The Fly-Out Method of Meditation

Photo courtesy: Dingzeyu Li

Cultural difference is always fun to discover, and it’s more stunning to be found in niche spots like meditation practices.

Short story about me: Born in Asia, I conveniently accessed all sorts of ancient/mysterious traditions throughout my childhood. This includes unwittingly doing various kinds of meditation. Moved to Canada for a year, I am kinda of amazed at the fact that many of the meditating methods to which I was once used have little audience here.

One of such methods I used to practice is to “fly my spirit”. This is a method I classify as “meditating with something in your mind”, as opposed to “meditating with no trace of thoughts”.

The guideline is simple: You sit still, close your eyes and try to picture/remember your surroundings, as much detail as possible. Here, I did not use the term “to visualize”, because it’s much preferred to “feel” things around you instead of to “see” them. This is the most difficult part — It requires you to see with your mind/spirit instead of your eyes.

This room might be too rich in detail to be fully remembered…

Maybe it can be better explained like this: when you try to see something behind you with your eyes closed, as a first intuition, you tend to roll your eyeballs. Try not to. Instead, imagine your consciousness “flying out” from your body and overlooking at what’s around you, like an aerial view or bird’s eyes. Try to find objects behind you, either by remembering from your memory or identifying signals sensed as you meditate. (If you play any video games: this essentially gives you a third-person view to your surroundings.) More detail you recall, more skilled you are.

Use your head (gently)

As a starter, you may initiate such state by leaning back on a wall and slightly bumping your occiput (“back head”) into it. You can make use of the tactile sensation as hints that help you creating a picture of the world behind.

A trick I used to perform is to sit in the corner of a small room. From there I can see the whole structure and decoration of the place, so that I can better remember the fine features before I shut my eyes. Also, by confining my physical body in the right corner two mutually perpendicular walls, I have a narrower viewport to care about. Sometimes, this also simplifies my list of things to remember behind my back, since there’s usually nothing but outside air two floors high from the ground behind these walls.

As a final tip: do remember to put a pillow behind you when sitting in a room corner. It’s in no way as comfortable as your usual yoga mat.

Does this method recall you of another technique familiar? Can you tell me the proper name of it? It would be so much helpful if I could learn to share this piece of knowledge/experience in a more accurate/precise way of wording.

Perhaps I should share more stories about my personal experience on some other life skills such as cooking (never as good as my mom though) or exercising. One day perhaps.