Meditation insights – "This"

One of the peculiar things about going deep into a meditative trance is that, much like when one is dreaming, one tends to accept ideas and concepts as being perfectly normal and mundane which under other circumstances one would find quite unusual or noteworthy.  A number of times I've done some meditation, or vision work, come to the end of it and thought "Well… I guess that was disappointing… not an awful lot happened there" and then an hour or two later I've been going about other business and remembered something from the meditation practice – and it's struck me as quite extraordinary.  There's then a quick scrabbling through my mind to try to remember the details of exactly what I experienced when and how exactly it happened… which is usually a bit futile by that stage, as I can only draw out fragments of fading memories.

Of course, I say this is a peculiar thing about meditative trances – it could just be a peculiar thing about me.  I actually do the same thing with dreams.  Often I'll wake from a dream, think about it, groan at how tedious it is and dismiss it so that I think of it no more.  Only to later realise it was potentially packed full of symbolism.  Something about that half normal/half elsewhere state of consciousness seems to make me terribly dismissive of the experience I've just been having.  (Now I'm wondering if this is in turn connected to my, slightly bizarre, inclination to always lie if someone wakes me up with the question "Did I just wake you up?"  I always say no, when I'm first awakened, even if there is no possible negative consequences to me having been asleep.  A fear of appearing vulnerable, or just childhood guilt about oversleeping?)

Anyway…  A few days ago I had one of the first really deep meditations I've had in a long while.  I've really struggled with meditation over the last few months but I seem to be making progress once again.  As part of that meditation I started doing a practice that seemed quite reasonable and mundane at the time, but afterwards I realised was perhaps more interesting that I initially gave it credit for: when I became consciously aware of a sensation, a thought, or a desire I would greet it with the world "This" then let it go and move on.

I was doing a kind of insight work – that is trying to make myself consciously aware of the sensation and thoughts I was experiencing, but also reminding myself that I was observing those thoughts and sensations and that I was not those sensations.  My mind began to also draw forward the concept of acceptance – accepting the world, and myself, as it is without feeling the need to change it.  Allowing it to be, allowing things to be present in whichever way they chose, and allowing myself to be conscious of them without needing to have a particular emotional reaction to them.  What is, is – there's no need to get upset about it.

These concepts all concentrated down into a single word "This."  Each sensation I became consciously aware of was noted with "This".  Each thought was "This" and let go.  Each dream, fantasy, hope, emotion, belief, facet of personality – "This".  By it I meant "I am aware of this thing.  This thing is not me.  This thing is not something I need to change.  This thing is not something I need to feel a particular way about.  This thing is something I accept.  This thing is my current reality.  I can allow this thing to be and it needn't threaten me, or worry me, or excite me or move me in any way.  It needn't have meaning.  At this time, in this place, it is just this."

But I never set out to do this practice – it just came about naturally, spontaneously, during the deepest part of my meditation.  After returning to full wakefulness I realised what I had been doing and thought "fair enough."  Then about half an hour later I remembered what I'd been doing and thought "Hang on a sec, that's actually pretty interesting…  I could get a blog post out of that."

And so it proved to be the case.

2 Responses to "Meditation insights – "This""

  1. Carla says:

    I love this technique! I use a similar technique of labelling. 'I am having a thought. I am feeling fear. I have an itch on my foot.' I really like the notion of just labelling all things as 'This.' I am going to try it!

    • Warlock says:

      Hm. what you are describing is very similar to a traditional 'noting practice' where you try to 'catch' and make a note of every single thing you become aware of. The only problem is you have to learn to go damn fast to keep up! Which means long sentences kind of get in the way. I think that's what I was doing at the beginning of the above exercise but with time I was able to just sink into a simple 'this', knowing in my own self what it meant. I'm not sure it would work straight off the bat, or would be better used as an exercise one moved into having done some noting practice to get things going initially…

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