First, I’ll note this is observations of the process. This is for verification of experience, not something to achieve, a technique, or a way to manipulate your experience.
As readers of the blog know, I recommend an effortless mantra meditation as this leads to regular samadhi and helps culture the ground for a sustained awakening. There are many ways to transcend, but this is one of the most effective as it uses the most subtle sense and the natural tendency of the mind.
At first, many of our meditations will be foggy as we settle through the fatigue and stress (unresolved experiences). However, if we practice regularly and stay effortless, we’ll continue to transcend. The housecleaning will gradually clear the way.
What are we transcending? The mind and emotions. We’re settling deeper into pure consciousness, our true nature within. As this becomes increasingly familiar, it becomes established. It’s always been there, but now we begin to recognize it. Presence develops.
Often we notice that we’ve transcended on the way out. A thought arises and we notice a little wave of happiness, or we take a deeper breath.
There are a few ways others have described the stages of meditation.
In the Yoga Sutra, Patanjali describes stages of samadhi. At first, we transcend, but impressions remain to draw us back out again. Gradually, the body and memory are cleared of stress, leading to increased clarity during the process. Eventually, even the seeds of impressions are dissolved, leading to very clear transcending and a state ripe for awakening. This is the progress of preparation.
We can also use the kosha model. As we settle from sheath to sheath, we then step into consciousness itself. Body, emotions, mind, intellect, celestial, creation, and consciousness.
Because each sheath or “body” is progressively larger, we can feel like we’re expanding. Yet they all interpenetrate each other. We don’t have to go anywhere, just settle into our true nature.
Over time, we may notice various changes. For example:
We discover the mantra is reverberating within all the time. With meditation, were just bringing it up and down through the layers to increase clarity.
The mantra itself becomes increasingly subtle until just the intention to meditate starts the almost automatic process. Even the idea of the mantra can come to seem coarse.
We may notice longer and longer periods of the breath stopping with very clear samadhi. Especially if we’re very well rested. (Fatigue is like a coating of fog.)
After awakening, we can go deeper and larger. At points, we can become clear enough that we settle deep into samadhi for extended periods. We may step out for hours at a time.
There is no longer “transcending” as we’re already there. Instead, it is shifting the attention to presence alone, the now, the being.
Eventually, we realize Self has been meditating on itself. The mantra continues to reverberate on it’s own level but just the intention is needed for the practice. Self just sits with itself.
Again, let this process unfold spontaneously. This description is observations to support your process, NOT recommended practices.
Also, don’t judge your practice insufficient just because you have not reached some fancy stage. This process takes time and lots of rest. We can also go through more outward periods where inner development takes a back seat to events in the world. That’s part of the process too, as I’ll soon be posting.