[This is the last part of a journal entry Jay wrote on October 28th, 1997. As always, you can read what Jay has to say about this subject now in the Post Script. Happy reading! ~ Dawn]
If you want to do something wonderful for the world, or for your lover, or for your child, do something wonderful for yourself. Learn love. Once you do, you can give it happily and freely. Until you do, your best of intentions will fail miserably, your promises, even your wedding vows, will be bounced checks.
Let’s assume the point is driven home. How do we do it? How do we let go of our fear and embrace Love, Spirit, God? We know the benefits and liabilities involved, how do we reap the benefits?
Let us begin in the mind, the conscious mind. Until a muscle is toned, it is difficult to lift things; and until the mind is free and open, it is difficult to let the heart shine through. Breaking patterns of resistance and fear takes time and practice, so accept this first. You can’t move from conditioned unhappiness and insecurity overnight into choosing happiness every moment. It’s a good goal, but it’s a lofty one; and remember that every step must be taken.
Close your eyes. Remember a time when you felt cherished, adored. Concentrate on that feeling, the feeling of being the most special, wonderful person in the world. It takes a lot of concentration to feel this by yourself, but don’t give up. You are wonderful, beautiful, lovable, adorable just as you are. If you have a God or Goddess or Higher Power, concentrate on receiving that feeling from that source. Feel special, adored, cherished, perfect, and wonderful, for you are all these things… we just don’t seem to realize it until we feel it. This takes your full attention, a great deal of intense concentration, but the more you do it the better you will get at it.
If you don’t have a Higher Power, if you don’t believe in any “source”, all the more reason to learn this! If birth is the beginning and death is the end, you’d best learn to be as happy as you can possibly be in the short time that you have. Feeling this way, acknowledging that this is man’s natural state, will bring you fulfillment, peace, joy, happiness, increased awareness… a will and a reason to live.
This entry really brought me back to those days when meditation was an unfamiliar tool, a friendly stranger. I tried to be a good little meditator for a long time, and perform the ritual with no purpose other than to meditate. That’s the way so many Buddhist descriptions of meditation go; you meditate to meditate. There is no seeking, no searching and no reason to meditate other than the meditation itself.
So I watched my breath, because counting breaths was too linear. I stared at nothing in open eye meditations, or at least I tried to; my eyes kept wanting to do their job and focus on something. I was the classic novice with a thousand voices in my head, seeking to silence them with silence. It worked sometimes, too; but I had to remember not to congratulate myself when it did.
Luckily, I was pursuing happiness on other fronts. I had discovered meditation and meditation techniques from books, but I hadn’t stopped reading just because I started meditating. My reading soon lead me to hypnosis, and I found that once again my own inaccurate definition of something had caused me to disregard it.
There is one way of looking at hypnotism, the guy who can command a stage and choose a handful of people from the audience and make them cluck like chickens or forget their name or come in their pants.
There is another kind of hypnotism that doesn’t often get labeled as such, however. For me this aspect of hypnotism was instantly fascinating. I read one paragraph about it and understood how hypnotism affects so much of the average person’s activities and beliefs. By the average person, I don’t mean a human of average intelligence; I refer rather to the lot of us that have not refined their thinking process to the point where every thought is a deliberate and constructive one.
But wait; I can’t be hypnotized! I have heard that nearly every time I have tried to explain the huge role hypnosis plays in most of our lives. It’s important to understand that I’m not saying everyone can be lulled into behavioral bondage with a few choice words. Again, this isn’t that kind of hypnotism.
Most folks can walk and chew gum and talk on a mobile phone all at the same time. Many of us an remember a time fairly recently when we drove a familiar stretch of road and realized we couldn’t remember driving the last ten miles. That’s because walking and driving are great examples of things we program ourselves to do automatically. Robin Hood wasn’t splitting arrows because he was magickal; he split them using the power of hypnosis.
This can be regarded as muscle memory, except that we don’t see any headless bodies driving cars or walking down the street or mastering archery. The mind plays a role here, although a big part of that job is shutting the fuck up or thinking of something else entirely. The mind is still the director, it can take those hands off the wheel or tangle those feet or misfire that arrow. All it has to do is send out an incorrect chain of electrical signals and everything goes horribly awry.
Sports and academia usually approach this from a repetition standpoint, and we learn things by doing them or reading about them over and over. Then the moment of truth comes, and you get out of the way of your instincts and let the knowledge flow. Or you crash into a tree or trip on a mote of dust or shoot a fellow archer accidentally.
It’s easier to learn things deliberately in that hypnotized place. It’s where the mind is going to go once you get there, anyway; there is time and repetition saved by going there on purpose.
What does this have to do with meditation? Well, I meditate because I want to be as happy as I can be. Hypnotizing yourself into a constantly happy state of mind sounded a little strange to me at first. Then I realized it was me who had hypnotized me into a sometimes or often unhappy state of mind in the first place. I set an appointment with a hypnotherapist, got a bunch more books, and went to work. That paragraph is a pretty good outline to what I go through when I charge my battery: Close your eyes. Remember a time when you felt cherished, adored…