Maximizing The Benefits Of The Meditative Process.
In recent years, a new wave has hit mainstream influence in the form of pushing meditation as a viable means for mental recovery and resilience.
But, why meditate?
Meditation (or, ultimately, just sitting) is exactly what it sounds like—sitting there, doing nothing. Well, that’s not entirely true. Though there are many schools of thought as to how people should meditate (mantra, fixation, visualization, breath-work); in bypassing the road to meditation (the meditative process) shooting straight into no-mind, you completely miss the benefits that come along with enjoying the ride to your “destination of no destination”.
In Joe Dispenza’s book, Evolve Your Brain: The Science Of Changing Your Mind*, he distills perfectly the idea that we have two facets to mind—the body-mind and the mind-mind. What does this mean to us from a practical point of view? We have two means of gathering data that are available to us: (1) the ability to observe and consciously take in data, and (2) the ability to engage with life and unconsciously take in data. In practice, though we can consciously “think through” various data sets and situations, we can also just “relax” and let our unconscious mind fill in the other half of the whole; resulting in what most people call a “eureka” moment.
So, how does one let the body-mind fill in the mind-mind? By relaxing, letting go, and letting what’s to come, come; and what’s to go, go. In various meditative practices, the primary aim is to “snuff out” all thoughts, allowing you to access a total state of awareness or “being”. Though this method holds many benefits such as allowing, accepting, and the ability to overcome nagging sensations like pain; you actually completely overlook the body’s natural ability to “fill you in” when moving too quickly through the Koshas*.
This is why, unlike most other practices of meditation often found in yogic circles, I prefer the Japanese art of Zazen (just sitting). In this practice, you simply sit comfortably and relax your senses long enough to allow what’s to come, come; and what’s to go, go. Over time, by taking on this practice for longer and longer durations, you will notice that the visions and ideas that come to you in the form of what I like to call “thought vomit” begin to dissipate and you are able to hit true-meditation—or no-mind.
The meditative process, just like dreaming, releases a chemical in the brain known as DMT at a higher rate. DMT is the precursor for conscious control over our awareness (as described in DMT: The Spirit Molecule* by Dr. Rick Strassman). What exactly is the purpose of dreaming? Psychologists believe it allows us to unearth our repressed thoughts and emotions; till, ultimately, we reach a place of complete (or deep) sleep (also known as Samadhi), where you aren’t consciously experiencing a dream at all.
I like to think of it like this: the meditative process is akin to wakeful dreaming; or conscious dreaming. It affords us the innate ability to unearth and come face to face with that which we have been repressing or not consciously observing in-mind (*be warned: this can be quite scary for someone with lots that they repress).
So, I implore you, before you jump straight into the Samadhi stages of your meditative practice, take a moment to just listen; or, rather, just sit.
-you might learn a thing or two!