Focus and Meditation

The practice of meditation is emptying the mind. When the mind is empty, completely empty, it’s perfect meditation. It’s really that simple. There are a variety of different approaches to emptying the mind. All of them work equally well. We can just stay with one; we can use a number of them. It really doesn’t matter; it’s a question of personal choice. What we’re doing is stopping thought. But really, before that, we’re learning to control thought. And really, before that, we’re learning just to sit down and focus on something.

I have a simple prescription method for learning how to meditate, which, if you do it, works very, very well. The main thing that you need is not really creativity but consistency. Creativity is a nice quality but it doesn’t have much to do with learning to stop thought. Consistency does. Consistency really involves just doing something once, each time, and not thinking about time or space or repetition. You just live it once. Forever. And that’s consistency. That’s perfect consistency.

To meditate, what I suggest a person does is, of course, they sit in an upright position—if you lie down you relax too much and you don’t really have the focus of concentration necessary to meditate. You can sit in a cross-legged position on a rug, you can sit in a chair. All that matters is that the back is relatively straight, the spine is straight. What I suggest a person do for their practice is to focus on something with their eyes open for half the meditation, and for the second half of the meditation to focus on something with their eyes closed. The length of time depends upon how long a person has been meditating. If a person wants to start meditating, I recommend that they meditate for fifteen minutes a day, once a day. After they’ve been meditating perhaps for a few weeks, then I would suggest that they double the time and go to half an hour. After several months, I would suggest that they increase the time to 45 minutes and then, that they stay at 45 minutes for a while, until they’ve been meditating about a year, every day consistently. After a year, if a person chooses to, they can increase the time, perhaps to an hour—maybe for another six months or a year. Then maybe after two years, go up to an hour and a half, ninety minutes.

The primary meditation, which is done in the early part of the day, after waking, is the meditation I’m discussing. It is nice to have a second meditation in the early evening, or about halfway or two thirds of the way through the day. It renews the initial meditation. It renews our contact with the divine, with the infinite light. That meditation should be of fairly short duration unless you’re just very inspired—maybe 30 minutes, 15 minutes if you’re new. But the important meditation is the meditation that you do to start the day because when you wake up from sleep, the mind is relaxed and you’ve not yet set it into motion. It has the motion of the astral dream experiences, but they’re slight. Whereas, after you’ve started to have conversations, act in the world, perceive things in a sensorial way, the mind gets very stimulated; it picks up a lot of impressions and it’s harder to move into the qualityless state of no thought.

The best time to meditate is when you first get up, whether it’s morning, evening or afternoon, depending upon your schedule. It’s nice to be clean; it wakes you up and just takes a lot of the energies off. Water neutralizes strange energy, unpleasant energy. So if you can take a shower before your—we’ll call it the morning meditation, regardless of when you do it—that’s a good idea. Or at least wash your hands and face. But water takes a lot of the strange energies that you’ve picked up in dreaming and the human aura of the planet Earth and washes it away and it makes it easier to meditate.

Then sit down. If you’re terribly hungry, you should have just a little something to eat. If you’re terribly sleepy, you should have some coffee or some tea or some kind of stimulant that will keep you awake. But if you eat too much, you’ll be too aware of your body and you won’t meditate very well, and if you use too much of a stimulant, too much caffeine, caffeine makes you think and it makes it harder to meditate. Ideally, I suppose we’d wake up in the morning and take a shower and just meditate. But sometimes a little bit of food or something with some sugar in it is helpful, just because there’s so much impure aura on the planet Earth and it raises the blood sugar and kind of gets us going, and sometimes some caffeine or whatever you use might be helpful. You don’t want to fall asleep, and you don’t want to sit there being hungry; it’ll interfere with your meditation. Nor do you wish to satiate your body with too much food because you’ll just get very sleepy, and too much of a stimulant, too much caffeine, does the same thing—your palms sweat, your adrenaline starts to rush a little bit and you don’t meditate well.

Then you want to sit down and for whatever period of time is apropos for your level of study, you want to practice concentration—focus. All meditation involves focus until we enter into the qualityless, thoughtless essence, when we perceive ourselves as the that-ness. So really all you’re doing is learning to focus. Let’s say you’re going to be meditating for 30 minutes. I would suggest for 15 minutes that you meditate with your eyes open, focusing on an object of some type, hopefully an object that’s beautiful or powerful. You could find a pretty colored stone that you just feel good about. It’s a little rock that you found somewhere, life drew you and the rock together—your karma. It has a nice energy, and you could place that in front of you on the ground or on a table at eye level, if that’s more comfortable. And you could focus on that. You could use a flower, a candle flame, anything you want that’s bright and suggestive of beauty and eternality. Then with your eyes open, you’ll focus on that to the exclusion of all thought.

Naturally in the beginning, if you’re undisciplined, which everyone is mentally when they start meditation, you’ll think a million thoughts, a lot of images will come through your mind. But if you focus on the object and you keep focusing, gradually the thoughts will become quieter and quieter, gradually the images will disappear from the mind. What’s happening is, through the power of focus, as you look at something and concentrate on it, the kundalini energy which is situated in the base of the spine, in the astral, begins its long journey up through what we call the shushumna, which is an astral nerve tube that goes from the bottom of the spine up to between the eyebrows and a little bit above, which is the agni chakra. And as that energy begins to radiate and raise, it causes the mind to become quiet, and the further that energy goes up, the higher we go into different planes of consciousness.

The planes of consciousness are correlated to what we call the chakras, which are located along the shushumna. There are six of them. Then there’s one other chakra of the primary chakras, which is not directly connected to the other six, that is located approximately at the very top of the head or an inch or two above it in the astral body, and that’s the seventh [chakra].

Each of those chakras really are dimensions. We think of them as objects, but they’re not really. They’re dimensional access points whereby we can enter into different levels of mind, and that happens automatically. It’s kind of like the mercury in the thermometer rises as it gets hotter. As that mercury goes up, it hits little plateaus and when we hit those plateaus, everything shifts. We pop into a different dimension where we perceive ourselves, the universe and mind completely differently. When we get to the top one, if we do, we’re in very high planes of attention. And the higher we go, the less physical things are, the less time and space exists. But there’s a big transition from the sixth chakra, or the agni chakra, to the seventh, because it isn’t exactly a pathway—we do it another way. And that’s the chakra of illumination, the planes of enlightenment. That’s a little more complicated.

But for now, we’re back in the first chakra again. We are in the earth plane, very much in time and space, very much in a body, very much identifying with all kinds of qualities, and we have no sense of the mind as being pure light. If anything, it seems like it’s the opposite. So we sit down and we focus. And as we focus on something, the more intently we focus for longer and longer periods of time, the kundalini rises and the kundalini is hot, it’s a hot energy. Sometimes you feel it cascading up your spine, and it’s kind of searing or it’s tingling. It almost feels sexual, but it doesn’t arouse. Sexuality arouses, and it causes a physical arousal with the glands in the body. This feels sort of like that, but there’s no arousal of the sexual organs. It’s that same sort of tingly energy, but it goes up the spine in the astral body. It goes up the shushumna. You don’t have to be aware of this, it just happens. You’re not necessarily aware that your blood is flowing, but if you go running, your blood flows a lot more rapidly, even though you don’t feel it coursing through your veins—but it’s happening. There’s no need for it to flow rapidly unless there’s an escalation of the heartbeat, which occurs in motion.

Normally, kundalini is always flowing through all your chakras, through your subtle body, subtle physical body, what we call your astral body. Kundalini is the blood of the astral. And it’s doing everything it needs to, but it doesn’t need to flow much more than it is, unless there’s reason, unless there’s demand, unless there’s activity. So in human life, unless there’s something very major that happens of an emotional nature, there’s very rarely an elevation in, kind of, the seratonin level of kundalini. It doesn’t change much. But when you seek to enter into other states of consciousness, that requires more energy, and so the kundalini flows. Of course the more complete your concentration is and the less thought, awareness of self in the mind, the more the kundalini flows and the higher you go beyond body, mind, time and space and so on. It’s hard to talk about some of these things; you have to really experience them.

When we meditate, then, what we’re doing is not just simply concentrating. We’re raising the kundalini through focus, through concentration. There’s a metaphysical astral process that’s taking place. What I would recommend is, if you’re meditating for half an hour, sit down with the eyes open, look at your little power rock or flower or candle flame or anything—yantra, geometrical design. Focus on one point and hold your attention there. The mind will waiver, you’ll think a million thoughts, but each time you do, bring your mind back to the point of concentration, seeing it visually. If one were blind, one can simply focus on a feeling.

Sight is not absolutely essential for this process, but we use sight because sight is the dominant sense. We can use hearing and do the same thing. We can listen to a tone. We can feel something physically. We could smell something and do it. But sight is the dominant sense. It takes precedence over all other senses unless one is blind or has been trained otherwise. So it’s easiest to interrupt the flow of thought in sense perception and move the mind beyond sense perception with sight. That’s why we do something visually to start with.

What we’re seeking to do is internalize perception. Perception is very much involved with the senses and the mental processes and the emotional processes. That’s what 100 percent of our perception is usually engaged in. But what we’re going to do is gradually remove our perception from the sense world—seeing, smelling, tasting, touching, all those sort of things. We’re going to remove our awareness from our thoughts, the thinking cognitive process. We’re going to remove our awareness from feeling emotions and we’re going to take all of our awareness and take it someplace else—into luminous realms, into inner light, into the very thing that we are that perceives. We’re going to take perception into itself, into the perceiver, and see that what’s there is perfect, qualityless, endless radiant light, which is a way of talking about something. It’s not really just qualityless light; those are human abstractions. But it’s nirvana; perfect perfection, beyond comprehension—ecstasy.

What we’re learning to do is really change a lifetime of habits of taking our perception and having it go into the senses or into thoughts or into emotions, and we’re retraining our perception to go into the void. It sounds a little nebulous at first, so what we do is, rather than just focus on the void, which would just be an intellectualization and wouldn’t really occur, what we’re doing is changing the course of a mighty river, and we do it in steps. We’re creating a new pathway for it. And we do that first by focusing on something physical.

By disciplining and training the mind to focus on one thing, we gain control of our perception; we learn to grab it and put it someplace we want it to be rather than just in any sense that happens to be operating, or in any thought that happens to be passing through, or in any feeling that just happens to be going through us—who knows why, or even if we do know why.

We’re learning to take our perception and place it in one place. By focusing on something, we do that. And be not discouraged. Everyone goes through the process you’re going through. Takes a while to do it. Takes a number of years to learn to hold the mind perfectly in one place. But each day we do a little better, and in the doing of it we’re releasing energy that is taking our mind into higher, diffuse planes of attention in which we’re seeing life more as it really is. And if we do that every day, there is an add-up process. It’s kind of like—as we release more kundalini, we use a little bit of it but we also save it; we store it; it resides in our awareness field, so that as we meditate; it isn’t just that we go up and come back down, we come down a little bit less each time.

“Come down” isn’t really the right phrase because that implies we’re getting high; high implies that it’s an abnormal state and low is the regular state. The opposite is true. Our current perception is very cloudy and all screwed up and as our perception increases through meditation, we’re seeing life more correctly. The higher our perception, the more kundalini that’s active and being properly focused, the more correct our perception is.

So, really we’re in the darkest darkness now and we’re moving towards light. And light frees us and the mind is perfect and we feel ecstasy, and we don’t have any suffering and any mental aberrations; we’re not in weird planes of consciousness perceiving ourselves as a self that’s in some kind of pain or struggle or whatever it is. We see that we’re the perfect light of existence that has always been and will always be. And we live that. It’s not just an ideation.

Meditation is the freeing of ourselves from all mental states and concepts of self. But it really begins with a focus, with a retraining of the life force or the life energy. So you look at your object of concentration for, say, 15 minutes. Put a watch there, take out a clock, time yourself. Then, after you’ve done it for, let’s say, 15 minutes, if your time period is half an hour, and you’ve really tried just to see that one thing, to look at it—you can blink, you can shift your position a little bit if you need to—but then after you’ve done it for half your meditation, close your eyes and now do the same thing focusing on one of the three charkas, either the navel center, around the navel; the median center, which is in the center of the chest around the heart, or the third eye, which is between the eyebrows and a little bit above.

You focus on one of those three centers, focusing on the physical area in the body that’s near where it is in the astral. And if you focus around the navel center, or around the center of the chest by the heart, or between the eyebrows and slightly above, you will elevate the kundalini and you’ll be releasing different types of energy into the astral nerve system. I recommend that you focus on these three centers in rotation. So Monday morning, do your navel center; Tuesday, the center of the chest; Wednesday the third eye; Thursday go back to the navel center. Rotate them because they take in the three basic meridians.

There are three lower centers. There are two intermediate centers, the throat center and the chest center; and then there are really two higher centers, the third eye and the crown center. You’re accessing all three meridians, which creates the development of a balanced being, if you rotate them that way. If you just always meditate on the navel center, you get too heavy, you get too into certain energies relating to the lower three centers and you don’t have enough will, you don’t have enough power to deal with life and the world and the forces you have to deal with as you go through different dimensional planes and access points, in more advanced meditative states.

If you just meditate on the intermediate states, they’re beautiful and pleasant, but you develop the psychic chakras a lot, a lot of the emotional body develops—but without the other centers there’s a lack of balance. The upper centers are wisdom; the central centers are feeling, emotion, identification, beauty, the perception of life as beauty and truth; the lower centers are the power centers. So we put power, wisdom and feeling together and we have a good package in development. Otherwise, we’re just developing without balance, and without balance our meditative practice will not continue to escalate.

Balance is the most important of all qualities. We don’t want a little bit of rapid growth and then to stagnate. We want continual growth, continual development, which implies balance, always.

To begin with, you would focus for fifteen minutes, if you’re doing half an hour a day, on a physical object; then you’d close your eyes and focus on one of the three centers, chakras, for the same period of time. If you’ve never focused on chakras before, the first few times you can actually put your finger around the navel center and apply a little bit of pressure until you get used to a feeling there, the same with the center of the chest or the third eye. After you’ve done it a few times, you’ll find that you can just feel that area.

Now, interestingly enough, as you practice, you’ll begin to feel the centers more. You’ll actually feel that part of the astral body and you’ll feel the energy releasing, and you’ll notice that meditating on the navel or the center of the chest or the third eye really brings you into different mental states, to different planes of mind. Each one makes you feel very different after meditating. They’re quite profound.

What we’re really trying to do, then, with practice, is to spend more time in a complete focus. We do reach a point, however, when, while we are focusing, if we focus very completely, thought will stop. And when that happens, it’s no longer necessary to focus—we can just let go. It’s not as if in an hour and a half of meditation you’re going to be sitting there, straining to focus on one thing the whole time. Rather what will occur is you will perhaps meditate for ten or fifteen minutes very intensely with a focus, then you’ll find that your energy will raise sufficiently so that thought will stop for a while, and then you don’t have to focus—you can just kind of let go. And then, when you start to think again, you go back to focusing again and releasing energy.

It’s kind of like getting away from gravity. They develop a lot of momentum [for rockets] to get beyond the gravitational pull of the earth and then go into outer space. Then they shut off the rockets. They don’t have to keep them on. Then you just float, in the light. Then, as you continue to travel, there may be some other great object, there may be a gravitational force that starts to pull on you, so you put on the rockets again until you’re floating free again.

When you’re floating free, of course, you are in the light. There are less qualities that you’re apprehending, and then the transmutation takes place. Then the magic takes place. When you go in the light, and the longer you stay in the light, the more you transmute. The light washes out all the impurities of mind; it clarifies why we are, who we are, what we are, and it evolves us. It makes us more complete. It makes us more like the light and less like other.

You don’t have to do anything when you get into the light. When you stop thought, it’s not necessary to go anyplace or do anything. You’ve arrived. Nor is it static; it won’t stay the same. But you’ve just gotten to a country where everything is done for you. You don’t have to know, you don’t have to not know. When you’ve gotten up that far, you just let go. There’s complete consciousness, but then at that point the light does what is necessary for you. If you get in a shower, you just have to stand there and once in a while you turn around. If you get in a shower where it’s hitting you from every angle, you’re all set. So the light hits you from every angle. You just have to get there.

At the end of meditation, at the end of the period, we always bow and we touch our head to the floor—“Buddha’s name be praised.” That’s our way of acknowledging our contact with all of life, thanking the universe, and it’s just a letting go. It’s realizing that there is something higher and deeper and more profound than our current self, and we’re just acknowledging that and thanking it. We know that that is us. We know that we’re not fully aware of that as “us” yet and that we hope to be some day. And we will be. Even though we already are, we don’t know it. We have amnesia.