There’s a state of mind that sounds corny but is absolutely sublime. Colours are richer, sounds fascinate you and you can sense the air as it caresses every part of your skin. When people talk to you, you hear everything that they say and don’t say. It’d be overwhelming if it weren’t so pleasant.
Have a few moments like this and you’ll never doubt meditation’s benefits again.
It’s a state of hyperconnectivity and hyperawareness. Reality floods your mind in slow motion. You feel everything, which sometimes means you miss the big stuff. That’s only because you’re tuned in to the tiny things you used to ignore. In time, you learn to integrate the two together.
That’s where the magic lies.
If you’re confused, that’s my fault. It’s hard to properly describe this experience. A much better approach is to experience it yourself. It’s a great state to be in. Everything seems new, fresh and interesting. A bug crawling across a leaf is captivating while hedonism becomes quaint and irritating.
You should enter this state. I’m struggling to tell you why, so I’ll move onto how.
Your body floods your mind with information. One of the roles of your unconscious mind is to block and monitor this stream. This is why you don’t feel the shirt on your back but if an ant bites you, you feel it immediately. Anything important or predictable demotes itself to your background awareness. Your conscious mind is then free to focus where it chooses.
The first step to hyperawareness of the environment is awareness of the self.
You can focus on individual parts of your body. Pay attention to your hands or your lower back. Notice everything this part of you tells you. If you’re new to meditation, this is a nice warmup.
Then you can expand your awareness to cover more of your body. The key is to avoid straining yourself. How much can you notice while remaining relaxed in your mind?
You can increase your coverage by practising this over time. The more you focus on large parts of your body, the more you’ll absorb each time. If you want to speed this up, alternate between broad areas of focus and focusing on a single part of your body.
In time, your awareness grows to encompass your entire body. Some people find this easy while others take months of training to reach this. Whatever is right for you is right for you.
Once you get to this stage, or at least close to it, shift the exercise. Instead of seeing how much of you your attention captures, see how long you can hold this awareness. Noticing your entire body takes a lot of mental energy, focus and discipline. It takes even more when you keep your attitude calm, relaxed and accepting.
Hold your awareness for as long as is comfortable.
The aftermath of this state is indescribable. I tried to capture it in words and struggled. All I can say is that, if you can become aware of your entire body, noticing your environment becomes trivial.
This exercise works wonders. If it seems too clinical, though, you might be open to something more fun. Self-hypnosis reaches similar states of mind by using your imagination, not distancing yourself from it. If you like trances but also like thinking, give self-hypnosis a go: