new moment self, it’s as if I didn’t see anything. But actually it’s just a kind of impression I know I just had, but I can’t remember what it was. Have you ever experienced this while dreaming? I believe with greater awareness these random but strong visuals will become more seamless in my field of consciousness, like hearing the subtle voice narrating my experience.
Outer seeing: As you wrap up the meditation you’ll notice a sense of feeling much more present and the mind being slower in general. The effects can be deeper, depending on how long you’ve just practiced for.
Meditation has profound benefits that have been well documented by science now. And not only effect physical and mental health but can benefit every area of your life including your ability to succeed in anything you want to do.
The practice of meditation has many forms.. and I have shared with you one here that’s very simple and easy to do. The key thing to remember is to be present with what you hear, what you feel and what you see.. and deepen the listening, the feeling and the seeing by cycling through them and redirecting your focus if you have a stray thought.
I suggest writing down your experience or sharing it with someone at the end to help with the integration as you return back to every day life. And do your best to return to this practice throughout the day even if just for a couple of breaths, as often as you can.
James Sunheart is a student of personal development and spiritual growth. He is passionate about optimizing people, systems and life. He’s written 7 books. Interviewed hundreds of experts. Given a TED Talk in France. Lives in Costa Rica while developing a sustainable eco-village. For opportunities email: James AT FullPotential.com