Chapters in the Story of Consciousness – Lecture Series, Vol 13 . read
New meditators and PME
People who get involved with meditation, I have found in general have one of these three underlying motivations: 1. They are curious about meditation and its potential to improve their health, wellbeing and or concentration 2. They have diagnosed, undiagnosed or a known experience causing anxiety, stress or perhaps depression and want a holistic approach to getting these things under control 3. They want to be able to explore greater spiritual concepts and are seeking meaning in their lives.
Let’s begin at the beginning, no matter what your motivation there are trigger points for failure with early-stage meditators. Some of those are: 1. they have been told that they need to quiet their mind and get rid of their thoughts 2. they cannot concentrate on the mantra or paying attention to their breath or the suggested technique that is being used. They become bored and restless and the instructor (if they have one) either cannot answer their questions or they have no instructor and are learning online 3. They begin to think they are doing it all wrong and feel like failures because they are not able to experience what they think they should be experiencing.
Number 1: quieting the mind. It is not necessary to quite the mind. Even very experienced meditators will have thoughts arise in the mind during their meditation sessions. In the early stages of just getting into a posture, working with a mantra or other techniques you are informing your mind through your intention that you want to communicate from your higher state of awareness. This is what I call your micro unit of existence consciousness (MUOEC) because we are all individuated parts of the larger consciousness system, we can just call the universe or existence consciousness. You can and will get push back from your survival mind or ego, it wants to be in charge and your actions are designed to connect your higher state of consciousness directly to your intellect and bypass the ego. By design it will resist this approach at first. Usually, it will do this by flooding your mind with unnecessary thoughts against your wishes.
The counter this make friends with the ego, accept that it has a job to do which is to protect you from anything it thinks can threaten the body’s survival when it is not there to protect you. When a thought arises simply notice it and give thanks to the ego and tell it to dissolve this thought or to just be quite. In the early stages this seems strange because you are observing and aware of what is going on, but you are not in control. Don’t let this worry you, just relax you will gain sufficient control, although not 100% control and that is all you need. The whole point of mediation and self-inquiry is just to observe and work with the mind to take you to higher states of being. You need repetition to train your mind and the underlying subconscious. You are setting an intention by telling the ego what you want, in this case for it to be quite. It will begin to settle down and your attention to other aspects of your practice with grow stronger.
Stress, anxiety, and all other negative thoughts and emotions are based in fear. The ego is creating a fear that you are not good enough to learn how to meditate, don’t believe it. You put yourself in the driver’s seat when from an emotional space you assume control by becoming friendly, grateful, and courteous to the ego and then just dismissing the thought. It is best if you feel thankful for the ego which is charged with protecting you, this carries the weight of sincerity. It will continue to try for a while but when it understands your intention is solid it will back off and your practice will evolve quickly. This exercise also begins to familiarize you with how to use your intention to get what you want or need from your practice.
Intention is a very important part of your practice. In order to have a relationship with your higher-self and even beyond to the universal field of consciousness you will need to know your way around intention. To do this you will learn to form short precise questions relative to anything you want help with and through your intention, ask those questions while in the meditative state. You will receive information that may shock and surprise you once you have some practice with this.
Number 2: cannot concentrate, bored or restless. All of this is new and when someone tells you that you should concentrate it sounds like an order and something we should you doing. More accurately your job is not to concentrate it is simply to observe. What you will come to know is that we have a witnessing consciousness. It observes our minds and our thoughts, it will even come to know the presence of awareness itself when we have no thoughts. You know this intuitively, have you ever talked to yourself over a thought or experience you are having, perhaps trying to make a decision? This witnessing consciousness is what makes us sentient or aware of ourselves, able to perceive or feel things and is thought by some to distinguish us from other animal species. One of the main teachings you will come to experience from your meditation practice is how your mind works. In short you will be introduced to your true self through your witnessing consciousness observing your experiences, memories, thoughts, emotions, imagination and more all without judgment but with great clarity. You have so much to discover about yourself on this journey and it can change your worldview as you change yourself in ways that you know will make you better or healthier and wiser.
We sometimes become bored and restless. Meditation is like anything else, there will be days we cannot get into the flow. We tend to be disappointed in the beginning because we dedicated time to our practice and are anxious to learn but we don’t even get to a quiet mind state. Just shrug this off and go about your day. This does not mean your practice is devolving or anything else. We live predominantly in a waking state of mind with a physical conscious reality (PCR) or awareness. In other words, we are in our daily world, aware of our body and responsibilities and all things we tend to believe are real. There are days when it is difficult to toggle from PCR to the non-physical conscious reality (NCR). We are in NCR during the dream state, deep sleep, meditation, daydreams, and other manifestations of non-waking consciousness. PCR will work to dominate over NCR until you have enough meditation time under your belt and can effectively use your intention to be in whatever place you choose.
Number 3: feeling like a failure. A thought about failure is just a passing thing unless you attach emotion to it. If it resonates emotionally as a problem of failure you must realize this too can be part of a fear being delivered by the ego. It can also be a long running dysfunctional program running in the subconscious that is the result of some life experience that tells you are not good enough or a failure.
You can learn to remove these subconscious programs through your practice. However, the short-term fix is to create an opposing intention that you will succeed. Create a strong emotion for yourself that you are succeeding, visualize success as a pleasant, serene feeling of peace and gratitude when you are meditating. Have a short statement of intention to launch it into mind. You can address the statement to your god, the universe, your guides or anyone or anything you feel you are connected to in a spiritual way. The statement can be as simple as “I ask for help from the divine source to develop my meditation practice so that I may evolve myself for the betterment of all.” You may have to add some affirmations or follow-on intention settings every few days as your new intention takes hold. The subconscious is susceptible to auto suggestion that is why hypnosis works so well and your intention will work. Later with a little more skill you can remove the core dysfunctional program.