Science is starting to recognise the connection between the ancient and authentic meditation experience and optimal performance states, both at work and play. What the martial artist refers to as “muslin” and elite sportspeople call “the zone” can also be found in the essence of meditation practice. It is primarily useful in stilling the mind. If you can’t get to sleep at night because you’re unable to switch off your thinking or you’ve found yourself walking into a room looking for something, only to realise that you have forgotten why you were there in the first place, meditation can help. It helps by tackling the background mental noise that most of us accept as a normal part of out inner environment.
Should this mental noise sound familiar, chances are you’ve become victim of the phenomenon known as “the monkey mind”. It is a Buddhist term that refers to one’s attention jumping from thought to thought and object to object, while we daydream, ruminate over relationships, dwell on the past and worry about the future. For many people in the twenty first century, fuelled by 24/7 culture, an all persuasive media and a relentless pursuit of consumption, the monkey has morphed into a 400 kilo gorilla with an attitude problem. It is this rampaging primate between our ear that tis responsible for stress, mental disfunction, and loss of wellness that is now more prevalent than ever before.
Sharpen your brain
Contrary to popular perception, meditation is not just about reducing stress or relaxing after a hard day, it can also assist in realising our potential for optimal wellbeing and performance. In other words it is not about modifying, editing or slowing our thoughts. It is about stopping them. It is not about mindfulness but mind-emptiness.
The goal here is a state of optimal being. This is something that occurs not just when we are experiencing authentic meditation, but is a living experience that should be carried out with out through out the day enhancing our moment-to-moment experience of life. In a true state of meditation we remain alert in control and yet free of all thought. It is the experience of a complete inner silence that enables us to master the mind and the mental contentment that in creates, rather than being the minds servant. Mediation is not something you do but a way of being.
This all sounds great in theory, but can the average person achieve this goal? Simply put: Yes. The result of more than a dozen years of scientific research at two of Australia’s leading universities mostly looking at a non-commercial technique called “Sahaja Yoga”, tells us that with a small amount of regular practise anyone can experience this level of clarity. On average, about 10% of participants report attaining such a state of mind on the first try and, with regular practice, the proportion increases steadily. Other studies show a clear relationship on how frequently a person taps into this experience and their mental health, quality of life and well-being. Moreover, the experience costs nothing to learn and is as natural and effortless as riding a bicycle.
Sit in the classic meditation pose with your legs closed and back straight. Place your left hand in your lap and your right hand on your heart. Then repeat the phrase,”I am the spirit” or, “I am pure awareness”. Alternatively, place your right hand flat on your forehead, gently grasping the temples and leaning slightly forward. Then repeat “I forgive. I forgive everyone and I forgive myself”. You can also place your right hand on the top of your head between the crown and your hairline, then repeat, “Please strengthen my experience of inner silence and self-realisation”.