How to Make Meditation Work for You
By Bill Harris
All meditation begins with the premise that you are not the individual ego you think you are. Rather, you are the entire complex process that makes up the whole universe. The entire process is irrevocably connected, and any divisions into separate things or separate events is an illusion. Certain things you do inside your mind cause you to have the illusion that you are a separate entity—"a separate ego in a bag of skin" as Alan Watts was fond of saying.
Meditation, then, is a way to get the mind and the illusion of separateness out of the way. Whenever an individual has done this, in all cultures and in all times, they report the same thing: they contact reality directly, without the filter of the mind. When this happens the person instantly knows who he or she really is—the going on of it all, and the nothingness out of which it all arises, moment by moment, endlessly.
Knowing who you really are, a number of remarkable things happen. First, you stop being afraid because you realize that there is nothing outside of you to be afraid of. You stop striving to get certain things or to avoid certain things. Why? Because you are all of it already. You now can see that there is nowhere to go and nothing to get. Only being in the world created by the mind can make you think that there is somewhere to go, something to get, or something to be afraid of. For this reason those who do realize who they really are, experience incredible peace—"the peace that passes all understanding".
Many people, however, are meditating for other reasons. They want to end their unhappiness. They want relief from anxiety, depression, anger, unease, a lack of fulfillment, and other similar problems. My contention is that all of these are actually symptoms of falling for the illusion of separateness, and that therefore meditation is the cure. Furthermore, I contend that Holosync meditation is a much faster cure.
I have been asked what to do when you are getting bored with your meditation. Let's look at this question more carefully. If you are doing something designed to help you realize who you really are, something that is supposed to eliminate the root cause of your suffering, does it really matter if you get bored? With any goal there may be times when you become bored or discouraged. Those who remain focused on the goal—whatever it is—during these times continue to move forward. Those who lose their focus, or focus on aspects of the process that may be unpleasant, become sidetracked.
Both boredom or interest are side-effects of the way you focus your mind. They do not happen to you—you do something inside to create them. When you become bored, you are in some way focusing on what you do not want—you want a certain experience, but it isn't happening. Your body is uncomfortable and you don't like it. In some way, you are focusing on something about the process that you don't want.
A common mistake in meditation is wanting a certain experience, or wanting to avoid certain experiences. You want some fireworks, you want a sign that "it's working," you want some sizzle. But it's not sizzling, and you want it to be something it isn't in that moment. This is an example of focusing on what you do not want.
When you do this, you instantly feel bad. In this case, the bad feeling is boredom, though it could be one of many other negative feelings. Most people blame the bad feeling on their current activity, in this case, meditation. Actually, though, it isn't the meditation, but rather your wanting your meditation to be something it isn't. This is why I so strongly urge everyone to let whatever happens be okay—in or out of meditation. Resisting what is (in other words, focusing on what you do not want) always creates some kind of unpleaseant feeling.
Resistance to what is (or isn't) happening in meditation is often based on an erroneous idea of what is supposed to happen. Many people think they are meditating to get a certain effect or experience. Though many wonderful experiences can happen during meditation, this is not the reason to meditate—or at least it shouldn't be.
If you don't want to seek certain experiences and you don't want to try to avoid certain experiences, then what should your attitude be as you meditate? You should seek to find out what will happen as you meditate. Your approach should be one of curiosity. As you meditate, you are watching your mind do whatever it does to create your moment-by-moment reality. As it relaxes and becomes quieter, you will begin to see the spaces between the reality your mind creates. As this happens, you will begin to glimpse who and what you are, beyond the mind.
Look at it this way. Your mind is creating your reality. There are things about this reality that you don't like. Sometimes it creates anxiety, confusion, anger, feelings of separation, despair, fear, and all the consequences of these and other feelings. Wouldn't it be a good idea to become very clear about how this creation happens? To do that, you must watch your mind with great curiosity. If it does something you don't like, including any of the feelings I just mentioned—or, boredom—watch closely and find out how your mind is creating these feelings and their consequences. Become very curious.
Most people have such a knee-jerk reaction to negative feelings that instead of watching intently they instantly go into resistance. As you must know by now, resistance creates more of what is being resisted, and it instantly creates bad feelings. Whatever happens in meditation—or in life—watch it with curiosity. When you do this, something quite amazing happens. If what you are watching is resourceful, it will continue. If it is not resourceful, it will dissolve—to the degree that you are able to watch yourself, with awareness, create it.
Whatever meditation technique you're using, you're doing something to your mind. The idea is that over time the mind will become quieter. As this happens, it will create less confusion in you. In a huge crowd at a wild party, there may be a lot of confusion and a lot of chaos. As the crowd thins out in the wee hours, things begin to calm down and it is easier to see what is going on. The same thing happens with the mind. As you still your mind through Holosync meditation, it becomes more and more easy to see what it is doing and how what it is doing creates your reality.
Eventually, there will be intervals where you won't be looking at everything through the filter of the mind, and you'll be able to see past the mind. At these times you will have glimpses of who you really are. As you provide this stimulus—the stimulus of meditation—to the mind, a whole variety of things could happen, some dramatic, and some not. Whatever happens, let it be okay.
Yes, it's more fun if something dramatic happens. As long as we are tied to the mind and what it creates, it seems as if we need some sort of action in order to feel alive. But the real aliveness comes from finding out who you are beyond the mind.
Yes, we like it better if we end a meditation feeling relaxed and happy. But as I said, you're meditating not to have a certain thing happen, but to see what happens. This is part of the process of finding out who you are, which begins with seeing how your mind creates your current illusion of who you are. Sometimes that means boredom. Sometimes it means upheaval. Sometimes it means bliss. It doesn't matter. Approach your meditations with curiosity. And, if you are bored or agitated or something else happens that you don't like, realize that your mind has shown you a part of your "small self"—the self created by the mind. As you continue to meditate this small self becomes less and less prominent and the real self begins to shine through. Be willing to go through this process.
When it seems as if nothing is happening, realize that something IS happening—it just isn't as dramatic as you want it to be. Also realize that you often can't tell what is happening from a subjective point of view. It seems as if little or nothing is happening, but later you find out that all the while, under the surface, quite a bit was happening. You may not feel relaxed and peaceful, but you may be releasing some of what keeps you from being relaxed and peaceful all the time. That's how the process works. Either you get a peek at who you really are behind the mind, or you are releasing something that will eventually allow these peeks to be more profound.
Many people come to us with a lot of unhappiness. They have tried many things in order to change, but often these things have not worked very well, or at all. When they try Holosync, in the back of their mind is the nagging idea that this, too, will fail. They think that perhaps there's something wrong with them that will prevent Holosync from working. They see Holosync, or other approaches, seeming to work for other people, but nothing seems to work for them. And, on top of that, they spent good money in order to get certain results!
So if you get bored, or have some other experience you don't like—you end up feeling agitated after a meditation, or in some way it doesn't go the way you would like it to be going—you begin to think, "I knew it. This isn't going to work, either." This is a question of faith. Faith is a tricky thing, because when you have faith, your mind picks it up and puts you into the fast lane of getting what you want. It almost seems unfair: if you have faith, you get what you want easily and effortlessly, but if you don't have faith nothing seems to work. How do you get what you need when you need to have it already in order to get it?
In this case, all you need is enough faith to keep listening to Holosync every day. You don't need faith for Holosync to work, you just need faith to get yourself to use it. At first, you might have to get your faith from an outside source, which is one reason why I write these articles and send the support material and all the things I do to support you as you use the program. I am supplying faith from the outside until you get enough of it that you don't need me.
Just know that no matter what happens while you are listening, it's working. Though we of course like it better when things feel good, ultimately it doesn't matter what happens while you meditate. There is no way, if you keep using Holosync, that it can fail to work, any more than you can get in the shower without getting wet. If you stimulate your mind with Holosync, it will eventually get the mind out of the way, and as that happens you will find yourself happier, more peaceful, and more aware of your connection to everything else.
If you have an idea of how is SHOULD work, what SHOULD happen, what you SHOULD (or should not) experience, you will probably be disappointed, because the process is going to unfold in its own way, depending on your mind and how it currently creates what you take to be reality. Whatever you experience when you listen to Holosync, you are seeing yourself—or at least the small self created by your mind—in that moment.
So when you have a meditation where you are bored and feel like giving up, become very curious about the boredom. Notice exactly what it feels like. Notice where you feel it in your body. Notice what thoughts you are having. Somehow, you are creating boredom in this moment. Watch carefully and learn what you can about how your mind is creating your experience.
The times when meditation is the least pleasurable are generally the times when the most progress is being made. These are the times to become very curious, and above all, to stick with it.
Director, Centerpointe Research Institute