Meditation Primer

An important part of CSETI's contact trilogy is the Coherent Thought Sequencing, or CTS which is begun once you reach a calm, centered state of consciousness. How you reach that state of consciousness does not matter, so if you already have a method that works for you then use it. Here we attempt to summarize a method based on Dr. Greer's training on mantra meditation.

First, it is important to say at the outset that anyone can do this — and you do not need to spend thirty years practicing. However, like driving to an unknown location in your car for the first time, the more you do it the easier it becomes. So, if you do not already have a daily meditation practice, we highly recommended it — and you can start with the deceptively simple task of just quieting the mind for a short five minutes a day. If you have never done this before, you will be surprised at how easily thoughts attract our attention and drag us into a thought conversation, when all we are attempting is not to do that.

Mantra Meditation

Dr. Greer teaches a meditation technique using a mantra. A mantra is not a word as you normally think of a word, it is more like a thought sound, something that you can "sing" in your mind. The mantra is not a word because any word you chose would have some meaning to you that could stimulate thought. The purpose of the mantra is simply to give your mind something to do instead of producing its normal incessant flow of thoughts and commentary. The process involves gently repeating the mantra in your mind. This is definitely not hard concentration, but rather like a light intention. Just enough so that you can relax and allow your consciousness to center and expand. As you start to relax, your attention will undoubtedly focus on a random thought. "I forgot to feed the cat," for example. Now normally, we would then enter a conversation in our head about that thought. "I'm also low on cat food, I guess I will need to pick some up at the store ... I didn't like that store on the corner I went to last week, it ..." — and you're off ... a half hour later you're thinking about your great aunt and the dress she wore to the family reunion last year. The goal here is that when you have that first thought, to acknowledge it, then go back to the mantra. To acknowledge the thought means to realize that it is normal for the human mind to produce these thoughts, and not to become upset at yourself in any way, simply allow that thought to pass, and gently return to the mantra without following the thought into a half hour conversation about your aunt's dress.

As your thoughts subside and you begin to enter a centered state, allow the mantra also to slowly subside — eventually it should disappear, leaving you in a calm centered state of consciousness. Once there, if a thought arises, like before, gently return to the mantra to return to a centered state. One well known mantra is "Om" but you could use any sound, you may start with "'Om" and as you get into your meditation the mantra may even change to other sounds. Dr. Greer offers his mantra of "Im Na Mah" which has a tonal quality where the first syllable is a fifth higher tone than the last two, which are the same. Don't think of the meditation process as dulling your senses until you are in a lethargic sleepy state, think instead that the process is making you more aware. At first, your physical senses may become heightened and more sensitive, and as your awareness moves away from them, they will fade as your awareness in consciousness heightens. You may even become gently aware of awareness itself.

It is helpful to do some light stretching (like Yoga poses) before your meditation to help relax the body. Many people start with a breathing exercise where they breath in deeply through the nostrils while imagining they are breathing in light and life, and then exhale through the mouth while imagining breathing out all worries and concerns. It is helpful to practice your meditation during the day when you are well rested ... attempting to do this when you are tired or before going to bed will most likely just put you to sleep. (Which could be useful.)

You can find many resources online for learning meditation techniques, and there is an App called "Insight Timer" available on iOS and Android that we recommend. In addition to many relaxing guided meditations, the App provides a wonderfully sounding timer that helps you to time your meditation. This is helpful as it keeps thoughts like "How long have I been meditating?" or "Is it time to stop?" from disturbing your meditation — you simply set the timer and go until it sounds.