The first step towards meditation is entering a state of trance, for which there are many ways. If you aren’t familiar with how to enter trance, I suggest becoming familiar with the process. First check out an introduction, after which you could try a basic method and then try sound and visualization based techniques.
Speaking for myself, the time spent entering trance involves a much repeated exercise, and during my early days, I wished there were ways to shorten that time and get into a meditative state as soon as possible. With time and practice, the time it took to enter trance did come down quite a bit; nonetheless, I wanted to make it shorter still.
There’s this concept of a virtual home (VH), a place in our minds that we can use to shorten the time it takes to enter a meditative state. This place is entirely of our own construction and we will literally, in a virtual sense (yes, I know that sounds like an oxymoron) place every brick of our virtual homes and be familiar with every detail. I’ve included different examples of such homes in case you need some help to begin with.
Your virtual home could be anywhere you like – up in the clouds, hidden deep below the earth’s surface, high up in the mountains or solitude in the middle of a desert or even a modern apartment in a city that no one but you knows about. Choose whichever place you want. If you wish, you could even build it yourself.
The images in this post reflect my personal preferences and are only meant to serve as examples, not suggestions.
If your virtual home is far from your current location, figure out a way to get from here to there and back – could be teleportation, a virtual plane ride, opening a manhole cover and slipping inside – whatever you want. Visualize every possible detail of the mode of transportation. If you’re teleporting, imagine how it’ll be initiated (pressing a button, or standing on a portal…). If you’re going to travel by plane, how will you reach the plane, what does the plane look like, what sort of seat will you be seated in, is it an aisle seat or a window seat, first class or economy, what color is the seat, is it a private jet or a commercial airline, how long will the ride take, how will you reach your virtual home after disembarking? Every detail must be thought through and then again in as much detail as possible.
If you’re beginning to get bored, think of this exercise itself as an adventure. Sometimes, you might find yourself in a state of trance during this exercise. If you do, go with the flow and come back to this visualization later, beginning where you left off.
When you reach the location of your home, I want you to look around, observe your surroundings. What kind of plants are growing there? Are there trees? How tall are they? What’s the ground like? Sandy, gravelly, muddy, stone – pick whatever you like. How’s the weather? Is it hot, cold, humid, freezing or steamy? Choose what weather you think works well for your meditative virtual home.
Now look towards your virtual home? What does it look like? It is a cave in a mountain side? Is it a cottage on a hill? Maybe a wooden room atop a tree? A tiny room hidden behind a closet?
The key to successfully creating and using a virtual home to shorten the process of entering trance and deepening the outcomes, is detail. As much detail as you can possibly visualize.
When you walk towards it (in your mind’s eye), what sort of shoes are you wearing? If the ground is gravelly and your shoes have hard soles, hear the sound of the gravel crunching, feel it rolling beneath your feet.
You reach the entrance. Is it a door? Does it have a handle? What’s the handle made of? What sort of handle is it? Does it have a lock that needs to be opened? What sort of lock? What sort of key? What’s the door made of? Is it wood, metal, plastic or something else? If it’s wood, is it weathered or scratched or is it polished and shining?
Tell no one about your virtual home – where it is, what’s inside or what you do there. If you do, you must begin the process of reconstruction from the beginning.
You enter your virtual home and look around inside? What do you see inside? Do you want it to be a single room and nothing else or do you want it to be a complete house with multiple rooms or something in between? Does it have a bathroom? Do you wash up before proceeding? Visualize every nook and cranny of this space.
There’s just one thing that must be present inside your virtual home – a comfortable place for you to meditate.
Go to the place where you will meditate. Get into a comfortable position. Are you sitting or lying down on something? Is it soft? Feel it beneath you. If you’re sitting up, make sure you have neck and back support. Be as comfortable as you possibly can, without being so comfortable as to be able to fall asleep (in your virtual home).
Now, in this comfortable place and position, in your virtual home, begin the process of entering trance as you would do in real life.
Each time you revisit this place, don’t just ‘appear’ there – go through the motions of using the planned mode of transport, of walking up to the entrance, of feeling the environment, the sounds, the winds, the temperature, the ground and everything else that makes up this world. Then proceed to do whatever you want to do before beginning your meditation, such as washing up or changing your clothes or even visualizing a complete bath. Then start the process of entering trance.
After a little practice, most of us are likely to experience trance within a minute of starting the journey to our virtual homes.