Body Asleep, Mind Awake
When starting out it’s important to realize exactly what the meditative state is. To be in meditation is to be in a state where the mind is completely alert. Yes, the body is inactive-it’s as though your body is asleep, and your mind is awake.
Your mind will seem impossible to control, with hundreds of thoughts jetting across it. And by habit you’ll chase after them, attach yourself to them. This will only result in another thought, and another and another. The key, is to be able to watch these thoughts appear. If you can do that–just watch your thoughts appear, then you put space between you and your thoughts. It will be slightly easier to not follow them.
What if a specific thought is blocking your meditation? Just don’t react to it; don’t place your attention on it. If you are able to do this, you will let it pass through your mind without affecting you. (At least for the time during meditation. Afterward, it will probably come back, but you will have more strength to stay in your center, to keep from getting pulled by the thought). So by placing your attention on a thought, you allow the thought to grow. Another thought will result. Instead, bring your mind back to your object of meditation.
Think of it this way, thoughts are like clouds and your mind is like the sky. Let the thoughts pass through without affecting you, just like the sky remains the same after clouds move across it. Of course this takes practice just like everything else. But you won’t regret it. Soon it will be clear that You are not your Thoughts. That when you let your thoughts go–You, are still here! So you cannot be your thoughts, can you?
Thoughts Are Like Clouds. Mind Is Like Sky.
Thoughts are obstacles to your meditation practice. And because your Mind allows thoughts to happen, it is also an obstacle. Part of the problem. Once you quiet your mind with daily meditation, you will also see that you aren’t your Mind. You’re not your Mind! You are the Consciousness–the ground–that allows your mind to occur, to happen.
I’ve written about a meditation technique named Gazing before. The key to this practice is to gaze at a meditation object, letting vision flow over the object in a slow, clockwise spiral. Your goal is to see the Real Nature of the object, to feel its energy directly. For this practice, unlearn everything about this object. Forget all that you’ve been told about it. Look at it as though you just don’t know what it is. And don’t have any thoughts or memories about the object. This is the Gazing meditation.
How to Meditate using Internal Gazing: As a technique used to enter the meditative state, Gazing at an external meditation object is very effective. After your practice is good using an object, begin meditating without the object, seeing it in your mind’s eye, in detail. This is Internal Gazing.
So now your focus is to see the same object in your mind without having it actually in front of you. After a time of practicing this, you will be able to see it easily with your mind’s eye. You will notice all the details of it. And after more practice you’ll see the essence of the object, its energy. You will see inside it, even the tiniest details; you’ll develop a true understanding of it. The practice of Internal Gazing develops your focus, concentration, and improves your ability to see with your mind’s eye–this improves creativity.
So now the question is, when to meditate, isn’t it? Don’t worry about that, just start by doing it as often as you can–wherever you find spare minutes. Start with 2 to 3 minutes at a time. Soon you’ll be able to enter meditation at will, and quickly. But first learn to calm your mind. Start by watching your thoughts; just observe them appear. Where do they come from? Meditate on this for a time, twice a day, 2-3 minutes at a time and the practice of Internal Gazing will follow naturally.
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