I wonder if any of you has any tips or guidance for me. I’ve had a look through the forums, but a lot of the subjects seem either to be way above my head or about ‘OBE’.
I’m 64 years of age and live in Scotland.
In my late teens/early twenties, I practiced Hatha and Raja yoga until work, bringing up family, etc. got in the way. (Well, that was my excuse!).
I still have many books on the subject. One very useful series of books was by an American author called William John Atkinson who wrote under the nom-de-plume Yogi Ramacharaka. Something he wrote resonated with me - that the ‘All’, as he termed it, was like a candle flame, and that each of us had a spark of that flame within us (which Christian people might call the ‘soul’) but that we humans were separated from being ‘at one’ with the All by various ‘shells’ that surround us - e.g., the body, the astral body, emotions, needs, desires, wants, etc. (My Dad was an aetheist, but made me go to Sunday school when I was a kid so that I could decide for myself about whether or not religion was for me - and, also, I guess, to learn more about morals).
I then read a couple of books by Mouni Sadhu - ‘Samadhi’, which explained about enlightenment, and ‘Concentration’, which was an instructional book on how to attain Samadhi. It involved staring at an apple or a candle flame, trying to imagine the mind as a blank white cinema screen and thinking of geese flying across the screen, and concentrating on stopping the geese (his analogy was that the geese were ‘thoughts’) flying across the screen in order to still the mind.
While my instinct told me that this was a valid thing to do, I found these techniques far too difficult and that is probably the real reason I gave up on it.
I retired from business a couple of years ago, and now spend my time on playing music - doing something I love to do rather than what I have to do. With more time on my hands (and life takes you on strange paths) I came across George Harrison’s final interview on YouTube, where he discussed Transcendental Meditation. Cut a long story short, I researched more and, probably because what I read made clear to me that TM was ‘easy to do’ (and I am one of those people in life who tends to think that if something’s easy then it probably isn’t worth doing, so I was still a little sceptical!) I decided to take the TM course in Glasgow last year.
I’m so glad I did. For as long as I can remember, I’ve trusted instinct over logic every time. When you go through the TM course, you attend ‘tune-up’ sessions. At one of these, when asked by my tutor how the meditation was going, I told him that there had been no ‘flashing lights’ of enlightenment (not that I ever expected there to be!) but that I was feeling the benefit of having more focus, more energy, no need to siesta in the afternoon anymore. He also said that, as I wasn’t coming from a place of having deep anxieties (if I was any more laid back, I’d be horizontal, as my girlfriend is fond of telling me!) then I shouldn’t expect any big dramatic changes. He also reminded me (proving the usefulness of having these tune-up sessions) that, it isn’t about what happens during meditation that matters, more about how the effects of meditating ‘bubbles up’ into your day-to-day life.
For Christmas, my daughter’s partner gifted me Tom’s ‘My Big Toe’ trilogy. I’ve now finished my first reading of it. I guess I’ve never been a very logical person - I excelled at English Lit, but was rubbish at art and mathematics at school. (Now THERE’S a left/right brain dichotomy!) but the fact that MBT is about science, not beliefs or philosophy, for the first time in my life gave me the feeling that here was something concrete, non-hippy, that explained what life is all about, and the fact that it resonated with my instincts made me realise that it isn't so much the health benefits of TM that motivated me to take the course - rather that I’m mainly interested in growing the quality of my consciousness... attaining enlightenment... call it what you will.
So all the above more by way of background than anything else. The question of ‘what next?’ took me to this forum, and to this message. I regard myself as a complete beginner on a new journey. My ignorance is pretty complete. I’m quite sure that people don’t start experimenting with OBE for fun, but I’m concerned that it could be thought of as a ‘party trick’ kind of distraction from what I OUGHT to be doing.
I did, when young, try (what was then called) ‘astral travelling’. All I got was a buzzing feeling all over my body. I was afraid to open my eyes, and I knew then instinctively that I was doing it for the wrong reasons. I couldn't see anything - was actually afraid of opening my eyes in case I ‘saw demons’ (I WAS, after all, very young!). I didn’t even know if my ‘astral body’ (for some reason, I don’t even like using that term anymore!) HAS eyes! I smile at that now. But, whilst I want to progress in growing my consciousness, I want to do it in the ‘right way’ and not (albeit I don’t have that fear of trying OBE now) down a party-trick path just for the sake of it.
So, what do you think I should be doing now? I DO ‘get’ Tom’s point about it should be MY path rather than trying to follow the one that someone else has trodden, but (whilst I’ll never give up meditating, doing my 2 x 20 minute sessions each day) is there anything else that I should be doing, in a practical way, to help me along in the right direction?
I’m very conscious of not trying to walk before I can run. Something I watched on YouTube - Tom talking about cutting off one data stream (our current PMR?) - made perfect sense to me. But, if the benefits of TM are about what happens AFTER meditating rather than whilst doing it, how if at all would that help me to do that?
Aside from my comment about my concern to avoid taking the ‘party trick’ path, I wondered - is OBE perhaps a NECESSARY part of the learning curve in learning how to cut off my current PMR data stream?
As I say, complete beginner here, so open to all suggestions. What avenues should I be exploring?
Thank you for reading this.