‘Seeing’ the Silence
Throughout the human history many cultures used trance to reach a higher spiritual realm or to understand the world around us. Some cultures have used music and dance, while others preferred mantras, religious songs, drugs or physical pain. Do we need all of these to reach it?
Many of us wish to feel the bliss that shutting our minds bring, or ‘opening’ our minds as some would describe it, and getting more in touch with the spiritual part of ourselves.
Some of the old practices still exist, although they are not always practiced with the control that the original cultures had. Shamans used a drug induced trance only after being trained by an elder shaman.
They were taught to respect their physical bodies and they understood the dangers of prolonged drug use of any kind (including coca leaves, painkillers, alcohol, coffee and chocolate).
The modern technology allows us to be in touch with other people to dance, listen to music, laugh or share our love all the time, not only on special occasions.
Those blissful moments can occur more often — sharing our love (of any kind) brings more to the giver than the receiver, and whether we are being in love, or caressed by a parent, sibling, friend or a pet, being praised by a teacher, work supervisor or a neighbour, are all equally important to bring that moment of immediate happiness to our minds and hearts.
I said minds too, because we are social beings and need that social inclusion, acknowledgment that we matter, that our work, love, presence is important to others.
To also understand our place and importance within the natural environment and the world in general, we need be mindful of that environment, which in return could bring more blissful moments to our lives.
‘Seeing’ in Mindfulness
Stop for a moment, feel and acknowledge (wherever you are): warmth from the sun, light breeze, crisp sound of snow, taste of sweet food, cold water on a hot day, success in your studies, work, art or your own grown fruit and vegetables. Feel it and enjoy for a few minutes. You have enough time for everything else.
On a sunny day, give yourself permission to be still for a few minutes, and while looking at the sun, close your eyes. You can still feel or ‘see’ the light through your closed eyelids. Keep ‘watching’, observing, simply enjoy the warmth and relax.
Soon behind your closed eyes, the patterns and amazing colours appear because of the way the light hits our (closed) eyes at slightly different wavelengths within the eye.
Regardless of how much we understand the physics and behaviour of light, we can ‘see’ very interesting patterns, which if you remember, we see all the time as jewellery patterns: the flower of life or the tree of life. Some other patterns would probably remind you of beautiful geometrical shapes created by graphic designers on computer screensavers, fabrics, or even from various national costumes, mandala patterns or individual artistic paintings.
This is a mindfulness moment the way we can experience with an ease. And we can always return to it.
Naturally we shouldn’t remain in this state for a long time, as the sun can damage our eyesight or skin, and we have other things to look forward in our lives. Simply knowing that we can enjoy it from time to time will give us more energy to enjoy or work toward other joyful things, such as sharing laughter or meal with others.
We also should not forget that we can do this on a rainy day, by sitting quietly for a moment (or half hour) and trying to quieten our minds, i.e. to meditate.
Whatever you may think that meditation could be, it probably is for you. As you are unique, your life experiences, your perception of the world and your heart’s ability to feel, love or hurt is also unique. Having a few moments each day (some days shorter, other days longer) of just being with yourself should not scare you.
It also should not be anything that someone tells you it should be, as there’s no “one fits all” method. You and I are both human beings, but other than our drive for happiness (whether inner calmness or bursts of extreme happiness), we all strive and work toward it with a different set of skills, experiences and needs.
Enjoy the journey in looking for your own heart’s desires, your own soul’s truth and find your own method to connect with it.
You can be mindful of music and the feeling it brings to you. When I hear a song with music and lyrics that inspire me, they are usually the ones that also make me dance. I stop whatever I’m doing (house work, gardening) and I dance.
Driving is more difficult, but my hands can drum to the beat, and it makes me happy. Isn’t that what all of us want and need: to feel the life in its most basic form — sounds of birds, of river flowing, of wind across the plane or the music we made by combing those sounds?
Bliss, happiness and nirvana are actually what a true meditative state brings without a drug induced trance.
‘Seeing’ in Meditations
Take some time to relax without thinking about what you need or want to do later — that’s why you have a diary. Have your alarm on for ½ hour, then stop thinking about anything else. The longer you manage to quieten your mind, the deeper you can ‘go’.
You may ‘see’ colours from a deep purple and a range of different hues, to a full colour spectrum often used in video clips for psychedelic music.
Those colours, different visions or scenes where we either observe as an outsider, or sometimes feel as we’re in the scene but as a different person (in different environment, century, age, race or gender), that is what many shamans report as seeing during a drug induced séance/trance.
This is also what many people who succeeded to either have short meditative bursts of knowledge, inspiration, guidance, channeling, day dream or scientific inventions have frequently stated.
Some people may experience it more frequently or longer in duration, some never experience it due to giving up too early, not repeating it ever again or not having sufficient guidance /training.
Personally I only had some of these experiences and very infrequent, but the feelings that I experienced and the bliss and wonder they brought, made me keep trying to feel, see and experience more.
I try different guided meditations which take me from relaxation to deeper imaginative scenes. Whatever they suggest to imagine as your own safe, happy and inner place, it will depend on your own imagination. I prefer imagining myself in a meadow full of flowers and a small river in the background, but being at a beach may be your preferred place.
Sometimes I prefer only gentle music, whether classical, spiritually inspired, with Theta sounds, or simply drums from different cultures. No words are needed. I just let the music guide me.
If any thoughts come to your mind (it’s very difficult to stop them), gently tell them to be quiet. Everything else can wait for awhile.
Only new thoughts (I mean really NEW), new ideas of how to solve some problem, where you left your keys you’re looking for, what new career or artistic work you could do, people (family /friends) to contact —these are the thoughts that we need.
It is okay to quickly write it down, and then continue with your meditation. Do not forget to be kind to yourself and enjoy the life.
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