By Michael Eydman.
I think most of us are aware of the benefits mediation can provide to our mind, body and soul. Meditation is an old eastern tradition of tuning out the unnecessary noise and being able to control your thought process in order to see clarity. There are many approaches and most require some practice and skill to achieve the desired result, but this is not what I want to talk about 🙂 While not having the same amount of publicity or awareness, western philosophy has tried to explain traditional meditation in a more scientific way. What they came up with is called Attentional Training or AT for short. AT refers to the state of mind resembling that of meditation and even having predictable brainwave patterns. As a human being you know you are experiencing AT when everything around becomes more quiet and you have just a single thought, if any, running through your mind for more than a few seconds. This state allows us to explore ideas and deeper thoughts in a more profound and insightful way. Have you ever noticed that while being in a shower, your mind starts being more creative? Perhaps that explains why some of us sing in the shower 🙂
Here is where AT differs from meditation or rather super-sets it. Let me explain – according to the concept, there are two types of attentional training, active and passive. Meditation is what’s called active AT, because you willingly and purposely initiate the process of setting you mind into a certain state. Passive AT occurs when your mind goes into that state automatically or without a conscious direction to do so. The process behind this is associated with your Certainty Anchors. Now, what in the world is a Certainty Anchor?
Without going into too much detail as I think this topic warrants a separate post, a certainty anchor is a situation which feels familiar to you in such a way that you know the outcome of your actions with almost 100% certainty. You know how you will react to that cup of coffee you are drinking, you also know that a shower is your safe place and water will continue to flow down on you; all of these are certainty anchors. When you take action which involves one of these things, your mind goes into Passive Attentional Training state or in other words, meditation. This is where magic happens 🙂 Constant mechanical movements, like running or biking, will also bring you into that state. Once you start recognizing various situations and actions where you feel comfortable and know exactly what to expect, you can begin to explore all those meditative states that you couldn’t explore without having absolute quiet required for traditional meditation!