Feeling The Past? Beat It Back To Live Your Future

Spending so much time in my head – because I ride by myself so much – I’ve started to develop an awareness of the moment when my unconscious moves an idea into my conscious mind. It’s startling to experience the influence of a past pattern trying to rekindle its influence and it is wonderful to sense my emotions begin to build as that influence almost takes hold. I’m starting to be able to observe the process start as opposed to allowing it to continue, only to reflect on the poor choices later. Stopping the emotions allow me to return to logical thinking; which tends to render a much easier and quicker movement through whatever it was that almost triggered my past to begin again.

This skill is developing because I’m able to spend a lot of time by myself, thinking about stuff then thinking about nothing and repeating over and over again. Hard bike riding is meditative to me because the intense efforts or challenging terrain make necessary a silencing of the mind and a shut-down of that audible internal narrative that causes me to believe I am the center of the universe. It is of practical advantage because the trail eventually gets easier or I tire from the exhaustive effort and slow down; both of these things tend to shut off the meditation, re-empowering the voice to remind me that I am all that matters. The key thing is, after having consolidated your consciousness into the present moment, you become aware of things that you had stopped considering or had not normalized.

For example, my clothes don’t matter when I’m 3/4 of the way up a big hill. What the guy who cut me off on the way to the gym yesterday thinks about me doesn’t come into my awareness when I’m about to lock up my front wheel on gravel just to slow down enough to not launch over the escarpment fence. This stuff doesn’t exist then because I can’t manufacture it into existence. And when I’m not so tired or so focused on not crashing this knowledge carries forward into my conscious mind. I KNOW it doesn’t matter so it’s much easier to push the thought out of my head or simple justify them out of existence because I know they are the creation of something from my past and not necessarily the reflection of what I want for my future.

That is a summary of course and it represents the evolution of an aspect of self-awareness that has taken close to 15 years to move from not being considered, not just as a possibility but at all, to a well organized reality that I am able to engage, observe and manage.

So what? Well, given that we are pattern matching machines with a tendency to unconscious automation of anything that requires effort, we are most likely going to repeat patterns over and over and over again until we do something to stop repeating them. We KNOW something isn’t working for us, but we just keep doing it like a mindless computer following a program that has been written because we are, in many ways, mindless computers that run programs that were written in the past by our experiences and interpretations. Given this, one is not likely going to escape their past (stop running the program) until they accept that it is happening, which can take a while. They must then learn how to interfere with the program by preventing it from starting (avoiding the triggers entirely which is really tough to do) or observing the program beginning to start and stopping it dead. One gains a tremendous amount of independence and self-control by learning how and what these these old programs feel like, so in many ways self-awareness is the solution while avoidance is a treatment.

Our pasts become our future when we allow old patterns to become present behaviors. If these patterns are not working for you, you NEED to break them and you need to gain awareness and feel them before you are able to stop them. It can take a while to gain this awareness, but once you have it, you’ll be able to beat back these old patterns and create your future based on what you decide as opposed to what you did in the past.

Posture, Breathing, Intention, Aura – What I Meditate On

Posture, Breathing, Intention, Aura are the things that I will meditate to when my attention is not better placed elsewhere. Each one leads into the next one, building into the presentation of a purposeful me.

Appropriate posture is absolutely critical for taping into the energies of your body. When you first feel your body blend in with the earth’s gravity you will understand exactly what I am talking about. Gravity seems to pull the hips downward in such a way that they force the shoulders back, opening up your chest. It’s a powerful feeling that tells you that you are aligned. As the feeling builds, your mood and thinking will change to correspond to this improved state. Your breathing will become easier and deeper.

Once this happens, I shift my attention on to my breathing. I will be breathing from the belly instead of the chest. My diaphragm will be drawing air deep into the lungs and the abdominal muscles will be contracting and forcing it out. This will be a dramatic change from the normal shallow chest breathing that is more common and the consequences will be improved oxygen and CO2 exchange, increased breath size, decreased breathing frequency and a passive massaging of the organs of the abdomen. As attention remains on the breathing, there is a building sense of energy and stillness of the mind. Now I direct my attention to my intention.

When I’m mediating, my intention is to find peace and unity. I find these things when my mind is silent and they come about because of the sensation of NOT being ME. Thoughts and feelings of me being a part of everything, part of the individual global picture that everything belongs to, are peaceful because I am aware of no suffering and no isolation. It is within this peace and unity that I find the power to create and build my intention aura.

My aura is the energy I give off or sum total of the paralanguage that I radiate. Some people see energy auras radiating off of other people, others pick up on an energy field that radiates while others present paralanguage communications that indicate to everyone around them that they are positive, powerful, confident, at ease, peaceful and open. These may or may not be the same thing, but in this deepest stage of my mediation I am attempting to build an aura that others can pick up and draw power from. I want to beam energy and positive intention to everyone who sees me and I want to coat myself in a field of energy that allows me to hold on to this aura for as long as I can. It may seem unlikely, but people have commented on me looking different when I do this. They are unable to place exactly what it is that they are picking up on, so they just say different, and maybe a little brighter.

I will focus more on aura than anything else because of the four items as it is the only one that you cannot measure.

My practice of aura building goes back to my university days when I lived with Tony and Beth and was prone to fall asleep in front of the TV at night. As I feel asleep I would try to focus my attention on feeling a warmness within my fingers or toes. If you think about it, other than when you injure yourself or are in some sort of distress, you are rarely aware of anything existing within your body – you know there is something inside your head when you have a head ache, your back when you have back ache, in the muscles when delayed onset muscle soreness and your stomach when you bring in food or cold water. But you are, for the most part, oblivious to internal sensations of your limbs. This makes sense, given that the human perception works by determining contrasts – when you are not injured or sore, you have no reason to be aware of your limbs and will quickly and completely habituate any awareness. My goal with turning my attention towards my fingers or toes is to tune in to these sensations and try to perceive them.

It takes a few minutes to feel something but I slowly become aware of a warmness either in the fingers / toes or in the hands / feet. My eyes are closed so I imagine that blood is pooling in the extremities and this is create both a pressure and an increase in temperature – whether or not this is happening is irrelevant, what is critical is that I feel it happening. Once I feel the heat, I work at growing the heat up my arms / legs towards my torso. As the sensation builds I shift my focus towards my arms or legs, depending on how I started the aura-nurturing portion of the mediation. The sensation is a lot easier to generate once the whole thing has been set in motion and very quickly I feel both my arms and legs and my torso quickly fills up with feeling. As the awareness takes over my entire body, I reestablish the connection to my breathing and allow it to keep the sensation alive. I will try to maintain the feelings for as long as I can, imagining that there is something radiating from my body. Since my eyes are closed I visualize a sort of blurry field about 6-12 inches surrounding every part of me – I imagine that it is like looking at the top of a toaster that is on when the heat coming off of it makes the air rising from it look and behave like a liquid. I try to see myself surround in a field of that. After some time I would fall asleep. Upon waking the next day I would find myself full of energy and beaming with a social confidence and I’d be free from anxiety.

The aura building process works the same sort of way now, except I use the posture, breathing and intention steps to prime my body and mind and get them ready for it. After a lot of practice I am able to achieve this state with my eyes open and when I’m doing other activities like riding a spinning bike, climbing a hill or cruising a long straight section on a road bike or climbing a steady section on a mountain bike. With my eye closed I find the sensation easy to create when I’m doing resistance training. In fact, I credit my ability to generate this body awareness for big improvements in isolating specific muscles during resistance training sessions when it is critical to feel the muscle contracting.

I did say that this is the only item of the four that cannot be measured so why would I make it the biggest part of my mediation? Well, because I think there is something happening and I do enjoy improved feelings when I focus on generating an aura. Even if it is only psychosomatic, the improved feelings of well-being are worth the effort. It is also possible that the sensation of heat that I generate plays a similar role as delayed onset muscle soreness in letting me know that there is more of me than I am normally aware off. I’d liken this to the increase in confidence that many body builders experience when they gain weight. They feel more confident because there is actually more of them. Regardless of the mechanism of action, I do find an increased sense of wellness following this type of mediation.

“Posture, Breathing, Intention, Aura” said repeatedly until I tune into each one of them. It’s a great way to your attention onto something that will make you feel better.