We can easily get bogged down in the mundaneness of life, caught up in the daily grind of just living and surviving yet at the same time most of us are also searching for something bigger, some deeper meaning to all.
So while we go about our daily lives of going to work, looking after the family and watching TV, there are some pretty incredible things we can personally do to unlock a hidden world inside of ourselves which can make any Hollywood blockbuster look like a kindergarten pantomime. These activities can shatter your small world of existence and send your belief systems about who you are and what you think the universe is into tiny little pieces. This is not for the faint hearted!
What makes these activities so awesome is that all you need is a little research and practise and that’s it. No guru’s, no ashrams, no priests, no churches, no other people’s belief systems and baggage, all you need is a healthy dose of curiosity, a sense of adventure and a personal desire to uncover the truth for yourself. There is nothing better that personal experience.
We all dream whether you remember them or not, but it’s when you realise you’re dreaming in the middle of a dream is when the fun starts. In certain Buddhist Traditions Lucid Dreaming is called Dream Yoga, where students are set tasks and challenges to do while Lucid Dreaming to gain insights into the emptiness of reality.
What you can do is train yourself to ‘wake up’ in a dream and then do whatever the hell you like. You can interact with dream characters, change the scene, go flying, visit great moments in history, travel to the future; it’s all up to you. A word of caution though, when you first realise you’re dreaming and you can do what ever you like, often our strongest desire’s take over and that usually is the desire for sex. Seeing as there are no rules to this and no judgements go right ahead and have sex all you want however you’ll eventually get bored with it and want to go have other adventures instead.
The main point is that your sense of self is just as strong as in daily waking life as it is in the lucid dream state. So the question has to be asked if I feel ‘me’ when I’m awake, but also feel ‘me’ when I’m lucid dreaming then I must be more than I think I am. Where is the real me? For a good place to start, www.dreaminglucid.com has some excellent articles and interviews with experienced lucid dreamers.
By learning to become the observer of everything, including your thoughts, actions, words and habits you get a greater understanding of how you operate and interact. It’s very liberating to realise that you can ‘notice’ emotions and not get caught up in them. We often think that our emotions are us, are our identity. You often hear people say “I’m an angry person”, yet if they noticed when they were angry they’d realise that there’s a part of them that does the noticing that they’re angry.
So if you can ‘notice’ you’re reaching for another cookie and you say in your head ‘there I go, reaching for another cookie’, you then have to ask yourself ‘who is that person that does the noticing?’ Who is that aspect of you that’s always there? Who is the I AM part, that is the one constant throughout your life? Go find out.
The ramifications of this practise are incredible. You can spend your entire day just noticing things, things that you never even realised about yourself and suddenly you gain insights into how and why you react to things and uncover deep hidden habits and conditioning.
There are plenty of mindfulness courses out there, but just start by simply noticing the voice in your head and that constant inner dialogue. I recommend any books by Jon Kabat Zinn, Eckhart Tolle or Pema Chodron.
Out of Body Experience.
While similar to Lucid Dreaming, an Out of Body Experience or Astral travelling is a much more tactile, full sensory experience and you actually feel like you are physically someplace other that your body. Most people who are successful in achieving this state swear by the awesomeness of the experience and it can be a life changing event. While some argue that you don’t actually ‘leave’ your body, it’s more like a phase shift in consciousness; it doesn’t really matter as it’s all about the personal experience.
OBE’s have also being described more simply as where your soul leaves your physical body and travels in its astral form rather like the same way ghosts float around, but in this case your astral body can move into different dimensions independent of your body. Pretty freaky stuff I know. One of the classic features of the out of body experience, apart from the vibrations, is looking back down and seeing yourself lying in bed which for many people is that ‘Aha’ moment they’ve been looking for.
There are many experienced OBE practitioners including Robert Monroe (deceased), Robert Bruce, William Buhlman, Ali Wylie, and Bob Peterson along with many others. There are also just as many different techniques to achieve OBE state. So it pays to search the internet widely or read as many books as you can and find a way that connects with you.
However it all comes down to practise, passion and desire. Some will find it easier that others, and be able ‘pop out’ on the first one or two attempts, or you might be like me and practise for years and only have a handful of short excursions. However once you have your own personal ‘aha’ moment, it’s more exhilarating than any roller coaster ride.
Most often people think that mediation is too hard or too boring, but it can be the doorway to discover how multidimensional we really are and you can gain some incredible insights. For me, the main purpose of mediation is to stop for long enough to realise there’s more to ‘you’ that just what’s coming through the five physical senses, what our thoughts are and what conditioning or beliefs we have. Once you discover that you no longer have to solely identify with just the physical aspect of your identity and your limiting thought patterns, a whole new universe opens up that’s ripe for exploration.
Thankfully there are more kinds of meditation techniques and practises than there are breakfast cereals which means you can try a few until you find one that you enjoy doing (or one that you don’t enjoy doing, thus cutting through the comfort of ego according to some traditions). I say it’s good to find one you’re comfortable with as you’re more likely to keep with it and get some good benefits out of it.
Meditations can range from the very simple breathing exercises right up to conversing with the dead. Eckhart Tolle’s simple practise of noticing the sensation / energy in hands is always a prefect quick meditation and can be done anywhere, any time and you don’t look like some bizarre guru while on the train or at the bus stop. Bruce Moen who trained at the Monroe Institute in Virginia, has a simple yet very effective method of meditation where you can connect with people who have died or who are in other dimensions.
While many meditation practitioners, gurus, religions and courses tend to promote their own methods, one of the common themes is regularity, to make mediation part of your daily or weekly life and the reason is so you can stay connected to that non physical part of you, the ‘observer’ I mentioned in the Mindfulness part.
Meditation shouldn’t be a chore or a task, it should be something you enjoy doing, look forward to and gain insights from.
By exploring one or all four topics I’ve very briefly covered, you’ll make the first exciting steps to find out who you really are. I’ve only just given you a small taste of what it can be like and it’s up to you go further down the rabbit hole of personal discovery.
So have fun, have an open mind, lighten up and go exploring.