Most people aren’t getting the full picture on meditation. When you bring up “meditation” the first thing that pops into the minds of most people is a picture of someone sitting cross legged, eyes closed, and focusing on their breath. That’s fine, but it’s hardly a full description.Don’t get me wrong, giving all of your focus to your breath can give you some pretty wild experiences, but the picture of the guy in flowing cotton clothes, and countless beads around his neck distracts from the full picture of what meditation is. The focus is placed more on “what” you’re doing, rather than the “how” you’re doing it. And it’s all about how you do it.
By in large the thing that separates the monks from your average Joe, is focus. They’re not just focusing though, they’re concentrating all of their mental ability on exactly what they’re doing and nothing else.You better believe Monks don’t loose that high level of focus when their eyes open and their legs uncross. They invest all of their mental ability in concentrating on the most minute of things. They get lost in acts as simple as eating or their folding clothes.When monks eat, they’re not thinking about filling up, or concentrating on what they need to get done after they finish eating. They’re too busy experiencing their food. They don’t rush through folding their clothes to move on to something they actually enjoy. They find joy in the flow of their folds.
These guys can find joy in pretty much anything, and they don’t even rub it in our faces. Although I’m sure if they wanted to they’d be able to intensely enjoy doing so.
Sitting cross legged isn’t what keeps people centered, but it IS one hell of a way to apply your focus.
concentrating all of your psychic energy to what’s going on internally can lead to some pretty transcendent experiences, it’s definitely something worth practicing. But thankfully the level of experience where the past and future melt away and the non stop chatter in your head vanishes, isn’t reserved for when your eyes are closed.
Meditation in every day activities
Have you ever had the experience of being in the groove? Where you felt like you could do no wrong? Where everything you do in that moment flows smoothly out of you with what seamed like little to no effort?
That flow is meditation. That’s the same kind of transcendent experience the gurus have with their eyes closed, or a skilled rock climber has scaling a wall. You’re not thinking about what might happen, or about how that experience might effect you. In fact, there’s no mental energy left to think about yourself at all. All of your psychic energy is tied up in intense awareness of the present moment.
Some activities suck you into that strong state of awareness with almost no effort at all. You’re worries melt away and you get thrown into the present moment. If you’re a musician you probably experience this while you’re jamming with your friends. For a skilled golfer, it’s experienced with every stroke.
The intensity of your experience and the ease you enter it with, depends on your level of skill and your ability to surrender all of your psychic energy to the present moment. Just the same way that a yogi while concentrating on the back of his eyelids can quickly loose himself in quiet meditation, a highly skilled surgeon can slip into the same sate of hyper awareness every time they enter into surgery.
As your skill level increases, so does your ability to effortlessly loose yourself in that activity and enter a state of total awareness and flow. Meditation is powerful on it’s own but add a high level of skill to the mix, and you’ve got a recipe for effortless peak experience that naturally flows out of you.Using meditation fast track the learning curve
Just because it requires a high level of skill to effortlessly enter that state of hyper awareness, it doesn’t mean that that state is reserved only for people with a high level of skill. You can still have that experience of flow at every level of of your progression. All it requires is that you surrender your mind to the present.
Try and think of a life changing experience that you were not fully invested in what was happening right in front of you or inside of you. I highly doubt you can. Something in your life sucked you into a moment that either lifted you up and tore you down. In that moment, whether good or bad, you were firmly planted in the present. And it changed you.
Your life is little more than a long sequence of experience. Some of those experiences seam dull and repetitive. But then there are experiences that make us feel alive. Experiences that change the way we look at the world. Experiences that open us up to new possibilities and we discover something new about ourselves. These are peak experiences, and these experiences are born from something as simple as concentrating .
Learning is just a progression of more complex experiences. Since our experience can be enhanced by concentrating all of your awareness on the present moment, the more present you are for each experience, the more feedback you’ll have to learn from.
Meditation leads to a higher retention of information and faster learning, along with improving your ability perform and respond to the world around you. It’s possible to fast track your learning curve for any new skill by simply concentrating all of your psychic energy on the present.
You can have peak experiences all day long once you hone your ability to focus on everything you do. But just like with any skill, it takes practice. Strong muscles are not built by going to the gym once. If you want to get stronger you have to push yourself consistently over a long period of time. Don’t get frustrated when the first time you try to focus on anything for any period of time, you find out how hard it is to control the dialogue in your head. It’s a bitch, but it gets easier.
In the book Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, he describes psychic energy as units that can be applied to any number of things. Say you have 140 units of psychic energy and it takes 40 units of psychic energy to follow a conversation, you still have 100 units to invest in any number of things. You could be admiring a car that drives by. Or thinking about how boring the conversation is, and how you can’t wait to get home to spend some quality time with Netflix.
It’s easy for your psychic energy to become divided among any number of things. That’s why meditation is so hard. It requires you stop your division in psychic energy, and focusing all of your awareness in one direction. This is no easy feat, but with practice, you’ll be able to increase the frequency of peak experiences to the point where you can produce them at will.