Renowned mind-body healer and alternative medicine guru Deepak Chopra teaches that, with practice, meditation lets you experience extended periods of time in which you have no thoughts (a.k.a. “pure consciousness”). You start to experience no sound, no sensation, nothing — because all of those things are thoughts. You may even find yourself in a state of what Chopra calls “wakefulness.”
Meditation can make you feel so “wakeful” that you experience higher states of consciousness — fields of infinite possibilities and pure creativity, he says.
While meditation doesn’t demand any special skills, you do need to learn to let everything go, which is often the most difficult thing for those new to the practice. “When your mind is thinking about past or future, then it’s not here,” he explains to his pupils. “And meditation is to be here, now, in this moment. It’s difficult for some people to be effortless, to not try, because they have been conditioned to be that way.” To help you let go, Chopra recommends these three simple steps:
1. Start with the general mechanics of meditation. Sit in a chair with your feet flat on the ground. Keep your hands in your lap, palms facing upward, and your back erect. (Don’t slouch, or you might go to sleep, he says.)
2. Close your eyes and, for a minute or two, do absolutely nothing. Thoughts will start to come by themselves, and as they do, think of a mantra — a sound or words that can guide your practice (like “so hum” or “I am”). Don’t force it — think of it not as reciting the mantra but as simply remembering or listening to it.
3. Once your thoughts and your mantra become interwoven, everything starts to get a little uncertain — and that means you’re getting there, he says. As the uncertainty of the divide between your thoughts and your mantra grows, there will be periods when they cancel each other out — when you have achieved pure consciousness. And that’s what meditation is all about.
Learn about Deepak Chopra’s 21-day meditation challenge.