As the months roll on, I find myself getting deeper and deeper into meditation. I’ve been doing this technique called Kriya Yoga, which, the more I do it, the more I want to do it. It’s getting to a point where I do it for hours and hours every single day. It probably sounds strange to most people, sitting in one spot for hours, carefully concentrating on your breath, and running your point of reference within your imagination up and down your spine, but I’ve found it profound and transformative. I don’t even know where to begin.
I ended up buying all kinds of books on meditation and yoga, and found out that these techniques that I’ve been doing have been utilized by sages going back into pre-history. It’s used to find God, deepen their spiritual walk, find an indescribable peace, silence/focus the mind, and many other things. I’m finding out that there are deeper aspects to the mind and this life that I’ve been unaware of, but I don’t really want to write about all of that. Let’s just say I’m still processing a lot of this, and don’t want to get into on here for a while yet.
What I do want to discuss is why I was drawn to this. Like I said, I don’t even know where to begin. I guess I’ve just been very disillusioned with life. Going back, I don’t know, twenty years ago, back then I thought that if I built a successful company and made contributions to the world, that would make me feel alive. At that point it was sort of an unconscious assumption. But I built up a company, I found varying degrees of success, and after all was said and I done, all I felt was disappointed and exhausted. I realized, even back then, that accomplishments of all kinds were not going to “fix” whatever it was I was after.
Others told me life was to be found in romance. Well over the years I’ve had lovely women interested in me. People say it’ll be the most meaningful thing you’ll ever experience. Find love, find a partner. It wasn’t for me. I met wonderful people, and I even liked them. But they didn’t have what I was after. What I needed.
I can remember being a young teenager in church and people telling me that “God” would fulfill me. So in my youth, I remember spending countless hours praying, and praying, and praying, hoping for some experience, some sign from God. I never experienced anything significant.
Then I thought I’d dedicate myself to science. I’ll do valuable research and try to discover the mysteries of this universe. And I succeeded. I went to a good university for almost a decade and earned my degrees in theoretical physics. I’m offered jobs to work at DARPA and other companies, big paychecks, the whole nine yards. But it means nothing to me. I kept thinking, no, this isn’t it either.
What was this incessant “something” within me. Everyone around kept telling me, oh, you just need to get married, you need a good career, you need a richer social life, you need this, you need that. That’ll fix it. But twenty or more years later, I succeeded in all of these things, and while I accomplished all kinds of things, none of it meant anything to me. I needed “something”, but I had no idea what it was.
That’s when I became very depressed. I felt that nothing in this world had “it”. But what was it I was after? I didn’t even know. Becoming quite dark, my mind began brooding a lot on death, even thinking it’d be a relief. It’s a taboo subject in our culture. I thought, well, I have what, 40 or so more years left, then I’m going to die. If I don’t find “it”, this has all been a big waste. Why? I don’t know. But I know it will have been a waste. I certainly don’t feel alive here. Maybe real “life” won’t happen until after death. So what can I expect next? Can I know anything about all of that, or is pursing that topic a big waste of time?
That got me into studying all kinds of things, eventually reading up on near death experiences. Those truly fascinated me, especially when I found out that millions of people have these experiences and they’ve even been carefully studied and documented in certain academic institutions. I heard about people dying, seeing the light, going through the tunnel, entering this heaven like realm, hearing this background sound “Aum”, and so much more.
So here comes the crazy thing. After studying this stuff for months, not knowing what in the world to make of any of it, one day I just sat down on my bed and called out, “Great beings I read of who dwell in the light, in some realm unknown to me, God, great spiritual beings, whatever you are, I call out to the loving, benevolent entities who live to serve, living with the light, make yourselves known to me. Help me.” Then, for the first time ever, I felt this energy come all over me, like a vibration, my nerves began to tingle, my body even shook a little, and then I sat there in total peace. The “it” I’ve always been searching for, that longing, it vanished. For the first time ever, it was satisfied.
I sat there thinking to myself, did that just happen? How to explain the experience. It’s best described as peace and silence. My normally racing mind stopped. Emotional turmoil and dissatisfaction ended. But it’s not like anything “supernatural” happened. I didn’t see angelic hosts or anything like that. I just sat there in a brilliant silence and it was glorious. Things were just fine and I was fine, probably for the first time since I was a child.
Now this story gets more bizarre. That feeling didn’t last forever. A few days later, day to day life caught up with me, and that peace went away. My mind was once again in turmoil, my normal depression was creeping in, and it sucked. But then a thought entered my mind. These beings helped me once, maybe they’ll do it again? So I called out again. Then I felt the vibration come over me, particularly like some energy flowed in from the back of my neck, making me want to yawn while it was flowing in, and then, BAM, I’m back in brilliant silence. Thoughts ceased, emotions flattened, and the suffering I was experiencing ceased. Wow!
So I kept doing this, again, and again, and again, calling out to the beings living in the light near death experiencers enter into upon death, and each time I had the experience and “they” gave me this supernatural peace. Then I got to thinking, ok, millions and millions of people die and report this happening, saying there’s some reality beyond death, and there were these wonderful beings who helped them. These beings would appear as to some as angels, Christ to others, Buddha to some, etc, though from my own research, these entities were beyond form entirely and took on forms familiar to those who had died. Maybe I was the naive one to doubt such things exist simply because they’re beyond what I understand. Question is, what are they?
I got to thinking, huh, I wonder if I can communicate with these things. But how in the world would that work? I guess it’d be telepathy. They’d probably put thoughts in my head. But I quickly realized my mind was a complete train wreck. I’d sit on my bedside and be like, ok, I’m going call out and then just sit here and listen for transmission! Problem is my mind was all over the place. It wouldn’t sit still. It was like trying to receive a quiet signal and there’s just lots of noise and garbage. I thought, well, I have to remove the garbage.
But how in the world does one quiet the mind? Then I thought, wait a minute, quieting the mind. Who talks about that all the time. Alan Watts! I remember he would talk about meditation and yoga. Yeah. I think that’s right. Meditation and yoga.
I had never studied yoga. I thought it was all about cute girls putting on tight yoga pants and doing crazy stretches for hours. But I decided to buy lots of books on the topic, and it turns out that the physical stretching is a tiny tiny component of yoga. The most significant aspects of yoga are about mastery of the mind, quieting it, and connecting to God. I thought, wow. This is what I need!
So I’m reading all this stuff and these ancient texts are going into how this spiritual energy comes in and out of our physical bodies and how it all works. I had never heard any of this stuff before. Then one evening I’m reading these yogic texts and I come across a strange passage, talking about how this “prana” (life force) flows into the body and it comes in through what’s called the “moon” center. Lo and behold, it comes in from the back of the neck! Oh my gosh, when I call out to the light, that’s where the I felt the energy flow in! My mouth just dropped to the floor. This stuff is real! If they’re right about something like that, the rest of this stuff is probably real too.
I’m reading these texts, and they’re going into bizarre stuff. Here’s how you cleanse these energy centers. Here’s how you activate them. Here’s how you close them. Here’s how these energy flows affect your body and emotions. I’m just gobbling this stuff up.
Through reading these texts I figured out exactly what was responding to me — Christians would call it the “Holy Spirit”, though in these texts it’s referred to as the Atman, or sometimes “higher self”. Cool! I think to myself, this is sorta coming together.
So after reading all these texts, studying how emotions work in conjuction with these energy centers, being the scientist that I am, I decide to “clean up” my own mental/spiritual mess, instead of calling out to “the light” to do it for me. This was exciting! Can I be in a slightly depressed, out of it state, go into meditation, cleanse the energy centers, and then silence my mind, all on my own? Can I draw in fresh life force energy to make me feel refreshed and at peace? I’m going to give this a go!
Ladies and gentlemen, I succeeded. I’d do the pranayama breathing techniques, I’d do the Aum chanting to draw in the energy, and I’d start the meditation. BAM! Give me ten or fifteen minutes, I can go from some jumbled depressed state, to a complete silence. And once you learn this stuff, you don’t want to even let yourself get “screwed up” to begin with. So I became obsessed with love, joy, peace, kindness, and the rest of it. I became far more careful about what was coming in, and what I let stew inside my head!
I can’t tell you how all of this works, at every level. I don’t know. What I do know is it works. This stuff is very real. There’s more to our conscious experience than just the brain, and these energies are somewhat controllable and can be understood. Call it nonsense if you want to, but I dare you to put in some serious effort, study this stuff in depth, and try it for yourself.
Can everyone do these sorts things? I don’t know. I know that I can. I don’t know enough about it to say whether it will work for all of you.
All of this eventually lead me to Kriya Yoga. It’s a big subject, far beyond the scope of this blog post. Though this is too simplistic, the main techniques I’m focusing on silence the mind and emotions. In life, we have all kinds of ups and downs, some things exciting us, and for most of us, far more things that depress us and make us angry. These techniques level your mind out, making it basically unresponsive to physical stimuli. You think clearly, you understand everything going on, but it’s very difficult to get you worked up. It’s hard to get you excited, and even more difficult to make you angry, upset, or sad. You’re always clear and level headed, with a razor sharp focus.
Ever since discovering all of this, I’ve ceased to experience anything remotely like depression. My biggest form of suffering has ended. I can meditate, silence the mind, silence the emotions, and hit the “off” switch. I’m not the body, I’m not this mind, boom, bam, shut it off.
Being able to resist all the mind’s compulsions and remain at peace is, to me, probably the single most important thing in life. Now I look at the world, and it’s always pulling, screaming all these things at me, claiming I need this, this, and that, and I just have my arms crossed, yawning, saying, nope, nope, nope! It’s always saying some external thing, often outside of my control, holds my happiness. Oh, if only I could get ahold of that thing! Then I’d finally feel at peace! Nowadays I’m like, nope. That’s baloney. “Jason! You need a wife! Aren’t you lonely? Be lonely!” And I’m like, nope. I’m at peace, regardless of external circumstances. I’m just fine, thanks. “Look over here, think of this nice car! Wouldn’t it be nice to have that?” -shrugs- life doesn’t consist in external things at all. Car, no car, doesn’t have any major effect on how I feel inside. “You need to work hard, accomplish all this research! Contribute!” Do I? Why is that exactly? Are things not fine now? What if time is an illusion and all possibilities exist simultaneously, and I’m living in an eternal now? This is one experience, and there are other experiences. I sit here and meditate and I’m just fine. Sure, I’ll help make things better, but why are you obsessed with changing everything? When will things be good enough for you? Oh, and whether the world outside of me acknowledges anything I do is irrelevant. My emotions are mine to control.
Think about why people chase all these things in life. What are they hoping to do? They hope that spouse, that career, that home, that car, that whatever, is going to put them in some mental place where they can say, “You know what, I like my life right now. I’m happy.” But is that really how you achieve that state of mind? I currently have a successful career, things, and I’ve met and dated nice girls. Maybe those things are “it” for you, they are definitely not for me. Girl or no girl, fantastic career or mopping floors, walking back and forth or driving around in a Ferrari, it makes no difference to me or my state of mind. Crazy as it sounds, I feel 1000x more fulfilled concentrating on my breathing and introspecting the depths of my mind, than playing with the temporary illusions which appear all around me.