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.