The secret revealed
Student: How should I meditate?
Master: Meditate on the center.
Student: But shouldt I practice a certain kind of meditation?
Master: Meditation is the focus of attention, nothing more. Meditate in your center, and allow your Balance to be.
Student: Should I choose something that reminds me of The One?
Master: Is your body pleasing to you?
Student: No, not really. I mean it is, but not for meditation.
Master: Your body is a reflection of your mind, and is of The One. It will do you no good to focus your attention on something outside yourself unless you are pleased with yourself. Meditate with your body. Begin with your breath, and become aware the Balance within yourself.
We have learned that the mind runs programs in response to our attention. When our attention is focused on our movie of consensus reality, these programs filter and refine the energy of our holographic world and project it onto our view screen of awareness. What we experience when this happens is the result of our paradigm, the matrix of limiting thought that follows us from reality to reality. This is true of any movie of reality, be it the movie of consensus reality or a movie in a personal dream. We know that where our attention is, so is our movie.
We remain in Balance when we maintain awareness of the nature of our movie of reality even while we experience it. The ability to focus our attention is the single most important element in our development. This is true here in our movie of reality as well as in awareness of The One.
Its our ability to focus our attention that resulted in our paradigm and its presentation of Maya. It is our ability to focus our attention on the source of our reality that allows us to remain in Balance. And it is the ability to focus our attention that leads to freedom from the movie we call reality.
Lets look at the process again. The mind runs programs in response to sensory information and holographic awareness. This presentation of our reality takes place when our physical senses receive information from our movie of reality. The mind knows what program it will run well in advance of the time our movie of reality requires it, but it presents the program to our conscious view screen as if it is happening that instant. Integration is a constant practice of remaining aware of this process in our mind while we participate in the movie of reality. Integration leads to Balance, and freedom from the programs of our paradigm.
All experience is a product of our mind, and all experience is dreamlike in nature. We have learned to believe that our minds participation in reality is awareness. But what we have come to call awareness, the awareness we use in our experience in consensus reality, is really the activity of our mind solving the problems of our perceived reality. Our awareness of our holographic self is filtered through our paradigm and presented as a comparison or evaluation of ourselves with others and our place in this movie. It is through this process that we believe our awareness originates, but the process itself virtually eliminates the awareness of our nature as holographically connected beings. The resulting presentation, the presentation we think of as awareness, is not awareness at all. Severely filtered to give the illusion of separation from the whole, what we think is awareness is actually the activity of our mind and its paradigm.
And we have been taught to give our attention to this activity. We have learned to accept this limited presentation and are rewarded for giving our attention to it. When we are able to focus our attention on this activity we gain a "place" in our reality and arrive at what we believe is a self-identity.
Attention to this paradigm activity, this problem solving activity, is the foundation on which our social structure is based and is the driving force for our education system. In our social and technological paradigm, cultures that have not developed attention to this process are viewed as backward. Yet, these cultures often display abilities that cannot be defined within our paradigm. We know of cultures that never invented the wheel or telescope, yet have mapped the solar system in a detail that we are just now able to verify. Isolated, seemingly backward tribes of people have been found that have accurate descriptions of the stars beyond our solar system. Other cultures remained isolated in one place on the earth, yet possessed information and detailed drawings of all the peoples of the earth. Our scientists ponder these conundrums, searching for an explanation that fits within their paradigm. But they have never looked within; they have never looked to the process by which our mind constructs reality.
Being consumed every waking moment of our day by the problem solving activity of our mind is not awareness at all. Each and every thought we experience has its origin in Mind -- in the pure holographic potential of The One. There is no other source of thought. Each and every thought arises in Mind without separation, limitation, or meaning, and in full Balance between the potential for experience and holographic awareness of The One. Our natural identity is not separate from the whole. This holographic awareness is available just behind the activity of the paradigm, behind the thought activity we have learned to believe is self-awareness.
The activity of the mind responds to attention. When your attention is placed on a question, the mind must run the programs in its paradigm that result in an experience. When you become aware of the process, you can actually feel this activity happening. I am going to ask you a series of questions. After reading each question, close your eyes for just a moment and ponder the question. Try to feel the mental activity taking place as you do so.
What is two times two?
Okay, your mind ran a program and it appeared to provide the answer. It took only an instant for your mind to reach into its memory and extract it. You may not have noticed the problem solving activity of your mind.
Now, when did you first learn the answer was four?
Notice how your mind took a little longer and perhaps even pulled your awareness back to your school days. You may not recall the exact instant, but your problem solving mind automatically ran a program resulting in the awareness that you did, at some time in this lifetime, memorize the fact that two times two equals four. You went within. Most likely, you did not come up with a complete answer, but the answer you got somehow satisfied you. You just know that information is lost in the past, in your mind, at least. And you have the feeling that your mind is attempting to solve the problem, to come up with when you first learned that two plus two equals four.
Where did you learn it?
Again, when you are sensitive to the process, you can actually feel what you believe is your mind attempting to solve the problem. This is where you were taught to focus your attention in problem solving activity. You were reconstructing your childhood days, recalling the schools you went to, or perhaps you saw that terrible times table you spent hours focused on. And again, you did not come up with a specific answer. You were satisfied with an answer that fits your paradigm of recall. And you know, in our social paradigm, total recall is an exception. Still, you have the feeling that your mind is actively attempting to solve the problem, to answer the question. You have the feeling you are thinking about it, pondering it, or attempting to recall the answer.
But the mental activity you experience when your mind is facing this problem is not a recall activity. Your mind knows full well the exact time and place you first learned that two times two equals four, as well as who was there and what the whether was like when the event happened. The entire scene is recorded in exact detail, detail that goes beyond what you were consciously aware of when the event took place. The answer to every question you could ask is available to your mind. The information is there; the mind and Mind are one.
The problem your mind must solve is determining whether this information fits into your expected view of reality through the paradigm you have created. Thats the only problem it ever has to solve and it must continue as long as your attention is focused on it. It is the filtering and refining process of your mind responding to your attention that you just felt, and your paradigm leads you to believe that this activity is awareness. You have learned to accept its limited presentation as all that is available to your conscious view screen. It is all that is available through your paradigm, but it is only a small fraction of what is available to your awareness.
When you responded to the first question, the answer came quickly. But it only came quickly because it fit within your paradigm. When you pondered over the next questions, the answers came slowly and only in part, and the activity you felt continued as long as your attention was focused on the question. Even if you consider those questions again, you experience the same activity. The fact is, you experience this activity as long as you are focused on the question, or until you gain awareness. But right now, the focus of your attention may be on the fact that you consciously felt your paradigm for the first time in your life. This may be the first time you have openly admitted that the information you requested is still there, held beyond your conscious view screen by your paradigm. This may be the first time you have come to the realization that as long as the focus of your attention is on the question, the activity you feel is the process of your mind struggling with your attention, filtering and refining your awareness. And you have learned to believe and accept the fact that all that activity, that filtering and refining process in your mind, is awareness.
Now, let's consider the implications of this discovery. How much of what we have "accomplished" as humanity has really been an accomplishment? We, as holographically connected spirit beings have "invented" devices such as telephones, radios, computers, and television, as means of communication. We "advanced" from total awareness to walking around, being transported from place to place by animal drawn carts, to automobiles, and to airplanes. We "evolved" from beings able to live in harmony with the earth into societies that build great cities and lay waste to its landscape. When we discover a people who are able to live in harmony with the earth, who can travel the earth and visit the stars in their awareness, we educate them. We teach them to focus their attention on the illusion. What would cause a holographic being to require these "advancements?" The only possible explanation is a loss of awareness. We have simply forgotten who and what we are.
We created a system of education that prohibits teaching children how to access awareness and we encourage them, actually, we require them to focus their full attention on the illusion. Teaching meditation in school is, for the most part, forbidden. It is thought to be "spiritual," "metaphysical," or "religious."
How much of what you have accomplished as an individual has really been an accomplishment?
The answer to both questions is the same. None of this is necessary. It is possible to become fully involved in any experience we desire while remaining in Balance. But we are so far away from realization of the Balance that is, we don't even know it exists.
What a wonderful deception, but then, we could not have this very limited experience without it. Just as in the cinema, we forget the projector, the people around us, even the cinema itself, as we become involved in our movie.
And we must view this in the light of Balance. Nothing is wrong here, no one has made a mistake, and nothing needs to be changed. Every entity participating in consensus reality is here by choice, and that choice is made, by each of us, with a full awareness of the nature of this reality.
We can only ask ourselves if this is really where we want to focus our attention. We cannot ask that question for anyone else, nor can we force awareness upon them. We have created a reality in which we appear separated from the whole and thereby separated from each other. The function of our paradigm is the creator of this illusion, but the illusion is necessary for us to have this experience. Still, Balance is, and all that is, is of The One.
The mind is very powerful, as we have demonstrated in our hypnosis experiments, in its ability to filter and refine the holographic potential of The One and present our reality to us. But our mind has a quality that is in our favor. It must run programs in response to attention.
When you place your attention on a question, any question, your mind runs the programs that determine how awareness fits your paradigm. Remember, Balance is. You cannot hold a question without holding the answer. It exists in the holographic energy of The One along with the question. If that awareness does not fit your paradigm, your mind filters and refines it so it does. Your mind then presents this filtered and refined awareness onto your conscious view screen. And it presents it with the illusion that somehow the activity involved in filtering and refining that awareness was required in order for you to answer the question, have the experience, and gain just a little awareness.
You know now that the problem your mind is faced with is deciding how your awareness fits your paradigm; you know that this is the only problem your mind ever has to solve. It is time to go to the Question.
Where do thoughts originate? They originate in Mind, in the holographic potential of The One, in you. There is no other source of thought. The Question asks this question: Where did the thought originate; where did it come from?
The Question is not a mental question, and it is not a thought; it is an awareness. It starts as a question so your mind can identify it -- and filter and refine it. But now you have actually experienced this filtering and refining activity. And when you did, you became aware of the awareness beyond it. For a brief instant you became aware of your awareness beyond thought. This awareness beyond thought is the Question.
The Question is a challenge to your mind to acknowledge the origin of all thought. And even though it continues to filter and refine it, it must acknowledge it. From a mental standpoint, you are able to understand how the paradigm works and even become aware of its activity. You must go beyond this mental activity in order to access awareness, therefore, you must hold the Question as an awareness beyond thought. Remember, your mind must respond to your attention. You will, therefore, eventually go beyond the process of the paradigm and gain access to expanded awareness.
We have been practicing this discipline during Integration. But active participation in a discipline designed to strengthen our ability to focus our attention gives us greater access to our intrinsic awareness. The practice of meditation strengthens our ability to choose where we will place our attention.
Attention is like a muscle of the body. When you use the muscles of your body, they become stronger. When you do 15 pushups every morning, your arms become stronger. When you practice 15 minutes of meditation every morning, your attention becomes stronger. But if your pushups are done improperly, the outcome is less than desired or even counterproductive. The same is true of meditation.
It is the focus of attention that has allowed you to develop your role in this movie of reality. Every skill you have "developed" in the movie has been the result of your attention. In doing so, you practiced a discipline of attention that eliminates awareness. And this is okay, as long as you practice a discipline of attention that Balances it.
It is the ability to focus your attention that allows you to remain in Balance. When your attention wavers, so does your Balance. And, it your ability to focus your attention on Balance that causes your Path to rise before you. Again, the ability to focus attention is the most powerful ability of the human spirit.
Attention is the key. When you focus your attention on the movie in the cinema, your paradigm shapes your awareness, and the presentation on the screen becomes your reality for a time. When you focus your attention on the movie of life, your paradigm shapes your awareness and it becomes your reality for a time. When you focus your attention on Balance, neither the presentations of your mind nor the source of them is overwhelming. You are in Balance -- in the center. The width of your awareness is directly proportional to your focus of attention. Light, fluid attention in motion broadens the scope of awareness.
Meditation is not a mystical method of gaining access to another dimension. It is an exercise, a discipline. It is the practice of choosing where the attention is focused and maintaining the chosen focus. This is accomplished in motion while maintaining Balance.
There is no such thing as a bad pushup, unless you don't do it or do it improperly. Likewise, there is no such thing as bad meditation, unless you don't do it or do it improperly. We often hear people who meditate say: I had a good meditation and this or that happened. Or, I had a bad meditation. I just couldn't get into it. When we hear this, we are listening to people who focus their attention to get an experience. You should know that there is no experience to be desired in meditation. You know that all experience is a projection of your mind, and that it must contain the illusion of Maya in order to remain an experience.
You do not need a spiritual teacher to instruct you in the proper method of meditation. The meditative state is intrinsic to your nature. Balance is your natural state. Immersion in illusion is not Balance. Immersion in illusion is an energy consuming process. You burn as much energy when involved in the problem solving paradigm activity of your mind, the activity you believed was deep thought, as when you are walking briskly. The blood flow to your brain, the view screen of your reality, is nearly twice what it is to the rest of your body, yet you use less than ten percent of your mental capacity. Your minds response to prolonged exposure to paradigm activity is sleep, and you have learned to take breaks in order to enjoy "mindless" activities that give you pleasure and refresh your energy. Your mind would love to find the place of Balance that is intrinsic in its nature, but it must run programs in response to your attention. All that is necessary for you to find Balance -- and awareness -- is to give your mind the opportunity to do so. All that is necessary is for you to choose to do so, and to focus your attention on it.
There are many techniques for meditation, many different ways and methods of practicing it. But the following simple, basic technique is the foundation of all meditation. Focus your attention on your breath, and follow your breath inward.
Choosing to focus our attention on our breath rather than a word or an icon has a significance. My Master, in her wisdom, has revealed that words and icons hold self-given meaning in the Western mind. Eastern students were raised in a paradigm where all is energy and everywhere is the center. Masters in the East did give their students words and icons for meditation but, as soon as the student displayed any attachment to them, they were changed. Can one word be more powerful in the energy of the hologram than another; can one icon be more significant than another? The answer is yes, but only to mind of the individual. Balance is.
In choosing the breath as the focus of attention in meditation, the student eventually realizes that he or she is one with the energy of The One, that he or she is the very center.
There is no paradigm problem for the mind to solve when your attention of focused on your breath. The mind may attempt to present thoughts in a problematic way, and these thoughts may include the fact that you are focusing your attention on your breath, but breathing is an automatic process that requires no conscious thought. You are simply placing your attention on this automatic, internal process.
Proper meditation follows the same principles that we have been discussing all along. In our practice of Integration in consensus reality, when an experience is presented with separation, limitation, or meaning, we recognize it for what it is and return to Balance. So, in our practice of mediation, when a thought arises with separation, limitation, or meaning, we apply the same method. We acknowledge the thought for what it is. It is a projection of the mind. Then, we gently return it to its source and merge with it, and return our attention to our breath. As we do this, we recognize that place beyond thought where awareness originates, we give attention to the Question. This is not holding a thought; it is recognizing the place beyond thought by briefly giving attention to the Question and continuing the motion back to Balance. Do not hold the Question or it becomes involved in the process. Do not say to yourself: Where did that thought come from? Simply recognize the Question, lightly brush your thoughts over it, and return your attention to your breath. And remember: Where your attention is, your reality is.
The ability to focus attention is the most powerful ability of the human spirit.
It is not necessary to experience anything. The fact that you have chosen to move your attention from the process of the paradigm, lightly brush your thoughts over the Question, and return your attention to your breath is all that is necessary.
The technique is simple, requires no special training, and can be adapted to meet your physical requirements. Secure a quiet place with comfortable surroundings. You will eventually be able to remain in Balance in a burning building, but it is best not to start there. If there are other individuals around, have them agree to allow you time without interruption. If you are alone, disconnect the phone. Sit in a comfortable position, feet uncrossed and hands in your lap. Do not lie down. If you lie down, your mind interprets this as a prelude to sleep. You are not going to sleep. Keep your back straight and roll your head until you find a comfortable position. You may close your eyes. When you have accomplished this, take a deep breath, exhale slowly and begin breathing normally.
Remain alert, and begin to give your attention to each breath. Do not attempt to control your breathing. Just become aware of it, and place your attention on it. It is not necessary to practice any particular method of breathing but, if you have a favorite, use it. Just do what comes naturally to you. Breathing from the chest, however, indicates stress. You will know you are breathing naturally when your stomach expands and contracts with each breath. This is natural breathing.
As you focus your attention on your breath, begin to become fully aware of each breath. Begin to involve all the senses you use in consensus reality in your focus of attention. Using your senses, feel the breath enter your nostrils and go down your throat. Feel your body move in harmony with your breathing. Hear your breath as it enters and leaves. Do not force yourself to become aware in this manner, rather, allow your awareness to expand and include all your senses.
If you can, picture your breath filling your lungs. Smell your breath. You may not have been aware of it, but you can actually taste your breath. Expand your awareness and use as many of your senses as you can to focus your attention on your breath.
You are now practicing the discipline of attention, choosing to focus your attention on your breath. You are involving the physical senses that your mind normally uses in presenting you with your movie of reality. This focus soon becomes a single, effortless attentiveness.
Your mind, for a time, will cooperate with this new program, even though it does not fit into your current paradigm. At first, you will find it very easy to give your full attention to your breath. But then, your mind will present you with another thought such as: Am I really comfortable, should I be sitting straighter? Or: Did I disconnect the phone?
It is natural for your mind to attempt to interpret meditation as an experience. It thinks of meditation as an experience and continues to operate within its paradigm. Meditation is not an experience, yet it is. Remember, meditation is the place of Balance between limited experience and full awareness, and Balance includes motion. Therefore, there will always be motion; you will always be inclined toward experience or awareness. And you are not giving attention to sensory information normally available in consensus reality. Your mind will try to compensate for this by providing you with experience that contains sensory information from your memory.
Do not be discouraged, it is only the motion you are experiencing. Do not take the thought into your attention. Recognize that thought for what it is. It is a projection of your mind on your conscious view screen. Its your problem solving paradigm attempting to keep awareness behind experience. Remember, your paradigm is determining how much of this awareness fits into your everyday experience. It is attempting to supply you with a normal experience, one of immersion in experience. Acknowledge the thought by gently brushing your attention over it, then gently return it to its source and merge with it. Do not cast it away or tell yourself that the thought was an interruption of your meditation. The thought was a part of your meditation, and it caused motion. It came from your mind. It is your creation. Do not separate yourself from it. You know that all experience is a projection of your mind, but you also know that all that is, is of The One. You know that for experience to be, the illusion of separation must remain. Do not force it away. Just return it gently to its source and merge with it.
As you return your attention to your breath, allow your attention to brush gently over the Question; become aware of the place in Mind where all thought originates. Do not ask the Question in your mind or voice the Question in your thoughts. Gently and easily brush your attention over the awareness beyond thought that is Question and return your attention once again to your breath. Performing this is like a mental glance. As you did not grasp for the thought of the presentation of your mind by giving your attention to it, do not grasp for the thought of the Question. This is a gentle, easy, almost effortless task that, although it has been presented in a series of steps, becomes one easy movement of attention, a motion of attention, a Balance. It results in a brief awareness of the place beyond the activity of your paradigm where full awareness lies. But you do not want to grasp awareness, that would not be putting your foot down. Return to the center, to your chosen focus of attention.
In time, your thoughts will automatically follow your attention. This is the movement of attention in Balance you are seeking. Remember, Balance is not a static state, but a state of subtle movement between experience and awareness.
Your mind will continue to interpret your meditation as an experience. It may say: Aw nuts, I'm sorry I did that.
Acknowledge that thought by gently brushing your attention over it, and gently return it to its source, to your mind. Allow the Question to pass through your attention and gently return your attention to your breath.
Your mind may say: Did someone just drive up? (separation.)
Acknowledge the thought, gently return it to its source and merge with it. Each time you merge with a thought, allow your attention to pass gently over the Question and return your attention to your breath.
Your mind may say: How long has it been? (limitation.)
Acknowledge the thought and gently return it to its source. Each time you merge with a thought, allow your attention to pass gently over the Question and return your attention to your breath.
Still attempting to interpret meditation as an experience, your mind might say: It would probably be easier if we focused on something more interesting than breathing like, I know, The One. (meaning.)
Acknowledge the thought, gently return it to its source, and merge with it. Each time you merge with a thought, allow your attention to pass gently over the Question and return your attention to your breath.
Thoughts will continue to rise from your mind as your motion of attention flows. Acknowledge each thought, and gently return it to its source. Each time you merge with a thought, continue the motion from the experience of the thought, through awareness of the Question, and back again to your chosen focus of attention. Meditation has a rhythm like walking or doing pushups. Meditation is not a static, thoughtless state. Meditation is motion in Balance.
Even in the very early stages of this practice you become aware of the vast ocean of awareness just behind the activity of your mind. You become aware of Mind. Most individuals become aware of it just by performing the question and answer routine you did earlier. There may be a tendency to immerse in this awareness, to flow into it and go with it. Do not do it. Immersion in awareness is a state of imbalance just as immersion in experience is a state of imbalance. Return each time to the center, to your chosen focus of attention. You have chosen to focus your attention on your breathing. Your continual affirmation of this choice -- by acknowledging each rising thought, gently returning it to its source, and merging with it -- is like taking a step. Continuing the motion of your attention confirms your freedom of choice and strengthens your ability to focus your attention. By lightly brushing your attention over the Question as you make the transition, you are moving from experience, through awareness, and back again to your breath. This discipline results in Balance in motion. The purpose of meditation is not immersion in awareness or immersion in experience. The purpose of meditation is Balance.
Continue the practice while your mind continues to run programs and present them to you. It is natural for your mind to do this. Do not try to still your mind. It is the continual flow of attention that is the discipline of meditation. It is your moment of attention to the Question as continue your motion that brings Balance. This is very important. If you cast a thought aside, feel badly about it, or criticize yourself for it, you have created separation. Each rising thought is a part of your meditation; they are not interruptions of your meditation. The same is true of your experience of awareness. Whenever your attention drifts, either to experience or awareness, acknowledge each thought, gently return it to its source and merge with it. Allow your attention to brush over the Question and focus once again on your breath.
As you continue the practice of meditation, your mind gradually begins to present you with programs that have been drawn from deeper and deeper in memory. It does this because you are not giving attention to the surface ones, and your minds job is to provide experience.
Your mind holds a detailed record of your Path and all its landmarks in holographic memory. As recognize each arising thought and gently return it, and your mind extracts experience from deeper within its holographic memory, it must follow your Path. But it must follow it only if you remain in Balance. The moment you take a thought, be it experience or awareness, you are creating your Path rather than following it. If this should happen, simply acknowledge it for what it is and return your attention to your breath. Do not take the thought of taking a thought.
As you travel your Path, you may recall faces, voices, or entire movies from the past that include all the emotion they carried when they "happened." Great! Recognize each for what it is, gently return it to its source and merge with it. Each time you merge with a thought, allow your attention to pass gently over the Question and return your attention to your breath.
As you continue the process, your mind begins to reach for something deeper in your memory of your movie of reality. Your minds job is to provide experience. It is seeking some experience along your Path, something that will take you out of your meditative state and give you experience. In tracing your memory back, your mind follows the same holographic map it created in the development of your paradigm. You are experiencing your Path. Your mind follows the same Path that it used in creating this movie of reality, only this time the Path is in reverse. You are on the way out of movie by the same route that you arrived.
Your mind will present the "little" things first, but it is not possible for you to determine what your mind thinks are "little" things. Remember, your Path is holographic and its landmarks do not follow the logic we use in consensus reality. For some, the first things may be relationships, family, jobs, or hobbies. Beliefs, fears, hopes and dreams may follow them. For another, the very god of their life may surface immediately, with masters, teachers, and promises of guidance or enlightenment. All of these are landmarks along your Path. Treat them all with the same discipline.
Recall, once again, the holographic nature of these landmarks. Know that the only thing you can do is trust in the fact that your mind knows your Path. It alone created the matrix of thought that presents your movie of reality to you. It will travel that matrix in exactly the proper order on its journey back. You should not allow yourself to interpret your Path. You should not assign separation, limitation or meaning to it. You should take each and every presentation of your mind as it comes, and apply the rule:
If it contains separation, limitation or meaning, recognize it for what it is, gently return it to its source, and merge with it. Each time you merge with a thought, allow your attention to pass gently over the Question and return your attention to your breath.
When your mind has reached far into memory for presentations of your Path, you will begin to enter the transpersonal realm of energy and awareness. This awareness arises in the same manner that the thoughts of your mind arise, but it appears as if it is from another source because this new awareness is still interpreted by your mind. You are now becoming fully aware of Mind.
It is possible to become as fully immersed in awareness as we now are in experience. Should you enter fully into awareness and become immersed in it, you have just passed through Balance. And it is the point where most children, learning to walk and having taken that first step, will fall. When you pass through the presentations of your mind and into Mind, you have just taken your first great step. You have left the world of consensus reality and entered the realm of full awareness. Now is the time to remember to put your foot down and return to Balance. You will go there again, and when you have learned to enter and return with just a thought, you are ready to go deeper. Our meditation is not the place from which to enter Mind. Our meditation is the discipline of attention.
Again, Balance is a state between experience and awareness. It is neither experience or awareness, yet it is both. If it happens that Mind is predominant in your mediation, you have drifted to the other side of Balance and you must apply the same discipline to its presentations. Recognize them for what they are; they are a presentation of Mind that came from within. Now, gently return them to their source and merge with them. Each time you merge with a thought, allow your attention to pass gently over the Question and return your attention to your breath.
Above all, create no expectations for meditation. Enter meditation only with the purpose of practicing Balance. Treat each presentation of Mind in the same manner that you have treated the presentations of your mind. Recognize them for what they are, gently return them to their source, and merge with them. Each presentation of Mind will be interpreted by your mind, and the presentations of your mind may begin again. You are in motion and, when you are able to return your attention quickly and easily to your breath, in Balance.
Some teach that meditation is "stilling the mind." Our meditation is not. Meditation is a discipline, and the discipline should continue as long as Balance is not present. Balance is in motion, therefore, meditation is a constant practice. Meditation is balancing the activity of the mind and Mind. When the mind is still and inactive in the background, as Mind has been, you are not in Balance. I said you should have no goal in meditation, and this is true, but proper meditation brings Balance. You should recognize that Balance is achieved when both your mind and Mind respond equally to attention. For this reason, do not enter meditation expecting to still the mind and become aware of Mind. When you do, you will quiet your mind and become immersed in Mind. This is not Balance.
Balance is the state in which both the mind and Mind are fully active. We have mentioned this, but because this is true, it is also a state in which both may appear fully inactive. This state is beyond description, but it is neither void of experience or empty of awareness. It is not possible to say when you have achieved this state; there are no words in our paradigm to describe it. But it is possible to say when you have not. When either your mind or Mind provide overwhelming presentations in your awareness -- presentations that do not respond to your discipline of attention during meditation -- you are not in Balance. When in Balance, you are able to move freely into both experience and awareness with just a slight shift of attention, and able to return with just a thought, just another shift of attention.
You are to expect nothing to happen during your meditation. The benefit of your practice of pushups does not happen while you are doing the pushups. The pushup is a discipline. The benefit of pushups arises while you are going about your daily activities. The benefit of your meditation surfaces in the same manner. It integrates itself into your consensus movie. You find it easier to recall memories. Your ability at cognitive thought -- the thoughtful consideration of other possibilities, increases as your awareness expands. It becomes easier for you to give attention to a chosen task, and easier to remain aware of the nature of reality while you are involved in it. Your body chemistry changes, so you have more energy and experience less stress. All these are natural results of meditation, but the greatest result is your ability to choose and maintain where your attention will be focused. This results in an increased ability to maintain Balance in your consensus movie. You will find this same Balance arising as you focus your attention on any aspect of your movie of reality. And eventually, you will be able to enter awareness with just a thought.
Once again, stilling the mind is not the discipline we are practicing. We are in motion in our meditation. Stilling the mind and entering into awareness is a tremendous experience -- but it is not meditation. This is one of the aspects of meditation that is most lacking in the Western teachings. We tend to think that stilling the mind and gaining expanded awareness is a goal for meditation. When Eastern students report their tendency to remain in expanded awareness to their masters, their experience of entering the transpersonal realm, they are instructed again in the discipline of meditation. Immersion in awareness is interpreted by our mind as an experience. There is no experience in meditation, there is only the motion between experience and awareness. There is only Balance.
End of lesson.
How long should you meditate? Fifteen to twenty minutes twice a day is good. But if you become frustrated, do it for 10 minutes or less and do it more often. Be flexible. Work with your mind. If you were to do 100 pushups today for the first time in your life, you would not want to do any tomorrow. Three would be better than one, but one would be better than none. For now, though, let 20 minutes, twice a day be the maximum amount of meditation.
Closing the eyes may cause your mind to interpret the activity as a prelude to sleep. This sometimes causes drowsiness. You may try meditation with the eyes open, but we are sight -- and sound -- oriented in our realities. With the eyes open, the visual information in our meditation area may become predominate for some of us, and we find it difficult to hold our attention on our breath. Its easy to reduce the sound level, but there is usually a host of information available to the eyes. Dimming the lights and focusing on a candle may help but this, too, can cause drowsiness.
Gansfield glasses work well in these cases. They supply the eyes with a soft, diffused light that creates a sensory overload of visual information and allows us to keep our eyes open during meditation. Because the mind cannot extract any specific information from this diffused light, it soon disregards it.
Gansfield glasses can be made easily. Cut a ping pong ball in half and trim the halves to fit comfortably over your eyes. Attach the halves with a light elastic band. A snug but comfortable fit will reduce the visual input to the eyes to a clear white haze. Keep your eyes open while wearing them and, after a while, you will not even know if your eyes are open or closed. The diffused light may cause your mind to compensate for the lack of visual information by creating more visual movies to arise in your mind, but you can treat them as you would any projection of your mind. Recognize them, and gently return them to their source.
If you are unable to find a quiet place for meditation, try a white noise tape. Like the diffused light from the Gansfield glasses, white noise contains so much audio information so as to cause the mind to disregard it all. You can purchase white-noise tapes, or you can make one yourself. Tune a television to an empty channel, or disconnect the cable. The "hash" you hear is close enough to true white noise to accomplish your goal. Make a tape of the noise long enough to cover your time in meditation. Put headphones on and turn the volume up enough so that the objectionable noise is drowned out. As with the Gansfield glasses, your mind may begin to place sounds in the white noise. You may hear voices, music, or a beat. Treat it as you would any projection of your mind. Recognize it for what it is, gently return it to its source, and merge with it.
You should not become dependent on these aids. They will help at first, but you should always set aside a time of unassisted mediation, and you should eventually eliminate them all.
There is no such thing as a good or a bad meditation. You could not have spent all that time flowing easily between experience and awareness without practice, and this includes all the "bad" meditations you have had. There may be times when the mind is very active and other times when Mind explodes in awareness. Review this fact after every meditation. Do not set a goal in your meditation, thinking that you will soon reach a "level" where you can go for an entire meditation without a single thought while you remain focused on your breath. Going without a single thought is not the direction in which you wish to go. Your discipline is not to still the mind, but to expand awareness beyond the limits of your paradigm by learning to move freely from experience to awareness. Simply do it, and accept whatever your mind or Mind has to offer each and every time. There are those who have continual thoughts throughout each and every meditation, yet their practice is just a effective as those who have only a few. The benefits of meditation come from the act of performing it, not from an evaluation of it.
The practice of meditation increases your Balance. It gives you practice in the process of recognizing, merging, and returning. The process of recognizing the source of your experience or your awareness, merging with it, and returning to your center is Balance in motion. It is a continual flow of attention between limited experience and full awareness. It produces a kind of stillness, yet in the stillness there is motion.
There is a commonly held belief that, at some time during meditation, you will be visited by a teacher or Master. This is an expectation and a limitation. If you believe this, if you expect this, it will happen. But it is a projection of your mind. No Master anywhere will interrupt your discipline of meditation. Make sure you understand this. Those who teach hold your freedom of choice in the highest regard. They respond only to a question held in the Heart, and the place of the Heart is not immersed in experience or awareness, it is in Balance. Masters will not, under any circumstances, interrupt your discipline of meditation. They know what is happening as a result of your practice and honor the fact that you have chosen to perform it. You may have asked those around you to allow you time alone, unplugged the phone, and reduced the noise in order to gain the conditions you require to focus your attention. Do you think a Master would not honor this choice? Again, meditation is a discipline. Knowledge of the process, and the Integration of this Knowledge, are the only tools you require. Keep it as such.
You have been given a basic meditation, but there are many excellent meditation techniques. You can read books, attend groups, or even get someone to coach you if your mind will respond. Working with the mind is always a good practice, but you should always check out what you are becoming involved in and apply your understanding of separation, limitation, and meaning.
Again, some groups focus their attention in an effort to "get something," in meditation, and some even share what they have "gotten" after each session. This practice is not the discipline of meditation that brings Balance. It is an excellent method of allowing alternate movies to run in the mind, and the mind loves to run movies, so the mind is sure to participate. This is not to say that the process is "bad." It is simply not the discipline you require.
Other groups meditate on something such as world peace or an end to hunger. This is creative visualization rather than meditation. It is focusing attention, but it includes separation, limitation, and meaning -- all of which are self-generated. It is the focus of attention on the movie of reality in an attempt to change or improve the movie. Again, there is nothing "wrong" with the practice, but it will not develop in you the power of attention you require to continue on your Path. When you look for guidance or check out a group, remain aware of the principles of separation, limitation, and meaning -- the presentation of Maya.
We have compared the mind -- and Mind -- to the muscles of our body. When we exercise just one muscle or group of muscles of our body, giving little attention to the rest, a state of imbalance results. Likewise, when we exercise our attention on the function of the mind, giving little attention to the awareness of Mind, a state of imbalance exists. But what we must know is that while we are in a state of conscious awareness, we cannot "not" give attention. When we think that we have too little time to seek Balance -- too little time to give attention to the awareness that is Mind, we are giving attention to consensus reality. In doing so, we are developing the mind, and so the paradigm that causes our imbalance.
Attention will be given. It is a simple choice of attention, and each of us must make that choice every waking moment of our life.
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