By Christopher Grøndahl
The effect of meditation increases if you adjust the way you repeat the meditation sound. Here are six simple suggestions.
1. Without effort
From the beginner’s course, you will remember that the meditation sound should be repeated lightly and effortlessly, and with an open, inclusive awareness. In this way, we establish a free mental attitude in our minds. The spontaneous sides of our minds are allowed more space: we relax and work through unfinished psychological issues.
The principle is easy to remember: never push or force yourself in order to achieve something in meditation.
Yet, without being aware of it, we will at times unconsciously tend to use some degree of effort. The next time you start the meditation sound, try to become aware: where am I getting too involved in the repetition at the present moment? Can I let go of this?
2. Start the sound where you are
To lose the meditation sound is (an important) part of the meditation process. When we discover that the sound is gone, the instruction is to pick it up again.
When you arrive at this point, you may try to become aware: where am I now? What is on my mind at the present moment? When you have registered what is present, you may repeat the meditation sound within this.
It makes a difference that you repeat the sound within the place where you are in your mind at this moment, rather than trying to temporarily step out of the meditation by for example taking a deep breath and starting again at the surface level.
3. Being near the spontaneous
The meditation is a meeting between you and your spontaneous activity (the contents of your mind). The closer you get into the non-directed flow inside you, the more you will get out of the meditation time.
This involves adjusting the repetition of the sound throughout the meditation, in order to repeat it in a way that does not disturb the spontaneous activities.
Use your sensitivity: how does the sound match what is in my mind right now? Can I come even closer to what is moving there?
There is no single/exclusively correct or optimal way to repeat the sound. Finding the right way to repeat the sound always involves being sensitive to where your mind is here and now.
In this way, you cultivate your presence in the moment. You will also enjoy increased sensitivity outside your meditation.
4.More subtle sound
The less energy you involve in the repetition of the sound, the more powerful it is. This is associated with the refinement of sensitivity that the meditation can provide.
Following the basic principles of the method, you ask yourself: can I put less energy into the repetition here and now?
With even less effort in the repetition, we approach deeper levels of the mind. When these levels are met with a freer mental attitude, we strengthen our existential foundations on a nonverbal level.
In other words: a more subtle repetition of the sound has an impact on more fundamental levels inside us. By changing something here, we gain more freedom in everyday life.
Just make sure that the subtle repetition is not associated with striving to achieve something. There is no need to be constantly alert and judgemental: am I being subtle enough now?
Retreats are good opportunities to discover that there are ever more subtle ways to repeat the meditation sound.
5. Tolerance of a lack of clarity
We have been taught the virtue of clarity. Clarity is important in order to communicate and function in daily life.
However, in meditation, the need for clarity may disturb the inward, deepening movement.
If you develop a greater tolerance for what is unclear, your meditation will become more beneficial. When the sound becomes so refined that you hardly notice that it is there, you might begin to doubt: is this the sound at all? Am I sitting here wasting my time?
This lack of clarity is useful, indicating that you have moved into an important field of your meditation.
In order for meditation to impact the deeper levels of the mind, we must cultivate our intuition. We need to develop an awareness beyond words about the soft, hardly noticeable flow at these levels in ourselves.
Ask yourself: have I had periods in my meditation when I was not sure whether I was actually repeating the sound – where I am present and repeat something, but am not sure about what it is?
This may be a useful place to be. It provides training to endure the lack of clarity. Paradoxically, this may help you to reach deeper also in the daily meditations after a retreat.
6. Cultivate a free mental attitude
As a bonus, the free mental attitude may also be transferred to your life outside meditation.
Effortless meditation develops our sensitivity and acceptance of what is, and the capacity to act gently, without pushing. Soft repetition is training in being present. In everyday life, you might also become more aware: where do I use too much effort now? Can I let go of some of this?
In challenging situations at work, and in the family, you may also take a step backward and look for other ways to deal with what is at hand.
The point is not to always have a super free mental attitude in daily life. Sometimes we must pull ourselves together in order to focus, and at other times we need to just let go. The free mental attitude is first of all associated with flexibility and the ability to recognize when you can let go.
More free mental attitude in daily life might make it simpler to coexist with those we are close to, and with the rest of the world.
Have a good meditation!
Translated by Anne Grete Hersoug
Language editor: Eirik Jensen