Higher consciousness meditation exercise – the you nobody knows
This exercise was undertaken from the many fantastic exercises in ‘Higher Consciousness in 30 Days‘ by Keith Harary and Pamela Weintraub – strongly recommended! Please go buy, we love this book!
You don’t have to drop out of society, move to the Himalayas or eat yeti meat for five years to do meditation exercises aiming to develop a sense of higher consciousness. The everyday world contains all the elements needed to experience your reality in new and fascinating ways. In this meditation exercise you strip away your ideas of yourself to see what’s left.
Who are you? A construction worker, burlesque performer, teacher, bartender, shop worker or computer programmer? A parent, child or lover to your spouse? Are you a Brazilian? A member of Mensa? Or do you conceive of yourself in broader, more abstract terms: Adventurer, dreamer, artist, buccaneer, activist or survivor of life?
Now, who are you when you peel away these layers of identity and reach into the inner core of your personal existence?
Does some deeper, more basic aspect of your identity – your ‘inner’ self – lie waiting to be discovered beneath these everyday roles?
In the following exercise, you will explore this possibility by pretending that all your memories are merely products of your imagination.
Begin by choosing a place where you can be completely alone for a couple of hours. If that’s impossible, try to be alone for about 20 minutes. Longer is better, but a short time is better than not doing the exercise at all. You can also do this exercise if you’re alone with strangers (on a plane, or bus or train).
Sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes and take a deep breath.
As you continue to breathe in and out slowly, let your life pass before you. Recall childhood events, major life accomplishments or mistakes, memories of family and friends. Don’t get analytical about past relationships or get stuck on particular events and feelings. Just let your impressions come and go.
Ask yourself: How does it feel to be the person you’ve become?
After you’ve allowed yourself to focus on these thoughts for at least 15 minutes, take another deep breath.
As you breathe, focus on how alone you are at this moment. Pay attention to your physical environment and your body’s sensations. Continue to breathe slowly.
Now imagine the experiences you have just recalled fading in a mist. Imagine that your present situation and immediate surroundings represent the whole of reality. Everything you remembered about the world and your life, the people and events in it, is imaginary. In fact, you’ve just come into existence in the past few moements. Continue to focus your imagination on this idea for at least 15 minutes, or even better anythinng up to 1 hour.
Now ask yourself this: If everything you remembered about your life is a product of your imagination, who are you?
Is there some aspect of your existence – a particular set of values or a relationship with another pserson – that appears to transcend mundane levels of reality and that is impossible to imagine as an illusion?
In the last half hour of this exercise, allow yourself to imagine that you were born in to a completely different life.
Is there a ‘real you’ that would still be there even if you had been born in another place an time, existed in a completely different reality, or weren’t even human? What aspects of your personal identitty – if any – would continue, unchanged, had you been born in the days of King Arthur, or had you lived as a giant octopus on the ocean floor?
Finally, take another deep breath.
As you let it out, ask yourself how you know that your life, as you experience it, really exists at all. How do you know you are not merely imagining the details of your everday existence? For all you know, you may really be lichen growing on some forgotten rocks, so bored and miserable with life as you know it that you have simply imagined the details and complications of an apparent human existence as a distraction.
After you have entertained yourself iwth this bizarre concept for a while, allow your thoughts to drift back to the everyday world.
Transcendental tip: With regular practice, this exercise can help you approach everyday reality in a different way: Not as boring, habitual or conflicted, but rather as a realm of expanded possibility that responds to your true creative self. This exercise can also put you in touch with the most sacred, enduring aspects of your life and help you to appreciate qualitites that do not depend upon the transitory, material world.