Planning Your Trip
You are embarking upon what can be seen as a course of study having to do with experience, rather than books, or lectures. You may also view the experience as similar to a journey of many stages, with a fluid destination. Either way, or regarding any metaphors or analogies not mentioned but applicable, there are some things it would be helpful to know, or understand.
You are essentially going to learn of the mind of another. You will not learn the entirety of this mind, but only a small portion of it, yet that portion pertains directly to you as an individual. The experience is not to validate any truths you may hold dear, or to prove any opinions or what you may regard as facts. Over the course of this experience you may well feel something, or other, that you hold true or believe is contradicted or challenged. In fact you may find a great deal of what you believe disproved to such a degree it may seem you’re in need of an entirely alternative self. I mention this to avoid surprises, and to say, should you decide to debate or become insistent over any of these points, or issues, be advised the experience will then be taken over by your own will, and will lead only to where you can lead it. Any greater benefit than what you yourself can bring to bear will be lost for this encounter. As what you think, trust, and believe are already known to you, there in all likelihood will not be much in the experience that is new to you as a result.
You must surrender your concept of time. What you may think is a long time, in the mind of another authority is not considered to be very long at all. For instance, waiting for something; what you deem a long wait, or a short wait; or, the long and short of what you focus on in deep concentration, and many more such qualitative judgments will probably be disregarded and the judgment of the mind you are learning will be the standard used. Having any such expectation ultimately can but create confusion for yourself, and possibly irrecoverable distractions. Since distractions from the task at hand are at the core of your part in this experience, bringing certain preconceived notions, or predetermined concepts are in a great sense setting yourself up for major distractions, and so will impinge on the efficacy of the experience - reducing sharply what benefit may be obtained by it.
With regard to the all important subject of distraction, or breaking the concentration required, any preventable distractions, such as the comings and goings of people not involved in the experience, or events in and around the area where the experience is occurring should indeed be prevented. This may take some pre-planning. Since the experience is relatively new to you all such distractions cannot be known to you, so be prepared to have your initial encounters interrupted, with the intensity blunted, until you understand well enough how to deal with possible distractions. A famous writer once said, “The only thing worse than interruption is the expectation of interruption.” This is quite applicable to this situation. It is not being judgmental toward loved ones, neighbors or pets (perhaps) for the limited time, and purposes of this requirement. Getting out in front of preventable distraction as a functional necessity goes a long way to avoiding what could turn to be for you difficult situations.
Your comfort is critical. You will be seated for extended periods of time - hours. You require a comfortable chair that you know will not cause cramps, or other aches and pains, or just annoying sensations such as inefficient blood circulation, or awkward posture positions. This can be thought out well in advance, as well. Pamper yourself. If you don’t this could become an ordeal, and messages of discomfort from your body complaining could well become the distraction you’ve labored to prevent. You need to concentrate on the experience. A dull ache in the lower back will work against that, for instance, and succeed in taking over your full attention in time. The same must be said of the choice of clothing you wear, including on your feet, and even room temperature and lighting. Some things seem just fine in small doses of time, but over extended exposure create aches or pains.
You will need to eat, and drink. You don’t want to make this a feature of the experience, but at certain points you will need to recover fuel. You will be using vitamins and calories. However, you don’t want what you eat and drink to overly require the body’s participation in dealing with it. Heavy meals? No. Something along the line of fruit, nuts, perhaps whole grain crackers and some cheese. As a drink tea is probably preferred over coffee. Milk and citrus juices should be avoided during the experience to ensure conscious attention to the body is limited. If you give your body a large task such as digesting rich or heavy foods, it will indeed grab your attention and focus it on itself. Apple juice will be fine. Grape juice as well. However, following these with a bit of water to clean the sugars from the palate would be wise. Water is preferable. Iced water would probably occupy the attention with body temperature issues, so slightly cool or room temperature is recommended. Alcohol is a depressant. The experience here is the opposite of that. Alcohol will put you to sleep in all likelihood. Wine and beer are not good ideas here.
Then, you’re going to need music. Music will be the equivalent of using a ruler to draw a straight line. No professional artist tries to draw a straight line freehand. It may work, but most often for perfectly organic reasons it does not. Someone has taken the time to manufacture this instrument, a ruler, with a certain precision, so it is wise to use one. Since in this experience you are going to draw a straight line with your consciousness, music can be similarly used as ruler. Musicians spend up to a year, sometimes more, to produce forty to fifty minutes of music per recording release. This is all well-organized and well-planned. The notes and rhythms can occupy your mind well enough that it doesn’t go off into a random stream of thought, circling your attention into an unwanted loop, or even worse a meandering train. Thinking is not being. You do not want to think during this experience. Listening to music you love will not only help prevent that, it will engender a positive feeling within you. Loving is what you want to be doing, not thinking. You love to listen to the music you love. You get the idea. Though some music is better suited to this experience than others, I’m not going to list musicians I think you should listen to. My list would be a list of the music I love. This is supposed to be what you love. Part of the adventure can be finding what suits you best. At this point in our cultural history composers, and groups already have well-earned reputations regarding their music in relation to this sort of experience. I probably don’t have to tell you who these are.
Getting out of your comfortable chair, walking across the room to flip, or change an album is a distraction. If you can come up with a sound system, or method of delivery, which at least extends this time beyond intervals of 40 (or so) minutes, that’s ideal. When I started doing this I listened to albums which are only that long in time. Though a lot of stereos have spindles which allow stacking of albums, for the sake of the longevity and high fidelity quality of the album it’s best not to stack albums. Scratched albums are a sin. With the computer and high quality of sound reproduction possible there, it’s also possible to set up lengthy play lists. It might take you some time to get the hang of creating a play list ideally suited for this experience, but with time you will figure it out. For me, I prefer mellow acoustic music initially. Then I stack sound with greater intensity like a rocket booster trying to break gravitational pull. Once free of gravity, as it were, I then slip into something musically elaborate, but subtle. Perhaps a wider range of instrumentation than a wildly proficient guitar player with his bass player and drummer. Since your senses will be remarkably sharpened, you can listen to the music at a surprisingly low volume. Outside the experience I’ve played albums at the volume I play them during the experience and can hardly hear them. Yet, during the experience I heard every note, every little sound. I don’t think playing music loudly over an extended period of time can do much but stress your body to the degree you exhaust yourself. I avoid this, but it’s your trip. Headphones may seem like a good idea, but over time it’s possible the sensation of wearing them will create competition for your attention. Then again, for you it may not. For me, I prefer not using headphones to do this. Even wearing rings or a bracelet will begin to bug me after a while.
Finally, don’t do this spontaneously. Plan ahead. Pick a day and be sure you prepare. Eat well in the days leading up so your body is well nutrified. Be well-rested. Do not have any active personal conflicts. Do what you have to do to be of good cheer, and with a clear head. Should something arise and create a major incident, be fluid enough to reschedule. Deal with the big things to get them off your mind. All of these precautions have to do with fully immersing yourself into the experience without outside influences altering, or derailing it. If done right you will be “way out there.” It’s a long way back. You want to ease your way back in good spirits and with a relaxed mind. You don’t want outside reality reaching up and yanking you back down. You don’t want to bring negativity into the experience with you. Anger, for instance, is negativity. Bitterness over something is as well. Lacking self-assurance will cause you problems, too. In fact, if you can’t establish for yourself a well-grounded, harmonious, responsible but free frame of mind, it’s wise you take care of those things before you go in this direction. It might take months, or years to do. If you are truly interested you’ll take that time to find the balance (Daniel-sahn). If you don’t, the experience will yield little to nothing of value to you. Even if it seems to, what you’d be experiencing would be accurately called “different”, rather than “better.”
Let’s get it clear what exactly you’re trying to do here. This is neither philosophical, nor theological. The intent is not to discover the innermost secrets of anything, and it is not to unlock mysteries and powers. Specifically: This is to sharpen and gain skill with processes you as a human intelligence naturally possess. Why bother if you already possess them? It’s similar to an Olympic track gold medalist. Before all that specialized training he or she already had a pair of legs. They came naturally as part of being a human. Obviously, just possessing a pair of legs isn’t enough. Unfortunately for humans, so many of us assume our so-called “faculties” are perfectly fine the way they were when we arrived with them and they require no particular refinement, or honing. For our purposes here we’re going to assume this is not the case, and by not sharpening these capacities we are operating within a reality we think we comprehend to some degree, but in fact we have but a pitifully shallow grasp. So shallow the confidence we place on things such as our perceptions, and judgments based on what we perceive is woefully misplaced. In fact self-deception is the first and most harmful obstruction placed between us and the development of our selves as intelligences.
What we will do here with this level of experience is sharpen our perceptive capabilities, thereby improve our ability to draw conclusions from what we perceive, and gain a deeper understanding of ourselves as an intelligence and a person (or persona). Any instruction involved will have to do more with technique than specific ideas. What ideas or conclusions you as an individual draw from your experience is your concern, and no one else’s. The intent here is not to instruct in belief, but in the actual process of consciousness. Your native intelligence supported by your experience will draw whatever conclusions the reality within which they both exist presents. That being said, then it should be no surprise that, as was mentioned before, an important fundamental to this process is to be able to control your own thought processes. This may sound easy to some. To others who have come to believe that the process of their thinking is how they know they’re alive, it won’t be a simple matter of just turning off the thoughts. However, that’s essentially what is required in order to perceive.
Look at it like this. Thinking is similar to speaking - speaking quietly to yourself within your own head, as it were. Imagine someone is trying to whisper something to you in your ear as you are shouting to someone across the street. Would you be able to hear the whisper over your own shouts? A less belligerent example could be someone trying to show you something which requires some concentration and attention to follow. All the while you’re looking past the person at perhaps a television across the room, trying to figure out what the show is that’s on. How likely is it you’d grasp what the person is trying to show you? Imagine if you will someone showing you something that would take you six hours to see it in full, but at any instant during that time your attention could be momentarily captured by something else, and the person would have to start the process over from the beginning. Each time you are distracted, the attempt to show you has to be restarted. Add to this that what you think of what you are seeing, and anything else for that matter must be put on hold for that span of time - the six hours. After that, you can think, or shout or watch all the TV you wish. Is this asking the impossible? For some people it might, and for them I suggest they not seriously entertain what is being discussed here. Is it easily done? Initially, probably not. As in all skills there are probably virtuosos in the world. For not remarkably skilled people it might take some effort to learn how to do.
Things seem obvious until confronted, then they take on a broader and deeper dimension. Sure, it’s elementary, “Don’t talk to me right now, I’m thinking about something.” It’s child’s play. “Don’t think about something right now, I’m talking to you,” sounds like something a parent says to a child. So, stopping that train of thought is child’s play, right? I’ll say it’s doable. It’s possible to turn your thoughts on and off at will. For our purposes we wish to turn them off for the duration of this experience, and not allow them to be turned back on if at all possible throughout. “To the mind that is still the whole universe surrenders.” -Lao Tzu- That was said in the 5th Century B.C., so it’s an idea that’s been with us for a very long time. The saying originated in China, and cultures of the Far East have kept ideas such as these in their forefronts whereas western civilizations teach the idea of the intellect being the sole mental manifestation of people, other than lowly emotions. It might help to, rather than just cease something, do something else. If you’re doing this you can’t be doing that. As was mentioned before, the presence of love in this experience is a key feature. Oh, but isn’t love one of those lowly emotions? Right away we can see a conflict arise. Anyone raised and instructed within western civilization has to have this concept deep within their subconscious at the least. These sorts of quandaries and conflicts may not be readily seen unless the right circumstance presents itself. The experience upon which we are about to embark, for he sake of this discussion, is in many ways a catalyst, and there are many such conflicts in logic residing within the paradigm of western civilization. Be prepared.
Let’s take love as a concept a step further than an emotional expression of affection. Let’s consider it to be, rather, an emanation of vibration. Further, let’s consider that as a vibration it can also have as features both harmonic resonance, and sympathetic vibration. Imagine rather than thinking your reality, for the span of this experience imagine yourself emanating this vibration into the universe as a bridge, or your half of a bridge. Imagine another intelligence reciprocating and extending similar, or sympathetic, vibrations back toward yours as the other half of this bridge. This is what you’ll be attempting. Take this a step further. Imagine that’s what the musicians making the music you’ve decided to listen to are doing as well. Their instrument’s emanate vibration. They extend this vibration to you, the listener. You accept it and sympathetically vibrate, appreciating the music, and extend this back to the musician - harmonic resonance. Consider, therefore, that as advanced as humans believe themselves to be, in fact we are markedly primitive in our basic understanding of ourselves. A reason for this could well be the vantage point from which we’ve viewed ourselves across the expanse of time. This viewpoint is largely characterized by perception of practical capability. This capability drawn from required capabilities. These have been relatively the same for thousands of years; strong back, agile mind, deft fingers, all assets to physical survival. Even the sports so popular today are exhibitions of this basic set of skills, running, throwing, and catching; hunter skills. With the advent of medicine, a newer examination of us as a species came into being, but this too was largely based on practical considerations; cure of wounds, catching and curing diseases.
What exactly are we hasn’t been studied to any depth. Much of this discussion is left to philosophers, or taken over with an assumed authority by theologians, but it’s something we haven’t systematically analyzed to an serious degree. It shouldn’t be surprising, therefore, that the truth of what we are as a species will probably contradict, or even countervail long held views and strongly felt opinions. Yet, just as dogs are dogs, and beetles are beetles, humans are humans. Humans have a set of characteristics which are not the subject of opinion, or open to debate, however unknown, or unrealized they may be to us at present. In that light this matter of the features of humans this term love surrounds may well be a set of somethings we have completely misapprehended, and misunderstood though we believe knowledge of this has been with us for so long only the dimwitted among us don’t have a functional grasp of it as subject matter. Perhaps even the word love is a blanket term which covers a wide range of attributes which seem similar but may well be quite individual in relation to one another. Perhaps this blanket belief of understanding, should that be true, does more to unwittingly confuse than enlighten. The idea is not far-fetched. What area of science would be considered to be the natural area of studying and cataloging factual truth about this thing; love? This culture finds that notion laughable. This culture finds it debatable that this love actually exists beyond the imaginations of people feeling it as a sensation. Some people posing as knowledgeable on the subject have already ascribed it to pheromones and no more; an emotional reaction to a chemical reaction. For the purposes of this experiment and the quality of the experience therein the contention here is that this love is the hum of the running of a human consciousness just as a running automobile engine has its own hum. This love signals, and is directly tied to the constellation of vibrations we define as the “self”. In that regard emanating this vibration of love is the same as being purely our unadulterated selves.