COURSE of STUDY, breaking free of self defeating patterns

What people experience during meditation

Dr. Pam Blosser’s experience has much to give in illustrating how spiritual disciplines empower you to change because they create a new consciousness of self-revelation that becomes part of your thinking, awake or asleep, creative or meditative.

I have a nervous habit of picking at the dry skin around my fingernails. I knew this habit was based on a conscious thought from the past I had long since blocked out. Discovering the thought would help me break the habit.

On a visit to my family I set a goal to discover the thought that had eventually manifested into this nervous habit. One evening while in my former bedroom, I happened to pick up my high school annual and began thumbing through the pages. As I looked at the photographs and read what my friends had written, in my mind I began to hear, "Never good enough. Always second best. Never good enough, never good enough nevergoodenough. Always second best."

In a flash of awareness I knew this was the thought which had contributed to the nervous habit. It was a way of picking on myself. In high school I was conscious of this thought. Through the years it had gotten buried in my consciousness where I wasn’t aware of it anymore. However, it still existed as it manifested in the nervous habit of physically picking on myself.

As I pursued my mental disciplines I recognized that this wasn’t the only habitual, negative broken record that rattled around in my head. There were others: ones of anger, hurt, guilt, condemnation, and victimization. I became aware of how I repeated parts of conversations in my head, things people said that I had received as being hurtful and it generated anger and hurt within me. I carried this static mental activity around with me daily and into my meditations, making it difficult to still my mind or achieve any deep states of silence. The broken records had become mantras that kept my consciousness trapped, like a rat in a cage, and I wanted to be set free from the prison of negative thoughts. The practice of undivided attention and concentration had brought this static once again into my consciousness and sometimes I thought I would go crazy hearing it all.

The process of learning to still my mind of this madness began with a desire to be at peace. One way that I knew I would gain peace was by knowing the truth. I knew that truth would bring peace into my life. As the saying goes, "the truth will set you free" and I believed the truth would set me free of the misunderstandings I harbored that produced entrapment.

Breaking free of the broken records meant first of all, replacing them with words and thoughts that were more enlightening. Instead of repeating words of hurt, condemnation, guilt or blame over and over again I began to repeat mantras that would open my mind to the benevolent reservoir of the universe. The first mantra was, "I want to know truth." This thought opened my mind to receive more expanded ideas, ones that I could depend on and would bring security.

Another mantra I began to use was. "Be Still and know that I Am God." I would use this through the day and especially at times when I recognized my mind had been caught in the rat race again. I would also use it before I started meditating. As I repeated the words, especially the words, "Be Still" I would experience a vibrational wave flowing through me of stillness where I would relax into a calmer state not only within my physical body but also in my thinking.

There was an exercise I was given having the meditative quality of communicating with Divinity by asking a question and listening for the answer. This exercise was to ask, "What would God have me do?" This was particularly productive when I started to hear the rats in my head or when I began to react to something. Because of my faith that God would answer my prayers, I always received an answer that helped to put that situation into perspective and calm me down.

Another practice was to observe my breathing throughout the day. This is an ancient practice taught in the spiritual disciplines of the world’s religions, especially the East. It was something I had begun years before with the practice of zazen and now it had a greater purpose for me. Now I was watching my breath to slow down my thinking, to cause it to be still and in the moment so that I could gain the peace that I craved.

This process of freeing my mind from the rat cage was a gradual one. It didn’t happen overnight. It required determination and continual practice of different methods throughout the day and in meditation.

With continued desire, determination, and practice my meditations have become stiller and stiller, deeper and deeper. Now deep meditations are just as important to me each day as eating, or sleeping. I feel my day is incomplete if I have to cut my meditations short before I reach a deep state.

The moments of anxiety are farther apart and more short-lived. I am less entrapped in them. And my consciousness is expanding to include not only the experiencer but also the observer and learner of the experience. I am breaking free of the temporary ego states of pleasure and pain and getting closer and closer to my true nature of joy.

Sometimes people do not have the knowledge, experience, reasoning, or wisdom to deal with, come to terms with, and understand these experiences they have stored unconsciously in the brain as misunderstandings. These unconscious misunderstandings, fears, doubts, guilts, and limitations intrude on one’s outer life. They affect and limit everything that person does. It becomes a part of his personality.

However, the personality is dropped off or left behind each lifetime with death and disintegration of the physical body. In this way you start off each lifetime with a clean slate and with no negativity or limitations. You bring with you each lifetime your accumulated understandings that wait to be brought forth by the disciplined, meditative thinker.
Your first step in learning to meditate is to learn to focus and direct your attention which is called concentration. This developed ability to concentrate will then be used to still your mind in meditation.....

©2002 School of Metaphysics

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