Part 2: Effortless Meditation
- Part 1 was a short article on the effortless nature of life and how understanding this could enhance the counseling process.
- Part 2 applies this understanding to meditation.
- Part 3 will speak to the overall experience of effortless living.
- I do not wish to imply that if you are suffering you are a failure. We are all in the process of awakening and evolving through our next psycho-spiritual developmental level into that which IS and beyond effort.
- There is a distinction between a state of meditation and a practice of meditation.
- Meditation as a State: Meditation as a state is mentally-emotionally relaxed and calm, “quiet”, present, awake and alert, flowing and accepting of present conditions and changes. This is synonymous with healthy psychological functioning. It is like the true nature of the sky which remains unchanged as the weather comes and goes through it.
- Brain wave measurements show:
- High alpha waves associated with the relaxation
- High beta waves associated with the awakeness
- Gamma waves associated with feelings of being unstoppable, grateful and even exquisitely blessed
- Mediation as a Practice: Meditation as a practice is the use of specific methods to access the state of meditation. Anyone interested in higher consciousness will naturally be attracted to meditation practice and likely consider, try or dedicate themselves to a practice. Since life is integral, this leads to two main psycho-spiritual directions:
- Methods that require conscious effort “working with form” (i.e. troubled busy thinking/feeling, negative thinking/feeling, busy thinking/feeling, etc.).
- Methods that do not require effort because one’s consciousness is being organically “drawn into the formless state of meditation”.
To my knowledge nearly all meditation practices require some effort, and sometimes this is very strenuous and difficult. This has led to describing such practices as “disciplines”.
I am very fortunate to have become aware of two “effortless” meditation methods in addition to the spontaneous meditative states associated with exposure to the Three Principles. The first one completely changed my life in my late 20’s.
As much as I would love to promote these methods in this article, that is not my purpose. Rather my purpose is to make the reader aware of this distinction and encourage those who are attracted to explore the options of which they are aware. You may also contact me for more information.
As I see it and put simply, effortful meditation is a sincere attempt to experience inner peace, self-knowledge, divinity, higher states of consciousness, enlightenment or fulfillment (all these terms are connected and essentially identical) through the practice of a method that requires effortful activity – usually involving mental activity or concentration of some sort.
The context is: “I don’t have the experience/understanding I want or need, and I have to actively do this to achieve it.” This could also be called an “outside in” paradigm.
Effort, of course, can only exist in a paradigm of duality. One way to describe this duality is, “I am an individual self (only) and separate from the world I experience. Achieving things requires effort.”
The “best” experiences I associate with this type of practice are:
- One practices until they transcend the effort of practice and inadvertently “back into” an effortless consciousness. When I was practicing this way, I actually enjoyed it a lot and experienced tremendous growth. The downside I began to notice was that although I felt I was making “a lot of progress” toward some indefinable “something” or “experience”, I was never arriving! The teachers of this particular practice promised it would come, but I was now 6+ years into it with diligent effort, and it wasn’t…
- One practices with such personal effort that it is like “beating your head on a wall”. There inevitably comes the point where you stop and feel relief. Some mistake this for what they were attempting to achieve. Syd jokes about this.
For a meditation practice to be effortless it has to be completely in alignment with the laws or principles of nature. It must flow organically from the inside out. It must have been evident from the beginning.
Any personal effort to create or access “an experience” will be an outside-in proposition, and therefore doomed to fail – except in the case where one realizes this, relinquishes their efforts and “surrenders”. Examples of such effort are mantras, chanting, concentration, counting one’s breaths, focusing on a candle, etc.
By personal effort I mean effort from the “separate self” or ego (that can only exist in thought). Whereas the original or “true self” exists “before thought”. As mentioned above, the separate self, erroneously believing itself to be separate, has to fight against all the “other(s)” to create a sense of power and security. By design this will never work.
Syd Banks said, “When you give up the search you will find what you are looking for.”
Using the same definition above, effortless meditation is a sincere attempt to experience inner peace, self-knowledge, divinity, higher states of consciousness, enlightenment or fulfillment through the practice of a method that requires no effortful intention or activity.
Unfortunately Syd was apparently unaware of the method of which I knew. Believing that meditation practices were all effort-based, he implied that people should not waste their time on them, and bottom line I agree – but he also seemed determined to not tell people what to do.
Such effortless meditation is likely very difficult to imagine, but once taught properly it is wonderfully obvious. Such teaching also cannot be accomplished through writing an article like this. Again, once taught this also becomes obvious.
- One of the methods of which I am aware is physiology-based and integrates neuroscience and ancient spiritual understandings. Being physiological it releases the the mind-body energy (inside out) and lets it go to where it was designed and do what it was designed to do.
- If there was a constriction of blood flow in the body, after helping release it, it would flow effortlessly as designed.
- This particular method has resulted in various mental-emotional and physical healings (currently being complied in university research), and has the potential for physiologically facilitating classical enlightenment (as defined scientifically and verified by EEG brain scans).
- The other method is similar but more simple and subtle. It is the one I learned in my late 20’s and released all limitation. In some circles it would be known as the “Royal Knowledge”. Googling this you are not likely to find anything about it. It also utilizes an integral mind-body method that organically inverts personal consciousness and allows it to directly be drawn in to and experience its source. The experience associated with this is so exquisite there is no way to adequately describe it.
- I wouldn’t call the Three Principles a method, but I need to include it here. Those of you who have spent any time investigating the Principles have experienced spontaneous (effortless) insight, awakening, peace, healing, quieting thoughts and inspiration to various degrees. On the surface it appeared that your were not employing a method, but because life is integral, you were. But it was just a “higher order common sense life-aligned method”.
- What was this method? What did you do, probably naturally and without strain, with your body and mind?
- Did you not physically stop all or most bodily actions?
- Did you not let you attention become present to the topic and the presenter/author?
- Did you not sooner or later reflect, open your mind to potential value and feel whether it had the ring of truth and could therefore be trusted?
- Did not this simple shift (from listening to your personal separate-self thinking analysis to your impersonal “whatever may resonate that delivers value”) open a channel of well being and consciousness that became more and more attractive – naturally drawing you more and more “inside” and a “nice feeling”?
- I could go on. You can see how a common sense understanding and implementation of this “method” would aid in gaining benefit from Three Principles teaching, but would not produce it. We close the door to minimize distraction. We do our best to be comfortable and create the most well-informed conditions for awakening – and then we trust. You cannot make an insight happen. You cannot awaken someone else. In these enlightened and loving conditions, the miracle of awakening spontaneously appears. Thank God.
I really appreciate the interest of my readers and hope this is not too ethereal.
Take Away: Think for yourself. Follow your heart. Do not accept a concept from another person just because you think they are wise. Life itself is ultimately meditation. On our journey we will be given opportunities of which we never could have imagined to awaken and evolve .
We are All – We are Divinity manifesting in an ever expanding and wondrous Here and Now with seemingly endless varieties of form and that could be called Heaven-on-Earth and experienced as such. Once known, an explosion of passion for sharing this erupts in the heart and transforms your life.
Craig Polsfuss is a first generation student of the Three Principles, an integral psychologist and is published in peer-reviewed professional journals applying the Three Principles to leadership and high-performance. He is a Mastery certified Higher Brain Living facilitator and trainer. He started out with “effortful” meditation in his early 20’s and shifted to “effortless” meditation when it came across his radar in his late 20’s.