For the first time in the world, you are now going to learn how to practice ANY concentration and/ or meditation technique in the truly effortless manner that only highly adept meditation students/ masters were capable of. This will enable you to tap into even more of the infinite power of your mind than ever before. To start with, all you have to do is thoroughly learn & practice the following :
1. Preliminary to the Simple Technique.
2. The Simple Technique.
Beginners and those who want to brush up their basics may go through the following section, while intermediate & advanced meditation students may go directly to Chapter 2.
Beginners section : Meditation is the ultimate personal development tool of the seasoned self-improvement warrior regardless of his/ her background (age, nationality, etc.) If you do not know how to meditate, here is a meditation technique for beginners :
The Concentration on the Breath Technique.
This technique is best practiced in the early morning hours after your toilet, bath and some light, physical exercise.
For safety’s sake, allow a certified meditation instructor to make a detailed study of your mental & physical fitness levels, dietary habits, the environment in which you practice, etc, before you attempt to practice even a simple meditation technique like the Concentration on the Breath Technique. (This bit of advice may strike you as going overboard on safety issues. However, we have decided to stick to this approach for the sake of professional integrity.)
Eat something light like fruit if an empty stomach is a distraction. Sit in a relaxed manner for some time until your breathing slows down a bit. (Don’t worry about conventional meditation postures as they are too difficult for beginners). Gently close your eyes and mentally observe your breathing without attempting to exert any kind of conscious control over the breathing process itself.
Inevitably you will get distracted by external sounds, thoughts, etc., and whenever this happens, gently turn your attention back to your breathing. (If these distractions are too engaging, give them a free rein instead of forcing yourself to ignore them.) This technique may be practiced for 10 – 20 minutes a day.
A short history of meditation : Meditation techniques are, traditionally, of religious origin, with some religions emphasizing meditation more than others. No one can deny that, when practiced with sincerity, meditation vastly improves the quality of life itself. Under the microscope of Science, the benefits of meditation — most notably it’s salubrious effects on human physiology — have been irrefutably established.
Conventional meditation schools usually give some kind of preparatory training (diet, physical & mental exercises, moral observances, etc) for a few years, so that the physical body becomes fit enough to sit still for hours and the mind can meditate easily.
A conventional meditation session that goes off well usually ends with a mildly restless signal from the mind to stop meditating. And unless you are aging/ too stressed out/ too ill/ an extremely restless person, your mind feels calm and relaxed and this calmness stays with you for quite some time, perhaps even a whole day.
Disclaimer : We sincerely apologize for the imperfections in the make-up of this manuscript and hope that they are not significant enough to hinder your mastery of the Simple Technique.
The usage of the few “heavy” words in this book (like meditation, mind, etc) has been deliberately oversimplified to a fault so that beginners may be able to focus more on learning & practicing the Simple Technique.
A proper conditioning of mind & body (diet, exercise, attitude, environment, etc) for months/ years, goes hand in hand with the correct practice of even simple meditation techniques. (If you are smart enough to locate the proper books/ videos, you may not need a qualified instructor at certain basic stages of your training. for e.g : Fit for Life by Harvey Diamond is one of the most popular books for the ideal diet. Since this book places a lot of emphasis on colon cleansing, you should be ready to give up spicy food since a well cleansed colon is sensitive to strong spices. Also be aware of : (1) the acute scarcity of fruits and vegetables that are free from chemical contamination (indeed, some of them are too heavily contaminated and no amount of washing seems to completely remove this contamination). Hence our readers are advised to investigate the growing worldwide movement of using pyramids/ pyramid fires/ any other method to rigorously purify their produce. (2) the dangers of ingesting natural toxins (green/ sprouted potatoes; unrefined whole grains that have not gone through the soaking/ sprouting/ fermentation process; fungi in nuts, vegetables, etc. that have not been properly washed off.))
If perfection is your goal, you will have to wait until enlightenment itself is attained (if ever !). Until then, even advanced meditation students/ teachers are prone to errors in conduct, judgment, etc in spite of years/ decades of meditation. So please do not judge regular meditation practitioners too harshly !
Dangers of meditation : (please refer to the appropriate sources for an exhaustive list of these dangers). Classical meditation postures may be dangerous even for those who are physically fit.
Repressed traumatic memories/ emotions may surface in your consciousness during and/ or after a meditation session. Hence extended meditation sessions as well as the practice of certain powerful techniques – like the preliminary to the Simple Technique – that stimulate the release of repressed traumatic memories/ emotions are ideally not for beginners.
Practicing meditation in a group setting may not be a good idea since the competitive instinct may get sparked off and if you are not in peak form you will end up suppressing pain & fatigue. Needless to add, this will significantly impact the quality of your meditation session.
Some people may accidentally awaken their ESP during/ as a result of meditation ! Do nothing more than celebrate the moment and then get on with your practice. ESP is dangerously addictive enough to distract you from the loftier goals that the Simple Technique can place within your reach. Moreover, the long term repercussions of the regular use and public display of such powers are never easy to handle.
If you are in bad shape, it is normal to be overenthusiastic during the early stages of the self improvement path in an attempt to “set the balance right”. But the use of brute will power to make drastic changes in certain aspects of your life like diet, ethics, etc. is very harmful and will also cause much strain to the people you are living with. Sometimes a drastic change may have to be made even if it drives you or your family members crazy ! e.g. : Giving up sugar because you just found out that you are diabetic. But if you are only concerned with self-improvement, it is best to make tiny progressive changes on a trial basis and temporarily stop the trial whenever your general well being dips too low for comfort. e.g. If you drink 7 to 8 cups of coffee a day, try reducing your intake to 5 to 6 cups a day for a few weeks. If you are still standing after a few weeks (!), try reducing your intake to 3 to 4 cups a day. Include yet another vice in the above trial if you feel that you are up to the challenge and don’t forget to replace them with healthy alternatives. e.g. : Drink more water/ unsweetened fruit juices instead of coffee. By simultaneously maintaining a regular meditation schedule, a day will come when you may be able to make some of these changes effortlessly. Such is the power of the dedicated practice of meditation for many years ! The above method may be used to partially/ completely replace most bad habits with a good one.
Since the harshest critics are usually found amongst family members/ friends, it is best to keep at least the meditation part of your self improvement routine confidential.
One of the most dangerous phases of the self-improvement path (for those who are prone to frivolous emotional binges and taking rash decisions on the spur of the moment) is when deep seated spiritual longings are awakened and frustration begins to build up due to the lack of opportunities and facilities for a more serious pursuit of meditation. To add fuel to the fire, stories of the ancient meditation masters who “burned their bridges” and ran away from home are very common. Unfortunately, most of the countless millions, who have copied this stunt over the ages, have succumbed to unemployment, poverty, malnutrition, substance abuse, disease, imprisonment, loss of limb due to accidents, general debilitation, etc when all their “fool-proof” plans came to naught & all their money was lost. Not even family members would recognize the gaunt, old face that has finally returned home ! (It may seem like a good idea to make a beeline to the nearest monastery, but as most of them are in need of an endless supply of servants, you might end up washing dishes for a lifetime !)
Runaways also risk falling prey to international human trafficking gangs whose SOP is to catch any man or woman (irrespective of their age/ health condition !) by secretly doping their food and drink !
Since the Internet has enabled even home bound individuals to give free rein to their criminal side, blackmail by remote is now routine, the most popular method being the use of hidden microscopic cameras in public washrooms.
Sometimes a few runaways strike it rich. But even if they retire early in order to spend the rest of their lives in meditation, they soon realize (to their horror) that they have become too worn out (by the effort of making their millions) to meditate properly !
Most of the ancient meditation masters who ran away from home, actually had it better. Unpolluted water & air and fruit bearing trees were abundant in those times, and the support of friendly locals, who unconditionally revered them, added to their good fortune. Moreover, they were supremely blessed with the rare opportunity of working under genuinely enlightened masters.
Will the Simple Technique work for all ?
Since the subject of our first short term case study (see Chapter 3) was able to meditate in a truly effortless manner in his very first attempt in spite of being severely debilitated by a long illness, the authors are fairly certain that even our most diffident reader has the potential (if not the will) to meditate in a truly effortless manner.
What is the average length of a successful Simple Technique session ?
In a few other short term case studies, our volunteers (intermediate meditation students) had testified that they were able to attain the effortless state within a couple of hours in a retreat environment.
While long term case studies encompassing a wider variety of subject profiles and tools (biofeedback, pyramids, etc.) are necessary to determine how far this timing can be improved, it may be safely concluded that a few prodigies should be able to slide into the effortless state in seconds without having to put in years of practice.
Who discovered the Simple Technique ?
The authors were deeply honored to learn the Simple Technique from one of the participants of a spiritual gathering a few years ago. Unfortunately, we have lost touch with him and since he had not revealed his identity as well as other important details such as the history of the Simple Technique, we are unable to confirm whether the Simple Technique is an original, new discovery.
How to get the best out of your very first Simple Technique session : The Simple Technique is best learned and practiced in a formal retreat environment, but your own home will also do if :
1. You are on a long holiday;
2. You live in a quiet, clean neighborhood;
3. You have some private space of your own that is well-ventilated, clean and comfortable;
4. You have someone reliable to take over your daily chores and keep visitors & phone calls at bay for a few weeks.
How long should you stay in the retreat center : The subject of our case study was able to attain the truly effortless state of mind within 3 hours in his very first Simple Technique session. However he made the attempt to experiment with the Simple Technique only when he was sure that he would be staying in his retreat for a few weeks. This arrangement gave him much mental relief and relaxed him to such an extent that his first attempt was crowned with success. Therefore, unless you are a very relaxed person by nature, you must make arrangements for an extended stay in a retreat environment. Otherwise you may be too preoccupied (with thoughts of packing up and traveling back from the retreat center) to concentrate properly upon the Simple Technique !
Some general lifestyle tips that should enable you to get the best out of your stay in the retreat center (try and implement the following recommendations long before you enter a retreat environment) : Go to bed everyday between 9 and 9:30 P.M. A very early meal is essential in order to go to bed at 9 P.M. itself. Even earlier is better. i.e. Have supper at sunset and go to bed by 8 P.M. (Advanced students of meditation are known to go to bed by 8 P.M. itself so that they can utilize the pre-dawn hours for meditation).
Nearly all advice about getting enough sleep fail to stress on the importance of going to bed very, very early (even 10 P.M. is TOO LATE !). You can see the difference for yourself when you compare a 9 P.M. to 5 A.M. sleep session with a 1 A.M. to 9 A.M. one. (Even though you get 8 hours of sleep from 1 A.M. to 9 A.M., the quality of sleep is so bad that in the long run you will grow old before your time and also succumb to a host of chronic mental and physical health problems).
Those who do not even have the time to sleep for a full 8 hours due to the hectic nature of their work schedule MUST go to bed by 8 P.M. itself (or even earlier) and get up at 2 or 3 A.M. In order to go to bed by 8 P.M. itself every night you must talk your boss into giving you the early morning shift.
During your first attempts at going to bed very, very early you may not be able to fall asleep at all, especially if you are a “night owl”. (If you are already a physical fitness freak and/ or meditate regularly, then falling asleep should not be a problem). But though you may toss and turn or even sit up in bed if you want to, it is very important that you do not turn on the lights, or operate any gadget (television, mobile phone, laptop, etc). If sheer restlessness forces you to turn on the lights in order to read/ work, try and make it a habit to turn on the lights only after 2 A.M. (If you are in the habit of sitting up late at home in order to attend to some pending work, it is better to go to bed very, very early and attend to this same work in the early morning hours). Within a few days, your body and mind should adjust to your new schedule and you will find yourself falling asleep long before your usual bed-time.
Going to bed very, very early is only one aspect of the self-improvement process. Diet, exercise, attitude, etc. may also need a major revamp. Beginners must read all the best self-improvement books that they can find which will help them draw up the ideal meal and exercise plan as well as maintain a positive outlook on life. Above all, learn to sacrifice. If you are addicted to junk food, bad company, violent movies and late night outings, cut them out of your life however much it hurts. If you are already into self—improvement in a big way (i.e. if you have been through at least a few years of basic physical and/ or mental exercises and controlled diet), then it will be easier to get into the Simple Technique when you enter a retreat environment.
The first few days at your retreat center :
Take complete rest on the first day (or more depending on how hard you have been working at your college/ office). Use the retreat facilities to outsource as much of your chores as you can. (They should be offering basic laundry, cooking and housekeeping services.) Enjoy the serenity and relaxed discipline of your retreat center for a few days and catch up on your sleep before you attempt the following “self-orienting” method :
All these days/ weeks/ months you have been working very hard to stress yourself out. Now you are going to do exactly the opposite by means of the “self-orienting” method. The authors specifically request their readers to perform the “self-orienting” method at their own pace (the slower the better). You are also allowed to make mistakes as well as take as many breaks as you want. The best attitude to maintain while performing the “self-orienting” method is to constantly think of ways and means to improvise upon the moment — i.e. how best can the task at hand be done with minimal/ no strain to your body and mind. Keep a notebook handy to trap any idea that you can use in the long term : like turning your residence itself into a retreat center. e.g. Some cultures have developed certain ideas into a fine art which you can copy : like a Zen garden, pyramid shaped meditation cubicles, etc.
The “self-orientation” method is as follows :
Start the day by serenely and gently asking yourself the following question : What is the best thing to do in this very moment (in terms of self-improvement) ? This question must be repeated throughout the day at least once a minute (or at your own variable frequency). You can relax the pace or take as many breaks as necessary if you find it too tiring to do this exercise. (If done as gently as possible, you will be able to do this exercise throughout the day). Your mind will usually come up with the appropriate answer and whatever the answer is, you must implement it immediately – as efficiently as possible, preferably without any strain.
The answer to this question will keep varying as you repeat it. The first time you ask this question, the answer could be to sit more comfortably or in a better posture (in case you asked yourself this question while sitting down somewhere). The second time you asked this question : the answer could be to implement the principles of living in the moment that you had learned in the last retreat that you had attended. The third time that you asked this question : The answer could be to attend to some aspect of personal hygiene/ medication that you had been neglecting due to unrelenting academic/ professional responsibilities and which has been affecting your physical and mental well-being for quite some time now. Whatever it is (a shave maybe), you must get up and attend to it immediately (if feasible).
And continue asking this question to yourself even while attending to the above task. Some answers on executing the above task more efficiently and to reduce the strain involved to a significant extent could come up. e.g. Your mind may tell you to walk more slowly and comfortably while getting your toilet kit for a shave. And while opening the kit, your mind may tell you to take the kit to the window, so that you can leisurely take what you need in the bright sunlight instead of straining your eyes as you usually do before you came to the retreat center. The fourth time you asked yourself this question : The answer may be to stop asking yourself this question (!) or stop practicing the living in the moment principles because either this exercise is tiring you out and you need a day or two more to recover from the strain of your academic/ professional life OR at some point in your task, your mind needs to be fully focused in order to execute the task (e.g. shaving) as efficiently and speedily as possible (probably because you find it difficult to shave and practice this exercise at the same time). What you can do here is : ask this question (i.e. what is the best thing to do in this moment) in between the shaving movements. (The answer to this could be to make the next shaving movement less energy sapping and more efficient besides attempting to get into a more comfortable posture e.g. sitting down with a mirror positioned conveniently in front of you may suddenly occur to you and you must implement it if feasible).
Remember to do the above slowly : i.e. shave, pause, ask yourself what is the best thing to do now, wait for the answer while you relax, then continue shaving. It is not uncommon for the mind to raise pending issues of larger importance, the solutions to which may be impossible to implement immediately. Do not worry about this. Continue attending to those solutions that you can implement immediately (while making a mental note to attend to other issues in the long term).
At the end of the day, you will definitely become a much calmer and more focused person and you might also have revived a host of good habits (e.g. morning walk, chewing your food to a liquid, etc.) that had been difficult to implement during the hustle and bustle of your daily life.
In roughly a week’s time (or even earlier) you should be ready to start off on the Simple Technique.
CAUTION : The “self-orienting” method is a double edged sword since it can invoke bad habits too. For some of you, the urge to indulge in extremely destructive habits (like binging on junk food, etc) can be overwhelming. Such people should be in rehab rather than a retreat environment ! For the rest of you, the non-availability of certain items (like junk food, etc) at the retreat center should not be a problem because your mind and body will learn to adjust itself especially when you actually start feeling good after a few days in the relaxed discipline and calm environment of the retreat center.