Transcendence is the state of consciousness where the body is sensitive to sensation, but the mind is quiet. Being transcendent while awake is called quietude. Abiding in quietude is the level of consciousness called enlightenment.
Quietude is the state of mental health. By contrast, letting the inner noise maker called nattermind run the show is the state of mental illness and spiritual ignorance.
We are creatures of habit. Enlightenment is attained by practicing transcendence until it becomes the norm rather than nattermind squawking.
Sitting and meditating is an apt practice for habituating transcendence. Here’s how.
Find a comfy chair or prop yourself up in bed with cushions. The room should be quiet, and preferably dimly lit.
Spend a few moments quieting yourself by focusing on your body rhythms, such as your breath or heartbeat. If possible, breathe through your nostrils, not your mouth.
Begin meditating with the intention of quietude. When thoughts arise, gently smother them by bringing your mantra to the conscious mind, making it the mental focus. You may meditate without a mantra, using your breath as a seat of attention.
Repeat the mantra as if calmly breathing it. Do not concentrate on the mantra. The aim is to clear and relax the mind, not hold it captive. A mantra merely expedites the process by mesmerizing the mind, and so sending it to sleep. A mantra is a lilting lullaby for the mind.
Meditate 20 minutes, time permitting. Even a short session of a few minutes is beneficial. Transcending or falling asleep for a longer period is perfectly natural. Your mind-body takes whatever rest it needs when it can.
Some meditation sessions may feel busy, others serene. Regardless of seeming quality, meditation is always helpful. If your monkey-mind is in overdrive and meditation is frustrating, relax for a few minutes and get on with your day.
At the end of meditation, lay down or slump in your chair. Spend 3 to 5 minutes relaxing with your eyes closed, allowing yourself to ease back to the waking state.
Do not abruptly end meditation. It may give you a dull headache.
Do not meditate on a full stomach. Meditation slows the bodily system, and so can degrade digestion.
Do not exercise after meditating. Let the calm settle in.
A recommended daily practice is a meditation session in the morning after awakening and another in the late afternoon. But you may choose to meditate as circumstance permits. If you have trouble falling asleep, a short meditation session may help.
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Let’s talk about meditation mantras. A mantra serves as a mental breath that gently takes attention away from nattermind’s prattle.
A mantra is 1 or 2 meaningless syllables. A mantra is just a vehicle for quieting the mind through whispering repetition. Don’t attach any associative meaning to your mantra. Keep your mantra to yourself, unspoken, using it only as a meditation device.
It really does not matter what mantra you use. The classic “ohm” is okay. Some other possibilities include: iima, shamoo, onah, or amow. Pick any inhale 1st syllable and exhale 2nd syllable that you like and make it your mantra. You don’t need a guru to dole out a mantra to you.
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The goal is not good meditations. The aim is abiding in quietude, and thereby freeing yourself from nattermind’s predations.
Yoga is a bodily meditation practice which originated in India. Yoga aims at transcendence through physical postures.
Tai chi is the Chinese variant of yoga. Whereas yoga emphasizes poses, tai chi uses movements. Just as a mantra in meditation makes no difference, nor do particular yoga poses or tai chi movements. The aim is the same: transcendence by relaxed a1 awareness on the present.
Another apt practice for abiding in transcendence is walking in Nature. Be aware of every step, of your body in motion, your breathing, and the environment around you. Maintain full focal awareness on the present. Discard all thoughts.
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With diligence you can master your monkey-mind. Practice being present, without thought.
When facing a problem while focused on a task, rather than trying to think things through in your conscious mind, have your mind work subconsciously to come up with solutions. Doing so keeps you fully aware and facilitates living transcendentally.
You already use this problem-solving technique, though perhaps inadvertently. We’ve all gone to bed with some trouble on our mind, then wake up in the morning with a fresh perspective or answer.
Let me emphasize again: there is no need for conscious thought, which only detracts from awareness. Mental health is a quiet mind and full awareness.
You will know when your destination is near. The natural biofeedback in approaching enlightenment is bliss. This is Nature’s way of applauding your persistence in attaining mental health.