Dao De Jing
Dao De Jing
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Deep Consciousness Meditation
(Or How To Sit On A Chair And Breathe!)
By Seamus ‘Moose’ Ennis
There are scientific explanations for what happens during meditation. But there are also non-scientific explanations for the same thing. The non-scientific, or spiritual, explanation that I relate to goes something like this.
The ego has its grip on all of us, and has us convinced that we are somehow separate from everything that abounds around us. Separate from other people, separate from nature, separate from any other objects etc. This ego lives in fear, always projecting back in time, and forwards, dwelling on the past and worrying about the future. The ego is essentially scared of death, and can’t abide the thought of the cessation of its ‘separate’ life and identity. The ego fears change, and clings desperately to the status quo. The ego seeks pleasure and craves many things, foolishly thinking ‘that it will be happy when…’ The ego overreacts to the occurrence, or even the thought of, displeasure or pain. Even when we are in a relaxing scenario, the ego continues to dwell on past or possible fear based situations and thus inhibits true relaxation, causing instead chronic tension and anxiety. Even if we think of ourselves as being a fairly relaxed person, we may still be suffering from a subtle case of tension and anxiety, perhaps pushing it down with distractions like work, TV, family, drugs or any number of activities.
The ego is an essential survival mechanism, and it has its grip on all of us to some degree. But if a person bases their concept of identity purely, or overtly, on the ego, they are mistaken and are missing out on a better way to live. They do themselves a disservice, because it is well known (both scientifically and spiritually) that we are not separate from the rest of the universe, and that all things are one. Humans are just a small part of a massive system of interdependent living beings, all constructed out of the same basic units of (moving) energy, and all constantly exchanging these units with each other in a beautiful, never ending process of flux.
This ‘oneness’, whilst including the experiences of fear and pain, is essentially a perfect expression of love and beauty. And this connection to the loving, beautiful heart of Life itself can be directly experienced through meditation. This direct experience of Life, or Love, is something that floods the senses and feels fantastic. This energy, as it fills up the individual person, relaxes, heals, refreshes and renews on three levels - cellular, rational, and emotional. Of course, another way of describing this is Body, Mind and Soul.
Direct experience of Life Itself is often described as being like bathing in ‘Golden Energy’, or ‘Seeing the Light’ and like most clichés, they are so because they are true. If you meditate effectively for long enough, you will eventually journey through the darkness of the ego-experience and come face to face with most beautiful light – The Golden Soul as I like to call it (even if that does sound like some kind of yellow fish!). This is the pure energy of Love that creates, heals and binds all of Life – even in the face of evil, pain and fear. It is not only your soul – it is everyone’s soul! When get to this state of mind – you have reached your destination – Deep Consciousness!
You don’t have to meditate to experience this, it often happens spontaneously to many people in different ways. We may go there just prior to sleep, or in a moment of reflection or clarity. Most people probably experience contact with this energy at different times in their lives, even if it only briefly.
Meditating is just a really easy and simple way to regularly go to this place and reconnect with the Universal Energy and regenerate. Doing so will bring you increased happiness and health in your everyday life. It is a beautifully simple, proven, and effective process that has been working for ever and will work for anyone who puts in the effort.
Effective meditation does take some effort, and (especially at first) it can be a little like hard work. This follows the basic universal theory of ‘you don’t get something for nothing’. But if you work at it and acquire some basic skills – the rewards are well worth it. Once you have been doing it for a while – and have spent time bathing in the energy of Deep Consciousness – you will begin to relish your chances to meditate, and the entire process will become pleasurable by degrees. Eventually, the presence of Deep Consciousness will be with you throughout your days, comforting you through your journeys like a beautiful friend holding your hand.
When Buddha was asked why he continued to meditate even after achieving enlightenment, he replied ‘For the sheer pleasure of it!’ Once you learn to carry this meditative state with you throughout your days, your level of happiness and contentment from moment to moment will increase dramatically.
Meditation is tied to no particular religion; you can incorporate the context of your beliefs, or non-beliefs, into your meditation easily. If you don’t like the language I use to describe your meditation experience, you can just swap them for words or images that work for you. Deep Consciousness is just my way of describing the experience that I have. You can call it what you like.
The process of meditation calls for no blind acceptance of any dogma, scientific, or otherwise. You do not have to identify with any guru or attend any classes (although classes and coaching can be of help) or empty your wallet.
You just have to sit on a chair and breathe!
HOW TO SIT ON CHAIR AND BREATHE!
Ok, we’ve all got to breathe right? Let people know if you don’t ‘cos otherwise your’ Mum or your husband or someone is going to see you sitting there like a corpse on a stick and call an ambulance!
But you don’t strictly have to sit on chair. You can sit in the traditional meditation manner crossed legged on the floor or a cushion. Or you can lean up against a wall or lie down or whatever. Meditation has been incorporated into many activities over the years. Standing, walking, sword fighting, pouring tea, flower arranging, spinning on the spot and of course – golf! But for now, perhaps just limit yourself to sitting comfortably with a straight back, or lie down if you can’t sit up.
It is important to keep your back reasonably straight however. This facilitates good breathing, energy flow and keeps you from falling asleep too easily. Also hunching over can be associated with negative frames of mind so it is best to sit up as straight as you comfortably can. It doesn’t matter if you are a bit bent – I know I am!
If you have troubles sitting up straight you can prop yourself up against a chair back or wall, or lie down on your back.
The first thing to do is get comfortable and tune into your breathing. Focus on it –don’t try to control it – just breathe naturally. Focus is the cornerstone of meditation – and the breath is the most common, and arguably, effective ‘object’ of focus.
There are an infinite number of things you can focus on, and eventually you will probably experiment with many of these options. You will probably end up doing multi-focus meditations also.
But for now, just notice your breathing. Don’t strain to focus on it. Just gently be aware of it –rest your mind on its comforting rhythm.
Now after a few seconds your mind will probably go – great! So I am still breathing! That’s good! What’s next?’ and begin to ponder all kinds of things.
This is Ok! This is normal. It is what we train our minds to do whenever we are doing nothing all our lives. Don’t try to stop thinking. This is a commonly held misconception about meditating. Just relax and accept that your mind is probably going to go haywire for a while. It doesn’t matter. It’s natural. Your mind is making good use of the break to process the massive slurry of information that is rattling around up there. Eventually it will settle down. But it rarely, if ever, stops thinking altogether!
Just smile a little inside smile – and gently bring your attention back to your breathe.
This is going to be the main skill that you are going to have to learn. To notice when your mind goes off of the object of focus (in this case the breath) and to resist the urge to react emotionally to this. Remember – it doesn’t matter! Don’t beat yourself up about it. If you are going to learn to meditate effectively it fairly important that you learn to be dispassionate about the way your mind likes to wander. The Zen monks call it The Monkey Mind – because it chatters and carries on like a cheeky monkey. See the humor in it, smile a little inside smile (or outside smile if you want) and return to the breath.
Now here comes the hard work part I was telling you about.
The thing that you have to do now is wait. And focus on the breath. Check that you are relaxing, and wait. And notice dispassionately when your mind wanders, and return to the breath – and wait. And focus on the breathe some more, and wait. And notice when your mind wanders, and relax, and return to the breath. And wait.
And wait. And wait. And wait.
This process may at first feel like torture. It usually does take some training, but eventually you will arrive at your destination. You will gradually move closer to ‘The Light’ and then, you are home! There it is! Here it is! Bathing you – embracing you! – Loving you! Deep Consciousness! (Or Self or God or the Theta Brainwaves or whatever you want to call it!)
And don’t it feel great!
Enjoy it! Try not to get too excited, try to keep the mind fairly still in its joy if you can – but most of all enjoy it!
The first few times you do this, it is probably enough to stop after fifteen minutes. Maybe you will have reached Deep Consciousness, maybe not. It doesn’t matter- meditating always does you good if it is done in a reasonably effective fashion. I still regularly have scrappy meditations where, even after forty minutes, I still haven’t entered into the perfect meditative state. Sometimes I resolutely keep going until I do, sometimes I stop, relaxed, knowing that it might not have been the world’s most amazing meditation, but it still did me a world of good.
It is important to detach from sense of wanting to ‘get there’. Desiring too badly to ‘get there’ is counter productive, it defeats the purpose of meditation (to let go of desire and mental time projection) and doesn’t help you truly relax. Just sit, breathe, focus, smile your’ little inside smile, and observe your mind and body with loving detachment.
Keep practicing, you will get there eventually. You might have just to sit and sit and sit until you ‘get there’, but in time you will. When you get there, you will happily discover that you have, in a way, been there your whole life. Because the universal source Golden Soul is inside of you, in your heart, you just have to peel away the layers of excess thought and tension like peeling an onion. If you put in the effort, you will benefit enormously from the beautiful, healing, enlightening energy of Deep Consciousness. In fact, I would dare to bet that it will change your life forever!
P.S. I have a little trick similar to Nina’s bird (described in her meditation technique on this site), only instead of a bird I use a cloud. I ‘place’ the offending thought onto a little pink cloud and ‘blow’ it away until it is far off on the mental horizon - and then I blow it up! Just like a firework! I amuse myself by watching it fizzle and sparkle away, then return to the breath!
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by Seamus "Moose" Ennis
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