While doing research to write my book, To Believe Or Not To Believe: The Social and Neurological Consequences of Belief Systems, it became clear how important meditation is if we want to evolve past where we are now, both individually and collectively. There were two statements in my book that makes it clear that we need to evolve. Eckhart Tolle said that most of the dysfunctions we observe in the world today come directly from the dysfunction of our minds; in other words, our outer world will never get better until we correct the dysfunction within the realm of our inner world. This is also echoed by Einstein’s statement that we will never be able to come up with solutions from the same level of awareness that created the problems in the first place. But I suppose most revealing of all was the Dalai Lama’s answer to this question, “What can we do about the conflict in the Middle East?” He said the best that we can hope for is to get both sides together for a picnic and don’t let them talk because when they start talking it develops into conflict. Both Eckhart Tolle and the Dalai Lama put great importance on meditation as a way to further our conscious evolution.
I suppose you might say it has been my “good karma” to have married a person with over 25 years of meditation experience. Dhara teaches “active meditation” which is the best way I have found to actually sit down and quiet my mind. Quite simply put, this meditation arose from the interaction of Eastern contemplative meditation and Western somatic and bioenergetic movements. The following interview is from my book.
To the ego, the present moment hardly exists. Only past and future are considered important. This total reversal of the truth accounts for the fact that in the ego mode the mind is so dysfunctional. It is always concerned with keeping the past alive, because without it – who are you? Eckhart Tolle
The ultimate authority must always rest with the individual’s own reason and critical analysis. The Dalai Lama
Rahasya: I think when it comes to subjects like meditation it’s important to have personal experience along with any research data that is available. It’s been shown through fMRI research that meditation in fact does have a positive effect on the brain. This brings the subject of meditation into the realm of topics covered in this book. What I would like to know is a little about your own personal experience with meditation.
Dhara Lemos: r It is a very intense and active meditation that requires a lot of physical stamina and really challenges the emotions. There is a tendency in most people to do a little bit of the dynamic meditation and stop. But I realized I needed to do this every day for a long time. The first day was easy because it was new. The second day my brain started telling me stories—“I am tired, there is a pain in my back, and so on.” But I kept meditating anyway. By the third day, it was almost impossible. My head was hurting and I couldn’t sleep through the night. It took lots of energy to go on, but I went on anyway. By the fourth morning something amazing happened. When I woke up, something had shifted in my brain and I was free from the excuses, the fatigue, and the whole “story” that I had been telling myself to avoid the meditation. This particular meditation technique had a profound impact on my brain by changing brain chemistry. This first experience with dynamic meditation was a one-year commitment and meditation became my best friend.
Rahasya: I noticed that you have an outstanding testimony by Dr. James Hardt of the Biocybernaut Institute. He said that your alpha scores were up there with some of the Zen masters he had tested. It seems that the common denominator here is meditation. What are your feelings on your high alpha results in your neurofeedback tests?
Dhara Lemos: It was a great experience to have neural feedback of the results that meditation had on my brain over the years. On the first day of testing I started to do my normal meditation. The audio feedback was loud and high pitched and was an important validation for me.
Part of the training is to focus on an issue in your life that you need to work on. So I started with old beliefs about life situations. Then I began to feel forgiveness and compassion for self and others involved in those situations while in high alpha. As I processed the beliefs and my responses to them, I could monitor my brain activity through the sound as well as a numerical score. I still use high alpha in my healing sessions to enable the person I am working with to experience the high alpha state as well. The alpha state is a meditation state where healing can take place.
Rahasya: When I hear scientists like John Hagelin talk about the experiments they have done to reduce crime rates in major cities such as Washington, DC, by getting a designated number of meditators to meditate it made me realize the social significance meditation could have on society. We know now that meditation has a quantifiable effect on the brain in the person meditating, but it also seems to have an effect on the collective consciousness of those in close proximity. How do you think this works?
Dhara Lemos: It’s been my experience that when I meditate in a group, it becomes much more powerful than when I am alone. I had a strong experience in the ashram with a large group of people doing meditation. Upon entering, the air was noticeably lighter; some refer to this as a Buddha field. This makes it much easier to enter the meditation state.
Even on a smaller scale, like in my home, I can see that meditation has a positive influence on those around me. So, yes, I believe that this is true . . . if a group or a community is doing a shared meditation, it can totally affect the consciousness of those in the group because we are all interconnected through this conscious field.
Rahasya: How does active meditation work?
Dhara Lemos: When we meditate, we become aware of our connectedness with something greater than ourselves. Dance and music were some of the first meditation forms used by earlier civilizations as a spiritual practice; even now there are many indigenous peoples who still use dance and music as a form of meditation to tap into higher consciousness. From Whirling Dervish to Native American Ceremony, from the Dance of David to the Dance of Shiva, spirit unites motion with form to bring us an experiential fusion with the divine. More recently, in the somatic and bioenergetic sciences we are seeing that we hold trauma in our bodies as suppressed energy. Of course as a child we knew what to do when we were frustrated by life; we jumped up and down and threw a temper tantrum. But the power figures in our lives, our parents and teachers, tell us to go to our rooms and be quiet, sit still, calm down . . . and we do, but at a cost. All that energy gets embodied within us and eventually becomes dis-ease. For instance, right now, sit back and become aware of your body; you will feel that somewhere there is tension that you weren’t aware of. This tension eventually becomes chronic if we don’t shake it off somehow and let it go. You don’t need years of therapy; you just need to release the energy that is blocked. This is how Rolfing, acupuncture, Reiki, and a long list of energy therapies work, by releasing and balancing our energies.
Rahasya: How does connecting with higher frequencies help our lives?
Dhara Lemos: Higher frequencies are at the origin of everything in the universe. They are the stuff of which life is made. This is not just some
New Age jargon; it is hard science. The only difference in anything that exists lies in its signature frequency. This becomes particularly important in the area of health because this is also true for viruses and bacteria. If our frequency is low, we are susceptible for interaction or what scientists would call “entrainment” with those frequencies that can harm us. By allowing the frequencies to move through us, we become like antenna to receive more of the “good stuff ” available to us as we cocreate the relationships and circumstances of our lives.
Rahasya: How would meditation help in looking at our beliefs?
Dhara Lemos: It’s the active element of meditation that brings about a change in chemistry that brings about a change in mental processing. Beliefs are supported in part by their chemical counterparts and when you change the chemistry you might say you reformat your hard drive.
Through the years I have observed the change in many friends who have practiced these meditations. They require a commitment that many people simply are not willing to make. For one, when you start practicing any meditation, especially these, you will stir up everything that you have worked hard to let settle, either through drugs (both legal and illegal) and escaping through entertainment and other means.
“For me, the practice of meditation provides an experience of what I call the Tao Mind—the aspect of my being that is open, unconditioned, spacious, and intuitive—able to experience life directly. My conditioned mind, that part of my consciousness formed by my memories and experiences interpreted through the filters of authorities, teachers, family, friends, and other social interactions, is unable to have this direct experience. There is nothing wrong with this conditioned mind. It is just quite limited. Belief is one of the primary limitations of a conditioned mind.
In meditation, we are able to gradually, patiently, compassionately recognize and then lay down all of the conditioned thoughts, opinions, and judgments that seem so real, but actually keep us away from the joy of Life Itself. Beliefs are hard to notice. They are “way down deep” where things are “just the way it is.” Meditation is an essential practice if we are ever to see how these “just the way it is” beliefs control and limit our experience of life.”
Bill Martin, The Parent’s Tao Te Ching
(as seen on Oprah’s Book Club)