note: this is a translation of original czech article written by Satori
II. Trance Training
Following paragraphs should briefly explain the nature of trance state with its typical signs and also describe some trance inducing techniques, because this article is not only about theory but above all - practical training. If you are really interested in trance, you can follow instructions bellow and feel trance sensations on your own skin. First of all, here´s some theory. Then you can practise trance and explore its levels along with other techniqes related to trance more effectively.
Definition of trance
From the medical or psychological point of view trance is often described as a state very similar to sleep of a hypnotized man. It is a specific psychic state with characteristic essential features. It is not exactly hypnosis, autohypnosis or any mental technique. Trance is not even the same as meditation. However, trance is basically very closely related to mental techniques, because they are usually accompanied by trance. Most people perceive all these words as synonyms, but in fact mental techniques qualitatively differ from trance. Let´s see the differences.
Trance is a state induced by relaxation and concentration. The more developed these abilities are, the stronger the trance. Relaxation, concentration and meditation are among basic mental techniques known for thousands of years ago. Relaxation is a conscious way of relaxing your body. Concentration means focusing on internal or external object which is not always that easy. Remember relaxation or concentration alone do not induce the trance state. If you practise deep relaxation without concentration, you would be indeed deeply relaxed, but sooner or later you would enter a light sleep with limited consciousness and later a deep sleep. In fact, trance is a kind of sleep, but unlike normal sleep you are conscious during trance. It is often described as a state when "the body sleeps and the mind is awake". It actually means to be relaxed but remain conscious on certain level with the help of concentration. There are also "moving meditations" accompanied by trance, but it is not the object of this article.
Meditation is a well known mental technique. The main difference between meditation and trance could by described like this: Trance is the STATE accompaning meditation. Unlike trance, meditation is a TECHNIQUE. It is a kind of TOOL neccesary for reaching one´s goals. Meditation can be concidered as a "state of mind". However, "the state of mind" is a bit unfortunate phrase, because according to yoga "mind" is "a tool for thinking". It is an activity. Some of the eastern masters even consider the mind (among other five senses) as an element of perception. A familiar phrase "to meditate on" doesn´t meen thinking. "Thinking" is not usually present in meditation. If the primary object of meditation is to realize something, such meditation is called insight meditation. They are typical for buddhism. Meditation include relaxation and concentration. That´s why meditation is usually provided by trance - a conscious state of inner calmness without thinking induced by relaxation and concentration. However, meditation is more than a simple way to the trance state. Meditation is also a tool for opening your mind and intuition. And many other things.
In western countries meditation is sometimes identified with the word contemplation. However, contemplation is often subjectively understood as "just a kind of relaxation" without specific object of concentration - therefore it is not a meditation. There would be no meditation or trance without concentration. Some people really think of a meditation as a "simple state of doing nothing". Such idea is wrong. Meditation uses concentration for various purposes from simple maintaining the trance state to more complicated techniques. If we speak of a meditation with the object of just maintaining trance, only then we can understand meditation and trance as synonyms. Concentration is hence a technique neccesary for inducing trance (together with relaxation) and it is also a tool of meditation. Some meditation seem to be "concentration free", but it´s not true. Many of the eastern masters often say meditation is not actually a concentration. Others claim there is just a quantitative difference between meditation and concentration. Basically, both sayings are true.
A short summory - relaxation, concentration, meditation, hypnosis or autohypnosis are mental techniques related to the trance state. Some of them are neccesary for inducing trance, others are naturally accompanied by trance and some need to be practise in trance for their better function. Trance is not really neccesary for most of them, but it usually appears as a helpful side effect of such mental techniques. Developing mental techniques is very individual. These techniques can be quite easily mastered in time. With some practise entering will be less complicated and much quicker and also maintaing of the trance state will be easier.
There are various types of trance with different quality of the consciousness. Even altered states of the mind may occur on certain deeper trance levels. Each trance level is characterized by slightly different EEG waves. Alfa and theta brain waves are the most typical for trance - according to this we can distinquish alfa and theta trance which is deeper and very similar to light sleep (its REM phase). There is however no thin line between them. Theta trance can be accompanied by limited consciousness. Sometimes we can also speak of delta trance, but such trance level is almoust identical with deep sleep. It is sometimes disputed to consider such state as a trance level, because a conscious mind is usually absent.
According to shape, aplitude a frequency of brain waves we distinquish four basic rhythms:
Beta rhythm is characterized by brain waves with frequency od 14 - 28 Hz. We can find these EEF waves in a full conscious man with full vigilance. it is associated with physical work and solving problems of various character. These brain waves are not typical for trance.
Alfa rythm dominates the trance state. Alfa brain waves (14 - 8 Hz) are usually present in relaxed but conscious people with closed eyes amd during falling into sleep. Deeper alfa level is characterized by limited abilities of concentration and tendency to free associations.
Theta brain waves with frequency of 4 - 8 Hz are present in states of drowsiness and during dreaming in REM phase of sleep. They also accompany some emotions and states of excitement.
Delta brain waves of 2 - 4 Hz are typical for the deepest sleep stages. Dreams are very rare on such levels, because there is no concsiousness and also a therefore no memory for dreams during a deep sleep. Big and slow brainwaves of frequency less than 2 Hz occur in coma.
The quality of consciousness vary depending on dominated EEG rhythm. During deep trance consciousness is limited. That´s why this level is not very suitable for most meditations. Mental technigues are usually accompanied by alfa or theta rhythm of higher frequencies. Somewhere between alfa and theta trance your consciousness become limited and also perception of the space around you is slightly different. On such level hypnagogic halucinations (see below) and short dream like episodes with duration of just a few seconds occur. You slowly begin to loose concentration and mind control.
Most people can easily induce and maintain alfa trance and it is not usually hard for them to deepen it to higher theta frequencies. However, your consciousness and attention become unstable on such level. If the frequency of your brain waves was even lower, you would simply lose concentration and start falling asleep. Goals of your meditation would be lost. After a few minutes or even dozens of minutes you would probably awake, but you would feel a bit drowsy and unconcetrated like after a normal sleep. This doesn´t usually happen after a simple meditation. The awakening is much more quicker after in such case.
Healing effect of trance
Benefits of the trance state are obvious - stress relief, rejuvenation, lowering of blood pressure, harmonizing of inner energy and many other valuable things. Regular practice of trance and meditation will vastly improve your health and make your mind more balanced.
Trance can also easily eliminate tiredness. Taking a nap usually consumes much more time than a simple mental technique (trance requires only a couple of minutes). After trance you feel fresh, lucid and full of energy unlike after a normal sleep when you are rather sleepy, lethargic and unfocused. People who meditate regularly and thus spend some time in the trance state often tend to notice that they need less time to sleep than they used to. It is a well-known side effect of mental techniques.
However, trance cannot be understood as an adequate substitute for a normal sleep with all its stages. Although there are individuals who are able to practise some advanced meditations by sitting in trance for many hours or even the whole night with (as they claim) absolutely no need of sleep after that, such experimentation is not recommended, especially for beginners. Indeed, trance can substitute for some phases of sleep (particularly the REM sleep), but regular night-long meditations may not be the best thing for your health as a human body also needs to spend some time in a deep, non-REM sleep. Nevertheless, trance can be a good alternative for those suffering from insomnia. Such people can practise trance in the early morning hours without being tired during the rest of the day. These people usually prefer the state of deep trance.
During sleep, meditation and other mental techniques, parasympathetic system prevails over the sympathetic one which is characteristic for the states of full activity and alertness of a body with its typical EEG beta frequencies. Despite the commonly agreed notion that the parasympathetic nerve system is not controlled by will, sometimes it is said that yoga or autogenic training (mental techniques basically) are in fact a kind of its training. However, we cannot speak about "controlling" in full meaning of a word as we rather only active the system instead of taking control over it.
During trance you can observe several changes in perception. This usually involves distortion of perception of space, time and body position. Also the perception of acoustic stimuli is altered. It depends on the depth of trance achieved. For instance a half an hour can seem like few minutes. Strong and sharp sounds coming from your surroundings will not alert you as in the normal awake state and may even seem to be distant. You can feel your own body being very heavy and rigid. Sometimes you can even feel extreme lightness and floating-like impression. The activity of your senses can often be suppressed to such a level that the perception of your surroundings and even of your own body can completely disappear very easily. During the trance state your creative abilities are also enhanced.
In some extreme cases you can experience the states of "widened consciousness", euphoria, vertigo, orgasm, visual or acoustic hallucinations, a sudden rush of heat, phenomena of “releasing of energy” or even Kundalini release (the term from Yoga for the special type of releasing energy during usually long and advanced meditations) during deep trance. These states are usually accompanied by tingling of different intensity or “vibrations” in various parts of your body (usually in limbs, sometimes in the whole body). Usually, also a feeling of heat comes in those parts. It resembles a state when blood circulation stops temporally in limbs. These well-known "vibrations" are, however, more rough and unpleasant, sometimes even painful. The above-mentioned feelings are much more delicate and do not affect the blood circulation at all. Anyway, this "vibrations" have no physical basis and only resemble the same feeling.
During some specific trance techniques or simple maintaining of this state, some people describe temporally paralysis of their body. This phenomenon can last for differently long time periods during which it is very difficult or sometimes even impossible to move. Such a situation, if not previously experienced, can evoke very strong feelings of fear and panic. However, this state usually lasts no more than a couple of seconds or minutes. In these moments, the body is relaxed to such a level that it seems like you need to cumulate some tension in your limbs first before they could even move. This could be compared to the state of gradual falling into a deep sleep when you are feeling too weak to make a tiny move or even speak. This could be explained by the fact that you have reached some form of deep trance when the communication between the brain and the rest of your body has stopped. After reaching back the lighter level of trance, everything goes back to normal again. Anyway, when you practise trance your body usually lies still which means that this feature remains usually unnoticed. The paralysis usually occurs if you decide to end the practice suddenly. Therefore, it is highly recommended to go through the process of awakening slowly and gradually. Opening your eyes, staying in a still position for a while and subsequent standing up is sufficient.
Everybody experiences trance-like states unwittingly every day while falling asleep. The only one distinction between sleeping and trance is that if falling into a sleep you are completely relaxed and not focused on anything. You simply “surrender your consciousness” and fall asleep. Relaxation becomes heavier and heavier while the brain frequencies are getting lower and you simply cross the border between vigilance and dreaming. This process usually runs quickly and unnoticed, however, if you decide to keep a close eye on it you will find out that the process of falling asleep consists of several phases. For instance, you can consciously observe hypnagogic hallucinations which are present while falling asleep. These hallucinations will be mentioned later on. By usage of concentration it is possible to stop drowsing. In the case of hypnotic trance, concentration is maintained by a qualified person from “outside". Therefore hypnotic trance is an easier form of trance as there is no chance of loosing concentration and subsequent falling asleep which is accompanied by the loss of consciousness. This loss then results in the fact that we do not remember what we were experiencing in trance itself.
The state of trance can bring about very intense feelings and therefore it is not recommended for persons suffering from epilepsy or some severe mental illness. Trance-inducing techniques can cause an epileptic seizure or other pathological states in these persons. For healthy persons, practising of trance is completely safe and harmless with exception of experiencing states of fear and confusion caused by brand-new feelings and situations. However, in the course of time you will became familiar with these states and it is even likely for you to look forward to them.
Deep trance could happen to the most unpleasant experience. There are several symptoms you could experience: extreme anxiety, strong feelings of heavy pressure or weight on your body, a feeling of being sucked in, perceive “pulsation” of space which seems to have become enormous or tiny, painful tingling or unbreakable stiffness of your limbs or body. It is very hard to describe the states of deep trance with words, however, you are not likely to get that far. It is neither easy nor desirable. In my experience, I have accidentally entered these states only a couple of times in my childhood, always in transition between sleeping phases. This is the level of trance in which you experience intense eclipse of your consciousness. If you happen to get there, you will not be able to either apprehend or influence the current situation. You will also feel very uncomfortably during the process of awaking. Fortunately, you are not most likely to remember the slightest thing after a few seconds.
II. TRANCE TRAINING
As I have already mentioned, trance is usually induced by the combination of mental techniques - relaxation and concentration. There are several methods to achieve trance. Many of them are known for a long time in the Eastern world, others have been discovered by the modern psychology and medicine. The traditional techniques consist of the recitation of Mantras (characteristic syllables or words of mystical meaning that affects breathing in order to create resonation in particular parts of a body), techniques of imaginary descending or ascending, concentration on outer or inner objects, observing of your own breathing, counting and many others. Some of them use visualizations, some of them do not. After some time spent on practising of a certain trance-evoking technique, you will be able to feel the characteristic features of the state of trance slowly coming in.
Under certain conditions it is possible to get easily into trance spontaneously. Very often, when your mind is relaxed, your attention can be drawn to the rippling on the water surface, clouds in the sky, branches moving in the trees or any other similar scenery. In short, you simply stop thinking and only "feel" (in other words: concentrate on) your surroundings or straight on a certain object while your body is relaxed. If you remain in this state for a sufficiently long period of time you will probably fall in trance unless you are interrupted or your concentration drops.
The most suitable position for inducing trance is being seated on a chair or armchair. Sit upright and keep you body in a straight position. Ideally, only one thing that should be supported is your lumbar spine. For more comfort and therefore better relaxation, prop the rest of your back slightly against a chair. You will get more stability and stillness of your body. Keep your head in an upright position with your chin pulled slightly back. Sit with your thighs apart and put your pelvis mildly forward. Your calves should run perpendicularly to the ground with your feet touching it in full extent. Of course, you can choose the most comfortable position of your legs by yourself. Your shoulders and arms should be relaxed with your hands folded in your lap or laid on your thighs. Your fingers can be crossed if you want. This is the most comfortable position for a man of a “Western type”. It is very suitable to sit in a large armchair against which you can lean the whole of your back including your head. Your back should remain in an upright position although it is not necessary. What is necessary is to feel comfortable and keep your muscles relaxed as much as possible. In the same time you have to achieve physical stability of your body. If you can do this you will be able to practise for a long time without being distracted by the tiredness or tension in your muscles.
If you have some experience with practising of Yoga you can use one of its traditional positions as well. However, these positions can be very difficult for a large number of people as you need to use the muscles on your back to maintain the upright position of the body which can result in the loss of concentration and comfort in time. You can partly avoid this by putting a pillow under your buttocks. The typical meditation position is for instance the famous semi-lotus or lotus sitting position when both your feet rest on your thighs. This position is considered to be the most suitable of all (it is also very balanced). Unfortunately, for the people of the Western cultures it usually causes strong tension in knee ligament and therefore it is recommended to be used only for a limited period of time. Inappropriate usage of this asana can result in damage to your ligament. The most of people can do with the simple “Turkish style” sitting position with your legs crossed. It is suitable to lean your back against a bed or wall so that your untrained back muscles would not be overstrained. However, not even this position removes the tension in your muscles completely (especially the inner parts of your thighs) hence the sitting on a chair or armchair remains the most appropriate option.
Definitively, the most comfortable position is with your body lying on the back with your legs along the body or on your thighs, pelvis or chest (not on your belly because of proper breathing). Your head should be supported by a cushion. Your palms should be empty, open and facing upwards. This position is very suitable for beginners as with its help you can reach the state of full relaxation very easily which enables you to notice all the feelings during trance. However, the greatest disadvantage lies in the fact that many people tend to fall asleep in it. This could be prevented by simple keeping your eyes open during the whole exercise. In spite of your effort your eyes will keep closing. It is suitable to remove all sleep deficit or try to practice in those parts of a day when you know you are not used to be usually sleepy. It is usually in the late afternoon of early evening; these are the most suitable parts of a day to practise trance.
Falling asleep is truly a heavy obstacle in practicing. Therefore, it is good for you to keep your eyes at least partly open. Simply relax your eyelids and related muscles and observe your surroundings with vision out of focus. You can also focus your vision on some object on the floor several metres in front of you. Constant staring at some point results in fatigue of your eyes. You can blink if you wish, it should not affect your concentration. During some meditations it is better for you to close your eyes completely.
The most suitable trance-evoking technique is concentration on individual parts of your body while each of them being consequently relaxed. This method is commonly used in inducing a hypnotic sleep or while autogenic training. If accompanied by a specific way of breathing it becomes more effective. Another advantage is that you can feel everything in detail in the current part of your body. Concentration then becomes easier and your progress quicker and more effective.
The key is to learn how to induce a feeling of "breathing into individual parts of your body”. For achieving this, example is provided: The following sequence is a variant of the Chinese training of qi-gong which belongs to the category of wai-tan qi-gong. It is "work with breathing and energy” while a body is not completely relaxed (some muscles on arms are stressed). Techniques which are practised in the state of full relaxation belong to the category of nei-tan qi-gong. Both can be used in the state of trance.
How to do it then? Seat yourself comfortably, slightly rise your arms in order to create a circle in front of your body with your palm facing your chest as if you were holding a big balloon. You can also practise when lying on your back with arms along your body or leave them hanging to the ground (standing or sitting). However, during the whole practising leave your limbs relaxed. Fingers should be close to each other but not touching. Relax your elbows and shoulders and try to breathe naturally. During every breath you take, try to focus on your palms and the feeling which comes from them. After a couple of minutes of practising you will feel your palms getting warmer as blood circulation in them improves. You will probably feel tingling in your palms. They will also feel like to be stiffened and heavy. Continue until you get the feeling of "breathing into your palms". This is very important because the following trance-evoking method is based on it. After you have master the technique of "breathing into your palms" you will be able move on.
Practical induction of trance
At this point we are getting to the trance-evoking technique itself. At the beginning it is better to practise in the lying position on your back with your arms slightly away from the body with your palms upwards or facing the body. This position allows you to breathe comfortably and restrains spasmodic inhaling and exhaling which can cause some troubles to beginners in a sitting position. Breathing must be relaxed and natural; while inhaling slowly expand your belly whereas while exhaling contract your belly.
It is not recommended to practise if you have just had a heavy meal or if you are hungry. Hunger, thirst, the feeling of full stomach can affect your concentration. Moreover, digestion consumes much energy which can make you tired and sleepy. Therefore, it is recommended to eat vegetarian meals which require less energy to be digested.
Let us proceed to the technique itself. First, choose your meditation position which suits you best and calm yourself down with several deep breaths. Then, start to breath “into your palms” as instructed previously. After you feel tingling in your palms (do not rush) proceed to another part of your body. Together with exhaling, try to relax each part as much as possible. This method is same as the above-mentioned one; you just simply focus on different parts of your body. Use this method to "breathe into" your wrist, forearm, elbow and the rest of your arm including shoulder joint. Eventually, breathe into the whole arm. Feel the growing weight in your arm and other unusual changes. In the same way breathe into the second arm and lower limbs. Basically, it is not difficult. Then, proceed to the trunk. Breathe into the skin on your back, belly, chest and eventually inside the trunk and imagine them getting heavier. Further, draw attention to you the muscles on your neck, skin on your head and face. Keep your tongue pressed against the palate without relaxing your lower jaw. Keep your mouth closed.
During practising, you will probably feel your body getting heavier with every breath you take. After some time, you will feel that your body is heavy and completely relaxed. It may seem as if you are going to fall asleep, however, you will retain your consciousness. This is the moment when your body proceeds to the state of full relaxation (accompanied by the slower alpha rhythms) and you slowly fall into trance.
When you think you have mastered this technique (which is very individual and can take from several weeks to months depending on the frequency of practice) you can proceed to the simplified method where you can start breathing into bigger parts, like the whole your arm. You can start by breathing into your palms but then move right to the whole limb (right and left together), trunk, neck, head and eventually the whole body. During this, keep observing the growing weight in the parts you are focused on and try to relax. Observing of the growing weight of the whole body is also a great technique to deepen your trance.
There are two main methods to breathe into bigger parts of a body. If you, for example, want to breathe into your arm, concentrate on it as on a unit or imagine a wave forcing its way from shoulders down to the tips of your fingers. The latter is more appropriate. For larger parts of skin you can also use this method of "breath wave" which should always run from top to bottom. od where you start freald by hast,
In breathing into a limb, first, breathe into a bone then only into skin and eventually into the whole limb. However, this is not necessary as it takes some time. This is used in advanced techniques of qi-gong used for prevention or treating of many illnesses. Some people may find this ridiculous, however, treatment by this techniques is based on logic as concentration enhances blood circulation which results in better distribution of required substances and establishing of certain physiological balance. If nothing else, at least you can warm your limbs quickly.
After you have had some experience, evoking of trance is not difficult. Only a couple of breaths (10-20 or even less) will be enough for every part of your body. You just simply concentrate on a certain part and by breathing into it you make it warm, relaxed and heavy. We can say that you need 10 breaths in order to feel those feelings. Considering the facts that you already have some experience, your single breath takes no more than 7 seconds and that you have mastered the technique of "breathing into parts of your body" you should be able to reach the state of light trance in approximately 5 minutes.
Maintaining of trance
You can remain in trance as long as you wish - or rather as long as you can stay focused. Several or even dozens of minutes a day are recommended. However, if you wish and can, you can remain in trance for hours. In this case, it is important to choose appropriate meditation position in order to spare you body from bad blood circulation and pain. Nevertheless, for beginners it is almost impossible to remain in trance for that long. Therefore, it is more suitable for beginners to practise less minutes but more frequently (even twice a day) and after that start to remain in trance longer. Do not force yourself to stay in trance for a long time.
Again, it is concentration that plays major part in the issue as it is necessary to remain in trance. You can imagine trance like a composite bow. If you draw a composite bow, then you need only little power to keep it like that. The same is true for trance. As soon as you reach trance it is not hard to remain there. You just need to hold the bowstring in the given position. The bow represents a condition of relaxationnts a condition of realalrs but more fein mo. of a body, the drawing of bowstring method of concentration and the aiming symbolizes concentration for maintaining of trance. The purpose of meditation or trance can be a shoot from the bow.
Being beginners, you will have difficulties with staying concentrated. Also, your mind will be flooded with your own thoughts. After some time, your ability of concentration and relaxation will improve which enables you to remain in trance easily. In time you will also learn to remain concentrated even though there would be distractive elements in your presence. Soon, you will be able to evoke strong trance in short time without fluctuation of your concentration which enables you to enjoy trance or rest in it without limitation.
Practising of trance with opened eyes represents usually no difficulties. However, if you close your eyes during practising, trance becomes deeper which will result in lowering of your EEF waves and subsequent falling asleep. It depends only on your individual abilities, their development and regular practice.
The most common method of remaining in trance is the simple observing of your own breath or focusing on outer or inner objects (usually on energetic centres). This represents advanced forms of practising which will be discussed later. However, this can also result in falling into deeper states of trance or falling asleep. If you want to stay in trance for a longer period of time, it is MOST ADVICED (at least in the beginnings) to practise with your eyes open. Remaining in trance while lying with closed eyes can prove to be extremely difficult.
Deepening of trance
For the purposes of some meditations it is necessary to deepen your trance down to the boundary between the alpha and theta EEG rhythms. This usually happens spontaneously, however, some people are not able to get deeper as they tend to maintain on a certain level. These people should be interested in the techniques of deepening of trance. Traditionally, the techniques of "counting backwards" or "descending and ascending" are used. If not stated otherwise, practise with your eyes closed.
While trying to deepen trance you can imagine that you are lighter than air and that you flying or that you are getting heavier and sinking down. A good technique is imagining your body being weighted with stones which makes you sinking into an endless abyss. You can also imagine your body being drawn to the surface by a big balloon. You can watch the sun and clouds through the water surface. If you have reached the surface sooner than you expected, keep rising to the sun. Create or choose a method that suits you best. The more often you practise it the more powerful its effect is going to be. The technique of “breathing into the whole body” works great too.
All these methods use concentration with little object of attention and lowers the frequency of brain waves. Some of them are so powerful that can even induce "the projection of consciousness” which resembles the states of clinical death or effects of some drugs. Sometimes it happens spontaneously when practising certain meditations (designed for these purposes).
Some people use special devices to deepen trance. These devices use binaural and optical stimulations to reach the required frequencies of EEG waves. Stimulation of brain by these "brain tuning forks" deepen trance to a set level which is thought to be the most suitable for the purpose of practising. There are even certain tables that describe the magnitude of frequencies.
If you keep deepening your trance according to the above-mentioned methods after a couple of minutes you will reach the boundary of the alpha and theta trance. Hypnagogic hallucinations also occur here. They represent usually visual images (or even the whole sequences of images) and auditory perceptions which can last for seconds or less. You will usually forget them instantly as they are very hard to remember. They usually occur while falling asleep when your consciousness transforms into dreaming. Normally, you would not be able to observe this unless you focus on it. If you can retain your consciousness on the boundary of vigilance and dreaming, you will be able to observe incredible images, sounds and sceneries. However, keep in mind that strong fluctuations of concentration occur here. Therefore, if you loose your concentration you are likely to fall asleep easily. In order to prevent this it is suitable to interrupt this state with short intervals of practising with opened eyes.
Trance and meditation
Most of meditations are done in trance. The simple state of being in trance can be considered a meditation. However, trance is usually used for special techniques because it makes them easier and more effective. In order to be able to practise some advanced techniques you need to be completely familiar with the state of trance and its special features. If do not like to remain passively in trance for a long period of time try the following form of practising.
I call this meditation “active dreaming”. Here, trance plays the role of a catalyst which enhances your ability of visualization. During the whole practising of this technique you will be able to enjoy the thrill of trance, inner peace and the stiffness of your body while you will be situating yourself into various sceneries created by your own fantasy. You will spend many minutes in trance.
First, imagine a place you know, a place you like. In more detail you know the place the more details you will remember. You can also work with a photograph of a landscape, a poster or videotape. You can also imagine your own reality. However, this is much more difficult as you would have to assemble a new three-dimensional world from the features you know
Assume your favourite meditation position and enter trance. Then proceed to the visualization of a chosen place. Place all the features you can remember around you. Try to create them in the most accurate colours and big sizes. It should not be only a picture in your mind, it should surround you and fill all the space you can imagine. At first, it may cause you some difficulties; colours and shapes may be unclear and everything may seem out of focus, foggy and smudgy. However, the important thing is to perceive three-dimensional space. After some practise it will be easy to create this situation. Practising of this method will deepen your trance and enhance your imagination. If you have problem with optical visualization, try to focus on the atmosphere of the place. Stroll through your own world, observe it, look around you and try to stabilize this three-dimensional image. Every next visit to this place will make you see much sharply.
Furthermore, try to imagine there every possible movement. Focus on such features like the movement of the clouds in the sky, fluttering of leaves, stalks of straw being bent by the wind, characteristic behaviour of animals, water streams or waves on the seacoast. Simply anything you can imagine. After that, add sounds to the images; birdsongs, fuzz in the treetops, rumble of the surf or sounds of waterfalls. Sounds and movement bring life to your worlds. You can also focus on the feelings usually evoked by some features in the real world – incidence of sunrays on your skin, heat or humidity, slipstreams etc. The given place can be also imagined in different seasons.
There are no limits in your own world. You can walk on the water surface, jump in the treetops or fly and watch the land beneath you. Sit under a tree and meditate or do whatever you like. Anything is possible there. In trance, in winter you can go swimming on a tropic beach or go skiing on slopes in hot summers.
It is import that the effect of the practising would be positive on you. In that case, you can get easily relaxed, get rid of stress, get in good mood, shake off the worries of daily life. Long-time practising can help you manage depressions or melancholy. In other words, the method of active dreaming can make your dreams come true
10. 9. 2007