If you have been involved in Meditation, Yoga or Self Improvement then you may have heard of terms like, stillness, silence and the void. It is a key skill that needs to be developed regardless of whether meditation or magic is your goal.
In this post we will look at what these terms mean and Meditation Techniques that allow us to enter these states at will. Another post you might want to look at is ‘Introduction to Mental Training‘.
Disclaimer: This post is for information purposes only, practices such as breath retention etc should not be practiced unless you have the all clear from a doctor.
What is the Void?
Lets look at what it isn’t.
Our mind is always trying to occupy itself. Anytime we stop and try to keep the mind silent it explodes into action retrieving memories of all sorts of crazy unrelated situations sometimes years in the past.
It will do anything to think, feel and conceptualize again in order to fill the silence. I am sure most of us have experienced the crazy thoughts our mind jumps into if any kind of control is about to be placed upon it.
So the Void is what happens when the mind has finally either exhausted itself or been brought under control via other methods.
Suddenly after being so used to busying itself the mind is presented with something very different. It begins (if we manage to simply sit and remain in the ‘Center’) to turn it’s awareness back onto itself.
This means that instead of using all of its mental fuel creating emotions, sensations and random thoughts it begins instead to observe itself.
Addicted to Distraction
I realize it all sounds good but what the hell does it mean?!
It means we are addicted to distraction! We know no other way of being!
The void then is the absence of this addiction, content to sit in stillness. Sounds simple and rather boring but the experience is anything but.
When you first experience this state we become aware of a new reality and a new way of being.
This is a little like a private members club. Unless you have been in and experienced the state, then it is almost impossible to relate to what a big shift mentally this can be.
One of the best explanations for actually what happens has been from one of my teachers, Sifu Mark Rasmus. If you observe your mind then I am sure you will be familiar with how thoughts arise from ‘Somewhere’ and you are then given the choice to either follow this thought or to let it sink back down from where it came.
Sifu Mark Rasmus explains the process as follows:
When students observe the arising and falling away of thoughts, usually 4 things are identified.
1. Consciousness itself, there is an observer
2. There are mental formation/thoughts
3. There is a field upon which these thoughts arise and fall away upon
4. It is all inherently empty (PAA:Though full of potential)
Summed up in four short sentences but each one represents a big shift when you actually realize the truth of the statement for yourself. It brings a kind of solidity to your practice.
Number 4 listed above then is the Void.
This Void, Stillness or Emptiness as it is sometime called is not as one dimensional or empty as it at first seems.
With time it changes and you find that though it seems empty to our limited experience a better word might be absolute potential.
This is very subjective so needs to be explored and discovered in your own practice, making notes, contemplating, returning into the Void and going a little further and deeper. Its a personal journey.
Now let’s look at what needs to be done to enter the void.
Before using the techniques to the Void a certain foundation needs to be laid.
If the foundation is not laid then the techniques that follow will have little to no effect.
My version of these preliminaries is that 3 things need to be accomplished or developed.
1 – Subconscious – Get to know, understand and work with your subconscious.
2 – Attention – Understand deeply the importance of attention and how to use and develop it.
3 – Will Force/Nerve Force/Will Power = Discipline
Everyone has heard of the subconscious or unconscious mind but I believe many of us don’t truly understand just how powerful it is.
How often have you eaten something and thought, ‘Thats the last time I eat that, from now on just apples’ or a similar example and only a day later or even later the same day you go into exactly the same store and buy the exact same food that you swore you would never eat again!
Remember those donuts!?
So what (part of you?) made the original decision to not eat that food any more and what (part of you?) then overrides that decision to later go into the store to buy and eat that forbidden food?
Who is in control? Really? If we cannot stick to something our own mind had agreed upon as a good idea then what is making the decisions?
It is clear then that ultimately the subconscious aspect of ourselves rules the roost. If our plan is not accepted as fact and endorsed by our subconscious then we will have great trouble in sticking to that plan.
How to work with the subconscious?
It is actually really simple and you have been doing it all your life.
What ever you consciously think about the most, what ever emotion that relates to is what will be imprinted upon the subconscious.
This means the subconscious will take this thought and feeling as the truth and use this as the base operating system.
If we have happy, positive thoughts about our life and how we are always successful then the subconscious will accept this as THE truth. As reality.
It doesn’t judge.
If we do the opposite and believe life is a struggle and we are unlucky then it will also accept this as THE truth. As reality.
So we work with our subconscious by being conscious of what we allow to dwell in our mind.
Whether conscious of this operation or not it is always at work.
Better then to be conscious of this and carefully control what we dwell upon and what is transmitted to the subconscious.
As the subconscious has a way of attracting the things we dwell most upon.
Rather than me writing my own work in progress method of working with the subconscious.
Better to get a whole course of how to work with your subconscious from the legend Charles Haanel author of the The Master Key – google it as it is available for free online completely legally.
He does a great job of introducing these ideas and providing practical exercises to use this force to create the life you want. Or alternatively if you want a method that plugs into a larger curriculum then I recommend either Sixty Skills Master Course or Andre Consciencia Magic and Mystical Introspection, both if which contain full training in this and all other aspects of magic though in very different ways.
One of the missing pieces of the puzzle. Many of the ‘New Thought’ books from the early twentieth century mentioned this as a major part of the process.
It was an open secret that without developing the power of attention, nerve force, will force then there is no real hope of developing personal power.
The previously mentioned courses all develop to a high level the Attention. But one of my favorites from years ago was the work of William Walker Atkinson (yes I know he gets a lot of resistance but take what is good and leave the rest).
The work of William Walker Atkinson in my opinion is a must read when it comes to the attention. He really did the world a favor with his work on this.
To get an idea of attention and the degree to which it is required you can try the following exercises.
Exercise 1: Fix your mind upon a part of your body. Feel it. Now set the stop watch on your phone and get on with your day but ensure a part of your mind continues to stay attentive to that chosen part of the body.
How long was it before you forgot? If you did the exercise I know I don’t need to say anything else 🙂
Exercise 2: Make an effort to listen to yourself as you speak during the day and to watch yourself as you perform actions in the day. Actually hear your voice and notice what this does.
Not only will you experience the same forgetfulness of the first exercise but for the small periods you remember to observe yourself you will discover a different perspective of you.
This new perspective is actually very empowering. It leads to the question that if this new perspective empowers us then then where was our attention when we forgot to observe ourselves and what was it doing to us?
Exercise 3: This is one of my favorites for so many reasons.
One analogue clock with a seconds hand. Fix your eyes upon the seconds hand and see how long you can remain focused upon it with no distraction. A distraction is defined as any image, mental dialogue that replaces the attention to the seconds hand.
Your goal is 10 minutes. But you should start to feel a difference in yourself once you can consistently do 2 minutes. Build in small increments, 30 seconds I find is effective.
Nerve Force/Will Force
Just like attention the nervous force was once common knowledge in many of the self help and self improvement books that were coming out in the early twentieth century.
Writers like William Walker Atkinson and Charles Haanel gave full courses of development to enable anyone to develop this force.
The nerve force is ‘best’ described as energy or vitality. Though best described in that way nerve force does have a very unique quality and is best experienced rather than described.
You actually already have experienced this quality in the Attention exercises.
One of the best exercises you can do to experience this is to simply sit completely still for 10 minutes.
Sit on the edge of a chair with your back straight, achieve this straight back via lifting the rib cage and opening the chest rather than trying to elongate the spine.
Hands on your thighs, shoulders back.
Easy version is to close your eyes and not move for 10 minutes. Very soon you will feel itches, aches and pains that you never felt before.
You must resist the natural urge to scratch the itch 🙂
The harder version is to do the same but with your eyes open.
The experience of the nerve force is what comes after doing this exercise consistently for approximately 10 days or more.
You will start to feel an inner strength, reflected in your posture, voice, eye contact etc.
Put these three exercises together and you start to experience some interesting qualities.
Meditation Techniques to Enter the Void
If you have gone through the preliminary exercises then it is now time to look at entering the Void/Stillness/Emptiness.
Entering into the Void takes a little practice as its often the result of many years of regular but unplanned practice.
It doesn’t actually need to take this long. Often many of us start meditation without any real plan or method in place.
We close our eyes and hope for the best! So it takes longer to reach this first experience of the Void.
With a plan to develop the required qualities plus the time required for contemplation of your ongoing experiences the first experience of the Void can come much quicker as its a specific event we have planned for.
Cause and Effect.
The following techniques are a jumping off point for further exploration. Anyone who starts to enter the Void regularly will I am sure have started to develop their own personal way of getting back there quickly.
So use this post to get your own experiences, test and see what works better for you. Then you are in a position to go on and develop your own personal methods.
1 – PRANAYAMA – SUKHA PURVAKA
This breathing exercise common in the Indian and Tibetan Yoga methods. There are many variations but for our purposes a very simple method is all that is required.
It will give you an experience of what you are looking for and what I believe is best achieved on your own without any outside assistance such as breathing, music, chanting etc.
1 – Sit in a comfortable position.
2 – Keep your closed eyes focused upon the point between the brows and relaxed but still.
3 – Close the right nostril with the right thumb. Draw in the air very, very slowly through the left nostril.
4 – Then close the left nostril also with little and ring fingers of the right hand. Retain the air as long as you can comfortably do.
5 – Then exhale very, very slowly through the nostril after removing the thumb.
6 – Now half the process is over. Then draw air through the right nostril. Retain the air as before and exhale it very, very slowly through the left nostril. All these six processes constitute one cycle.
There are two body locks that are used in this method which take a bit of practice. You can see the full details in the book I link to below which is free for download.
Even without these body locks the method still works very well.
Do 20 in the morning and 20 in the evening. Gradually increase the number.
This is the Sivananda method of easy breathing (Surka Purva). I find a 1-4-2 ratio of breath is best for me, which is 4 seconds in, hold for 16, out for 8.
But go very gently and find your own level.
At the end of the session simply sit still, focusing on the point between the eyebrows. Sit and enjoy the state of stillness.
2 – COUNTING BREATH
This is similar to the Pranayama in that breath is being used.
There is no retention of breath here simply a big in breath into chest and diaphragm – This is 1. Then the out breath. That is 2.
Now do this 6 times and then restart the count.
Do this for 3 minutes or until you feel it’s the right time then sit in the silence.
3 – YONI MUDRA
This is one of the most powerful for beginners.
Yoni Mudra closes off the sense gates. Our reality, our thinking is shaped and formed by the information retrieved via the sense gates.
So when we close off these gates the mind has to look elsewhere and for another reality.
Yoni Mudra does not disappoint but I would suggest to do number 1 on this list first and then transition to Yoni Mudra immediately after for best results.
How to do it? Super simple.
1 – Place the tips of the two index fingers close to the outer corners of the closed eyes against the lower lids > Thumbs in the ears > Middle finger closing the nostrils and ring finger closing the lips.
2 – Use the same breath ratio as with Surkha Purva (Number 1 on this list) if it is comfortable and you have experience in the practice.
If you are new to Surkha Purva then lessen the retention when doing Yoni Mudra. Half it and work up from there.
3 – Direct the eyes to the point between the eyebrows, you will enter into a stillness and potentially see a pin point of white light in the center between your eyes.
4 – When you feel it is time slowly release the fingers and return the breathing to normal. Then you can gently open the eyes and return to normal consciousness.
4 – SUBCONSCIOUS METHOD
This and the following methods are only useful to use once you have experimented a little and got to know the mental landscape.
You need to be able to discern what is mental/thought patterns and what is emotional/energetic.
When you can do this and have a good relationship with your subconscious then these methods will be possible and useful. (It doesn’t need to take long to get to this point)
One of the simplest methods for ANYTHING you want to achieve is the use of the Subconscious as I repeatedly say (Repetition is Key for the Subconscious).
Once you and your Subconscious are working together as partners then you can simply state what you want or need to be accomplished and your partner will go and get it done.
I often use this method amongst others with the Void.
I will say ‘Ok we will now do Void meditation for X amount of minutes’. I am then taken into the Void and at the designated time the Subconscious brings me gently out of that state.
But once you have the relationship with your Subconscious you can do this with absolutely anything!
5 – MUDRA/ANCHOR METHOD
Super simple again. As long as you know it works, it works!
Lets imagine one day you get to a really amazing state, you are almost shocked. Whats the first thing you want to do after you come out of this state?
You want to go back there right? One for the experience and two to prove to yourself that it wasn’t a one off.
Here is something to try, the next time you get into a state of mind you want to return to do the following.
1 – Acknowledge fully the state you are in.
2 – Communicate with an unspoken intention to your subconscious that when you say a specific word or perform an action like touching finger and thumb together for example, the state will then return.
3 – Test and repeat the process if necessary.
6 – VITAL FORCE AND RELEASE METHOD
This one is tricky to explain unless you have some experience with certain lines of Western Hermetics. I learned this from Sifu Mark Rasmus back in 2012.
It is the foundation of his whole method.
Here is a framework to play with, it is well worth the time and was provided generously by one of Sifu Marks students Joey. Thanks Joey Nishad.
1 – Build the energy ball between your hands, recognize the qualities of the space between the hands as opposed to space around. This will allow you to directly experience the vital fluid/life force between your hands.
2 – “Breathe” the qualities of the energy ball into the body (PAA: Realize as you get used to this you can assign any quality you want to the space between your palms), filling the whole body with it. So breathe in to the space between your hands, charging up the life force between your hands and on the out breath, fill the body with that life force. Experience the same qualities in your whole body as you did between your hands.
3 – “Breathe” life force through your skin – on the in breath, observe life force, entering into your body from the space around you, filling the body. On the out breath, observe life force exchanging back to the space around you so that there is equalizing of life force between you and the space around you.
With this, you should be able to recognize the qualities of life force which you initially recognized only between your hands, both inside you and the entire space around you.
This entire space where you can feel the qualities of life force is you “life force / energy field”.
As become more familiar with life force, this field will increase in size and also, you will be able to form increasingly greater resolution within this life force field.
Now the important thing to remember is that all of the above, you weren’t really doing anything. You were using a ritual/practice to recognize what is already there. In order to do these, through these rituals you learned how to “tune into” the life force with your mind.
Generally speaking, when we say “keeping the mind in the energy” it means that your mind tunes into life force, such that the body disappears and your awareness spans the entire energy field, experiencing everything through life force.
The first part here of building the ball between the hands can be seen below demonstrated by Sifu Mark.
You might be thinking how does this relate to the Void and Stillness?
Well once you can do the above and sit in the Vital Force you get accustomed to a certain feeling. You can connect this to a word (similar to previous method), lets say our word is Void.
So when in this feeing tell your subconscious with an unspoken knowing (this takes some experimenting) that when you mental or vocally say void you will return to this feeling.
Vital force is creative so if you flavor your thought with the wish of entering the Void and complete Stillness then this what you get.
Just the feeling of being in the Vital Force gives you an energy signature to work with. The more we experience the state and connect it to the word or action the quicker and more powerfully it will work.
The action of holding out your hands and focusing on the space between the palms actually acts as a mudra to recreate the state before you even take a breath. Then any breaths you take just intensify the state.
7 – HERMETIC
This method relies on the first two stages to create conditions for the third stage.
Stage 1: Observe
1 – Sit still and simply observe the mind. Do not try and control it, instead simply observe the thoughts that PASS through your mind.
2 – Do not forget yourself.
3 – Observe the thoughts. Let them pass by.
4 – Start with 5 minutes then go to 10 minutes of constant observation of your thoughts not engaging with your thoughts.
Stage 2: One single thought
1 – Pick a subject like a local park or person etc.
2 – Now keep your thoughts focused upon that one subject. Do not forget yourself.
3 – Keep your thought on that subject, so if I choose the park I will think of what it looks like, where it is, what does it contain, who goes there, why they go there.
4 – All thoughts connected to the original subject with no forgetting of yourself.
5 – Start with 5 minutes then go to 10 minutes.
Stage 3: No thoughts
1 – This is a result of Stage 1 & 2. Carefully study what qualities you are building in the first two stages.
2 – You will now not allow any thoughts to appear in your mind. This is sometimes thought of as impossible but let me assure with the fuel you have built up in the previous steps you absolutely can do this.
3 – Put all your attention upon stillness. Do not stop thoughts instead focus on stillness.
4 – Do you see the difference?
5 – To stop your thoughts means you are focusing on thoughts. Like attracts like. So focus upon stillness.
6 – If it helps you imagine blackness surrounding you on all sides and that you are sat within it.
7 – Another tip is to remember the eyes movement affects the state of mind.
8 – So keep the eyes still and focused on the point between the eyebrows. If the eyes are still then so is the mind.
9 – Only use this imagination as a temporary crutch. As soon as you can maintain stillness through the power of your will power then do so.
8 – Sixty Skills
Here we have pretty much everything listed in today’s list all in one curriculum! So if you would like not just to know in more details what we have spoken about today but also would like to know how to work with it all inside of a larger curriculum then SixtySkills is what you are after.
Welcome to the Void
I really hope that these methods have been useful for you and you have managed to experience what I mean by the Void.
It will not happen over night and does require lots of practice.
You will begin to recognize the mental landscape and notice the order of specific states and how they are helped or hindered by things such as tension, posture and breathing.
These are your discoveries to be had that will give you ownership over this experience. You will begin to know why you enter a specific state and why you don’t.
This is the difference between real understanding of the subject and simply hoping for the best based on emotions and feeling.
These are repeatable experiences that have a clear sign of progression.
Do the preliminary exercises and you will then be in a position to clearly see this progress and make a mental note or anchor of it to speed your progress.
If you have enjoyed this post then please let me know in the comments below and share the post with your friends.