You’ve been meditating consistently for an extended period of time now, and you’re ready to take your practice to the next level. Perhaps you’ve now reached a plateau and you’re wondering if meditation is really working … or when you’ll arrive at the next stage. Inevitably, at some point, we all come to a place of expectation that something profound should be happening during our practice, and we begin to question how we can take the next step to deepen our experience.
Modern day society teaches us that after a certain period of study, our natural progression is to graduate to the next level. We’re taught to calibrate on results and that our goals should be measurable. The paradox of the ancient teachings is to unlearn this exact process; to let go of attachment to outcome, and surrender to experience versus intellect. Herein lies our greatest challenge on the spiritual path.
There are four fundamental components to deepening one’s meditation practice and, subsequently, spiritual evolution. They are stillness, silence, space, and surrender. Higher altitudes of terrain require more refined approaches to navigating the territory. Let’s explore …
Let’s face it, we’re all moving too fast in life, and we’re paying attention to things that distract us from ourselves and one another. Stillness is about slowing down. It’s not the absence or suppression of movement; rather, it is a state of equipoise and equanimity. The busier we are, the farther we are from tapping into our ability to connect to our own inner stillness.
When we foster the art of slowing down and creating space, we begin to glimpse that which we seek. Consciousness lies at the core of our being, like an internal axis on which our reality and qualia (qualities of consciousness) spin around us chaotically. Using mantra in meditation and being rooted in stillness, we traverse the space of consciousness. Time ceases to exist, and we transcend the space-time continuum.
To really set the stage for deepening your meditation, creating space for silence is paramount. It is important to recognize the power of silence, and the degree to which the teachings can be experienced as a result of book-ending our practice with this energy.
Cultivate more silence in your life. Schedule one hour each day, one day each week, or one week each quarter where you completely disconnect from all media stimuli and interaction with people to be silent. Nature is a great support structure for reconnecting to the primordial vibration of the divine presence in and around you. When approaching your meditation practice each day, promote silence for a set period of time—five minutes, 30 minutes, or one hour—before you sit and upon emerging from your meditation. Silence energizes the meditation; it pervades all nature and connects us directly to consciousness, the ground state of existence.
Chances are, you’ve already designated and set up your meditation space, and you also are a seasoned meditator who knows you can meditate anywhere—even while on the go! So, let’s explore the conversation of space at a richer, more refined level.
As meditators, in our daily lives we’ve become cognizant of the space around us and how the energy of our surroundings affects us. As we move into more purified states of consciousness, we recognize space as the universal container of energy and information that is self-aware. Deepak Chopra teaches us to become sentient to the space between sensations, images, feelings, thoughts and emotions. Space then becomes a matrix for these transformative energies to coincide, which results in a canceling out of thought and experience as there is no longer space to contain them. This is what’s known as transcendental consciousness, or Turiya in the ancient Sanskrit language.
Surrender requires a willingness to unlearn all that we have been taught in terms of how proficiency evolves. Surrender requires gentleness, patience, and non-judgment. Surrender would have us relinquish all attachment to how our encounters should play out, how events should unfold, and how our experiences should progress. Surrender is simply a state of being as opposed to an act of doing. Through the practice of meditation, surrender invites the mind to dissolve into deeper states of consciousness.
And this is how you take your meditation to a deeper level; simply by sitting each and every day, and cultivating the stillness, silence, space, and surrender to allow the experiences to unfold.