Silent Mind Meditation: The SM Meditations
Here are some new Videos explaining the Silent Mind Meditation Technique that I recently created. This is a 2 part series and both videos are available below.
As outlined in Chapter 8 (SM Meditation Program: Phase 2: Daily Yoga and Meditation Practice) for the first 2 weeks you will do the basic meditation that you have chosen for 30 minutes. Once you begin the third week of Phase 2 it is time to start your SM meditations. SM meditations are done in the same posture as you have chosen for your basic meditations. For weeks 3 and 4 of phase 2 you should do your basic mediation for the first 10 minutes of the meditation session and then for the final 20 minutes you should practice the SM meditation designated for that week. No break should be taken between the basic meditation and the SM meditation. The basic meditation will serve to settle the mind down making it easier to observe. The SM meditation will take you the rest of the way. It is now time to explore exactly what SM meditation is and how to do it.
From the program you have participated in so far you must have started to gather some ideas about the nature and purpose of SM meditations. SM meditations use the power of acute awareness and intelligence generated by a vitalized, intense system to directly perceive the mind and by virtue of this perception bring the thinking process to halt itself. This will be clearer as we break down and investigate the process behind SM. Following are the 7 steps of SM practice.
1. You have a single, absolute fact.
2. You personalize the fact.
3. You form a single intent to perceive this fact.
4. You apply all your energy and passion in pursuit of this intent.
5. You crystallize.
6. You negate the fact.
7. You let go.
Let us now explore each of these aspects in detail.
1. You have a single absolute fact.
SM meditation is based on generating the required energy and channeling it into swift attention and instant comprehension so that the fact of what is going on within starts to be directly perceived. One of the more interesting aspects of the condition we are in is that it can be stated in many irrefutable ways. In the first step of the process you choose one particular way of factually describing your internal condition. This description is the single absolute fact. This fact is what you will be pursuing to realize, not intellectually, but actually during an SM session. The fact must have the following constitution…
1. It must be an absolute constant truth in the sphere of our minds and its relationship to Reality.
2. The more appealing it is to you the better it will work.
3. It must be intellectually understood.
As stated above the fact is a truth related to the workings of your mind and thinking processes as it currently is. In other words, it is not an impersonal fact, like the mass of the moon or the elemental makeup of water. It is a fact that describes the constant internal state of your mind, such as, “Desire is the phenomenon that drives you to struggle.” In other words, the fact is in action, available for your viewing, from moment to moment. It is a remarkable thing when you start to see how repetitive and simplistic your mind really is at a fundamental level where these facts are constantly in operation.
The second aspect of the fact is much more subjective. Essentially, you want to use whatever description touches a nerve and carries a punch. A description that is inspiring and has an affect on you will be more effective. The deeper and greater the affect the better. As you try the various SM meditations, each based on a particular description of the condition of your mind, you will start to get a better feel for this aspect. Some meditations will be simply easier for you to grasp and work with at particular times.
The third aspect is that we must understand the fact fully at the intellectual level. This understanding will be of great help to you when you are trying to apply yourself to see the actuality of the fact in action. This understanding can be ascertained and enhanced through study, discussion and self-dialogue. The SM meditations provided later in the program are explained clearly and fully to give you this understanding.
2. You personalize the fact.
The second step of SM is to personalize the fact. So, for the above fact, “Desire is the phenomenon that drives you to struggle,” you would form the quest; “Let me see desire driving me to struggle.” This will then become the reality that you will seek to actualize.
3. You form one single intent to perceive this fact.
The third step of SM practice is to have a single passionate intent, which is to see this fact in action. You must have absolutely no other intention in mind except this one. Your mind forms just one desire, one wave, which is to perceive this fact. Be firm in this resolve for the mind is going to throw up many tantalizing subjects and you must repeatedly return to the pursuit of your intent. One of the main goals of the basic meditations was to help you develop this ability to focus and stay on the topic of your choosing and in this case the topic has to be the single minded purpose of seeing yourself subjected to the fact.
4. You apply all your energy and passion in pursuit of this intent.
This is where the work really begins. So far you have selected the fact, personalized it and set your single-minded intent. This is the step where you are going to apply yourself with as much passion and energy you can muster to see the fact in action. What is most important here is that we are not talking about understanding the fact intellectually, what we are saying is that you must encounter and realize the fact through direct perception. This is the key to SM and everything hinges on it so let us explore it greater detail.
Normally we understand things intellectually using our logical and analytical mind, but now we are going to comprehend via direct perception. We are going to constantly, moment to moment, watch our thinking process and see clearly the actual fact in operation. In other words, instead of simply understanding conceptually that “Desires drive you to struggle”, the very process of “Desire driving you to struggle”, is going to be completely grasped and instantly comprehended as it occurs from moment to moment. The beast of desire can be and is going to be encountered. The verbal and intellectual understanding will occur in parallel to the realization of the actual phenomenon, instead of just existing as a mental construct. At first, since you may not have applied yourself in this way, you may continue to remain at the intellectual level, but, as you persist keenly and arduously applying the full capacity of your energies, the thinking process will spontaneously start to slow down and you will begin the catch glimpses of the fact. Once this begins you must remain deadly focused and push forward so that the next step of the process can occur.
5. You Crystallize.
Crystallization brings with it a great joy. It is the witnessing of the fact in action from moment to moment without missing a beat. Your energies are now fully integrated and the fact along with its entire story is being understood effortlessly. The power of swift attention and acute intelligence are now at work and all movements of the mind are being comprehended. During this stage the mind is an open book. Not only is the fact clearly visible but so is the truth behind any other thought that occurs as well. This is insight now flowing.
6. You negate the fact.
This step is very closely linked to crystallization and there is usually some back and forth between these two stages in a SM session. The negation of the fact arises naturally because it becomes clear from seeing the mind in action that its current state breeds suffering. The facts that underlie the movement of the mind all bind us to time and ego, and all have their roots in the desire/fear combination. They perpetuate in us a sense of incompleteness and dissatisfaction and keep us bound to the fruitless pursuit of self-security. Seeing the fact in action clearly brings this entire picture to light and leads to the natural, sane and spontaneous negation of this pattern. In other words you clearly see the state “desire driving you to struggle”, and all that it entails (greed, suffering, hope, fear, pettiness etc) and you just reject it. As it occurs again, for if the mind moves the fact is in operation again, you see it again and reject it. This leads to the last stage.
7. You let go.
As you dive into SM meditation the subtle truth that will become ever so painfully clear is that you are the source of your suffering. The mind upon inspecting itself will realize that it is the creator of the very activity that is causing all the grief. For example, when one, seeing greed being the source of all the struggling tries to end it, one is just perpetuating greed by hoping to attain a state free of greed. When one sees oneself struggling constantly and decides to try to stop that, one has in fact undertaken a new struggle. Startlingly, this perpetuation of the current state is all that the mind is capable of doing and SM meditation brings the mind to this realization. This then means that the mind will have to stop its mischief and that requires for it to cease, for you to let go of it. When you arrive here you will know what to do, and it will just be a matter of courage at this point. Have faith, be brave and Jump.
SM Meditation I: Fact of Struggle
The first SM meditation that we will introduce is one of the most powerful and potent. It is the following fact, “One is constantly struggling.” This is the way our mind is at all times- engaged in a struggle. Thus the fact meets the first criteria of being in constant operation in the sphere of self-consciousness. Although the impact of this knowledge on you is unknown (second criteria), in general this fact is quite poignant and usually has a strong impact. Finally, the third criteria requires that you understand the fact intellectually so lets explore it in some detail.
By struggle we are referring to any internal effort that you are placing yourself under. It is meant in the broadest definition of the word and includes any attempt your mind is making to achieve. As you turn your attention to your thinking process you will see that you are constantly setting a goal for yourself and are busy trying to achieve that goal. The question that arises is – Can we ever free ourselves from this pattern of eternal striving? Of course, one must see clearly that trying to free oneself is just another struggle. So negation of the fact is not to try and chase its opposite. To pursue a state of “non-struggle” is still a continuation of struggle. So what is meant by negation instead is to just drop it, finish it, reject it immediately. To summarize then, you have your intention set to see your mind in constant struggle and upon seeing this clearly drop it every time it is noticed. The mind must realize that anything at all it tries to do is just useless – only creating more struggle. Remember the key to SM is that the concept is not the actual. What you need to do is to see the actual, the fact, and not just its interpretation by the mind. The very seeing of struggle is the ending of struggle.
SM Meditation II: Pursuit of the Ideal
The keen mind will start to see that any one piece describes the whole puzzle and that if you can understand one piece completely you will understand the whole puzzle and consequentially all the pieces. The second SM meditation is just another way of describing the current constant state of the mind; it is the fact that “One is always in pursuit of the ideal”. Another way to putting this, which lends itself to be easily seen during meditation is, “One is always subject to ‘shoulds’”. “I should be watching my mind,” “I should not be greedy,” etc. and, as always, to say that you should not be under the control of shoulds is just another “should”.
The ideal is the authority that prevents you from ever just being in the present – as you are. It creates the gap, the conflict, between what is and what should be and then trying to bridge this gap becomes the rest of your life. It results in the endless effort of your mind to arrive somewhere, to become something. This authority arises from two sources. One is the authority of an outside entity which then dictates what one ought to aspire to – how one ought to live one’s life. Two, there is the authority granted to conclusions drawn from past experiences. Authority decrees, do this, do that, be like this, be like that, implying that as things are, as you are, is unacceptable. The problem is that in trying to change, to become the ideal you don’t change at all. In other words, in trying not be greedy you remain greedy and in trying not be selfish you are obsessed with yourself, in trying not to be violent you are in conflict. The ideals are just fictitious. There is no such thing as non-greed, unselfishness, non-violent etc. There is just the perpetuation of greed, conflict etc. SM meditation demands that you see that any attempt to change is to pursue the direction established by another “should”, and so has to be dropped. The only truth is the way things are, exactly at this very moment. Whether it is the conclusions of past experiences or the voices of others that are telling you how things should be, your job is to see the painful condition of always chasing the ideal and reject it.