The Impossible Made Easy: How Feedback Tames The Restless Mind
by Carol E. McMahon, Ph.D.
(Colden, NY USA)
"Restless man's mind,
How shall he tame it?
Truly I think the wind is no wilder."
The words echo down through the centuries. All who meditate share the complaint. You sit down to meditate. You try to attend. More often than not, your mind wanders. Attention is all but impossible to sustain.
Today, a new method solves the problem. It’s known as “straight line meditation.” It uses visual feedback (sensations of light) to stop the wandering. Here’s how it works.
Feedback - What You Need To Succeed
Throughout its long history, meditation has been associated with light. Light sensations are seen when meditating with open eyes (as in the "open gaze" of Zen practice). Illumination and white light are reported at enlightenment.
Though seen often, this light remained a mystery. Until today we did not know its cause. We missed the fact that the light is caused by attention itself.
Light is produced when focused attention holds the eyes still. The fixed gaze uses up photo-pigment (like exposing photographic film). Slight visual distortions –light sensations result. The room may appear brighten. Luminous halos are seen around focus points. These sensations, since they are caused by attention, confirm attention. They tell you you’re on target. In a word they are “feedback signals,” and feedback is way to tame the restless mind.
Using Light As Feedback
Light sensations give you positive feedback. They mean you’re on target. Then, when your mind wanders, your eyes wander too and the light disappears. This gives you equally useful negative feedback.
Like a trusty watch dog, feedback alerts you to wandering. It tells you to get back on target. This makes for efficient meditation - a fix for the wandering mind. Thus we have straight line
meditation - meditation minus the wandering. Here’s the how to.
Straight Line Meditation How To
In the new method, a spot on the floor serves as a focus point. A two inch round of paper with a pea sized bulls eye will do. Specially designed Focusing Discs however are freely available at the Straight Line Meditation website. These colorful discs create a mini light show. They make meditation fun and easy – two things it has never been before.
Position your disc and simply focus with a gentle gaze on the bulls-eye. Within seconds, your steady gaze causes light signals. These will disappear the instant you wander. Feedback is precision guidance to your meditation goal.
“Perfect Concentration” Made Easy
Buddha recommended “perfect concentration.” With traditional methods, this is a daunting challenge even for advanced practitioners.
Add feedback to meditation however, and perfect concentration is a realistic goal. Attention is easy to sustain. You simply sit and watch the show your attention is producing. You can hold attention the way you’d grab a rope for a tow, and where does it take you? It takes you straight to meditation’s grand prize.
The light of enlightenment is the same light experienced with the feedback method. Persist and you’ll "see the light" literally and figuratively.
Tame It With Feedback
Focusing on the light, you literally attend to your attention. For thousands of years we’ve seen the light and missed this vital connection. Now we can put the light to use as feedback.
Feedback is to meditation what good steering is to navigation. When you don’t wander you cover ground fast. You can now raise expectations of what you’ll gain from meditation. A straight line is the shortest distance between you and your goal.