I find that I’m rarely aware of my surroundings, am overwhelmed and struggle to think beyond daily tasks; I’m on autopilot. I’ve lived consciously for some time, but lately I’m falling off track and feel that something’s missing. I’ve been surrounding myself with inspiration, meditating more than usual, and I’m preparing a liquid detox. However, I’ve only experienced blips of the energy and consciousness I used to carry full time. Has anybody experienced this before? How did you overcome it?
What do you do while sitting?
The most basic approach to meditation is to relax, let go, and do nothing. Surrender to the moment and watch yourself as a silent witness. If thoughts come to mind, then observe the thoughts without adding to them by your active participation. Be a detached and passive observer and simply feel your most basic fundamental being. This inherently immense entity has been called “the ground of being.”
The enlightened teacher J. Krishnamurti used the term “choiceless awareness” to describe his own meditation method. This means being conscious without the thought process choosing something smaller than your vast fundamental being to focus on. Consciousness is like a glass ball floating in the depth of space. Light and sensory input flows into the field of consciousness from all directions. When you think, you focus your attention on just one area of sensory input, or you create a thought from memory stored within the brain. With choiceless awareness, you are not thinking or remembering, just floating and letting sensory input flow through you from all directions without manipulating that input with the thought process. You live in the moment and become totally open. This openness attracts energy from all sides of the universe, which pushes you even higher.
Krishnamurti’s choiceless awareness is the same “methodless method” that Zen monks call “mindfulness.” Hindu yogis sometimes call it “one pointed vision.” A more accurate term might be one object vision. This means that you observe yourself, the sky, the trees, and the entire universe as one object. You no longer see the world as a multitude of parts and disconnected events. Instead, you accurately perceive the observer and the observed as exactly the same thing, with no artificial wall of separation blocking the limits of consciousness. This singular entity becomes acutely aware of itself in all its vastness. The one cosmic being, as Krishnamurti said, is “beyond time” and is “untouched by thought.” The revered sage Ramana Maharshi described it as “infinite” and “bigger than the human race.”
Another useful method is to lend special awareness to the breathing process felt in the belly. Just behind and below your navel (belly button) lies the hara, which is felt as an ethereal ball of energy. The hara is a natural balancing point of your consciousness, which can be thought of as the center of your being. Subjectively and poetically speaking, the hara is where man and universe meet. It is the gateway where we merge and become man-universe and universe-man. No one really knows what the hara actually is, but we can use it to our full advantage. Consciously developing a powerful hara center is the most important secret of meditation.
When your consciousness is centered in the hara instead of the head, your thinking process slows down, and you can relax in the expanded world of being. Trying to stop distracting thoughts through will power alone leads to more thoughts and a self-defeating inner struggle. By transferring your center of awareness to the hara, thoughts gradually disappear on their own without inner conflict. That is why you see Buddha statues with a big belly. It is an esoteric message that the hara is the key to meditation.
Sit quietly and focus on your belly as it moves in and out as you breathe. Over time the hara point will become more noticeable as your meditation grows stronger. Sudden emergencies, such as near collisions on the highway, tend to activate the hara center. We often get a “gut reaction” from sudden danger. You can nourish the feeling of the hara by simply paying passive attention to it. This relaxed concentration is very close to doing nothing, yet it is still a subtle effort. Drinking herb tea or hot water before meditation sessions relaxes the gut and facilitates awareness of the hara. Overeating and consuming cold drinks tends to make hara awareness more difficult.
One can also concentrate on the heart center or the forehead center during formal meditation sessions. The forehead center may simply be the frontal lobes of the brain, which are known to become activated by meditation. I refuse to use the corny old “third eye” label. The hara, heart, and forehead center are all somehow connected, but I suggest you maintain healthy skepticism as to the old Asian explanations of exactly how they are connected. If you activate the heart or forehead center, the hara will automatically become energized.
– Christopher Calder
A student helping student project
@tigerturban, Wow thanks for that. I’ve really been confused on what I should tune into when I meditate. Sometimes I get there on accident but can’t retrace the steps with any consistency.
I usually try to focus on inhalation as gratitude and exhalation as surrender. It’s hard to feel any substance behind it though because I’m not a good meditator.
Other times I try to feel my being, but I have trouble locating myself. I tend to visualize the feeling of my body instead. Which does nothing.
My third tactic that has worked sparsely is to focus on the God energy, the workings of the universe that I’m made of. This has gotten me the deepest but if I’m not already in the right state of mind it seems impossible to reach.
@tigerturban, thank you! I’ve been reading a lot on advanced meditation techniques and it’s helped; I’ll certainly try to use these techniques as well, but what do you suggest if meditation simply isn’t sustaining my energy throughout the day? I find that I’ll reach a very good point during morning and evening meditation, but my days (the time between) are still spent passively “going through the motions.”
@danfontaine, Just realize that too much “mystical visualizations” can be counter-productive since they are actually just thoughts/thinking. Cosmic Consciousness is real, however so by simply stopping the mind’s constant stream of thoughts is enough to allow the Atman to enter you…
@seelifebe, How long should I meditate?
The time a person needs to spend in formal meditation sessions to gain maximum benefit depends on ever-changing individual circumstances. If you are meditating with a group, you will gain from the group energy and go further with less effort. If you are fortunate enough to be living close to an enlightened teacher, you may be able to absorb some of his high energy without any effort at all. If you are meditating alone, without support from others, then you will have to do all the heavy lifting yourself.
If you just wish to become more relaxed and take the hard edge off of life, one or two fifteen minute sitting meditation sessions a day will certainly help you. For those who really want to explore the inner worlds to the fullest, my general recommendation is that a single forty minute meditation session practiced every day is a minimum effort, and scientists have found that amount of meditation is enough to physically enlarge portions of the brain involved in awareness. A specific recommendation for young, physically fit beginners would be to practice Cathartic Dancing Meditation in the morning and one of the quiet sitting meditations at night.
It is of paramount importance to practice mindfulness throughout the day. To be of any real value, meditation must become a full-time way of living rather than a strictly segregated activity. Choose methods that make you feel more positive. Meditation should be a form of cosmic hedonism, not a penance one must perform as an obligation.
– Christopher Calder
Meditate frequently. But here’s the thing, just sitting down for a while and meditating and then going back to normal is no use if you don’t stay fairly meditative in normal life. There’s nothing complicated about it, just focus on what you’re doing, or breathe manually, that’s all it takes.
Don’t overstimulate your mind. First of all, don’t watch tv and don’t listen to the radio, those things are nothing but distracting. Don’t overthink things either, and don’t bring a bunch of drama into your life. That pretty much sums up the overstimulation issue.
Give up the negativity. You might not think you’re being negative, but you are, and that’s a major cause of the problem. Negativity is low-consciousness only, and the main low-consciousness trigger is negativity.
Release your mental junk. It’s simple, it’s easy, it’s fast, and it’s effective. There are a few different ways to go about it, but the simpler the better. Just close your eyes and let your thoughts flow, when a shitty thought pops up just let it go. Bring it back up, and let it go again, rinse and repeat a few times. You’ll find after just a few days the problems have diminished a lot and those thoughts don’t pop up in your mind as often.
The only cause of your low consciousness is your behaviour. Find out what it is that you’re doing wrong (by introspection) and cut it out. The only reason your consciousness decreased was due to your way of thinking and acting. Find out what changes you made and then undo them.
It’s all very simple, and the answers are all within you. Stop asking others, because that won’t solve any problems. And there is no fancy solution, there is no external cause you can do anything about, it’s all in your head, it’s all YOU. The only thing keeping you down is yourself. So stop looking anywhere else, because everywhere else is the wrong place to look.
Just live and be real. That’s all it takes.
Peace and love //Elion
@manimal, thanks for being real, I appreciate your comment a lot and it’s helping already. You’re so right; the answer is probably within me, and I’ve been overanalyzing it and wasting time on a magic cure that’s not out there. Rock on, and thanks again!