With one loop around the spiral complete, the first lap done, it seems a good time to look back and try to see how far we’ve come. Try to spend a while taking stock of progress, measuring improvement. Comparing how you feel now with how you felt a while ago when you started.
The first topic we attempted was Perception, your ability to pay attention to your senses. Take the time to look away from these words at something in the room around you and let it sink into your consciousness, really view it. Can you remember if you were able to do that before this course started? Did you ever take the time to examine things closely? Do you actually do that more or less often than before you spent a while listening to our first meditation?
How about memory? Have you been listening to the memory meditation often enough? Going over the things stored there again and again? If you have then you’ve likely managed to fill up your Loci-map with all sorts of strange curiosities, each one of them filled with meaning, triggering a memory. Maybe you’ve even moved away from the first ten locations and started filling up another group of ten? Has it improved your life to remember these things?
You should find by now that you are more able to control your mood, to be happier (assuming that’s what you want) and focus your attention more on things which push your mood in the direction you want it pushed rather than things which annoy and irritate you. Have you spent the time since you started using the Mood meditation in a happier mood? Are you more able to shift towards a desired mood by thinking of your key, your word or phrase to help you travel there? If you have no key, have you actually been doing the meditation?
Over the last few months you have also started to take control of your diet. You probably like “healthy” foods more than you used to. There should by now be some food which you’ve advertised at yourself enough to find you want it over a nasty greasy fast-food burger. Ask yourself, are you healthier than you were a few months back? Are you eating better?
Before you started listening to the Imagination Meditation did you consider yourself imaginative? It’s only been a short while, does it feel like your imagination is beginning to improve already? If you need to use that imagination, think of a solution for something, do you think you’d know where to start?
You’ve been practising lowering your credibility filters for longer than you’ve known what they are, letting yourself drift into that trance-like suggestible state. If there’s one skill that all our meditations should improve it’s your ability to slide down into that relaxed mindset. More recently, you’ll have been learning to use other filters to pay particular attention to given details, voices, threads and aspects of your world. Has your ability to do these things improved?
You’ve been listening to the Social Perception Meditation only for a few weeks, most likely. Yet it’s probably already started to effect the way you listen to other people, the range of signals you pay attention to, the focus, concentration and attention you can give to your conversational partners. Have you, already, noticed yourself pay attention to these things?
It’s only very recently that you’ve begun to improve your Love for the world, to care more about more things, to widen the limits of your interest, see and love more of the universe. Yet already you’re no doubt beginning to find yourself smiling at things more often. To feel your heart beginning to open up.
What may be more relevent than the improvements in any of these skills is the understanding, not just on an intellectual level but in a visceral, solid, concrete and gut level, of how these skills mesh together like gears, each of them feeding advantages into the others as they improve. While your concentration and perception attention improves it enables better focus on the details that your improved social-perception skills can tell your to focus on. Your improved memory both reminds you of the skills you need to learn and also of how to shift your mind towards the mood you want it to be in. Each of the skills gives a leg-up to the others, all sitting on each other’s lap, climbing on each other’s backs to reach heights which are higher than even their combined height. The total is more than a sum of the parts.
Finally, you can look into the future, see the list of skills you’ll be approaching in the next few laps around the spiral, understand the methods you’ve used to reach these heights and see how applying those same methods to the other skills in the spiral will push yet more height, and yet more height-gaining-combinations, into your internal mental experience and capabilities. You can see how you can use imaginative methods of applying those same methods yourself to any problem you are likely to come across that fits into the interstices between the areas of the universal mind-space which we’re poorly mapping with the spiral and it’s exercises.