By Samuel Sagan, M.D.
In the mind of the public, meditation and relaxation are closely related. To some, meditation is 'just relaxation'. The Clairvision approach to meditation is radically different.
For sure, meditation achieves many of the health benefits obtained through relaxation: decreased blood pressure, reduced stress, treatment of insomnia, and so on.
However, there is one fundamental difference between meditation and relaxation: meditation has a dynamic component of awakening that is not found in relaxation.
Meditation is about overcoming all mental limitations and discovering the giant inside – raising the voltage of consciousness.
In everyone's life there are special moments when, perhaps under the pressure of external circumstances, the mind becomes unusually acute and clear, thoroughly focused, rooted in the here and now. The senses are sharp and precise. In a silent knowing of yourself, you draw from inner resources that are normally out of reach. Suddenly, life has meaning. You are.
Moments like these are to ordinary life what the waking state is to sleep – hence awakening.
Some seek awakening through thrills: skydiving, adventures... But thrills pass, as they are constantly dependent on external stimuli. Meditation is the inward path. It leads to awakening from inside. An awakening that doesn't flicker with external circumstances.
Extreme life, in a continuum of peace that is beyond anything the ordinary mind can comprehend.
Thought processes become fluid, and speed up. The heart flourishes.
A completely new world opens in front of you.
If you are in the process of discovering meditation but finding that it's not working for you, the following may help.
This page describes the main reason why, at entry level, your experiences may not be taking off.
In short, it has to do with being stuck in a particular modality of mind, and not even realizing it. So let's start by discussing mental states.
Ordinary mental consciousness – OMC
One of the most useful concepts that has come out of the Clairvision mapping of states of consciousness is also one of the most simple: the ordinary mental consciousness. The ordinary mental consciousness (or OMC, in short) is just what the people of this day and age experience during their normal waking state. It is their ordinary modus operandi of thinking – their customary flow of thoughts.
The OMC has much to do with the discursive mind. 'Discursive mind' is another useful and self-explanatory term. The discursive mind is the part of you that carries on an inner dialogue, endlessly wandering from one topic to another. Simply put, it's the ongoing blah-blah... inside your head.
When training people to map states of consciousness, the Clairvision methodology is to get them to identify the 'flavors' of different states. What is the flavor of your ordinary mental consciousness? Very simple. It's the way it feels inside your head, right now.
The OMC is but one frequency
Perhaps one of the most difficult things to realize, when starting a path of meditation and self-exploration, is that the ordinary mental consciousness is but one frequency – one tiny, tiny band in the immensely vast spectrum of states of consciousness.
In theory, this sounds simple enough. So what is so difficult about it?
The difficulty comes from the fact that the OMC and its discursive mind is all that people have been experiencing since early childhood. They have virtually no reference of any other state.
Little children tend to think in pictures. Then, well before age 10, the discursive mind kicks in. The waking state's flavor of consciousness changes. The OMC begins to rigidify. For most people, the ability to think in pictures gradually fades. The inner dialogue, 'thinking in words', becomes the ongoing modus operandi of the mind. The OMC is set.
The tendency to reduce everything to the OMC
Now, here is what you need to understand. When people try to conceptualize states of consciousness such as those achieved through meditation, they tend to imagine them as variations of the ordinary mental consciousness.
For example, when trying to figure out what subtle (i.e. non-physical) vision is about, people imagine that visuals are going to be superimposed on top of their OMC.
And this is the principal reason why it doesn't work for them. As long as you are in the OMC, you see... nothing. The OMC is completely blind to spiritual realities. It just blanks them out.
The same applies to meditation states. Meditation states are not some enhancement of the ordinary mental consciousness. They happen on different levels. Before meditation states can be engaged, a letting go must take place, through which the OMC fades.
Here again the main difficulty is that, for many people, the OMC is all they know. It is their only reference. It has become the way they define themselves, as in the adage of Descartes, "I think, therefore I am." As this becomes rigidified, there is no space for anything else.
If you have lived all your life in a cage, then to you the cage is not a cage. It is the whole universe.
So what can you do? To begin with, understand. What you are looking for, with meditation, is not going to come in the OMC, or even through the OMC. A change in 'flavor of consciousness' is required.
This is why 'trying' or concentrating goes against the flow of meditation: the way we normally concentrate, or try hard, is through a greater engagement of our ordinary mind. The harder we try, the more cramped the ordinary mind. This is the very opposite of what is needed for meditation.
And you can see why the theme of 'letting go' is so central to a number of spiritual paths. What needs to be let go of is the OMC, as a prerequisite to higher spiritual experience.
Now, take a meditation instruction such as, "Become aware of the breath in your nostrils." It doesn't mean, "Think about your nostrils." It just means, feel them. Which can be done with little or no OMC involvement.
"Just awareness," really, isn't as easy at it sounds. It means feeling beyond the OMC. Very simple, for sure, but simple and easy are two completely different things.
So what do you do? Just stop trying.
But what does the OMC do when it hears this instruction? It tries to not try, which as you can easily figure out, ain't gonna work.
The birth of something new
One thing to understand, here, is that letting go of the OMC isn't jumping into nothing. There are principles of silent clarity, which are developed through meditation, and which are gradually going to replace the OMC. In the Clairvision work, it is the 'inner space'. Inner space may sound vague in the beginning – especially to the OMC – but as your meditation intensifies, it is going to become a more and more tangible state. One that can actively replace the OMC.
The problem is, the OMC cannot actively engage the inner space. The inner space must engage itself.
The inner space is foreign to the OMC. Left to itself, the OMC can easily lock itself into its own routines and make it very difficult for anything other than itself to emerge.
Here you can see the value of attending a meditation course, as opposed to trying to learn meditation on your own.
As long as you are only trying on your own, there is a high probability the OMC will rule and keep you confined within its own 'band'. Whereas when attending a course, you find yourself immersed in different spaces, and you can get a sense of flavors of consciousness beyond the ordinary mental consciousness.
One thing about states of consciousness: they tend to pass from person to person as if through osmosis. Which is why, on a path of meditation, a teacher can save you a great deal of time.
The third eye is universal. In the Indian tradition it is jnana-chaksu, the eye of knowledge, the seat of the antar-guru, or 'teacher inside'. In Buddhist art, it is figured as a gem on the forehead of buddhas. And in the words of the Gospels,
The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. (Matthew 6:22)
The third eye, in essence, is the portal to inner realms. The Upanishads describe a human being as a city with ten gates. Nine gates (eyes, nostrils, ears, mouth, urethra, anus) lead to the outside world. The tenth gate, the third eye, opens onto inner worlds: the whole spectrum of levels of consciousness.
The approach of the school is resolutely experiential. It is designed for people who cannot be satisfied only with other people's opinions and beliefs, but wish to gain first-hand experience of levels of consciousness. In short, it is not what you presume or accept as true that will bring about transformation, but what you experience directly. Clairvision therefore always emphasizes the superiority of experiential knowledge over belief and dogma.
The Clairvision work therefore begins with a systematic method for developing the third eye, as a foundation for a direct experience of inner realms.
Here, nothing vague! The indications are clear, the techniques precise, the first results immediate and tangible.
Through the third eye work, students develop their own mapping of consciousness: a systematic – if not scientific – method of inner exploration.
The idea that experiences of consciousness are vague and incommunicable has absolutely no place in this work. On the contrary, the school has developed a whole methodology for people to compare experiences and exchange observations, thereby bringing objectivity into the realm of subjectivity.
Since the creation of the school in 1987, this has resulted in the gathering of a huge amount of material, documented in the form of books and lectures. A sophisticated model of consciousness has emerged, principles of which are presented in A Language to Map Consciousness, by Samuel Sagan.