Now that we have explored the reality of our infinite worth, gained a reasonable understanding of how our perception functions in line with this truth and, in turn, have formulated meta and specific intentions to frame our meditational practice, we are now ready to look at the central meditative technique of Infinite Worth Meditation; ‘conscious discernment’. The technique of ‘conscious discernment’ is quite simple in itself but requires a meditative context of single pointed focus towards the ‘outer’ unfolding information of one’s perception in order to employ this technique. If you have had experience with meditation, you’ll understand that this technique isn’t ‘new’ but what is unique about what we are practicing here is the reasoning and intentions that provide the motivation behind such practice, which enables us to experience this technique with layers of new meaning that has been built over the course of the previous blogs. Another aspect of this technique that gives it originality is how it is explained, as we will continue to analyse the perceptual mechanics at play behind that add to the reasoning and description of this technique.
To add further layers of structure to our meditative experiences, we can generally divide experience itself up into two categories of information; ‘outer and inner’. Your entire inner metaphysical half to experience includes ‘thought / imagination’ and ‘emotional’ information and your ‘outer’ physical half includes the 5 different types of information your senses interact with and co-create. Meditation can be done with eye’s opened or closed. Although we will explore ‘eye’s open’ meditation, this initial explanation of IWM meditation will be with eye’s closed in order to eliminates a lot of visual information, the most dominant form of ‘outer’ information we experience. The reason being that, whilst learning the subtleties of this technique, we want to limit the amount of information present that can be distracting in this context. Having eyes closed helps us better distinguish the presence of metaphysical-information in comparison to our 'outer physical environment', as our entire outer-perception is enshrouded by the ‘inner metaphysical-side’ of experience.
Although we have ‘shut down’ the visual representation of the outer world around us, we are still attentively in touch with the outer world via our other four senses, which can now serve to dominate our consciously directed attention. These 4 sensory-based channels of attention, that are perpetually fixed on the informational transformation from chaos to order upon the body’s contact with its surroundings, are generally given less conscious attention compared to the attention we channel through our visual sense because, compared to visual information, these other senses seem less dimensional and stimulating compared to the barrage of diverse information we get fed via our visual sense. However, the possibilities absorbed through these information channels are extremely complex and provide our body and mind with a constant deluge of diverse information, which is integral for the constant internal mapping of perceived reality and subsequent movement through the external world. In order to further structure our meditation experience though, we will be consciously focusing our attention on to the information being actualised from potentiality (sensory processing) via our auditory and tactile faculties. We will quietly listen to and consciously feel our breath, which is our target for our consciously focused attention. Upon close inspection, it is quickly realised how layered with detail our audio and tactile experience of the present moment truly is.
By consciously directing our silent attention towards, and thus valuing, possibilities of our perception we often ignore we set ourselves up to experience deeply complex unfolding differentiation of information that is always present but rarely valued. The surprise and appreciation that develops towards these humble yet infinitely complex aspects of your perception leads to an ever-illuminating sense of appreciation and love for the present creation of the ‘outer’ experience, which we are an inseparately important player in constructing. This gratitude and humility that underlies such outwardly beamed attention, is the alignment with Self values we want to experience, as it is these grounded states of external focus that mimic the love Self has with the possibilities it creates as the perception of the world. Therefore, we are practicing how to consciously look in the same direction as intended by your whole embodied ancient emotional wisdom, unlocking the vastness of the ‘complete’ you; the Self that underlies self.
Meditation is a direct means to develop sensitivity towards ego activity (thoughts that unfold from sub-consciously held false beliefs in being separate and 'of lack') mainly because, when we direct our attention on a particular aspect of our ‘outer’ experience (ie the sound / feel of our breath), it becomes more obvious when we become distracted by the involuntary intrusion of thought produced by our ego, which is an aspect of our ‘inner metaphysical' experience. With the intention of outer-focus, your thoughts become louder and more obvious, as many of the thoughts we experience occur without us even realising that we are directing our attention in this internal direction. Thought-distraction arises from the ‘opposing side’ of experience (inner-metaphysical), which causes the presence of thoughts to be more pronounced when your motivation is to focus on the ‘outer’.
Humans are so accustomed to prioritising value towards and paying attention to their own thoughts, as a result of being sub-consciously convinced by the belief that these thoughts are the most authoritative and informative part of our identity and experience. We don’t realise how much time we waste attending to and being influenced by unnecessary and false thoughts, which act to limit our identity and subsequent life experiences. When you live in a sea of thoughts, which often encourage individuals to focus to heavily on how others perceive oneself, it becomes difficult to even ‘be aware’ when you’re engaged in such internally created self-distraction. Meditative focus on the ‘outer’ helps us more ‘consciously discern’ when our attention makes an obvious shift from ‘outer’ to ‘inner’. As a result, we develop an ‘objective awareness’ of our own thoughts, which is effectively the process of deepening into the unconditioned nature of pure consciousness. One must be ‘purely and silently aware’ to observe one’s noisy thoughts, as ‘where’ you are observing from exists no noise.
This technique is about simplicity and, therefore, is easy for deeper aspects of your 'impersonal being' but can more challenging for ‘ego’ levels of your consciousness that are always feeling the need to ‘do something’ in order to be in control. You firstly want to find a space where you can focus without much distraction and where you can comfortably sit for an extended period of time. It doesn’t matter if you sit on the ground or in a chair, as long as you can sit with your back straight, which helps you stay attentively focused throughout the session without falling asleep. Before sitting you may want to read the meta and specific intention of Infinite Worth Meditation to help structure a background awareness of ‘why’ you are partaking in such activity. Once you’re sitting comfortably with a straight back close your eyes and start paying attention to your breathing.
There are a number of different breathing techniques that help you settle into a solidly focused state of meditation, but I use just one type, which is a very common one. Breath in through your nose and simply hold your breath for a couple of seconds once you have completely filled your body with air. Then slowly, in a controlled manner, begin releasing your breath through your mouth. As you release, increasingly let go of the control required to slowly release and then completely let go of your breath so you’re completely empty and again hold that emptiness for a couple of seconds before restarting the cycle. Beginning your meditation with this breathing technique forces your attention on the need to consciously control the cyclic pattern of your breath, which creates a context of ‘outer focus’. However, as your meditation progresses, you’ll likely find that your breathing will become less accentuated and will find its own calm cyclic rhythm.
Once you fall into a focused rhythmic state of breathing, consciously focus on the 'always fresh' possibilities that make-up the breath itself. Notice the uniqueness of each inward / outwards breath in relation to the sound of air entering and exiting the body and the physical feeling of your breath travelling reciprocally between the ‘outer and inner’ environments. Try to only focus on either the sound or feel at a time, whilst interchanging from time to time, and let that single pointed concentration fill up your entire awareness of the present. Placing all your attention on the breath is very powerful to notice the continually changing transformation of the present moment and your reciprocal relationship with it. Metaphorically, every in breath we take represents the absorbing and subsequent integration of free chaotic information, while the outbreath represents the utilisation and projection of updated orderly knowledge into the outer, marking our constant movement forwards as we expand in to the unknown. The focus on our breath gives us a structure, framed around the already established intent, to work within, as we have essentially set up a game of boundaries to facilitate Self-discovery.
However, as your exploring the intricacies of your breath, it is inevitable that your thoughts will take centre stage of your consciousness. When you find yourself in a state of ‘distraction’, you have sub-consciously turned (unconscious choice) the direction of your attention from your breath to what your ego-mind thinks is more important; itself. Values constructed by your self-belief in lack and limitation provides a strong influential force over your attention, directing it on listening to what the personal conscious mind of one's ego has to say about all the things that occur in your life. It’s not that your thoughts just appear and you can hear them, it’s that you have directed your attention to what your constantly active conscious mind thinks about everything, which you view as a central aspect of your identity, as a seemingly separate finite individual. This unconscious / sub-conscious stealing of attention is all the subtle workings of your ego.
Many people struggle with meditation because, when they do get distracted by their own thoughts, they view themselves as being ‘incompetent’ at meditation. This is completely wrong. Meditation is the process of letting these natural movements of one’s attention occur, whilst being objectively aware of such movements in relation to the intentional direction of one’s attention. By silently watching our attention get hijacked by value systems that do not align with our meta and specific intentions of meditation, we expose sub-conscious / unconscious belief structures that make-up our identity. Thus, falling into states of distraction is a part of the meditative process and is to be completely expected. In fact, it is a good thing, as it gives us an opportunity to practice taking control of attention based on deeper Self values, in turn deconstructing the hollow authority of 'beliefs in lack' that are structured within our psyche.
Upon noticing this shift in your attention, simply acknowledge this process to yourself consciously then straightforwardly choose to redirect your attention to the breath, knowing the information you intend to focus on aligns with a deeper value system than that of your ‘more shallow’ personal ego’s values. You have just consciously discerned the subtle shift in your attention from the ‘outer’ to the ‘inner’ and upon noticing this subtlety you chose to consciously ‘take control’ of your attention based on the intention and free will to prioritise and explore a more fundamental value system. This is a significant moment. You have successfully become aware of the play of shallow, yet very powerful, belief driven value systems that structure your mind, resulting in consciously disempowering the perceived importance of ego-driven shallow sub-value systems by voluntarily valuing the experience of alignment with simpler and deeper ancient ‘life values’. This ‘conscious discernment’ between the play of various value systems within you and their influence on attention, is a step towards your own evolution. Upon ‘witnessing’ that your attention was not on your breath anymore, you had to occupy an underlying level of ‘objective awareness’ or ‘pure consciousness’ that triggered the awareness that your attention moved off your breathing and on to your thoughts. Everytime you do this you prove to yourself how ‘in control’ of your attention and life you truly are.
Every time you catch the ego’s influence, hijacking your attention, you must recognise the 'pure consciousness' you are in order to simply be aware of it and notice the simplicity in which you redirect your attention to the breath. In these moments of ‘conscious discernment’, you are positioning yourself within the silent spaceless dimension of the fundamental witness, where Self lovingly observes all. This experience of ‘pure consciousness’ is by far the most powerful and influential perceptual position that you can embody, as this is the bedrock of your identity. Redirecting your projection of attention to the ‘outer’ is done with emotional reassurance of knowing this direction of ‘looking’ is of a deeper priority. It also comes easy because it is done with ‘love’, as there is no resistance when we are prioritising the love Self has for the outer world as itself. The ‘personal you’ is nested within the ‘impersonal you’, therefore it is very natural to consciously be the ‘unlimited experiencer behind the limited experiencer’ to disempower the ego’s hollow authority over your attention.
As I mentioned previously, this technique is a new interpretation of age-old practices, as this is this process of realising you are in distraction land then redirecting your focus back to the breath is at the heart of most meditation practice. But I hope this explanation in context with previous posts, helps you see more clearly the inherent significance of why this process is so profound and identity / life changing. It is important to note that you’ll likely not experience a linear direction of improvement, as you may have a very deep sit down one day, then enter the next meditative experience with the same expectations, which are not met to the same extent. This does not matter. What does matter is that you are dedicating the time and focus towards the love you have for your own infinite worth via the practice of ‘conscious discernment’. As long as you keep sitting with these intentions in mind then, over time, improvement with how long you can sit in states of peace and wholesomeness will inevitably increase, which in turn opens up more and more opportunities for you to directly experience the truth of your identity, inexhaustive value and original potential.
As you align your consciously focused attention with the natural sense-based attention channels of your natural beingness, silence and sharp focus become central to your experience and thus identity. It is likely you’ll find your attention open up more and more expansively to the ‘outer’ experience the longer you hold it on the breath, until you may not be specifically focused on your breathing anymore but instead your whole embodied experience is enveloped by infinite complexity of the whole external field of integrating information. The identity division caused by the boundary of your body becomes less and less apparent, as the true relevance and intimacy of the outer possibilities are being rightly perceived for the unique value they signal as a reflection of your own inherent worth.
This process is of course supported by your emotions. When your attention is consumed by information streaming in from the external world, there is a feeling that embodies the reality of the unbroken reciprocated flow of information transfer that marks your inseparability with the world around you. This feeling is the result of duality between the observer and the observed being consciously collapsed into a state of ‘non-duality’. This feeling can only be described as ‘wholeness’. This wholeness marks the perception of a foundational ‘truth’; that you have never been separate from the outer world. When you enter this state, with the understanding of why this emotion is occurring, it becomes easier to maintain this open flow of silence, as this is your natural expansive identity and is a deeply peaceful, fulfilling and meaningful emotional state to embody. Given the emotional depth of such experience, that can only occur when one’s conscious desires align with the ancient unchangeable desires of your ‘being’, the incentive to remain ‘fixed on the present moment’ is innately strong. This experience is the goal we are trying to achieve; the experience of being the eternally loving presence of Self, that infinitely equally loves oneself, as the observer, and that which is observed, as the possibilities that make up one's projected perception.
Eventually, you will become your own teacher with this practice, as you will figure out when and where the best time to meditate is and for how long. I would recommend first thing in the morning or just before bed and I would also recommend to do some writing after meditation, especially in relation to the types of thoughts that stole your attention. Such explicit analysis can help you dig up what unconscious values your ego-identity holds in order to consciously dismantle any that don’t align with the truth of you infinite worth. However, we will discuss the power of writing in a future blog. Also remember the meditative practice of ‘conscious discernment’ can be applied to any of the 5 senses. I would recommend exploring the field of boundless blackness we see visually with our eye’s closed. This is another great doorway that opens your attention up to the reality of the infinite that is always apart of you and that you are always a part.
Check out the vlog that goes with this blog. Click on the link below.....
Also, check out the associated guided meditation that takes you through the practice of 'conscious discernment' below.....