Mindfulness; a personal perspective and experience & Something unusual
On most of the previous postings I’ve written about things that are abstract in nature. This time I’m going to talk a little bit about a personal experience that was so revolutionary to me that I thought it worthy of reporting.
As many know here I have been using mindful awareness practices (MAP) personally for a long period of time and more intensively in the past 2 years or so. By this I mean that I do spend a significant period of time every day meditating. This has been not only a useful thing to do but has also had great personal benefits to me. I experience greater relaxation, ease of well-being, and a much reduced level of stress in my day by day life.
I’ve also experienced what I thought was happiness during a meditative experience on several occasions. However the last several days I have noticed definite changes in my personal experience, which I have found both interesting and awesome – because they are so positive.
Several days ago I was meditating. I usually start with a focus on the breath. Then I spread my attention to a greater awareness of sensations in the body and then to sensations outside of the body such as sounds and other things occurring in my immediate environment.
I’ve developed, among other things, considerable interest in what is known as the Chakras, which is the concept of energy centers in the body. Although this idea comes more from the Hindu than the Buddhist tradition, it certainly is represented in the latter as well. This interest stems from the fact that I often get visualizations of various color patterns varying from the deepest blue to red – which represent the visible color spectrum. In the chakra system, which I will describe in some detail on another occasion, these colors pertain to the varying energy centers. Each chakra is represented by a color; red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. Although I’m not quite sure what to make of all this at this point it is certainly interesting to speculate.
But let’s get back to the recent experiences. On this first and then on subsequent occasions I had the experience of all of the colors blending into a brilliant white – white of course is when light becomes a combination of all of the colors in the visible spectrum. Although I have seen this at least a few times before, this was really the first time that it happened in such spectacular fashion that it was noteworthy.
Also, at about the same time, I suddenly noticed a very different feeling of deep calm, peacefulness and ease which was profound and wonderful. This then progressed to a feeling of extreme happiness and contentment. It was an ecstatic and blissful experience that was of such indescribable pleasure that I won’t try to describe it further other than the fact that I really liked it. So after the first time I sincerely hoped that it would happen again.
So the next day when I meditated I tried to again to achieve this state but it didn’t happen. “Rats,” I said.
But then I remembered that it is well known that if one tries to achieve something in meditating it rarely happens. In other words, in the spirit of mindfulness practice, letting things happen as they happen is critical. Seeking something in particular is not. This is what is meant by acceptance as a fundamental principle of mindful meditation; that is, acknowledge and allow all aspects of presence and only pay attention to what is there – not something that you wish was there. Basically, adopting acceptance is the best way to have more advanced experiences.
So the next time I tried meditating I made sure to not be striving. I tried not to have the intention of a particular experience and yet still nothing like my very positive experience occurred. However, after a week or so, it did and it has occurred intermittently since. So now I take it when it comes, realizing that each mindful meditation moment is unique to that moment only and it will never happen the same way again. I can’t plan for, with any surety, what the future will bring.
I’m not sure how helpful this is to the general readers of this blog. But it sure was impressive enough to me to want to write about it. I also think that it is encouraging to those of you who are contemplating or actually trying to develop a mindful awareness practice, that this happiness and contentment experience certainly is possible for anybody.