Two Keys to Effective Meditation
One can choose among several goals for meditation—simple relaxation, inspiration, visionary experience, and so on. The highest goal, in my opinion, is to reach that place where everything disappears except pure awareness, a state of awareness of nothing but awareness itself.
Metaphysics offers numerous methods and techniques for meditation. I have studied and used almost all of them. But it is science that provides what I think is the most helpful key to effective meditation by describing the territory.
I want to discuss these keys: knowing the territory, and understanding the technique.
Scientists have named four wavebands of brainwaves: Beta (our ordinary material reality), Alpha (daydream and imaginary reality), Theta (our dreaming reality), and Delta (a combination of the first three where extremely vivid realities are experienced). The frequency or speed of these waves is fastest in Beta and progressively slower down to Delta.
We can identify the territory using these four descriptions. Most people are familiar with the first three, and many have also consciously experienced Delta.
Meditation for simple relaxation uses Alpha. For waking dreaming, we use Theta. For lucid dreaming we use Delta. (Lucid dreaming is knowing that we are dreaming, using our Beta mind; our Beta mind is not very functional in Alpha and Theta.) We can tell by looking at the nature of the experience what part of the territory we are in.
The technique of effective meditation, by which I mean that one moves one’s conscious experience from one waveband to another to another, first calls for physical relaxation. This is common knowledge among meditators these days.
What is not common knowledge is that one’s attention needs to be relaxed. Usually, our attention is focused on Beta. Then there are times when we daydream, relaxing our attention, and experience Alpha. This is not difficult. But we cannot force this to happen, just as we can’t force ourselves to fall asleep; we must allow it to happen.
Similarly, it is very important to understand that moving our conscious experience from Alpha to Theta while conscious is not something we can force. Attention must be relaxed and allowed to flow there by itself. Concentration is not the answer here, because that focuses attention rather than relaxes it.
Attention must be allowed to float to Theta on its own. The best we can do in the process is to observe dispassionately. We will fall asleep and lose our awareness of the experience if we do not observe, but this observation must be fully relaxed. Repeating a mantra has the function of keeping the mind awake and observant, and at the same time keeping it bored so that it doesn’t use much attention.
Effective technique calls for gazing, not staring, not even looking, just peacefully gazing at what we are experiencing. We just watch what is in our field of inner vision, even if there is nothing there at all (there will soon be something). Focusing on a point or focusing on a certain image energizes attention and stops it from floating.
Crossing the boundary between Alpha and Theta is not noticeable. Rather, there is a sudden awareness that the boundary has been crossed. We didn’t do it; attention just floated through the boundary. Now we are seeing clear dream images, as if our eyes were open.
By the way, it is a good idea to meditate in total darkness or to use a sleep mask to block out light. There is often a temptation, when reaching Theta, to open one’s eyes to determine whether we are seeing something inside our outside. That, of course, ends the experience. Remembering that our eyes are blocked from light helps us to avoid that temptation.
The position of the body is irrelevant. It is important only that the body is relaxed. Meditation is happening without body awareness.
When we enter Theta while awake, we must identify it as such; we must recognize the territory we have entered. We can tell because what we see is clear and distinct, not at all like a daydream.
We must remember that we are headed for Delta. This calls for dispassionate observation of Theta images, and allowing attention, once again, to float beyond it to Delta.
Delta is recognized by its extreme vividness, reality that is “more real than real.” Delta feels vibrant, electric. In this reality, one can learn to control one’s experience, devising any experience imaginable. It is from this platform that one can investigate moving into further dimensions.
Sufi George Books: http://sgbooks.sufigeorge.net