What I offer here is a “walking meditation” to be done during the day which will help prepare your awareness for Lucid Dreaming at night. It is absolutely not imperative that you actually walk when you do this if you are unable to. If you are coping with a disability or any other impairment that keeps you from going for a stroll around your neighborhood, I suggest you find a place where you can at least be outside or near a window if possible. It helps to remove yourself from your typical surroundings as that alone can help keep you trapped within your habitual context. You can take the spirit behind my particular technique and adapt it in whatever way works for you and your situation.
Okay, so you're going to go for a walk - by yourself. This will likely not work if you bring someone with you, this isn't even a time to walk your dog. The walk doesn't have to be fancy; just around your neighborhood should work just fine – as long as you can be out for at least 15 to 20 minutes uninterrupted. And I do mean totally uninterrupted. If you cannot manage to leave your phone behind for this, at the very least you should turn it off. Meditations are a time you set aside for increasing awareness. You have to make the agreement ahead of time that this is NOT the time to solve your relationship problems, calculate your finances or ruminate on that project at work. The mind will use a million and one excuses to persuade you NOT to rise above it.
As you walk, simply find a comfortable pace – this isn't a race - and bring your full attention to your surroundings. We're going to drop the layers of context and narrative we're shrouded in one step at a time. First, I just want you to notice the houses, the trees, the sky. Simply walk and let your attention move around your environment at will. Don't try to direct it as long as it's focused on a real thing in the HERE and NOW. Pay attention to how much the mind will fight being present, in the moment. The mind will do everything it can to pull your focus to something in the past or the imagined future. When you catch your mind trying to sway your attention over to some upsetting conversation from days ago or to your plans for later, just be aware of what it is doing and you stay present to where you are. YOU are not this mental noise. YOU are what is observing the noise.
Now bring your attention to the subtle narratives that the mind overlays on everything you observe. Notice how the mind comments with “what it knows” about that house you're looking at, or that tree, even how it maintains a quiet “map” of where you are walking. Be aware how the mind incessantly labels everything in its environment: “That's an Oak Tree! And that's a 2018 Honda sedan! And...”. Allow yourself to BE that experience of walking and nothing more. Try to forget all of the context your mind is wrapping around what you are seeing and hearing and simply observe your surroundings. That is, stop thinking, “my house is two blocks behind me and around this corner there's a...” and ONLY observe what your eyes are literally seeing, what your ears are picking up. Stop labeling each stimuli and let it just BE.
This practice is so simple, the mind won't know what to do with it. The mind only knows how to solve problems, how to deal with drama; how to behave within a narrative. When it's asked to observe and not comment, it will fight. It will even threaten. It will feed you stories about how “stupid” or even dangerous this meditation is. When I first started doing this, I found thoughts swirling through my head like, “Oh, so you're just going to turn yourself into a dead-brained zombie, eh?” When you feel the mind fighting you, you KNOW you're on the right track!
Next, pay attention to your body. You don't need to hold any kind of a special posture or walking technique and you don't have to breathe in any fancy way for this to work. Just notice if your breathing feels shallow or constrained – most importantly, you should be breathing through your nose. I cannot stress this point enough. If you aren't naturally breathing in through your nose, I highly suggest you start retraining yourself now to do so. If you want to educate yourself on the many benefits to mind and body from simply breathing properly, I'll refer you to “Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art” by James Nestor.
Allow your attention to rest on your gait, your muscles and any aches – without the need to “fix” any of it. Notice any comments your mind may have about body; judgments, health concerns, etc. Again, this is not the time to “do” anything about these comments. We aren't out here to solve our health and diet choices right now. Rather, we're diving into the core of where a truly healthy, sane lifestyle emerges from. Try to maintain your attention on where you are and let that experience be indivisible from your awareness of your body as it walks. At this point, observing your present environment and feeling your body should be one, unified sensation.
If you carry out this technique properly you'll find that you almost feel as if you are floating. You should notice that everything around you suddenly looks almost “new”, even if you've walked around this section of your neighborhood hundreds of times. You should even notice that nothing even quite looks familiar. When you drop all your many narratives about your experience, you see it from a far more energized perspective of NOW. The world around you will look “fresh” as if you're looking at it for the first time. And, in a way, you are! You'll simply be consciousness moving down the street; no other descriptions are necessary. The meditation is as simple as that, yet this practice can take years to master.
It is often only when we begin to move above the mind in this manner that we realize just how much our continuous stream of thought holds us within a context – a storyline not so different from what we see play out in our media. Or in our dream states! Yes, our dreams are really just another narrative that we follow without question. We've never trained ourselves to STOP and ask, “Wait, is the narrative I'm operating within even REAL?” And when we do manage to ask such a profound and powerful question, we often don't know what to do with the answer. What we are doing here is building our “Awareness Muscles” so that we aren't operating as a total slave to whatever the mind is spinning for us. We, as conscious beings, can operate perfectly well ABOVE the story that is being woven for us. When we understand that, we can begin to wake up not just in our dream states, but in our daily life as well.
Excerpt from MIGRATION: Maintaining Consciousness on the Journey from a Physical to a Digital Landscape by Ian Jaydid
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