A Quick Revisit to Sleazy’s “Warmth” and Shinzen’s “Do Nothing”
I put on a hell of a lot of weight while figuring out my posture/myofascia problem, since the tissue wound around the nerves in the left side of my body caused constant pain and made me unable to fully extend my left arm or leg, making exercise very difficult (and painful, and depressing). That issue is now largely resolved, due to a combination of increased awareness of the problem, plus nondirective meditation techniques which allow the nerves to release the myofascial winds, possibly as part of the parasympathetic “rest and digest” circuit. When the issue is fully resolved, I will be happy to write up a complete guide on how I did it, free of charge.
Since I can now exercise again, I have been going to the gym four times a week and eating right, too. Firstly, I will say that this does make a noticeable difference for meditation and general sense of well-being. I suspect that even something like a 15-minute run would create an upward spiral of positive affect.
After the gym last night I decided, for some reason, to try Sleazy’s “let go of thoughts” tech, which I talked about in my review of his book Meditation Without Bullshit. I did this lying on my bed with my hands beneath my head. I started off with the simple verbal command “let go”, repeated softly whenever awareness aggregated into an “object”: so, if I had a thought, I would simply say “let go”; if I heard a sound outside that induced a mental impression (e.g. of a car) I would say “let go”; if I had an emotion identifiable with a label, I would say “let go”. I no longer have an issue with using verbal commands in this way; in fact, I now think it’s not only fine, but is the right thing to do in certain situations. Words are very powerful. The right brain’s maps of meanings can be lit up by a gentle verbal prompt from the left brain.
The above meditation induced a very relaxing state, which was also flowing since I was letting go of mental objects rather than trying to freeze and solidify them. However, I still felt a strong tension surrounding the verbal command “let go”. I realized that this tension came from the fact that I was still attempting to exert control over the meditation, even if that control was somewhat minor in the form of letting go of thoughts. I was instantly reminded of Shinzen Young’s admonishment in his Do Nothing meditation: “If the intent to control the meditation arises, drop that intent.” So, I let go of the intent to control. This was done via a strong recognition of the intent to control, then a simple “not doing that any more”. It also coincided with the verbal command “let go of the intent to control”, but at that point that may have been part of the “package deal” of the hemispheres getting together under a joint realization.
The result was that, while the intent to control was being dropped, there was an almost time-stopping moment during which the “control” formation was fully recognized then began to dissolve and burn away completely. During this moment an extremely warm wave passed through my whole body, apparently correlating with Sleazy’s “warmth” stage in his book. This was interesting to me as ordinarily I experience absorption states as cool healing energies. Subsequent droppings of the intent to control produced similar warmth / “burning away” sensations; really strong, noticeable feelings of relief. It was not long before I fell into something like a combination of jhana and sleep. I was not particularly lucid and was mostly unconscious, emerging periodically into what I would describe as “love-consciousness”; a sea of warmth and bliss. I suspect I fell asleep into an enhanced neurochemical state caused by the gym and the meditation. I will be interested in seeing how this meditation goes in an upright pose! My thought however is that these are not jhanas arising classically as I first surmised when reviewing Sleazy’s book; rather they are states of samadhi occurring with their own characteristics dependent upon the type of nondirective meditation being employed.
After getting up and exiting this state of warmth, and starting to think about making dinner, I began fixating on how good the state had been, and wanting more of it. This kind of craving is a pretty typical reflex when leaving behind something amazing. I am assuming that full awakening must be attained before that craving disappears fully. Until then, it is something that makes meditation more like an addiction – but one that replaces worse addictions, and has other benefits. I ignored the craving and thought nothing more about the meditation.
This morning however was a different story. I woke up feeling really good. Usually I have to do some meditation for that, but today it was not required. While having a piss, I noticed that all the ambient sounds were coming through really clearly; at this moment it dawned on me that the profound mental silence mentioned in a previous post had reappeared, this time of its own accord. This mental quiet has continued to descend upon me at seemingly random times throughout the day, accompanied by visual objects having space around them, more light appearing in the visual field, time perception slowing down or disappearing entirely, and other good right forebrain stuff.
Most interestingly however is that the “warm wave” has begun to happen at seemingly random times also, co-occurring with “bliss for no reason”. This suggests to me that the “relinquishing of control” program has been integrated at a level below conscious awareness and is now triggering itself automatically whenever the “intent to control” formation is recognized. Or, put another way, the meditation has filtered down into the subminds, which are now “meditating me” rather than the other way around. Very, very cool stuff.
I feel very much like a beginner again. I think for some reason that this is the sort of thing I would have experienced in the first year had I followed a reliable meditative tradition rather than doing meditation largely for “the lulz”, on my own path, getting sucked into the pursuit of magick and other crazy experiences. But it doesn’t matter much to me now, for the following reason: Shinzen Young once said (paraphrased) that living one day in liberation makes everything worthwhile. I have now begun to experience that firsthand.