I’ve gotten some pushback lately about my use of the term “Instant Meditation.” It was felt that calling it “instant” trivializes the long hours that experienced meditators spend in their own practice, as if all the same results could be gotten in an instant.
This surprised me. I hadn’t considered that it could be read that way. Did I need to call it something else, or just do a better job of clarifying what I meant?
What I was trying to say with “Instant Meditation” was that substantially increasing energetic coherence has the effect of clearing the mind and calming the nervous system surprisingly quickly. I noticed a similarity to effective meditation practice. There are lots of different types of meditation, each with their own emphasis and technique. But at the core, each goes for the same thing: differentiating between representational thought (objective consciousness) and non-representational awareness (non-objective awareness) and learning how to shift to the appropriate state to meet the challenges of life.
I first wrote about Instant Meditation over ten years ago in Taijiquan: Through the Western Gate, Chapter 19, “Now and Jin.”
What is jin?
Jin (chin): Power that results from the integrated use of body and consciousness; the physical expression of qi that is directed by consciousness and based in whole-body energetic connection.
There are lots of jins, since there are many ways of expressing qi. The four basic ones in push hands are peng, lu, gi, and an. (Seen in taijiquan forms as Ward Off, Roll Back, Press, and Push. These are postures that help us practice the jins that make them effective.) Ting jin is “listening” or “sensing” jin. Fa jin is emitting jin, where energy is discharged suddenly.
I could go on. I believe that underlying any jin is a state of heightened energetic coherence. (The closest Chinese term I could find for energetic coherence is zhang-ti jin.) So as a practical matter, high-level taijiquan demands a proper state of whole-body energetic connection to crank out the jin. In Western Gate I wrote:
“The primary misunderstanding is that jin is not a ‘thing’; it cannot be objectified.
We can see the consequence of its power, like the way an astronomer can deduce the
presence of a black hole. However, the lack of something tangible is problematic at the
Western Gate. The definition that I suggested earlier, “an expression of energy in a
physical way, directed by consciousness and grounded in a whole-body energetic
connection”, reminds us that “consciousness” has a pivotal role to play in any jin. It can
never be mechanically applied, something that makes the sentries of the Western Gate
quite anxious. This is, however, its greatest strength, since it allows the practitioner entry
into the realm of what the sage might call ‘basic reality’, a view of the world beyond the
limits of the conventional mind…
Transrational and transpersonal states of consciousness become more readily
available in a state of high coherence. In a transrational state, one is not limited by the
rational mind. A transpersonal state is one where a person does not feel her identity is
limited by her skin. There is a sense of connection to a much larger order of things.
A door opens, but that does not mean you are automatically transformed. The
door may not be recognized as such. Or a person can choose to not go through it. Or you
can go through it, be frightened by the unfamiliarity of what you encounter, then run right
back to more familiar terrain.”
“Instant Meditation” gives us a glimpse. It takes us on a quick vacation from the monkey mind into a moment of clarity and peace. Does it last? No, no meditation guarantees permanent bliss. But with practice, you can learn to access the “space between thoughts” any time you like. For the moment, you see the world as it is, NOW.
“Ordinarily, once people let their eyes and ears pursue things, they get stirred up, only to stop when things are gone. This activity and rest are all subjects, but the sovereign ruler becomes their slave. This is “always living with ghosts”.
Secret of the Golden Flower (Translated by Cleary(7)
Many people cannot escape this busy mind. Their own thoughts become enemies that rob them of their strength. Some turn to medication to find peace. This mind is so active that it walks right by the peace it seeks, totally unable to recognize the very thing it wants most. Instead, it looks relentlessly for ideas it can contrast and compare. It won’t release the fruit.
But when one is energetically coherent, something else happens. A veil lifts. The chatter stops. There is space between thoughts. One finds comfort in the insubstantial. The quietude of the transpersonal and transrational becomes available. It is like a sailboat on a vast sea of BEING. It just IS. It never leaves. It just patiently waits there until all the fuss dies down and we apprehend it once again, in all its splendor.
The world you perceive hasn’t changed. Your perceptions have. Your filter is gone. You have suspended your thinking mind. It can be summoned again whenever you need it, and will very likely return of its own accord soon enough. But right now, there is just NOW. The present moment.
The moment that you start thinking about this moment you are no longer in it. You are in another “now” thinking about a symbolic representation of a “now” you used to know. This can be an entertaining and educational endeavor, but it is all too easy to get sucked into the labyrinth of vijnana.
We have already seen how thinking about your finger disrupts your coherence and weakens your body, when compared to just feeling it. Any such mental separation takes your body/mind out of phase. You are dealing with symbolic representations of things, not the things themselves.
If you feel your index finger, you can immediately reconnect all your bits into an energetically integrated unit. You re-awaken your wholeness. The sense of separation dissolves. Of course, this is an opportunity, not a guarantee. Sometimes internal conflict is too great an attraction, even when it is making one miserable. It requires a conscious choice to accept wholeness. If you allow yourself to go into phase (coherence), you have the opportunity to transcend your rational mind (if only a moment).
You may not notice at first that this is happening. The rational mind is trained to look for “somethings,” not “nothings.” It is more inclined to hear noise than silence.
That silence is the source of your greatest power.
“Instant Meditation” is not a destination. It is a tool. Some people count breaths. Some chant. Some affix attention to a candle flame. These are all tools.
Pointing the index finger to heighten energetic coherence is a pretty good one.
(For more thoughts on “Instant Meditation” click here.)