Medication is NOT about sitting in silence trying to think of nothing. If you've never experienced meditation as a fun exciting thing, this video is for you: I'm sharing here 3 discoveries that made meditation one of the most thrilled and creative activities I've ever taken part in.
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FURTHER LEARNING: On my way to nothingness
As promised in the video, I'm sharing here the notes I took on the journey to nothingness. Note that what I wrote wasn't intended to be shared.
"When sitting down, I always tend to go through the same stages when meditating. It almost feels like levels to pass in a video game: they get more and more exciting, they're harder and harder, they always involve a slightly new challenge and comes with amazing rewards. It also has the failure factor and sometimes even a slight fear of the next level…
The pattern seems to be to actually shut down the brain functions from the most recent and most conscious to the oldest and least conscious memories / knowledge.
For me, the whole experience is very visual, for example i see words / sentences fly in the from of my closed eyes.
My levels are:
1. Day's memory - overcome thinking about what recently happen: disconnecting from the present. Overcoming emotions that can be still hot and vivid.
2. Recent memories / Things to do the next day - disconnecting from the past / future. Happens depending on what I've been thinking / doing during the day and what it most relate to. I think I always have to go through both tough, just in different order.
3. Hobbies / Interest or Bad memories / insecurities / fears - disconnecting from interests, ideas, thinking, excitement, joy, and positive emotions or the opposite. This is disconnecting from emotions + intellectual things, all the stuff that have high activity, the hard first hurdle for me because it's interesting stuff (like go) or things that really affect me (like parents divorce recently, buying a flat, looking for clients, running biz / charity / etc, gf, friends, etc)
4. Random memories - disconnecting the unconscious knowledge / information we have but don't use regularly like math, maps, grammatical tables, and random other memories that come back. This can sometimes be easy, sometimes really hard because a weird / super emotional / deep / hidden unexpected memory comes back to you: things I did not I remembered… and then it brings so many thoughts. This one took me a long time because I thought it was a great opportunity to think about these memories and learn from them, enjoy them, and appreciate reliving moments of my life I had forgotten, even if embarrassing / traumatising / etc :) So this one just took a long time but not easy to overcome if in good mood / feeling good.
5. Random words / ideas - a sort of residue of stuff that kind of fly around - I think this is the point at which I completely shut down the part of the brain that deals with language. In this one I have to stop answering to logical / survival / social / emotional cues and cutting myself from others.
6. Visuals - think is generally for me when my brain gets crazy: i think it's fear of what's bellow language… very strange thing to have language shut down to express thoughts / ideas / feelings because they just seem to happen, but without words. So my brain starts throwing loads of crazy visuals in my face: shining stuff, flashes, colours, movement, etc. - overcome activity, ADHD kind of stuff, very primitive sense of following movement. I guess this is shutting down the protection systems. In this one you've got to ignore all attacks your brain throws at you.
7. Shapes - After the crazy stuff, there's a period with intricate shapes that just form and change a bit like a screensaver / visual effect for music, and in this one the way it gets you is by absorbing your mind
8. Colours - I guess the last things left of the neocortex.. this is sometimes almost scary, maybe a better word is daunting because the next stage is very very different, finally the thing that makes us a mammal (according to this definition of the neocortex).
9. Black - in this stage there's nothing but black: my ears don't really work and if there's a loud sound, if I'm doing well, I won't really hear it. It will happen but I won't be processing it. If I'm struggling already to maintain that state of relaxation, then I'll start reacting to the noise and go back x number of levels all the way to fully out of meditation. Getting through this stage can be very quick and easy in good days, almost just a smooth short movie transition to the next stage which is the most exciting and my biggest challenge when it does happen is not to get overexcited because otherwise I jump back up x levels… which always feels disappointing because this one is the first amazing present. Previous stages all make me feel happier, calmer, more relaxed,etc…. but this one is amazing, the first cherry on the cake.
10. Nothingness: in this stage, black disappears and I feel nothing. It's like all my brain functions besides vital ones and ones that keep me up are off. I don't feel my body, I don't feel / hear / smell / think about anything. It's like I just am. It's incredibly liberating because I kind of feel like one with everything although this doesn't really describe the experience properly because it's such a cliche, I'd need to find a better way to explain it. Passing this stage hasn't happen to me since I stopped mediating when I went to high school. Before that it just happened easily, 1st time probably after me 2-3rd trial… I didn't have to go through all the other stages or must have done them very quickly but don't remember them for sure. I just realised this now when thinking about the last 4 years.
11. Outer body experience - I've only once felt I was getting close to this stage in 2011 when I was meditating in whitechapel. It was an amazing meditation session and I suddenly jumped through colours, black and nothingness so quickly I suddenly fell like I was disconnecting from my body like I've been disconnecting from every other "brain functions". But then I got excited because I hadn't felt that since I was 17 and I jumped back up and couldn't get back. So I can't be helpful about this for the moment. I hope to get there again because it felt very exciting, even remembering having experienced it, I can't clearly remember how it was. I just remember it feeling very very different from anything else, like in movies but I just remember experiencing being out of my body and seeing from outside of my body but can't really remember what it was like, if this makes any sense.
12. I wonder what happens here….?"