Although many teachers would rightfully say that mindfulness and meditation ultimately do not have any goal, let us be honest: the basic aim of these practices is entering the state of Presence. It is a thoughtless state of mind, which we could also call Pure Consciousness or Awareness. Meditation and mindfulness practitioners aspire not only to remain in this state but to deepen and expand it as much as possible.
However, it is not an easy task, especially for beginners. This time we will focus on entering the thoughtless state. Here are a few pieces of advice on how to do this quickly and efficiently.
1, Focus on here and now.
This is the most obvious and very simple way of entering the state of Presence. You have to become aware of yourself, the surroundings, and everything that is happening in you and around you at this moment. Be here. Become aware of the present moment, enter the now. You will dive into the thoughtless state of Pure Consciousness immediately. If any thoughts, emotions, or external events distract you, just return to the here and now.
Focusing on the present moment is the essence of mindfulness practice.
2. Become aware of yourself.
Ask yourself: "Who is watching this?" or "What is watching this?" This is a variation of the practice of self-inquiry, which can ultimately lead you to spiritual liberation, but meanwhile, among many other benefits, it will always anchor you into the present moment. It is thoroughly described here.
3. Verbal interruption.
This is the quickest way of discontinuing the stream of thoughts. Just say swiftly and decisively to yourself: “NOW!” and feel the Now, which consists of the totality of your experience at this moment, here and now, including the feeling of your body, your whole being, and auditory and visual sensing of your environment. Or, for example, say “STOP!” and become aware of stopping every activity, including your thinking process.
Feel free to use any other word or phrase that might work fine for you. For example, “ENOUGH!” “HERE AND NOW,” “SILENCE,” “STILLNESS,” “I AM,” “I EXIST,” “WHERE AM I?” “ATTENTION!” “I DON’T KNOW” …
You may speak these words out loud to yourself, or say them in your head.
4. Dissolving the Temporary I (DTI).
Being one of the basic Reintegration techniques, the DTI is certainly one of the most efficient methods for entering the state of pure consciousness. This method will not only bring you into the thoughtless state for a while, but it'll do a more useful thing - removal of your unwanted mind content (thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations).
5. Conscious breathing.
There are several variations of the mindfulness of breath. In all of them, you should consciously follow the movement of air into your body and out of it, along with any sensations that the movement produces. However, you could focus on other areas of your body.
For example, you might prefer concentrating on the sensation of flowing air, moving in and out of your body in its entirety, however you feel it. Personally, I prefer this variant because it takes me more easily into a state of self-awareness. In this approach, you are trying to be fully conscious of your chest’s motions during inhaling and exhaling, of the whole volume of air going in and out from you, and of the entire feeling of its gentle contact with your inner organs—nostrils, throat, and lungs.
You may also practice breath mindfulness by focusing only on the sensations within your nostrils during inhale and exhale circles. Alternatively, you could orient your attention to the sensation of the air filling and emptying the interior of your lungs.
Try out all these approaches. Use whichever one is most suitable for you and enjoy mindfulness on many occasions—immediately after waking up, during driving, walking, working on the computer, while doing various daily errands, in the midst of emotional bursts, before sleep, or many other situations, at your will. Mindfulness of breath can bring you deep peace in every situation, help you in releasing stress and raise your overall level of consciousness.
6. Become aware of space.
The perception of space or nothingness generates deep peace and tranquility in our being. Some people even call the sensing of space the "shortcut to enlightenment."
Become aware of space (or nothingness) within you, the room you are in, in the background of everything you see. Imagine space extending from you in all directions, infinitely. Sense its vastness. This will quickly bring your mind into the so-called alpha state, in which your brain functions at a lower frequency of neural waves. It is a deeply relaxing, tranquil, and creative state of being, in which you will feel the present moment easily.
 Excerpt from Inner Peace, Outer Success.
7. Become aware of silence.
Similar to space, trying to feel silence will also immediately induce stillness within your mind. Just become aware of silence behind all sounds, all events inside and around you. You will enter the thoughtless state instantly.
8. Become aware of your movements.
This is one of the corner-stones of mindfulness. Becoming conscious of all movements of your body will instantly bring you the state of Presence. This practice and many other aspects of mindfulness are thoroughly described here.
9. State of not-knowing.
Total openness to the Unknown is a genuinely transformative attitude.
Try to place yourself into a state of pure not-knowing toward some experience. Just feel that you know nothing about that and be fine with that. That state doesn’t even have to be related to any content at all, whether internal or external. Just feel at the moment that you know literally nothing and be absolutely OK with that. You will enter a state of pure consciousness for a while.
This is not suppressing of an experience. It’s simply shifting your point of view into a genuine, innocent state of mind.
10. Become aware of pauses.
Bringing the focus of your consciousness to gaps within any kind of habitual streams or flows will also put you into the thoughtless state of pure awareness. You just have to become aware of gaps between sentences during a conversation, or between thoughts, between breaths, body movements, or anything else.
11. Stop breathing for a while.
Do a few cycles of deep, conscious breathing. When you exhale, just stop breathing for as long as it is comfortable for you. Become aware of the stillness of your lungs. You will enter a state of pure consciousness without thoughts.
12. Concentrate on a single physical sensation.
Pick up only one physical sensation you feel at this moment and concentrate only on it, for 15 to 20 seconds; you will also enter the thoughtless state. This short exercise is described in detail here.
13. Wait for the next thought.
Simply ask yourself: “What will be my next thought?” and wait for any thought to appear in your mind. Interestingly, when you are fully conscious, waiting for them, thoughts are reluctant to appear. It’s almost like they are shy to enter the stage lit up fully by your awareness. This method is described in this article.
14. Widen up your attention.
Through this practice, you bring your mind into a state of diffuse, wide and all-inclusive attention which allows you to keep your mind fully awake and clear. The technique is described here.
However, for the purpose of entering the state of Presence, the second step of this meditation is enough:
15. Total Acceptance.
Fully accept whatever you are experiencing now, with all of your heart. You will know you’ve done so when you have neither adherence nor aversion toward it.
For entering the state of Presence effectively, these five steps should be enough:
Everything we resist, persists. Even more, it’ll grow up over time. Therefore, the remedy for any unpleasant state or content of the mind is to accept it completely. Whenever we entirely and honestly accept any thought, emotion or sensation, we become free of it. It will not bother us anymore. It will disappear from our individual universe, as we have learned that lesson.
More on how to do this practice you can find in this article.
16. Feel your inner body.
This is a very quick method of entering the present moment, endorsed by one of the greatest contemporary spiritual teachers, Eckhart Tolle.
Attend to your body. Feel it as a whole. Become aware of it. Feel the energy and presence of your body. Simply be with that feeling. Abide in it for a while. You will enter the present moment immediately.
17. Sense freshness and novelty.
Whatever you are experiencing at this moment, either inside or outside of your mind, put yourself in the position of an innocent child. Feel the awe of a kid seeing something entirely new. Pretend that you are experiencing that content for the first time in your life and that you have no clue what is it. In other words, perceive the content as though it is completely new to you. This attitude is truly transformative.
18. Create your own triggers.
You can make your own portal to the Now by choosing any of your typical daily activities and transform them into your mindfulness triggers.
These “activators” of Presence could be, for example, walking along a usual path, cleaning teeth, grabbing the door handle, getting up from a chair, arriving at a specific location, coming across a particular word, or even thinking a certain thought. Anything which is habitual can become your trigger and an anchor to the Here and Now.
To make something a trigger, you should visualize yourself in that scene several times, and imagine that you are becoming completely aware of both yourself and your environment. Imagine the very moment in which you become fully aware. Immediately after each imagined scene, do it in real life and really become mindful. Do this a few times for every scene, the more the better. This will definitely “cement” these situations as the triggers for your mindfulness.
After enough repetitions, each time you find yourself in the triggering situation, you will be catapulted into the present moment.
What to do next?
Now, you have a lot of ways of becoming present at your disposal. Surely, there are many other portals to the Now, as anything can be your portal.
So, when you bring yourself into the state of pure consciousness, try to stay in it as long as possible. That’s the point of meditation. But to achieve that you have to develop a firm and persistent daily practice of meditation sittings, accompanied by mindfulness and other aspects of inner work.
Good luck with your practice! :-)
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