Part I – Active Meditation
Greetings! Active Meditation, or AM for short (I will also refer to this as tuning in), is a practice that I will stress an incredible amount in my articles. It is, in my opinion, the first key to awakening, and can be utilized at all stages of your spiritual journey to further your advancement.
Active Meditation is utilizing your will power to completely focus on the here and now, to completely absorb yourself into the moment.
This sounds simple – and it is. So incredibly simple that it becomes a huge challenge. We are use to constant stimulation and constant mind babble, so much so that we rarely catch a glimpse of a quiet mind. When we do, we know it. That beautiful sunset, the amazing color of the sky, unlike anything you have ever seen.. The world is quiet, and so are you. Complete peace. We all have experienced this meditation in action – your eyes aren’t closed, your mind isn’t wandering, you are completely absorbed in the moment – and it’s glorious! You are experiencing liberation; complete freedom from your worries, anxieties, thoughts, fears, likes and dislikes.. it all ceases to exist.
Only for a moment, and now the moment is gone. The chatter begins again and you are sucked right back into the melodrama you call life. So – how do we achieve that state of awareness more often? We KNOW it’s possible, we have experienced it!
Active Meditation centers around focus, intense focus, where the outside world is dropped and you are 100% in the moment. This is a state anyone who plays sports or does extreme activities knows well; it’s that moment of clarity, of breath, right before the big jump, or the game winning play. We are conditioned to have this awareness in very short bursts, and so our goal here is to 1. identify how to create this moment and 2. how to make it last.
Creating the Moment
- Start by becoming totally aware of your body – your back against the chair, the weight of your butt sitting in the seat, your feet and their weight, sitting on the floor.
- Wiggle your toes, what do you feel? Carpet? Socks? Take this sensory in. Are your arms resting on a table? Feel what they feel. How about your hands, wrapped around your phone or resting on a computer mouse. How does the plastic feel? Scan your body, taking in all these sensations, focusing on multiple at once
- Breathe deep, feel the cool wind on your nose as you inhale. Feel your belly expand, your chest rise. What does that feel like internally? On your exhale – how does the breath feel as it passes out of your mouth, past your teeth
- Can you bring your awareness to your ears? How do they feel?
Here we can begin to see how typical seated meditation can be of assistance. We sit, eyes closed, and work on honing our focus. Instead of being scattered and chasing every fleeting thought, we tune into one thought, one idea, one breath, and rest our attention there. AM is, as the name suggests, just meditation in action. We are taking that point awareness from the pillow into our everyday lives. Let us resume:
- Now, bring your focus to the nearest object, a table you are seated at, or a chair you are sitting it
- Really focus on the object – every little detail that is visible. Does it have wear and tear? Small scratches? What does this feel like? Run your fingers over it and take in all the sensations
- Notice the construction of the object. How is it held together? Look at each individual piece that you can see, and notice how a bunch of small individual parts create this whole.
- Is your object sturdy? Wobbly? Notice every trait this object has. The density of it, the space it takes up.
- Now consider – who made this object? How many people put their livelihood into creating this object for you? Think of the individual – this person has their own story, their own likes, dislikes, hobbies. This person worked to create this object, and then they went home to their family, their pets, and they lived a life of their own. Really ponder this, these thoughts are the roots of empathy and compassion.
You can immediately feel the adjustment in your state of awareness. There is a clarity, a “breath of fresh air” feel when you tune into the moment. This practice is the key to liberation from anxiety, stresses, and worries. Now that we are able to ‘tune in’, how do we keep this state?
Spiritual Exercise – Keeping the Moment
Every time you do the above practice, every time you employ active meditation and tune into the moment, you are ‘flexing’ your awareness – or exercising your spirit. The same as a muscle, the more that you ‘work’ your awareness, the stronger it will grow.
Practice Practice Practice
Practice is the name of the game. ‘Flex’ your awareness by tuning in to the moment; when you are walking your dog, when you are cooking a meal, when you are driving. Become aware of what you are doing, how you are breathing, and what is happening around you. You will find that even the most mundane of tasks becomes interesting; you are able to look at the world from a new perspective, and this will feed your soul. Feel each step you are taking, the weight of your foot as you lift it – the muscles that work to lift this hunk of meat and bone, creating this graceful fluid motion. Think about how amazing this is – you are able to stand upright (all of the coordination, balance, and control this takes) and in a millisecond we can tell our legs to move us, creating a whole new dynamic on how the body is functioning.
Life is miraculous, tune in and see this!
Let us return to the main point of this section – you need to practice keeping the moment. The more that you tune in, the longer you will stay tuned in. At first you will find you tune in, keep awareness for a few seconds, and you are out of it. Minutes to hours later, you remember to tune in, and you repeat. This can be frustrating, it is like waking out of a deep sleep – regardless of how hard you try, your instinct is to fall back to sleep, to stay in the comfort of your bed.
There are a few great ways to remind yourself to tune in:
- Wear a piece of jewelry, a wrist band, or a rubber band. This is your tune in reminder, each time you look at it, tune in!
- Write little notes for yourself
- Plan a dedicated time to actively tune in (such as every time you walk through a doorway, or every time you stand up at the office
Tune in With Others
One of the greatest impacts tuning in will have is in regards to your relationships. You will find that tuning in while your loved one is talking will change the whole energy of the conversation. We are accustomed to talking to brick walls, that is, people who are ‘listening’ but not actually listening. We spend the majority of our time in a two sided conversation thinking about what we feel, or what we are going to say next. Next time someone speaks to you, look them in the eyes and hear what they are saying. Watch their mouth as the words are formed, listen to the emotion that is inflected in their voice. Put yourself in their shoes, this is an individual – they have their own story, tune in and truly get to know this person.
You will find this will drastically strengthen your relationships, and you yourself will feel far more engaged and interested in what others are saying. People will flock to you and look to spend more time around you, they can innately feel that you are aware around them. Spend a day focusing on the social aspects of active meditation, it will change your world!
Liberation from Emotion
Next time you feel an emotion coming on, tune in to your body. Before you react in anger, take a deep breath and feel yourself. The sensations under your feet, the breath in and out. You are alive, experiencing life at it’s fullest. There is no emotion in this, you are merely witnessing that emotion. YOU are not the emotion. YOU are not anger, fear, sadness; you are observing that emotion.
This is a point that has incredible depth, and is the first stage to awakening. Being able to separate who you are from who you think you are is monumental, and will be deal with in further articles. For now, practice active meditation the next time an emotion arises.
Practice, Practice, Practice
This concludes part I of The Keys to Awakening. The next installments will be written when the time presents itself – for now I ask you to practice the above diligently. No matter what your level of awareness is, we can always move higher – it takes will power and determination to do so. Continue to explore and practice your seated meditations – these will develop your concentration, and will become deeper and more profound. This statement will not make much sense now, but – we do not meditate to enhance our physical lives, we live our physical lives to enhance our meditation.
As always, do not hesitate to reach out with any questions regarding this article or practice. Enjoy your journey my friends!