Meditation Upon Awakening
Chances are good that, when I die, this blog will be all that is left of some of my ideas. So, even though some are not about astrology, this is the forum for them.
For a number of years, and from a number of sources, I have read about meditation. Chances are good that, if you are reading this, the same is true for you. Virtually all mainstream religions incorporate some form of meditation. This is true in Christianity, although there one must look to the writings of certain theologians to find the work.
Regarding meditation, most of us are typically given a mental image of someone sitting in a Lotus position and accompanied by certain props, such as incense or candles. This is all good theatre, but if your experiences have been like mine you have achieved little results from this.
Others use a sort of “bulldozer” approach: the zen master tells you to “sit still” for an hour, or even “just” fifteen minutes. You are given a pillow to sit upon and this simple task. But, you find it impossible. The defeat can be so crushing that you leave to never return. So it is for many of us.
In recent years, I have found a method that, for me, works EVERY time. It is deceptively simple, and you may fail to realize how powerful it is until you have practiced it for at least a month or more. (Really, you need to give it at least a year, ranging from the longest day (Summer Solstice) of one year to the next. Light matters.)
The method is this: rather than using props or some simple but daunting task, just meditate as you are falling asleep. No special body position is required. The only thing that is required is the intent to calm and clear your mind.
For the first few times, one of several things will happen. One is that you will be plagued by what practitioners of Yoga call the “Monkey Mind.” The chatter of your brain will seem incessant. (The other things that can happen are (1) you immediately fall asleep and (2) you have a powerful meditation experience. If you fall asleep, then don’t worry. Your “inner self” will teach you what you need to know if you continue to practice over time. That could include just letting yourself fall asleep each night. And, if you have a powerful meditation experience, then you have reached a gateway where you push through to what is next, whatever that may be for you.)
If that happens, if you experience the chatter of the “Monkey Mind,” then silently (no physical involvement) chant “Om” (or another sound if you prefer) using the longest duration possible. If the monkey mind returns, let it run until you “feel” a certain point. You will know what it is, and you chant “Om” (or your preference) again. You repeat this pattern, gently silencing the monkey, until you fall asleep.
For me, this process took literally years to work through. I had no expectation of anything “getting better,” except that I hoped I could fall asleep sooner. With practice, that finally began to happen. But, over time, more has come to me. In particular, on certain rare occasions, powerful visually imagery will come to me. This is something other than the monkey mind chatter, and sometimes what I see comes to pass the next day.
After practicing this for some years, one morning I awoke from a dream but not fully. I had a sudden “knowing” that I could repeat the process that I used as I fell asleep. No alarm was set, and I had no deadline. (This method does not work with alarms and deadlines.) As I woke up, I tried to not move. In fact, I made a conscious effort to NOT wake up but to stay in dream state. This passed eventually and I emerged from dream state, so I shifted to work OM. (When I can, I record the dreams if I can remember them. Many flee the scene, but a few stay with me. Those that do stay often bring gifts of some kind.)
After another year or two of doing this, very recently (this summer) I added a third stage to the awakening: once I am sufficiently awake, but still without moving if that is possible, I gradually add a physical chant. My voice is invariably weak upon the first chant or two. Since “control of the breath” is my real goal, the “Om” is in my deepest “register” and sounds almost more like a grunt than any Om anyone might ordinarily expect. But, as I do this, following the lead of my breath and not forcing any expected result, I experience an alignment with my breath that I do not experience at any other time. By the time the Om sounds “normal,” I know it is time to arise.
This form of awakening requires a great deal of time. The mornings where I do this, I often take an hour to move fully through the process. On some mornings, I fall back asleep. On those mornings, I typically have unusually vivid dreams which, sometimes, provide the solutions to problems or situations.
Certain other things can help immensely. If you can, wear earplugs when you fall asleep. Reduce the sound in your sleeping environment to a minimum so that you are not disturbed as you practice the process. The same is true for light. In an ideal world, your bedtime is after sunset and you practice the procedure at sunrise. But, that is never feasible for me personally (my constitution is that of the “night owl”). So, I control light other ways, such as with a black out curtain and sleep goggles.
Some individuals may also need the help of a medication such as an anti-depressant or some other remedy. You will have to decide for yourself (perhaps with a physician’s help) whether or not that applies in your case. However, our purpose in presenting this technique of meditation is not to make any claims for or against any particular medical regimen (or medical regimens in general).
One modified version I sometimes use involves the use of a “Zen Alarm Clock”: http://www.now-zen.com/ This helps facilitate a shorter version of the process on mornings when I must use an alarm.
No doubt this technique is not for everyone. But, for me, it produces results that vastly outstrip any other techniques I have ever attempted. And, those results are a profoundly favorable sense of well being and often moments of clarity that rival any others I have ever experienced.