This Sutra is a continuation of the previous sutra – a discussion on the theme of Waking Up – continued…
If you attempted the practice explained in brain sutra #9, ‘Have you had a wakeup call?’, you may have verified for yourself how difficult being present, and remembering to make efforts to be present, can be. Often we can go hours and days forgetting to give ourselves the nudge to wake up.
So the question arises,
“Why is it so hard to be present?”
As explained, primarily it is the brains DMN that keeps us from thinking, keeps us on auto-pilot and keeps us from being present. If you tried the suggested exercise you may have discovered several things:
1. It is hard to do and hard to remember to do.
2. It is easier at certain times of the day when you have more energy.
3.The state of ‘being present’ has degrees: sometimes there is more clarity and sometimes less – the degree of clarity is totally dependent on how much energy you have available.
You can gauge how successful your efforts were by simply reviewing: Did you experience a moment that produced vivid memory – a conscious-present moment?
Those moments from our lives that we remember in complete vivid detail were moments when we were conscious-awake; it was in those moments that we were truly present. As mentioned in the last sutra, sometimes these moments are produced by shock or trauma, sometimes by seemingly normal influences, and other times by great beauty or spiritual inspiration. It is in these moments when we are truly Being; truly living. These moments create memory and we call them, “a conscious moment.” We never forget the tangible reality of feeling ourselves alive and existing in those instances.
Therefore to cultivate the energy required for these moments we can:
1. Stop loosing energy.
2. Learn to build energy.
3. Practice superconscious meditation.
1. Stop loosing energy
A primary loss of energy is through negative emotions. Every emotion you experience immediately affects every organ in your body. Anger, fear, insecurity, guilt, envy, anxiety, depression, jealousy and worry are just some examples, but all negative emotions rapidly use up large portions of our energy reserves. It is this energy that can be channeled for higher states of consciousness. That is why we feel exhausted after a strong emotional stressor and why the root of many diseases can be traced to one or more significant life stressors. Our inability to handle negative emotion is also at the root of addiction. We self medicate the uncomfortable feelings with food, alcohol or other substances or behaviors.
Practice being present and awake when you are immersed in a negative state – this is the single most powerful thing we can do. Being awake can stop the leak and transform the reactive patterns that led to the negative state. Separate your awareness from the emotion and find the witness state – stand behind the emotion. Remind yourself that you are ‘having’ a negative emotion, you are not the emotion.
Then to take it a step further, if it is appropriate, in order to literally chemically transform the negative energy/chemistry and the effects on your body, do the *Inner Smile technique described at the end of this sutra. A guided audio version is here on this website as well: http://www.wuttkeinstitute.com/meditation/
The Inner Smile can help neutralize the cascade of destructive stress chemicals that occur. We can learn to literally transform negative emotions such as fear, doubt and worry into strength and courage by applying this technique. Be sure not to suppress or deny negative emotions. That is like trying to seal a pressure cooker. The goal is to recognize that you are not the emotion, and transform or neutralize it.
Other ways we waste and use up energy include excessive talking, superficial forms of entertainment and stimulation, addiction to excitement and sensation that give us a temporary feeling of being alive but leaves us empty in the end.
Unconscious judgments of ourselves and others also deplete our energy reserves. Judgments never have a useful result. If we look upon others with compassion, and we acknowledge the divine essence of their being, we will find it impossible to judge, to be disappointed or to get angry. The same applies to ourselves.
2. Learn to create energy
All the impressions we take in during our day have specific qualities of energy and are registered consciously or unconsciously by our brains. Negative impressions give us negative energy, positive impressions give us positive energy. Once we understands this, we realize how very important it is to be intentional in regard to what we allow into our consciousness. Learn to avoid negative impressions especially when you are depleted, stressed or tired. Sources like the popular media, advertisement, news, TV, internet, politics and gossip can imprint ‘unconscious’ messages if we are not careful. Did you know there is something called ‘Neuro-Marketing’? This is where marketing experts scan subjects brains and figure out how to manipulate buying behavior by looking at the brain and nervous system. This information is then applied through marketing techniques as an attempt to coerce us and make us ‘feel,’ believe (or sometimes fear) that we need that particular product. Politics use these methods as well.
Seek Positive Impressions
Be intentional about positive impressions too. These are impressions that give us energy and feed us with inspiration. The classic arts and the beauty of nature have much to offer. Great artistic works can provide us with a higher quality of impressions. Whether they are paintings, statues, poetry, music, plays, books, cathedrals, temples, monastery’s, sacred places, etc. All can have special qualities of energy that we can learn to appreciate and absorb. However, this does not necessarily happen automatically – it does not happen in sleep. The key to taking in the positive energy is to make efforts to be present at the moment one is observing the impression.
Over time we become more proficient and the energy we need for greater awareness is readily available. We stop wasting energy and the primitive-instinctual areas of the brain become less reactive to people and events that would have produced negative reactions in the past. Our lives take on a new vitality, new purpose and new meaning. Being calm, centered and non-reactive in all circumstances is perhaps the number one indication of spiritual growth and is the result of learning to be present-awake.
3. Practice superconscious meditation
A recent study of the brains of advanced meditators indeed showed that they are more awake, more present, have much more refined awareness and perception. Each moment registers anew in the advanced meditator’s brain – everything has great meaning and is filled with wonder and awe. Their brains indicated a predominance of a rhythm designated as Gamma – these are very fast brain waves (40 Hertz) and are many times greater than that of the average person. Gamma is a binding frequency in that it connects many areas of the brain and magnifies consciousness so that it is always new, always clear and always present, unbridled by the primitive-instinctual areas of the ‘older’ brain regions. They had all practiced and used some form of the tools being shared here with you. And even though these were long time meditators the fundamental step to this transformation and state of consciousness is quite simple: This path begins and ends with ‘being present – being awake.’
A seeker went to the Buddha and asked:
Seeker: Sir, you seem to have achieved great spiritual heights. May I please enquire? Are you a god?
Seeker: Are you the messiah?
Seeker: Are you a king?
Seeker: Are you enlightened?
Seeker: Are you a perfected one?
Seeker: Well? then, what are you?!
*The Inner Smile
The practice of “The Inner Smile” is not only reserved for a special time, the meditation room, place of worship or other holy place. Nor should it be reserved for some special time when we are less distracted. Although our practices are important as support and respite for realigning ourselves, the life we live is the real field for the application of the inner smile. The practice can be brought into every situation and every relationship, consciously and with intention. First though, it can be useful to practice at the beginning of our superconscious meditation sessions in order to get a feel for the state.
“The Inner Smile” requires a gentle shift in awareness: it is a state of alert-conscious-presence within and without. It is a state that is always available to us, silently underlying all that is occurring. To practice requires some effort because of the tendency for our attention to drift out of the present moment and engage in the workings of the mind and events happening around us. Identification with the mind and its contents keeps us from experiencing the consciousness that illumines the mind. By making efforts to remind ourselves to smile internally: to be simultaneously aware of the life force that is expressing through us and manifesting as everything around us, although an intellectual exercise at first, eventually becomes a living state of smiling awareness. The simplest things in life then reflect great beauty and grace…we are no longer bound by the conditionings of the mind, i.e. the labels, judgments or preconceived notions, but rather, we see the world in a new light as it is, without our projections.
1. Begin by gathering ‘smiling energy’ behind your eyes.
2. Let this energy permeate your brain then move it down into your body through your nervous system.
3. Smile to all your internal organs, bones and cells of your body – then smile to the whole universe and all beings everywhere.