Typically, I meditate daily for 20 – 30 min with a breath focus. For my scatter brain, keeping my mind focused on my breath for more than 5 minutes is quite challenging but through practice, I’ve developed fantastic focus for those +- 5 minutes to where I can slowly breath in for 10-11 secs and release in the same time frame. Whenever I become aware that I have lost focus, I re-center it.
I’ve recently started infusing binaural beats into this practice with mixed results. I use these guys:
I find my mind being pulled by two focuses, drifting along with the ambient noise and maintaining my breath, and these two conflict. I questioned, which do I focus on? I began to realize that, for what I want out of meditation, binaural beats is Phase (2) focus mastery and I was still in Phase (1).
For me, Phase (1) is complete when I can focus solely on my breath for the 30 min meditation session. This needs to become a without-thought occurrence. When this happens I’ll be ready for Phase (2) – Dual focus.
The holding of (2) focuses at once, Breath + Binaural. I might be a nerd, but the real-world application of this concept is very exciting. Two separate thoughts held in parallel equal focus… mmmmmmmm
I’ve been meditating for about four years every morning for about 30 min to 90 min daily.
Although I meditate for religious purposes, I think I can help.
I recently read a book called “Psychedelic Meditation.” Its on the internet as a free eBook download.
Its a little repetitive, but it describes how to reach a meditative high with trancelike visions and superconsciousness.
The author basically states that instead of focusing on just one thing like the breath, a meditator should focus on three seperate activities.
1. Deep Breathing Through the Nose.
2. The Sounds Around You (including binaural beats)
3. The Play of Lights Behind Your Eyes
His logic is to compare the mind to a monkey. The object of meditation is like a pole to tie the monkey down. The idea is to wear the monkey out so it will finally stay still. However, he says that with 3 different objects, the process can be much faster. It would be like tying a monkey to three seperate poles so it just couldn’t move.
The technique is to concentrate on breath. When the mind begins to wander, concentrate on the sound. When it wanders again, concentrate on the lights behind your eyes. It doesn’t have to be in that exact order either… whatever you feel like at the time.
You wondered where to concentrate your mind, but the key is to concentrate on all three objects at the same time with only one single thought. I’ve tried it. Everything sort of blends together and you enter this expanded state of consciousness. However, I also meditate upon a mantra and deity, but that isn’t the essential for meditation.
Fascinating. The practice of allowing the mind to shift the focus as it lost to another sense gradually allows expanded focus.
If you care to, could you expand upon the deity, what it represents to you, the mantra used and how it effects your reality outside of your meditation?
Sure thing. In Hindu Sankya philosophy, its believed that the material world is seperate from our consciousness, i.e. we are not made of dull atoms and matter. Its believed that we are really spirit energy characterized by pure being, consciousness, and bliss. The sum total of all spirit put together is called Purusha, while the sum total of all matter is called Prakruti. In theistic Sankya, this Purusha is identified as “God,” while Prakruti is his “creation.” (I’m using Biblical terms to hopefully make more sense.)
Now, this belief was expanded in the philosophy of Yoga. Hindu Yoga philosophy believes that we are all individual spirits imperishable, indestructable, and ternal. The world exists as Prakruti, but they also called Maya or “art,” a force which can either cause extreme suffering for normal people as well as extreme bliss for the wise. Furthermore, all spirit-souls have an indwelling observer. So, there is the material body. The controller of that body is the spirit. Now the controller of that spirit, who observes it silently, and who is independent of it is indentified as Isha or “God.” It was first proposed at this point that this Isha has a form. After all, how could a formless mass of light create, preserve, and destroy infinite universes? The Svetashvitara Upanishad states that a wise man sits with his chest, neck, and head straight. He focuses his mind upon his heart, which is the “boat of Brahman” which will carry him across the ocean of sorrows. By repeating the cosmic sound Om, he can slowly see the Isha, in the form of a human, bright, luminous. They compare the body and the repitition of a mantra to two sticks of wood, the act of meditation to rubbing the sticks together, and the vision of the Isha as the sparks and flame that comes from the process.
An alternative to the meditation described is to imagine the deity at the tip of the nose, which is what I usually do. Vedant and Pancharatra Tantra philosophy teach that Narayana is the supreme deity, the Isha, and the Parabrahman. His form is that of a young boy with dark complexion and blazing light emitting from him. He is adorned in rich garments and jewelry. Its possible that my expanded consciousness comes from this meditation, as well as the method of 3 objects I described before.
200 years ago, a saint was born the earth known as Swaminarayan. He was a social reformer, scholar, and he had many followers. He is thought by his devotees to have been Narayana himself in the form of a saint. It is his name that I chant as a mantra, and it is his form that I meditate upon as a deity. If you care to, you can check out the link below for more info.
What is it you believe, is God an entity that takes human form, or is God an idea? And thank you for the link, I’ll take a look at it.
Also, I’ve tried what you suggested with mixed results, but I’ll keep at it, meditation has taught me nothing worth doing is easily obtained.
@tine,To me, the word “God” is nothing more than a word, an idea. A god is something that is worshipped. For example, the sun can be a god, the sky could be god, the earth can be god, an epic hero can be a god, a king can be a god, and even a chair can be a god.
However, the real question is what is worthy of being worshipped as a god.
The description I described above about Sankya, Yoga, Vedanta, and Pancha Ratra is my conception of the supreme being. He is above all, luminous, and has a human form in his divine abode. He also pervades infinite worlds with his divinity in the same way that a sun’s light effects everything around us. He lives within all souls as a silent observer, and he allows all action to happen. Evil or immorality happens by his consent, and the goodness and morality to balance and counteract it is inspired by him. He cannot be grasped by any physical means — only deep meditation and devotion. Countless universes exist as cells in a colossal body of which he is the soul. This supreme being is eternal, unchanging, and uneffected by his own creation. However, he creates, sustains, and destroys it as well. He can, by his will alone, manifest in a human form and perform actions upon the world. Any soul he comes into contact with attains him at one point or another, regardless of whether they love or hate him. According to Hindu Vaishnava philosophy, this being’s name is Narayana, and chanting his name alone leads to enlightenment (after some time of course), and it burns away all offenses.
It is this being whom I identify as my God.
So yeah… those are my beliefs. I find that most religions have a form of mysticism, which lead to a similar theology and cosmology… the Jewish Kabbalah, the Vedic Upanishads, the Persian Gnostics, etc.
@Tine, as for the meditation… give a few weeks. It didn’t work immediately for me either.
I’d suggest that you do what you normally do – concentrate on your breathing. Then, if you find that you’re in that meditative state, apply the other two objects of meditation to the equation. The process can take like 45 minutes. I find that I’ll be meditating on my God’s form and chanting his mantra, and I’ll slowly get in the meditative mood, so I’ll apply the other three objects to my meditation. It takes me into this trance of sorts – I fell a pressure at the crown of my head, and this feeling of ecstasy goes through my whole body. Then, I see a light in front of me and I get lost in it. The feeling of oneness is also part of this experience. However, I’ve only ever experienced this three times. Once when I was about to start a ritual, and once in the evening, and again the very next day. Its rare mostly because I don’t always have 90 minutes to kill on meditation lol, and the place, time, mood, and other factors aren’t always favorable.
But definitely keep it in mind for if you reach that state – you’ll know when it happens.
“A god is something that is worshipped. For example, the sun can be a god, the sky could be god, the earth can be god, an epic hero can be a god, a king can be a god, and even a chair can be a god.”
No no, I enjoyed it an will comment further later, this qoute though, historically, I feel, explains the idea.
Supernatural elements are used to bridge knowledge gaps, this fact is seen throughout history and an obvious example is in what people have worshipped throughout the ages, natural occurrences, the unexplainable, became ‘god’.
I below reality is filtered through our perspective and our perspective is the accumulation of our Knowledge + Experience. I believe insecurity, stress, negative-overall-feelings-in-general add a layering to perspective, causing it to see things differently.
Our logic is limited by our perspective, this accumulation, and this becomes a problem when trying to change because you cannot understand the new plateau without experiencing it. By experience I mean, understand the natural motivation the new mindset will bring, without this natural motivation, it is hard to bring about change.
Ernest E. Wood explains the next part well with his idea of the ‘Four Main Roads of Thought”, the following is about the fourth law, but explains the other 3 in the process:
“The fourth law involves no such observation of the resemblances and differences of things (Law 1: An attraction between ideas), or an object and the class to which it belongs (Law 2: Parts), or a whole and its parts, or an object and its prominent qualities. It is concerned with striking and familiar experiences of our own (Law 3: Quality), and has more to do with imagination than logical observations,” (Mind and memory training).
Our imagination is illogical; it does require reality to formulate its thoughts, this differs from the other (3) Laws, all of which rely on cause/effect and logic. To believe in something supernatural-related is to utilize this part of the brain. This is advantageous it times of ruts (Rut – time when we cannot logic our way out), we are in the rut because our logic lead us there, the very logic that limits us from getting out.
So in a time when our perspective limits us, how to we get out? We illogic it out, we believe in a higher power, name it God, A prophet, whatever-it-is it comes down to one key term = Progress. This is what a spiritual journey means, you are in some way improving your mind or body, and it is the act of this progress and the feeling of ‘moving forward’ that brings about the feeling-of-God-moving-in-your-life.
In reality, this progressive feeling (motivation) is not understood, otherwise everyone would be on top of their game, therefore supernatural elements have been assigned to it. We have built a religion around worshipping progress. Religion is positive in this way because it also adds in two more illogical ideas, (1) Love and (2) Hope. Consider these carefully and you’ll understand why they are illogical and what they mean in terms of their cause/effect in reality.
This is how faith is built, it is not blind, it is based on a cause/effect in reality. Ask yourself, (1) Would you follow something that didn’t change anything? (2) Would you follow something that made things worse? No, you only believe because you see a positive effect in reality. Successful religions center their social behavioral modifiers around Love, so you see a change because you’ve adapted a studied set of human behaviors, causing your life to improve. Most people grow up without these lessons being taught to them, so they tend to wonder about, lost in their behaviors without understanding why.
Religion adds to all of this by providing a place and method of practice, but at the same time detracts from it by layering its own interests and version of God into the practice. People do not seem to understand that their perspective on God = God to you alone. In regards to Christianity, it turns many people into Sword & Shield (S & S) Christians.
Christians with insecurity tainting their perspective (S & S) seem to have a higher probability of using the concept of God to attack with and to hide behind, justifying their actions with phrases such as, “God told me to…”. If they were to take a close look at their emotions of the time they’ll realize that what they think God is telling them to do = How they feel. The stronger the emotion the stronger they feel God is directing them, even if the feeling contradicts their beliefs.
So, all this being said, this is what I believe. I believe that God = Progress, therefore God = each individual’s version of this. God is unique to the individual and bridges logic and can make positive, life changing alterations to their reality. God offers a glimpse into the unreality of Love when, ‘why should you?’, and Hope when, ‘why go on?’. The true idea, the pure idea, invokes all 4 thought paths and focuses them to ever evolve.
God not viewed in this way, at least without a high emotional intelligence understanding, has led to some of world’s most horrific acts. It does not matter the region, there are always examples of this. Like with many things there seems to be a duality, the user dictating the outcome.
I have come to the conclusion that the argument against God is pointless, there are too many positives to the belief to logically walk way, and that I will always keep an open might considering my severely limited knowledge + experience accumulation. I now focus on religions as a practice because they offer some of the most profound insights into human nature. Any act of self-improvement is an act of God.
And of course, this entire perspective could be being affected by being filtered through my current focus.
With this reasoning in mind, the more you focus on Progress/God, the more you get to Him (yourself) in the process.
I breezed through a couple of concepts without fully revealing the thoughts behind them, if I am unclear anywhere please let me know.
@Tine, I like your logic. I came to a similar conclusion as the usefulness of religion some time ago.
Its interesting how you identify your God as progress itself. Do you conceive God as a part of the human psyche, or as an actual being?
I can’t say much about Christians or Christianity — I don’t think I have a right to point flaws in another religion. Even in Hinduism, there are people who will aline their hatred and prejudices with their religion and commit barbaric crimes. This sort of behavior exists in every religion, but its just as easy to attach hatred with patriotism and become a bigot, or to aline your prejudices with your socio-economic status to become an elitist. Some people will abuse anything they’re comfortable with to spew out their beliefs, and you’re right — religion shouldn’t be blamed for it.
As for the binaural beats, I’m curious. Is there any special way to use them? I’ve never had any success with them. I sometimes play psychedelic trance music, or old school acid rock stuff from the 60’s. Somehow, binaural beats just don’t have an effect on me. Typically, I just meditate without any music, but it depends on my mood.
I’ll answer the other questions probably tomorrow but,
”… religion shouldn’t be blamed for it.”
I think religion is to blame for a lot of the negative mindsets to be honest. I think religions are about self improvement, absolutely, but I think religions are often used as a way to control. This is what I see, religions stand for hope and love yet preach against it. What I specifically mean is, religion is about creating a mindset community but within each religion’s concepts of ‘heaven’, ‘hell’, ‘reincarnation’, ‘why-you-should-follow-the-religion-because-of-some-supernatrual-reward/punishment’… there lies its divisionary tool.
In Christianity this concept is most easily seen, for centuries, all over the globe, if you did not believe that Jesus Christ died for your sins and was you lord and savior, I could kill you or abuse you until you see ‘the light’ of Jesus. You have to believe in Jesus or you’re the enemy… some actually say that…
We have the pure idea, what the religion is built around, and it is a flawless, perfect system that will better you if studied….
Then we have divisionary concept like ‘believe in my God or else’, or ‘You better follow this path or in the next life you’ll be at a lower level and have to be the royal poop scooper for a lifetime’ (.. which I think is just used to justify the caste system,” Look, I know your life is shit, BUT, if you practice a set of behaviors that emphasis civil obedience you may just get lucky in your next life…), or ‘follow God or else you will suffer an eternity in hell’…
These, to me, are blatant control tactics that directly go against unity, which is what a religion based on Love and Hope is all about. I think these control mechanisms are religious additives, they have been added to the religion to ensure a level of control, in Christianity we see this clearly in the sheer quantity of different types, denominations, of the church, each with different rituals and mindsets… its almost like a research experiment… a study on different ways to control people…
These additives make people believe and debate and act upon, crazy, irrational things.
”… Its interesting how you identify your God as progress itself”
Yes, and I have several reasons, mainly though, consider what each religion is centered around, a God to emulate, something to teach us how to be better… And it is the act of getting better that is described as a, ‘Spiritual journey’, and the high you feel when getting better is the high you feel whenever making any significant change in your life. Its the same feeling, with or without the religion.
“…Do you conceive God as a part of the human psyche, or as an actual being?”
To be honest, at this point, the evidence points to ‘part of the human psyche’. I have neither experienced nor heard of any evidence to suggest the supernatural is real, every person I’ve spoken to on the matter remembers a time (1) From their childhood, when their accumulation of knowledge and experience, their perspective, was very small, the world was largely unknown, (2) Rely on using their emotional account as evidence for the interaction, or (3) Just wanted attention.
But I always open to being proved wrong, after all, my perspective is very small, even to events going on in my own city… so its very possible I just haven’t experienced it yet, considering the topic, experiencing is the only way to truly believe.
@tine, Honestly, I don’t know how you could experience this sort of thing objectively – its purely subjective. The main goal of yoga is, after all, to unite the subject and the object. In the system of advanced yoga, three entities are described – the seer, the act of seeing, and the object of sight. The first entity is the subject, the last entity is the object, and the second is the distinction between them. The idea is to become all of these and thereby transcend all of them. Being objective isn’t really ever possible because everything you view would be subconsciously processed and filtered by all of your experiences prior to any mystical or supernatural revelation you may have.
The best way to put it is this. If you ever do have any mystical or supernatural experience, what you’re feeling, how you viewed it, and all that doubt and skepticism will seem trivial. Its not possible to not get emotional about it.