“The essence of many meditation techniques is learning to fold your attention inward.” — Guru Tua
It’s a simple concept, but the most straightforward techniques are often the most profound. Take a few moments to read about it, then try this simple technique for yourself. Your attention directs awareness which helps the consciousness shift gears. It’s easiest to close your eyes, but you can certainly learn to keep this connection when your eyes are open.
The Essence of Meditation Techniques
“The inward journey is the experience of higher states of consciousness. These states exist beyond, waking, dreaming, and sleeping. It is a journey into the transcendent. Hence, an experience of awareness and existence outside of time. When you are ready, it may also include a journey into other realms and landscapes. This is the Shamanic Journey.” — Guru Tua
Learning How to Fold Your Attention Inward
Bringing your attention inward is the step that makes most internal meditation techniques possible. It’s a fundamental skill of meditation, and these are some basic tricks that help you focus attention. When we close our eyes, our natural tendency is to fall asleep. So, we must use one of two basic techniques to keep this from happening.
First, we can sit up. When the spine is erect, we have more of a tendency to remain awake and alert. Another method we can use when laying down is to engage the mind with sound and imagination. This second strategy is the essence of the Shaman Journey, or what some call Guided Meditation. Rebranding the Shamanic Journey makes it more marketable in the West. Here, the sound of a drum keeps the traveler from falling asleep.
These are two techniques that allow you to fold your attention inward while minimizing the active mind’s interference. Another complementary process is mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness meditation has both a seated and moving component. And, the moving element in this process is the internal aspect of Forest Bathing.
The reason we “miss” this opportunity is because of our active minds. Our culture reinforces the idea that we must always be doing something productive. So, we train the mind to be in control. We forget the importance of inner solitude.
Seated and Moving Meditation Techniques
This concept also applies to many forms of moving meditation. For instance, Tai Chi is a system where one learns to transfer energy from the internal to the external. It is a way of expanding observational awareness.
When done correctly, we fold our attention inward to bring internal energy through the body. When we learn moving meditation, the natural tendency is to focus all attention outward, but this is only half of the process. So, we are not grounded or connected. As the movements become automatic, we can bring our attention inward while in motion.
First, bring your attention to your breath. When we focus on our breath, it moves our attention inward. You don’t want to alter the breath; learn to observe it. Now, watch the body. Once you can monitor what’s going on with your physical body and your normally automatic actions of the breath, you can take it down another level.
The final step involves the visualization of energy. Picture your spine as a highway filled with energy. And then radiate this energy to all parts of your body. While you are doing this, keep observing the body and breath. It’s an easy way to fold your attention inward while moving.
Almost all meditation techniques require some level of inward focus. Learning how to do this is easy. All we need to do is remember to do it.
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(1) Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia