To read the first part click here: http://creativewritersleague.co.ke/meditation-part-1/
VI. Open Monitoring meditation
In this series about meditation Open monitoring meditation is the only type which I have researched by myself without it having been taught to me personally by instructors. This would mean I have very limited knowledge about it and would only explain it’s basics in the case other advance forms of it ever exists….
Surprisingly it is also among the most common types of meditation and I assume the reason behind its popularity is that it’s fun to do and it’s also a very simple form of meditation unlike the others which takes more concentration and practice to get them right. By this it’s possible to explain its traits and features without having much knowledge about it.
You might discover that it bears a resemblance with QE meditation however the purpose behind the two types of QE is so that at the end the practitioner is able to clear the thoughts that are wandering uncontrollably in the mind or outside the mind and the sensations that are bothering the physical body causing pain in order to focus on something else. In both forms of Open monitoring the practitioner focuses on what the body feels and what the mind is thinking or is anxious about without ever directing one’s thoughts to something else, that is the whole purpose of the meditation itself.
Types of Open monitoring meditation
A. Abstract Open monitoring meditation
B. Concrete Open monitoring meditation
A. Abstract Open monitoring meditation
As the name implies, this form of Open monitoring meditation would focus on concentrating on the unseen and what cannot be physically touched or felt; that what is currently in the mind. Your thoughts and emotions.
Abstract, open monitoring methodology
Decide which position is most comfortable for you to be in. You could choose between closing or opening your eyes while examining the thoughts that are in your mind but without going too deep into them. In other words what is in your conscious mind at the present moment. Close your eyes and start monitoring your thoughts, look into them and understand them, don’t let any of them confuse you or lose track of. Observe what makes you happy and what makes you sad or grieve. Go through all the moods and mood shifts you could remember having and what triggers them and if it is good or bad for you. Just like in some aspects of QE accept them and become harmonious but in contrast with QE do not solve or erase them.The tools of this meditation would be your breath and the thoughts that are wandering in your mind.
Abstract, Open monitoring achievement
This type of meditation isn’t always intended to be used as a prerequisite for other advance meditation or help you remove obstructions in your mind rather it is meant for you to lose yourself by entertaining the thoughts that are in your mind. You are able to examine all what is within your thoughts like a spectator in order to find out what is bothering you and perhaps understand yourself better. It reduces the tension and anxiety that causes depression because you have keenly monitored your thoughts and could reach to a viable solution.
You are aware of them and thus learn how to control them. If you so wish and if you have become more familiar and used to the other meditation listed before this you could go deep within your mind achieving “Theta”. It is here where you understand your emotions better; what makes you happy and the roots of your anger. Past memories would become more vivid and clear. You will also have recurrent dreams of certain occurrences of the past or simply your subconscious being manifested into dreams giving you answers to your wellbeing.
B. Concrete, Open monitoring meditation
This type of Open monitoring meditation includes focusing on all what is outside your mind. What exists in the physical world that you can feel and hear while trying to understand them and how they affect you physically.
It bears some sort of resemblance to Scan vision meditation except that it is mainly done by closing your eyes and in this type, you have the freedom to think over and contemplate on what you are feeling and hearing.
Concrete, Open monitoring methodology
Unlike Scan vision meditation, I prefer using Open monitoring meditation while I stay stationary at one place. You could also be in any position such as standing up or sitting down. Start by closing your eyes and focus all your attention in your breath. Then put all your focus on how you feel outside your mind and your body. Are you feeling hungry, tired or in physical pain? Concentrate on this and try to stay calm and relaxed. Now direct your attention to each and every part of your body concentrating on their sensations and sound.
If you’re standing, focus on the pressure exerted by your weight onto your feet and if you are seating focus on the weight you are directing onto your seat. If you are wearing a hat, feel it fittingly attached to your head and concentrate on it. Do the same with the clothes you’re wearing and the comfort or discomfort they are causing. Think and focus on the feeling of your back leaning against the chair or the wall you are leaning onto. In the case you are eating and chewing, focus all your attention on that and fully be aware of the food’s taste and keep track of it being digested into your stomach. Do the same with each and every part of your body.
Now apart from the sense of touch, direct half of your attention to the sense of sound. Be in the present and focus on what you hear and even smell. Concentrate on all that emanates sound and have a visual representation of what it could be in your mind. Don’t think about it though, just be aware of it. If you are in a room full of people for instance and the fans are switched on. Active and whirling emitting vibration by cutting through the wind. Focus on this sound and the whispers or chatters of the people. If you are out in the open focus on the cool breeze or heat and the flapping of the birds and the sounds they make. If you are in a car focus on the vehicles movement, the way it’s wheels spins and grip on the road, the rave of the engine and when it turns and takes each and every corner.
You could also do this by opening your eyes but looking at a certain point only while you remain aware of all that what was mentioned in motion and existing around you. The only downfall to this is that “Concrete, Open monitoring meditation” works better when there is a lot of commotions and distractions around you because it is those commotions that would serve as tools for your meditation. So one could imagine focusing your gaze at a specific area and staying still trying out this meditation would definitely be mistaken with dissociation disorder by the public causing them to become alarmed by odd behaviour on display.
Note that closing your eyes would help you concentrate more since you will be shifting your focus on what you feel more than what you see thus concentrating on the physical elements around you much better.
Concrete, Open monitoring achievement
This is not only an easy meditation but also one that entertains the meditator. The tools are simply your breath and being aware of what is around you providing a way for you to escape that what is in your mind causing stress and anxiety. Being in the moment and putting all your focus on what is happening is what most Tibetan monks feel is the secret behind happiness for one would not be lamenting on past events or perturbed on what is yet to occur. This is a fine therapeutic relief for people suffering from chronophobia such as myself and other similar abnormalities causing distress.
Concentrating on how your body feels and reacts to the environment is a great way to examine and have a higher conscious and physical self awareness. For instance due to one’s hectic and ever busy lifestyle one may lose certain senses of physical feelings and become passive such as not being aware if they are wearing tight fitting clothes that suppresses and effects the blood flow to comfortably cycle around the body.
Being able to hear and pay close attention on the sounds emitted around you greatly increases your sensing abilities of hearing. Constantly engaged in such practice improves your hearing capabilities beyond the average human. This meditation also uses the sense of scent in its arsenal hence just like in Candle vision 1. and Ocean vision 1. meditation, the meditator understand and gains a powerful sense of smell especially in this type of meditation where the scent isn’t specific and may change onto different kinds when in the outdoors.