Contrary to popular media, meditation is not just bald ass monks wearing saffron robes while staring off into the mountains. For most people its seen as kinda weird and not seen as something particularly useful. Others see the benefits of it but think it takes forever to learn or that meditative “states” are for Zen masters that have practiced in the forest for years. The truth is that you probably go into hypnotic states multiple times throughout the day without realizing it. The key to meditation and what makes it so powerful is the awareness of the states. I’ll explain more below.
The strongest reference to use, and I’m sure most people have experienced this, is Hyper-Focus. Have you ever been playing a video game, driving, or doing some focus intensive task and everything seems to go slo-mo. If you’re particular self-aware, you notice that you can store a lot more in your short-term memory and there seems to be no mental blockage. You have a sliver of health left and you turn around and outskill your opponent. Or you’re racing some douchebag in a ricer ass honda perfectly avoiding traffic and accounting for grip, traction, response time and other factors that you didn’t even know you knew about. This the state of hyper focus. For most people its brief and passing, only being accessible when needed. These are how most state changes occur, based off of external stimuli and habitual reactions. All it takes is for you to dedicate your entire focus and absorb yourself into the activity—Which, if you havent practiced meditation before hand, is pretty difficult—and to have the proper posture to keep the state. I brought up hyper focus as it’s the most noticeable state and familiar state to most people. Now how do states benefit you? how do you control them to your advantage? I’ll explain,
Tying in the information presented, to successfully shortcut the meditation learning curve, you must understand the meditative state. Unlike Hyperfocus which is an active state, a meditative state is more passive. Rather than engage and absorbing yourself into something in particular, your goal is to engage and absorb yourself into nothing. Which, as a sentient being, you have no concept of nothing and the closest you can get is an awareness of nothing. And there lies the key. Being in a state of awareness of nothing. Sounds confusing at first but understanding that concept makes meditation simple. You come to a realization that being is all there is. There cannot be anything which can confirmably exist if there is no awareness to acknowledge the existence. Nothing cannot be a concept without a sort of sentience to be aware of the nothingness. In simple terms you are becoming aware of awareness. If you can do that, you have successfully meditated. Not the craziest concept ever. But being skipped over, a lot of people fall into a pit of atheism and/or religious, political, mental slavery.
A simple trick is to focus on your breath. Whenever your mind drifts from your breath just gently guide your attention back to it. Dont give up if you keep getting distracted. Thats expected, most of us have cultivated thoughtlessness as a skill yet. Pretty soon you’ll notice a slight shift in your state of mind. You’ll notice that you’re a bit calmer and that you have this sort of “High”. The high doesn’t last long but all day you notice that you have a lot more patience and your mood is a lot more stable. You can tackle obstacles more efficiently and focus much better. These are just a few of the benefits of basic mindfulness meditation. We’ll release more posts on meditations in the future as it is such a fundamental part of spirituality and self-improvement. But for now leave a comment and let us know what you think, any tips or recommendations. Also feel free to login/register and head over to the forums.