“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” ~ Albert Einstein
Einstein’s words encapsulate the challenge that I, and anyone who meditates, face each morning when sitting down to meditate. How do we use our minds and the thinking process to go beyond the realm of thought?
Throughout the day I find myself riding the merry-go-round of my emotional and mental patterns. The challenge is to get out of those patterns with the same mind that creates them.
Ideally I wake up with the sunrise. I go into the kitchen, put on the kettle, prepare a teapot and stretch or sing while the water comes to a boil and the tea steeps. Then I take my tea and sit in a corner of the room where I practice meditation.
That is when the challenge begins. I immediately begin thinking about all the things I have to do: situations I have to deal with at my yoga studios, timelines, projects, budgets and on and on. Some mornings, 10-15 minutes go by before I realize I’ve been lost in thought the entire time. By the way, I’ve been practicing meditation for 35 years!
The difference between 35 years ago and now is that I now know that I can lift myself out of these thought patterns and rise to a higher realm of awareness where thought is secondary to consciousness.
The moment I realize I’m drifting off in a train of thought, I reach out for help to a flower, my breath, a mantra or my teacher.
As soon as I realize I’m drifting aimlessly inside thoughts, I immediately focus in on my breathing and slow it down. Then, in synch with my breathing, I begin to chant the mantra om out loud. I reset my awareness into the feeling of breath, the physicality of chanting, the sound I’m creating and the subtle hum vibrating in my body. This process relaxes and calms me.
Then I pick up a book of my teacher’s poetry and start to read slowly and soulfully. He passed away in 2007. The consciousness that we create with is embedded in our creations. Connecting with the consciousness of one of the many illumined teachers who have walked the planet is essential in meditation. Their thinking and emotional energies are of a different type and vibration than that of most people. This is exactly what Einstein identifies as our need if we are to solve our problems. After several of the poems, I start to get out of my mental patterns and lift up to a higher dimension.
Then I focus on the flower (a candle also works). Over 50 percent of the human brain is wired for dealing with vision. When we hold our eyes still and let them rest on a flower, a candle flame or another object, our mind will automatically become more peaceful.
If I stay sincere and focused, it takes me about 10 minutes to lift out of the prison of thought. Once I’m there, I can begin my meditation. Thoughts still exist in my meditation experience, but they play a secondary role to the feelings of peace and being.
Rising up can also mean opening my heart and going into deeper emotions such as forgiveness and gratitude.
In the practice of meditation it is important to have enough humility to reach out for that thread or lifeline that can lift us up, whether it’s a teacher, mantra, music, inspired writings, a candle or a flower. The state of mind that we’re in is not the state of mind that can move to a higher consciousness. We have to do something or connect with someone to lift ourselves out.
So next time you’re meditating, each time you move into that higher consciousness, impress it into your awareness. Remember the feeling; it will help you get back there next time.
Author: Sujantra McKeever
Editor: Evan Yerburgh
Image: author’s own