Burn it out
Hi there. This is a challenging transformational “active” meditation best undertaken at the start of each new year (or during stressful times).
If you have some inner anger going on, are quick to rise to anger, have fears, insecurities or blockages or maybe you are over-consuming, over-escaping, over scrolling, over Netflixing or even over-training (exercising) – another form of escapism.
Give this active straight-arm meditation a go – its a mix of Vipassana and Kundalini. Its purpose is to help strengthen the mind over matter. This practice trains the mind for increased awareness, non-delusion, self-discipline physical and mental self-control, and above all peace.
40 Days Mental Toughness
It’s also an excellent tool for mental toughness. To allow in the feelings and sensations of physical and mental discomfort without bolting. Rather the practice teaches you to soften your reaction or resistance towards mental, emotional or physical pain. You can not underestimate the desire to bolt, escape or distract yourself when you hurt. Instead, challenge yourself to sit and stay with it all.
Practice this meditation for 40 days and you’ll experience a shift. It will alter your perception of who you are and what you can do.
Work Through the Body
By working through the body, it can be an easier way, to experience presence and stillness in the mind with each sitting.
This 11min meditation is challenging;
- You must keep the arms extended for the entire time and
- You must flex both index fingers to keep the tension in your arms and hands.
As you start your meditation your arms and shoulders will begin to burn and it will intensify and that’s completely fine – it’s not important that it hurts – rather this temporary pain, teaches an important lesson of impermanence – that pain and discomfort is a temporary state, that does not need to be feared or avoided. Not all pain is bad.
“All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone.”
― Blaise Pascal, Pensées
Impermanence. Even the Sweet, Pretty Things Rot
By using the body as an instructing tool, you get to experience and understand “impermanence” first hand, that everything in life is temporary, this realization slowly (over time) works to reduce conscious suffering.
Excluding death (which can occur at any time) nothing is permanent – even vast bountiful oceans become deserts, and the once-majestic mountain range can become ocean floors. Ocean floors can become soaring mountain peaks. Even the sweet, pretty things rot. Everything is temporary and everything in life changes including the discomfort of mental, emotional or physical pain experienced in the body.
Allowing Discomfort (the mental, emotional and physical)
Sitting with discomfort can teach you how to be present in the world, without the use of emotional, mental or physical escapism. To manage and feel all of your emotions without escaping from life – is a way of authentically living.
During the 11 min meditation remain seated. When the pain rises just observe it, allow the unpleasant sensations to be as they are. Watch the impermanence of the pain rise, dissolve, fade and intensify, move and change without mentally or emotionally identifying with it.
It’s about being steadfast with yourself – no matter what comes up. You don’t bolt (physically or mentally) the moment discomfort appears. Rather the discipline is to move towards the emotion or discomfort and stay in the body. The same applies to emotions. If they appear? Allow them. Just don’t attach any meaning or storytelling to them. Allow them to be sensations in the body – that’s all that they are energy (chemical reactions) happening the brain.
Stay present and steadfast with yourself during the discomfort. In this meditation, it does not matter that it hurts (burns). Much like intense heavy weight-training or exercise the burn keeps you present and in the body. Remember not all pain is bad – in fact it can be a good signaling device to draw your attention (presence) to something.
Draw up through the pelvic floor to keep your core strong. Hold the breath at the top and bottom for a second as you inhale and exhale. This can help you tap into stillness and presence.
Often our thinking pattern ties in with our breathing pattern. When you pause with your breathing it slows this pattern down. You may get a sense of space or expansion between your thoughts. That’s the feeling of presence. Although this is not the goal – its wonderful side effect. For me, I seem to get a floating purple dot or mass in my minds-eye, however, once I focus or mentally clamp on to it – it dissipates (lol) impermanence 101…
Thinking – it’s not about NOT thinking
It’s about watching “the thinking.” So…when you watch the thought…who is doing the watching? That’s the true presence of you. The beautiful, present, still Being behind the wall of thought.
To help yourself remain in present moment awareness, focus your attention to your 3rd eye (or minds-eye), this focused attention helps to draw your awareness inwards, back to you – it’s not out there scanning the environment. It’s also a good calming technique too. If you have trouble accessing this focus, cover your face with your hands, close your eyes and breathe into your hands for a few cycles until you feel your focus shift into your hands (or back to you).
When thoughts arise catch them by saying “thinking” don’t get pulled into the storyline of them. Just say “thinking”. Like pain, it’s not important that they come up – what is important is that you don’t get hooked into them. Just say the word “thinking.”
I have a designated area for my sitting practice. I don’t tend to use props or cushions etc. I prefer the floor – so wherever I am i.e. hotel room all I need to do is hit the ground and begin my practice anywhere. My body knows the drill and knows what is expected of it.
For candles I prefer organic and lightly scented, they can also be used as a focusing tool for open-eye meditations. And, I love essential oils or aura sprays.
These are all nice to have ritual tools but they aren’t essential. What is essential is that you practice and if these rituals help you to do that daily – use them.
Routine, Habits, and Insights
I have two practice times (in case I’m traveling) one is early morning 5.30am or after my fitness sessions (late afternoons). I structure it this way because;
- If I haven’t died in my sleep – then I’m always going to wake up in the morning
- I workout in the afternoon
So the practice of sitting is tied to a daily personal value or habit.
I also use a tech-free visual tracker in my meditation space and over the years I’ve found it useful to use a tactile tool like a board. After each sitting a piece is removed from the board. Once the board is cleared you get to start over again.
Over the years I’ve tracked my sessions using a paper calendar, I like to keep my meditation space tech-free during this time.
Post-mediation I’ll record any new insights in a binder I also keep in the space and then I’ll update my digital dashboard (I spreadsheet all of my core disciplines for food, fitness, health, books and audios, goals, meditations), etc.
Keep it challenging
Over the 40 days – each day this practice will become easier.
To make it more challenging you can:
- Extend the armlock time
- Wear heavier clothing
- Consume filtered coffee or Cayenne pepper prior to sitting, this will increase the burn and the body temp in the body.
My other Mediation Practices
I also practice the Sedona Method. It’s an excellent releasing technique to process emotions.
Vipassana is another practice I use. With Vipassana, these sittings are longer in duration and can range from 50mins to several hours. The practice is best done at early dawn at 4.30am. With these sessions, you cannot move or adjust your body or position at all.
I’ll go into more detail about Vipassana in another post.
My Other Routine Ways of Practicing Daily Disciplines
- Intermittent Fasting Routine (18 hour daily fasts)
- Sensory Deprivation (float tanks or a simple closet will do)
- Fitness and weight training
Let me know how you go if you commit to this 40-day meditation practice. I would love to hear about your transformations!
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Disclaimer: This content is For Educational and Informational Purposes Only. Not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any condition, disease or illness. Not a Substitute for or to replace Medical Advice. Consult Your Physician or Health Care Provider any time you plan to make changes to your diet, eating or exercise patterns. No Affiliation to any products mentioned or used in this content.