…I felt like my reality itself was dissolving into something spacious with me being there and watching the process..
But let me explain: I have been meditating for a few years on and off but this year I have been meditating pretty regularly. From feelings of relief and relaxation to warmth throughout my whole body, even aggression, dissatisfaction, boredom, absent-mindedness I have experienced all of them. I have always felt like dropping a weight I had been carrying around previos to taking the time to meditate (especially when I felt I did not have the time to meditate). In the beginning I thought the main-purpose of meditating was relaxation. I still think it’s an important part but meanwhile there are a lot of other things going on I apparently haven’t been aware of.
Coming back to my experience earlier this day: I had started out as usual with a subtle guided meditation that I have been using for almost a year now. At first I had some problems finding a proper sitting position and felt some pain and discomfort in my back (probably from sitting too much and being at the computer beforehand). When I settled in and slowly calmed my mind I fought a little with my breathing, trying to establish an optimal pattern and movement and further adjusted my sitting position to allow my lungs to fill properly. Then I slowly began to stop applying mental force and let myself go. I concentrated on feeling my body and everything got very serene. It was a good feeling and I had a clear and very present mental focus from then on. I think that I was able to let myself go and immerse in just being for a few precious moments (irregularily interrupted by some random thoughts, interpretations and feelings).
Afterwards I stretched and opened the window to get a breeze of fresh air. While I did this the serenity stayed and I kept noticing the thoughts that were creeping up. I felt almost like I had dropped my persona for a short time and my old interpretations and the meanings I usually give to my enviroment and everything around me tried to impose themselves upon me. These emotions and thoughts, feelings, I don’t really know how to describe it constantly kept re-entering my mind. The action felt like some kind of soft force (like a habit that in itself is harmless and nonetheless keeps pushing just for the sake of it). In such a way I felt my old persona entering this space I had opened up within me and the blank canvas I had laid upon everything around me. I did not judge this (and maybe that’s why I stayed present this time) and just noticed the quality of my thoughts and the way they were entering my awareness. It was like my usually pretty solid reality was melting away and merely becoming a shadow in something much larger and more complete. Like I had been on a boating trip and now began to see the water my little boat was swimming on. The boat did not change – it’s just that I had become aware that it was merely a little part of the whole boating experience.
I became aware that I usually was taking life very serious – and of course (I would be stupid if I wouldn’t) was trying to control where and how everything was going. Through this constant process and the belief that I had to take things SERIOUS I was clearly getting caught up in my thinking and the reality I had been creating within my head. I have heard about taking life easy and staying detached a hundred dozen times already but this moment I really experienced it first hand.
Usually I never noticed when exactly my awareness was transforming into identification with my usual thinking and persona – but this time I clearly have. I must say it is a wonderful experience. So quiet and at the same time very much alive. For the first time I felt like I knew how I was usually making myself feel uncomfortable. I felt like I was watching my own thought-process through a magnifying glass. Although it was so very simple it was absolutely beautiful and entertaining. Though I have had a few conscious glimpses of my inner processes before I never was able to maintain it for any time longer. As I am writing this I can feel how I am again beginning to merge with my thinking and lose the angle.
I had a profound feeling of knowing how I was causing what I felt and experienced (unlike reading it in a book or have someone tell me). I felt like this state of comfortable emptiness and tranquility was being there all my life and I just had learned to cover it up with all kinds of thoughts, feelings and interpretations. It was like the connection someone makes with words and physical objects (like in this great video by Eckhart Tolle I was watching today). It basically means that for example when you tell a child asking that this strange thing hanging from a tree is a leaf – the person is inclined to take the word and concept for the real thing (the stronger the beliefs and concepts are the less focus is on actual sensual experience).
Many people tend to see some kind of bird (like in out in the woods or in a park) – then think and.. ah name it and that’s it. Job is done and their mind is looking for another task to accomplish without them taking the time to really fully enjoy the fascinating experience and moment they just had (you dont have to see a bird actually just watching a tree bend in the wind can be enough when you are being really present).
When rather than just perceiving an object as a trigger to a mental concept or even memories we take in our enviroment as what we can really perceive from it with our senses – reality is experienced in a drastically different manner.
Touching again on my experience earlier today I was experiencing exactly this phenomenon. My interpretation of my surroundings and situation was exerting some kind of pull on me to identify myself with it. At the same time I was totally aware of my thoughts and gave this process (the pulling and thoughts and emotions that were coming up) room to be and just accepted it as part of the moment. Which kept me from identifying with it.
At this time I got the sensation that the only thing necessary to be happy was air to breathe and being in the moment. That there was no urgent need to experience anything different. Though at the same time I was feeling a strange lust to experience life from this different angle where my mind was so comfortably silent and I was free to feel and savour the present – whatever it was giving to me.
— Talking to a friend I have described the state like looking at or being a very calm sea on which surface a stone is falling. After the impact the water is rippling in all directions in a conentric movement – and, at the same time feeling like getting sucked into becoming the stone forgetting you are, in reality, the sea in which the stone has fallen. The sea cannot resist the stone and does not judge it. The experience indeed was some kind of fading of resistance. If the sea would be feeling the impact there is nothing he would do. It would just feel the ripples and be the sea (if that makes sense). This is how I would describe my experience.
Try this: Another way to get into this state is: As you are being where you are right now – imagine and act as if you are about to meet someone. As if someone pleasant that you like is coming to visit you or meet you. Feel like this moment right now is the moment before you are meeting that person and just immerse yourself in this state of waiting while you take in your surroundings. Feel your body on the inside as well as where you touch something else with your skin. Look around and take everything in and listen to the sounds going on. All the while you are doing this keep waiting. Really enjoy the waiting and relax and just allow yourself to be and do nothing while staying wide awake and just being there – waiting.
When emotions or thoughts arise don’t fight them. Be aware of them and give them room to be within you and let them be. But keep waiting and really enjoy the sensation of waiting while experiencing your senses and being open. Feel like you are flowing into this situation and be very sure that the person or whatever you are waiting for is going to happen any moment.
xxx You can also try this exercise with other people by waiting together. Also you can give people room by just being in the present and flowing and awake and turning your attention on them. Make sure to tell them to give their feelings room to be so they do not get caught up in their own thought-process. In this way you can very easily infect someone with a state of awareness. xxx
I can only recommend finding a way to meditate that suits you as there are endless benefits of meditating that one wouldn’t think are possible. For me, this experience alone was worth all the effort and hours I have put into meditating up until now. I hope that something reached you and that maybe you can carry some wisdom or insight from my experience into your own life,