Cultivating Pre-set Mindstates

Creating a Meditative Default or Preselected Option

It’s a fallback position that I’m talking about here.  Once upon a time a few years back some man lost control of his auto and slammed into the back of me as we were pulling away from a  traffic light.  I called my daughter just after this while waiting for the police to come to make the report for insurance purposes.  She commented on how peaceful and calm my voice was for just being rear-ended rather violently.  My preselected default meditative state took over without my conscious direction.

Or at least I think that’s why.  Since then it had become more conscious within me to work on cultivating that default state of being when my attention isn’t consumed elsewhere.  Sometimes, it’s repeating a mantra such as, “May I be content and peaceful, may I be happy and in goodwill, may I be protected and safe . . . “and then eventually changing the “I” to “we” meaning all beings.

When waiting for my coffee to finish reheating in the microwave, at a traffic light, while stretching before or after a workout at the gym the mantra takes over my consciousness.  Sometimes, it’s not a mantra, however.  Sometimes my attention is naming the breath activity:  Breathing in, breathing out.  This creates a dropping down into the body and into the moment and peace is naturally there.  I consider these mantras or this breath attention as cultivating a set point which can, after habitual reinforcement, become ones ‘go to’ place in good times and in … well, in times that are not so good when they arise in order to soften those jarring moments of life that can leave us in a state of shock or knock us out of a previous state of consciousness.

Default options are pre-set courses of action that take effect if nothing is specified by the decision maker or the decision maker isn’t sure what to do.  What is your default setting?   Have you consciously cultivated a positive one?

The Body Intelligence

The body intelligence is the name of this bit of writing; best that could be for the moment, this day and time.  Anyway . . .

The flu!  The wretched thing!  Seems a few years now since even a head cold entered my bodily private domain.  Yet, it gives time for writing, contemplating and if my energy holds up later maybe even painting (pastel artwork).  Sometimes, however, it can be good to practice death. No, this isn’t me being overly dramatic—just listen a moment.  You can’t turn from it even though you would rather not be anywhere in its shadows, yet inevitably the body will shut down sense organs one after another.  NO wait, don’t stop reading.  Because oh, but what a gift close encounters, even if they are not our very own (family, friend or foe who may be sick or in a phase of transition—but no, let’s say the really scary word, death!) . . . like I was saying, any encounter with the endpoint from any distance offers us a gift if we keep our eyes open!  What gift?  Embracing the opposite of course – Life!  A deeper and more joyful appreciation of good health and the ability to do something, anything, which comes from our ‘creative-will’ our personal expression of ‘life’ – even if that is only a pleasant conversation with another.  Any expression of being alive on any level that is possible can potentially become a truly joyous event.

The local hospital has accepted me as a volunteer and promoted me to be the top person for patient relations.  The job is not as impressive as the title may sound.   Actually,  it only involves offering a smile, a hello and passing out a card from the auxiliary and offering magazines, newspapers, crossword puzzles and the like.

Yesterday here at home, life played out with chills and fever next to a pile of Kleenex feeling as if my throat was on fire was another glimpse, another close encounter – another good practice for the last page in the last chapter of this life as I know it to be now.  And my thoughts wandered to the hospital patients as it does now writing this.

And, of course, as one could expect, with fever back to normal today, am gifted with a deeper appreciation of life and the ability to affect the lives of others and my own in a positive way.  To create, to play, to appreciate, to breathe life into this body deeply and with more gratitude for the vehicle that enables my stay here upon the good earth.

People who know me or follow my posts are familiar with the mention of the history of losing consciousness; yep, I’m one of those “fainters”.  Physical or emotional overwhelm and out I go!  I realize how this is like a mini-death of sorts and one of the last times (in the hospital ER with an acute bladder infection), there was this awesomely peaceful kind of limbo state, vast and not-empty but full somehow.  No words can describe it.  Voices were calling me back into this world and I did not wish to return.  On another occasion, when I lost consciousness due to a gall bladder issue, a “code” was called because I could not be revived after losing consciousness.  That time, however, I didn’t recall the blissful openness and fullness as the time before.  My point here?  Forgive this writer still under the influence of Nyquil cold and flu medicine.  Well, I guess, my purpose in writing this has to do with me being grateful for these moments in which the body and I get to practice our final act.  Meanwhile, there is a turning toward life with eyes of gratitude.

One final thing.  It’s floating around in this woozy head and I’d like to try to grab at it the next time if floats by.  Here we go.  It has to do with the shutting down part.  How to say it?  Like yesterday, the focus was deeply inward – the body seemed very busy focusing on itself – dealing with the invader flu.  I guess in the death process (oh, this is how the Tibetans tell it and in the Book of The Living and The Dead), how the various bodily senses begin to shut down.  The body, I’d assume, is very preoccupied doing this – and there’s not much energy for anything in the external world.

Body intelligence is pretty amazing.  Think about it.  The body knows how to keep its balance, digest food, breathe – oh, so many things – without your or me consciously telling it to!  A good thing too, I’d say!  The body knows how to get a spoonful of food into the mouth straight away without us having to give directions—a little to the left, no down a little—in other words, the food doesn’t go into our eye or nose; the body knows what to do without our conscious mind directing.  Recovering from illness or shutting down to go into transition, it’s the same way.  The body and soul know what to do.

No big summary ending.  There’s only me picturing the self in the act of sorting through my pastel colors and placing them in trays according to color and hue.  So off I go with my box of Kleenex and a project to do, celebrating life all the way through!

Channeling Insight in Meditation

 

Have you ever felt like you were stripped of control yet at the same time fully awake?  This describes a deep state of meditation. It also describes a mind level in which channeling insight can occur.  There is no “doer” in this state—the self has, for the most part—dissolved.   Only the “knower” is fully functioning and there is no volitional thought.  It can feel much like being frozen and one’s identity is no longer part of the consciousness scenario.  There is a calmness in which insight arrives in this state.

Meditation, for me, is different each time.  I do not expect to reach such a deep state each and every time I sit for meditation practice.  I’ve learned to work with the right meditation and the right time and to let go of expectations of some type of progress or achievement. 

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