If you’ve read “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle and other books on the subject, you’re probably convinced of the value of presence, its importance and life-changing effects.
But what exactly is healing meditation? Do we need to always do it in a weird position or while sitting on a chair? How can we bring more presence into our lives?
In this article, I will try to answer these questions from my own personal experience with the subject. If you don’t know anything about meditation, you may want to skip to the benefits in the last headline before reading everything else.
I’ve stumbled across the above-mentioned book several years ago, and after countless rereads and applying its teachings, here is what I’ve learned.
Focus Less on Meditation and More on Presence
The act of meditating is done with the sole purpose of bringing your mind into a state of presence. It is so easy to forget this. I’ve just remembered it a couple weeks ago.
For a while, I’ve been doing healing meditation regularly. I’ve even tried to keep my head clear of worries and of negative thoughts, but I forgot the essential. The goal of meditation is not the absence of thoughts, but the state of presence.
It is a state where, like Eckhart described it, you’re like a watcher observing your surroundings. You do not interpret or put a label on anything but are just watching, listening, to the world around you and the world within you.
For example, remember the time when you entered a library for the first time and it was dead quiet? Personally, I was so startled by the silence that I couldn’t think of anything. I just listened attentively for a sound that never came. All that came was a quiet presence.
Your Senses are at their Peak
This is how you can tell for sure whether you are truly present or not. As Eckhart mentioned, you do not need to dull your senses to become present. Your cognitive abilities aren’t diminished when doing healing meditation properly.
If you are not thinking anything and are feeling your senses dulling, then you are not falling into presence. You are falling asleep.
Sleepiness is a dulling of the senses. Presence is entirely different. It is using your senses to the extreme.
If sleepiness is the state you get in when sitting in bed, then presence is the state you get in when running through an obstacle course. You get sleepy when you read a boring book. You get present when you have sex.
But how can you become present regardless of the situation? That is what all seekers are trying to find. If you’ve practiced healing meditation here and there, you can probably get yourself into a present state if you try.
In case you’re still struggling, here are a few ways that work for me:
- Name the things you see. Let’s say you’re driving your car or going for a walk. Lots of new images and sounds are coming your way, but you ignore them because you’re caught up in your head. To stop the stream of pointless thoughts, focus your eyes on something and name it. Do you see a tree? Say “tree.” Do you see the road? Say “road.”
Continue naming everything around you like you’re a child practicing the language. Road, tree, bark, brown, cat, feet, person, hat, car, etc. Don’t focus on one thing for too long. Name it and move on. Don’t get into any patterns and don’t use judgmental words like ugly, nice, cold, cute, etc.
Focus on the objects, not on their meaning. Be completely random. Your brain will begin focusing on the outside and you’ll slowly get present.
- Listen. There are certain trigger words which induce a state of presence. In my case, if I say “listen,” I tend to stop whatever I’m doing and start listening as if something is about to happen. I naturally become present. Find your own triggers and use them often.
- Open your eyes wide. Have you ever witnessed a view so beautiful you just stopped and admired it? Perhaps you saw a full red moon and got struck by how beautiful it is, or the sea, or a landscape that took your breath away. What did you do when that happened?
In my case, I stopped, opened my eyes wide and took it all in. Then I thought: If you can do that when looking at something grand and majestic, you can do it when looking at a wall or some paperwork as well.
Simply open your eyes wide and look at your surroundings like they’re the most beautiful painting. Look at people as if they were portraits, at the building you’re in as if it was modern art. Every object, sound or view has its own unique beauty, no matter how small or big it is. Give it your utmost attention, like you’re seeing, hearing, or feeling it for the first time.
- Meditate while standing up. There’s a good reason healing meditation is such a popular way to become present. It works!
However, in my experience, if I do it when sitting on a chair or in bed, I tend to close my eyes and fall asleep. So, to combat this, the best way is to stand up like a zombie and stare at a wall.
If you master standing meditation, then in the midst of it, you can try moving your limbs. Remain present while you move around your room, slowly but surely. This can transition into being present while walking, then while doing any other activity.
The Benefits of Healing Meditation and Presence
I got caught up in writing this article and forgot to mention why you should do it. What’s the point of becoming present? Again, from my personal experience (you can also see for yourself), I can name the following:
- 0 Stress. If you can get yourself in a present state for a few days, you’ll soon notice your stress levels drop to 0. Everything around you seems fascinating and interesting. You just observe your spouse’s complaints, but don’t take them to heart. A dish drops and breaks, then you pick it up and throw it like it’s no big deal. It’s like you’re some Guru smiling at worldly problems while stroking your long, white, beard.
- Super Rational! It always bothered me that I’d plan on doing my work at a certain time, but then I’d get distracted and do something else. Isn’t it annoying when you start watching one YouTube clip, plan on getting to work right after, but wake up after seeing 15? Even then, 15 clips in and feeling like crap, knowing full well you should start moving, you simply can’t. You’re too comfortable. You can’t unglue yourself from the damn screed.
Well, that doesn’t happen when you’re high on healing meditation. When you’re suuuper present, you can’t get addicted to anything. You don’t get caught up in television or the internet because you’re just observing. You’re in the flow of presence, and any other flow dissolves before it.
- Super Disciplined! We all make plans. Some of us actually begin working on them. But after a while, even the best feel like taking a break. You feel tired or you get distracted by something. You get caught up in resting and work gets postponed indefinitely.
But that doesn’t happen with healing meditation in the mixt. If you’re extremely present when doing your work, nothing can distract you. When your body tells you to take a rest, you observe it for a second, then move on. If your mind tells you to focus on something else, you observe it, but keep going.
There are stories of people working for days, forgetting about sleep and food because they are so focused on their craft. The mind and body are always complaining, always telling what they want like a child.
Take care of the child within you. Nurture it, but don’t let it lead you. Its whims are rarely in its best interest and they are definitely not in yours.
- Super Social! Words flow like a mountain river when you are present to the conversation. You notice the other person’s feelings and gestures because you’re paying attention to her. There is no need to think and plan ahead. Be present and you will be at your best.
- Great Ideas. After being present for a bit, I reached a state where I could simply remove any thoughts I did not want from my mind. When I would notice a repetitive thought, I’d simply observe it and let it pass.
Because I would let it pass, my mind would soon send me a new, totally different thought. After a while, the thoughts my mind sent me became more and more interesting.
They switched from thoughts about who said what, to thoughts on how to solve my problems, thoughts on opportunities and ideas I’ve never considered before. When I allowed these thoughts to remain, my mind would send me more of the same.
- Super Senses! Ok, I’ve left this one for the end because it might just be my own delusion. However, when I get super focused and present to my surroundings, I seem to see clearer. I’m nearsighted, so everything is always a bit blurry.
But, perhaps because I’m focusing on my surroundings instead of being in my head, I see slightly better. I’ve noticed my hearing improving as well for the same reason. If you’ve been doing healing meditation and noticed something similar, please let me know I’m not crazy in the comment section below.