Weekend in Nirvana

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Apparently, experienced meditators can do that. Meditation is a consistent practice of moving into the peaceful mind and trying to stay there. After exploring these ideas through reading and thinking for some months, I realized that I couldn’t learn them by studying. That’s because the left brain does most of our thinking and understanding. It’s all about discriminating differences and figuring things out. It’s not capable of experiencing oneness. That’s not what it was made for.

So you can’t learn to visit Heaven. You have to practice. I realized I had to start meditating myself.  Three or four years of that, I figured, and I might start to experience a little of this right-brain world. (Thirty or forty years would be better, granted.) That was six months ago, and I haven’t got there yet.

But I’m already feeling better. I’m meditating every day for at least 20 minutes. I have moments of peace while in meditation. I also seem more peaceful and definitely happier most of the time.

Getting to Nirvana and staying there long-term, though, takes a lot more than 20 minutes a day of sitting. The Indian mystic Swami Brahmananda (1863-1922) spent years in constant meditation, perhaps up to 16 hours a day. He reached a state of such peace and beauty that all the other monks wanted to be around him.

Then he came back to the physical world and helped found the Vedanta Movement and the Ramakrishna Missions. His associates reported that he seemed to be in another world most of the time. When needed, he could snap back to deal with whatever business was coming up (like eating or supervising the monks.)

Realistically, I’m not going to do anything like that, but it’s nice to know it’s possible.

What this says about life and death

For me, a big question is how real is the world lived in by people like Dr. Taylor, Brahmananda and Dr. Alexander? Can you be there after your body is dead?  An awful lot of people think so.

The travelers quoted all think that the world they saw is timeless and ever-present. Although we can visit this place now, we all go there after we die (although we might not stay long – there’s reincarnation to worry about.)

What is the physical basis of this ongoing consciousness that doesn’t need the body or brain? I don’t know. But people who spend a lot of time in their right brain or other brain areas through meditation say they know the world is timeless and death is just one transition in an endless dance of change. That’s the way the right brain sees things, and who am I to argue? I guess I will find out eventually.

Nirvana in Daily Life

According to the books and teachers I’ve been learning from, we can gradually learn to get outside our limited practical mind. When we do, the world is immeasurably more beautiful than anything we can see through our self-brain.

How? Jill Taylor and others have a long list of suggestions

● Strong emphasis on physical sensation. Sense what you feel, smell and hear. According to Taylor, sight is a little more complicated because the left brain wants to categorize and separate everything it sees.

● Talk back to your brain. Tell the left brain “story-teller” that you appreciate the information and the thoughts and the feelings it brings you, but you don’t want them right now – so please give it a rest. We may have to be firm.  Sometimes this works for me and sometimes it doesn’t.

● Absorbing physical activity

● Meditation – There are a huge number of practices you can choose from.  Some are described at this web site. One exciting practice is called orgasmic meditation (OM.) OM is taught by a school called One Taste in several cities in the US and Europe.

● Being in and appreciating nature

● Giving love

● Feeling gratitude and expressing it

● Practicing forgiveness and learning to accept reality as it happens.

● Technological assistance. Eben Alexander uses a brain training program called Hemi-sync that he says allows him to access the Heaven he visited while brain-dead. It’s at http://www.hemi-sync.com/ I haven’t tried it.

● The best thing I’ve found is the advice of Indian mystic Jiddu Krishnamurti, (1895-1986) who said, “The highest form of intelligence is to observe without evaluating.” If I keep reminding myself not to judge, evaluate, or react to things, life keeps getting happier and more peaceful.

Although all these activities are fairly easy, the longer road looks really hard to me. I haven’t reached Nirvana or had a glimpse of it, even for a second. My new meditation teacher says it’s all around me now, but it might take years to see it.

I’d like to tell you more, but that’s as far as I can go at this point. I hope to get farther with  meditation and acceptance as my vehicles. When I get there, I’ll send you a postcard. Now it’s time to meditate.

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11 Responses to Weekend in Nirvana

  1. Jeffrey Shurtleff says:

    Life is only here and now…and then
    Death just deepens the wonder.
    Why? and How? are simply the best practice.

    thanks David,

  2. Anh Le says:

    Thanks for sharing your discoveries and insights, David.

    Appreciating The Beauty That Surrounds Us
    Being With Nature
    Thanks And Gratitude

    These are among the things that give our lives the Deepest Meaning and Joy.


  3. Sugandha says:

    Loved reading about your spiritual journey – a long (or very, very short) road to the amazing NOW. Enjoy!

  4. Patricia Monagle says:

    David – you have already travelled so far, and your writing is so much more authentically humble and wondrous than even your last newsletter. I am impressed and inspired to return to the meditation practice I once knew and enjoyed so many years ago while living at the Transcendental Meditation Center in Phoenix, AZ.

    Perhaps this is something you may enjoy, or find too temporal, but I wish to share it with you regarding your spiritual journey and/0r your path to physical health: “Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird, that cannot fly.
    Langston Hughes

  5. David
    Nice to read once again what JKM had said about observing without judging.
    “The highest form of intelligence is to observe without evaluating.”
    As I spend about ten days each month with Indians of North America, I am astounded and then content, how close is their deep philosophy to that of Buddhism and also of such philosophers as JKM.

  6. June says:

    Is it possible that the dark energy we read about could be consciousness? That the Universe is conscious and that is what we tap into on a minor immediate scale and on a greater transcending scale that you are describing?

  7. Arlene Jech says:

    I have recently read Eben Alexander’s best-selling book “Proof of Heaven,” Anita Moorjani’s “Dying to be Me,” and Raymond Moody’s classic on near death experiences, “Life After Life,” and have been astounded by how similar each person’s near death experiences have been. Dr Moody’s book is based on 100 interviews with people who had a near death experience. In all three books, people talked about feeling incredibly loved, of going through a dark tunnel that was full of energy, coming to a bright light and being told they had to go back because they still had something to accomplish. The tunnel and the bright light are not different from that described in the Tibetan Book of the Dead, where people urge the dying person to go toward the white light and not be afraid. The dark tunnel full of energy is not different from what Prof Higgs describes about the Higgs Bosun, where space is filled with dark energy. Interestingly, Dr Alexander is a neurosurgeon who described heaven as being in a different dimension, free of the limitations that we encounter as human beings. I’ve always thought we are limited by our senses: we see a limited spectrum from ultraviolet to infrared, but more is out there. Humans hear in a narrow range: my dogs hear sirens before I do. And dogs see at 70-80 flicker-frames a second, while humans only see at 60-70 flicker-frames a second. And dogs have a keener sense of smell, and have even been trained to detect cancer in a person, and to detect a person about to have a seizure before it happens. Can we experience heaven in the here and now, by meditating? Many have done so, even me on occasion.

  8. Roger Eaton says:

    Here’s a quick prescription – binaural beats on you tube: http://www.youtube.com/user/FulLengthBinaurals

  9. Melissa J says:

    There is one other way. Drugs. I started to smoke pot after 20 years sober. My to-do list went away and I connected with the greater. It’s amazing.

  10. CAROLINA PEREZ says:

    is it true that when a person dies they travel back to every point they lived in or been in life

  11. Howard Jachter says:

    For me the question isn’t whether heaven exists. It’s whether the physical perceptions aren’t simply an experience of the eternal dreamer — source energy or soul. Maybe heaven is everywhere and there really is no external reality beyond souls acceptance of that illusion.

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