One of the meditation techniques that I learned early on in my Gnostic journey is called “mindfulness”. It is an ancient simple technique from the Buddhist tradition, and yet very effective. I like to do it out in nature, but it can be performed anywhere where you find yourself. It is done like this:
Sit down somewhere where you are comfortable, be it a chair, cushion, rock, grass, sand etc… put all of your thoughts of the day aside and become aware of your surroundings. Take some deep breaths, holding it for a moment, and then exhale. Close your eyes.
What follows next is activating (focusing on) each physical sense one by one. Start off by the sense of hearing. Listen to what you can hear, be that the sound of birds, ocean, people talking, noise in your ears, or anything else that you may hear at that time, and just focus on that for some time.
Next, add to the sense of hearing the sense of smell. Become aware of what you can smell, while at the same time being aware of the sounds around you.
Then add to that the sense of touch. Notice the air on your skin, the ground upon which you sit etc., all the time also being aware of the sense of hearing and smell.
To those three senses, you then add the sense of taste. At the same time you are noticing the taste in your mouth, the hearing, the smell and the sense of touch.
Finally, after some time has passed, open your eyes and incorporate the final sense into your practice – that of sight. Be aware of everything that your senses can perceive, and stay in that state of awareness for a while. Notice the difference between your state of awareness now and in the beginning before you closed your eyes.
This practice of Mindfulness acts on awakening the consciousness, because it is that through activating the physical senses our consciousness awakes as well. It awakes from the slumber produced by continuous train of thoughts and emotions that keep emerging from subconsciousness; hindering the consciousness from shining through.
As mentioned in many previous topics on this blog, consciousness is essential part of who we are – a divine spark inside a human machine that makes it alive and animated. Mindfulness is one of the many techniques that can keep this essence active and awake, and therefore nourishing it with food that it receives when it is awake.
You don’t have to activate your senses in this practice of Mindfulness in the same order that I wrote above, but it’s good to start off with closing the eyes, and then activating hearing as the first sense in this practice.
After some time of practicing it you will notice that you are carrying this peaceful awareness into daily life. The goal is to have consciousness aware and awake like that as much as possible, because it gives us ability to go through life with intelligence and wisdom, and is the basis for doing any kind of substantial spiritual work. I wrote more about this in the article Awareness of the Present Moment.
Once you become familiar with this practice, you can expand it to become aware of your thoughts and emotions as well. To do that as part of the above mentioned practice, before opening your eyes and when you have four of your senses active, become aware of your emotions, of how you feel. And to expand on that, you can also notice what is your mental state like at that moment. Then when you open your eyes, you will have complete awareness, of both inner and outer world.
Try do this practice naturally, adding sense one by one, without worrying about doing it perfectly. But rather just being aware of each of the sense, or as much as you can.
HDP, July 2019.