If you want to enter a meditative state, you can do it quickly and suddenly. If you know how to do that, then you can probably skip the rest of this article. This is for the rest of us. Let me share a technique to draw your attention inwards, even when your monkey mind is chittering out of control.
It's a simple matter of weaning yourself off reality. It's like easing into a warm bath, only the bath is your normal state of mind and you're relaxing yourself out of it.
The meditative trance state is strange and unusual. And so very normal at the same time. It's difficult to describe – partly because it's so different each time, partly because words do not cut it. A common experience, though, is experiencing the present moment without the usual mental clutter. It's either like seeing the world for what it is or what it is not.
When familiar things – the sight of grass, for example – seem exotic to you, is that because you're seeing it for the first time? Or that you're mind sees something else?
It's not always easy to say. It sure feels like your slipping from reality – your normal reality, at least. And it's a pleasant sensation, even though it might not sound like one.
Does every trance come with a twisted view of familiar things? Not at all, but if you are experiencing this, you're definitely in a trance.
Which brings us to the technique.
If you experience everything as you always do, you may or may not be in a trance. So if everything seems usual and reality is in its place, then focus on one of your senses. Isolate them from each other.
A great way is to close your eyes and focus on the sounds around you.
Or maybe you'd prefer to pay attention to your sense of touch.
Your brain is very good at stitching your senses together. It knows that the orange thing, the hot thing and the crackling thing are all the same object – a campfire. Thank goodness, as without this you've struggled to navigate the world.
But it's okay to switch it off for a while. Focus on one sense and one sense only. Stay connected to the outside world as you wean yourself slowly off it.
Your senses may feel strange when you dedicate your entire mind to them. That's okay – that's how you know it's working.