In this page I present sonic tools and techniques that I've been using and experimenting with to help us tame our minds and live better.
I don't claim to be any sort of expert in meditation or the mysteries of the mind, however I have been studying and practicing with these tools for quite some time, and I found they are very useful to help me live a healty life, mentally and spiritually.
I practiced a mixed style of meditation that I had learned from courses and books, until august 2010 when I got initiated in the Karma Sannyasa hindu tradition by my beloved guru, Swami Satyasangananda Saraswati.
She defined meditation as "focus on one thing, and one thing ony" to which she added: "do you know how difficult that is? Very difficult. Almost impossible".
Upon hearing that, a lot of things came into place for me. First and foremost, how meditation isn't something you sit down to do for some minutes of the day but a state of complete focus on whatever it is that you're doing: a pathway to attendion, dedication, commitment. Meditation should be an ever lasting mental state of being.
Secondly, even if a Guru is calling that "almost impossible" that means there is no guilt into not perfectly meditating at all times, or when sitting down to practice; thoughtforms are ever present and ever flowing structures of our Selves.
So since then I have considered meditation as the cosmic background radiation of my spirit: I try to always be fully present, completely focused and fully aware of this blissful moment called "Now" and when I fail to do so there's no guilt, no punishment, only the reminder of the turbulences of the Universe that are reflected within me.
I'm not going to try to new-age your way into giving a chance to these tools I present here. I'm not making money, I don't have any alter motives besides trying to help someone that need some mental soothing. There are clear results that you get from meditating, and these are the ones I judge to be more important:
1) It makes the act of sleeping much easier.
Many people have trouble sleeping; some even take hard drugs for it. Putting your mind to sleep is a skill that can be learned, and I've thaught it successfully for a few friends; I've given demonstatrions at parties about how quickly I can sleep, even amidst sonic chaos. Sure, you do have to practice - like any skill - but it's not hard to learn.
It's extremely important to know how to unwind your daily mental grind naturally, without chemical assistance; here I'll give you a way to start learning how to do that.
2) It helps you focus on one thing and do away with environmental woes.
Training how to focus on one thing and one thing only will automatically give you the hability to block out external stimuli; be it surrounding noise or a dozen browser tabs that can take your distraction away in a second, you will be more aware of what you're doing so you can turn off the constant distractions and disturbances that surround us.
3) It will help you to dreamtravel.
Dreaming, both while we're awake and while we're asleep, is a magnificent tool of the mind; it's a brain purge of imagination and a major avenue for relaxation, rest, and creativity. Some of the tools presented here will increase your hability to see yourself in the dream world and be more acostumed to navigating around it, being able to dream what you wish, fly around whre you're dreaming or even go back to a certain dream if you awake in the middle of it.
It's a simple and effective practice
These are the three more important aspects of meditation in my opinion; I usually start talking about it because people tell me about their troubles sleeping, or trying to focus when there's a thunderstorm going around them - in many different ways.
You don't have to worry about spiritual guidance, buddhist philosophy or ancient scriptures of wisdom; you don't have to worry about that dreadful, common definition of meditation as "not thinking about anything"; you don't have to worry about how long you will have to sit down, or what kind of lotus position to cross your legs into. Play the sounds and use your imagination.
If you're on a supermarket line waiting for your turn, you close your eyes and you think about a can of beer for 10 seconds straight with no interruption, CONGRATULATIONS! You just meditated for 10 seconds. Now try to keep going.
If meditation is simple, why do I have to use toolS like thesE?
You don't. All of these are training wheels, because it might seem hard or mysterious for someone who hasn't tried it to get into it. I myself for quite some time tried to get into buddhist thinking, only to find that I dislike a lot the way they word their teachings.
With a slightly adjusted point of view someone can break out their pre-conceived notions and open their minds to the same teachings, and get the underlining results; this is my point of view, this is how I would show someone the way to mindfulness.
Why do you think you're wise enough to write this material?
I don't feel wise, more than that I feel like I'm eloquent and didactical; my meditation audio has thousands of views and hundreds of likes on soundcloud and I haven't had the time to give it a proper online home yet, so this is why I have this page Now; I hope the text here is well explained and the tools help someone, as they have helped me.
Let's get to it!
How To Proceed
Thinking about one thing only is relative, because "one thing" is oftentimes a multi-layered concept.
Usually people will tell you to keep focusing on a symbol: a star, a lit candle, some geometric shape... sometimes while also chanting in your mind some type of repetitive mantra.
Then you're supposed to keep thinking of that symbol and not anything else for some period of time, and it's the not thinking of anything else besides that "one thing" that keeps you focused, meditating.
However if you focus on something like a waterfall for instance, it's a more complex symbol, an "object" composed of many parts - flowing water, rocks, plants, a lake down at the bottom... so it can help you maintain the focus better, because it has "microscopic distractions" within itself, some other things to visualize that can keep your attention on it.
The Object of Focus We Shall use: A looping story
The audio files provided here are supposed to form a story, with the first two having the goal of pre-setting your mind in order to get to the third, which will then loop around and keep you focused.
The first two stages are always the same, and the next one can vary as you like. So far I'm publishing only one, but I want to put out others soon.
First Part: The White Screen
The White Screen is an imagination excercise for you to train how to shut out noise from the environment; it works by focusing intensively on the noises around you and by picturing their images you get the visual/imaginative part of your brain "tired" from keeping all those images together so it feels less like "wandering out" later.
Second Part: The Control Room
The Control Room is the hipotetical a place inside your mind where you have access to all your bodly functions: breathing, digestion, brainwave patterns, the very connection between consciousness and biology is represented here, and through it you will start to get used to controlling your body and its functions.
It's in the control room where you'll find "the button" to go to sleep; for the first few times you listen to this audio and go through the process, the button might not work right away but with practice you'll have full control over it, and be able to sleep on command.
If your wish is not to sleep but to keep meditating, exploring deeper aspects of your consciouness, then from here on there are several different paths you can take, and the first one I'll demonstrate is "The Thoughtplains"
Third Part: The Thoughtplains
The simplest looping visualization I like to show people is "the thought plains" - you just keep imagining yourself going forward and forward in a big plain where the bushes are fuzzy-looking "thought trees", meaning that if you get lost on a though it means you just bumped "into" one of these bushes so you just wave your arms around to dissipate it, then you're back in the plains.
This is a great tool because it's a simple way to keep your mind focused on the path (since you have to dodge the bushes) but if you find yourself getting distracted and thinking about the doorman in your building or what your cat must be doing or anything like that, you'll remember "oh I fell into one of those bushes" and get back to the visualization; being lost is part of the scenario.
Is that all? Just listen to the mp3 and follow along?
Yes. With time, doing it over and over, you don't even need the mp3 anymore, you just know the path to follow on your own.
More to come soon
I'll do my best to add new third-section visualizations, so this becomes a more varied and interesting routine; there are different excercises that I've come up with, I just have to set the time to record and upload them.
Stay tuned, have fun! Hope it helps. :)