The first step towards meditation is trance, and trance is the engagement of the conscious mind. The conscious mind in turn can be engaged using a number of methods, the first being breath awareness. You might also want to listen to this podcast introducing meditation.
There’s no preferred or right way of entering trance. We use whatever means is available to us or that which works best for us.
The best place for this method is one that has a variety of sounds coming from all directions. Examples include:
- A busy household where sounds could include people talking, food being cooked, utensils being washed, television, radio, children playing and more.
- A park where possible sounds are that of children playing, people walking and talking, vendors selling things, vehicles from outside the park, bird chirping etc.
- An office, which could have sounds like those of computer keyboards, printers, people talking, air conditioning, electronic equipment, doors opening and closing etc.
The basic method for all these locations is the same.
- Find a place where you will not be addressed or otherwise disturbed. Ideally your seating should be comfortable and have some neck support, but not be so comfortable and supported that you may easily fall asleep.
- Sit here, place your hands in a comfortable place; maybe your lap, and close your eyes.
- Listen to all the sounds around you.
- Each of these sounds, apart from the sound itself, has additional properties / attributes that should be observed.
- the direction of the sound – where is it coming from – your left, right, front or back?
- the source of the sound – what is causing it – a printer, a person, a bird, a child?
- the identity of the sound – if a person is making that sounds, listen to it clearly and tag it with a label – ‘child 1’, ‘person 1’ or if it is an object or an animal, ‘printer 2’, ‘bird 3’ etc. You want to recognize it the next time the same person speaks or the same printer prints.
- the context of the sound – it is two children playing, three adults talking, a lone bird chirping, did the fruit vendor make a sale?
- the emotions if any – is the child happy, is the adult angry, does the vendor sound hopeful?
- the changes to the sounds – have the children who were to the left moved to the right, have the couple who were chatting and walking around the park taken a full circle and are passing by behind you, and so on.
- As you continue to do this, in about 5 minutes, you’ll enter an altered state of mind, and achieved your next step towards meditation.
You can try this in a variety of locations, as well as use instrumental music, especially western classical music. I’ve put together a 30 minute sound track (use both earphones) that you could try too, using the same methods as above, to attempt complete immersion.