by Carol E. McMahon, Ph.D.
(Colden, NY USA)
What is the sure way to happiness? It is awareness. Awareness opens your eyes to beauty and your senses to pleasure. It opens your mind to truth and your heart to love. You might think you already have awareness. Most people think they do. If you think you’re aware, you’re in for a surprise. Try this test.
Test Your Awareness
To test your awareness, look at the face of a clock. The minute and hour hands are moving. Odds are you can't see them move. Your eyes aren’t to blame here. Low awareness is. It takes very little awareness to see the fast movement of the second hand. Seeing the slower hands move takes deeper awareness, and this we lack. If full awareness is one hundred percent, we have as little as five percent on average.
Low awareness is a universal problem that keeps us from happiness. Fortunately there is a solution. Meditation builds awareness. Here’s how it works.
How Meditation Builds Awareness
All forms of meditation attend to something (a mantra, the breath, a sounding gong, for instance). Attention is meditation’s active ingredient. Attention leads straight to awareness.
Not all meditation methods are created equal, however. One has an edge in restoring awareness. A new feedback method delivers more of the active ingredient. It does so by letting you monitor attention while you meditate. Let me explain how the new method works.
How Feedback Assures Success
Meditation demands attention, but attention is hard to hold on to. You set out to attend (to your breath for instance), but instead your mind wanders. You try again, but again you daydream.
Why is attention so easily lost? It’s because it slips away unseen. You lose attention without knowing you are losing it. Traditional methods do not monitor attention. They lack "feedback."
The Feedback Method
The feedback method is the answer. Here attention is focused on the bull's eye of a specially designed disc. (Focusing Discs are freely available at the Straight Line Meditation website.) Attention’s fixed gaze causes slight visual distortions, usually halos of light. The light is feedback.
As long as you pay attention you see the light. When the mind wanders however, your eyes wander and the light disappears. Seeing the light, you literally attend to your attention. You easily sustain attention. Then you “see the light" in both senses of the word. Awareness is restored and with this, wonder of wonders: happiness comes free.
With Awareness, Happiness Comes Free
With awareness, happiness comes free. Your eyes open to beauty, your senses to pleasure, your mind to truth and your heart to love. Without awareness it is impossible to be happy. With it, it is impossible not to be.
Meditation’s grand prize - the highest enlightenment, is nothing apart from full awareness. At this high awareness level, happiness is unconditional.
We’ve been looking in the wrong places for happiness. It turns out that “having it all” doesn’t even include having what it takes. What does it take? All it takes is awareness.
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