Mr. Walsch: Thank you so much for CWG. To say it is amazing is a masterpiece of understatement. A lot of your book verifies things I already feel are true. Some of it, as you know, is truly surprising. I am on my second reading.
This is a book that must be read several times. A question I would hope you would be able to address is about meditation. I live in an apartment complex that is adjacent to a four lane street.
Although I am a senior citizen, I have very good hearing. My problem is that the traffic sounds, etc., distract me when I try to meditate, and I would appreciate any suggestions you have on how to overcome this.
Betty, Portland, Oregon.
When you meditate, Betty, the first hint is to stop trying to do anything. That is, don't even try to meditate! The art of meditation is the art of letting go-of everything-including the hope, dream or expectation of having a good meditation. Just sit there. Be quiet with yourself. Don't try to block out noises and other distractions. Rather, make them part of your experience. Bring them in. Include them. But don't think about them as "noises" or "distractions." That's a judgment. That's the mind working; deciding things about it. Don't decide. Just listen. Hear the noises, but "pay them no mind." Make nothing of it. Let me say that again. Make nothing of it.
Remember when we were kids, and we'd just barely mention something to another person who was sensitive, and they'd say back to us, "Sooo??? You wanna make something of it?" And we'd back down, right? Because we didn't want to "make something of it." Well, now it's the same way with your mind. The trouble with your mind is that it's like that inquisitive little kid - until it's silenced. It wants to "make something" of every piece of data that comes in. Noises, sights, smells. Everything.
Now it's up to you to challenge your mind to stop that. Every time your mind connects with an outside stimulus, just say, "Yeah, so what? You wanna make something of it?" Then your mind will get that there's nothing going on here. That a noise is just a noise. A smell is just a smell. That's all it is and it's not anything more.
It doesn't have to interfere with anything. Anything. Not even your meditation. Better yet, it can be part of your meditation!
But it can never be part of your meditation if you are trying to do something in your meditation called "be quiet." The object of your meditation is not to be quiet. It is to be still - which is not the same thing at all. Being still means simply being "with" whatever's going on. So, Betty, be with the traffic sounds, and whatever other noises are out there. Hear them, maybe even count them. Categorize them, if you want to.
Then, set them aside and get back to simply listening to your breathing. Go back to your breathing and just listen to that. You'll block out the other sounds automatically. But not if you become annoyed by them, distracted by them. Never be annoyed or distracted by life. It is just life, happening. Let the meditation happen as part of it. I know people who could sit down in the middle of Times Square and meditate. Within 30 seconds, they're gone. Out of it. Spaced. I mean, that's how people see it.
Actually, they've moved deep into meditation upon the moment. So deep that the moment no longer runs against the grain of the meditation, but becomes what the meditation is all about. You see?
Now, then, as you begin to concentrate on your breathing, which you can always hear, no matter what is going on around you, start also to focus your attention on a spot between and just above the eyes. Focus on that spot. There are a lot of ways to get there. Some people like to begin with an "inventory,” focusing on all other areas of their body first, as a means of achieving total relaxation. So they focus on their toe, for instance. Then their ankle. Then the leg, the knee, the thigh, and so on, in this way "being with" every part of their physical body. They watch each part relax.
They may even order it to. That's fine. That's okay. That's one way to achieve relaxation. Actually, there is no "right" way. Just do what works for you. But finally, when you feel you've become "unwound,” and are just sitting there, being with the moment, then begin to draw your attention to this little space I've talked about behind the center of your forehead, above and between the eyes.
Interesting things can happen when you do that. Don't be surprised if you encounter a dancing blue/white "flame,” or light. Don't be surprised if you are overcome, as you become immersed in that light, with a feeling of well being, warmth and oneness that can only be described as ecstasy. Not happiness. Not even joy. But pure ecstasy. Peace. Unity.
Another way to get into the mental space for meditation is to do some guided imagery. This is a form of mental practice that gently quiets the mind and opens the heart. It is done with the help of an audio cassette tape that leads you through the process. It's great for those who are beginning meditators and who want to gain some experience in working with the mind in this way.
Every week we present a new bulletin written by Conversations with God author Neale Donald Walsch. Once you've signed up you will be sent CWG related emails and a notification whenever the newest bulletin is available.