Several years ago, I read “Super Consciousness: The Quest for the Peak Experience” and became a Colin Wilson fan. A Peak Experience, term coined by psychologist Abraham Maslow, is an ecstatic state when one feels a sense of euphoria and interconnectedness with the world around them. Intrigued, I also read Wilson’s “Access to Inner Worlds” (1983). Wilson believed that our everyday consciousness lacks animation because we habitually use only certain parts of our brain. So, to make our life more alive and exciting, we need to expand our perception. And this means training our attention in order to create a peak experience at will.
Wilson devised this exercise that, with practice, can help achieve control over one’s attention:
Take a pencil and hold it up against the ceiling then concentrate on the pencil with all your might. Relax then concentrate again. Keep doing this on and off concentration until you’re able to focus your attention at will. This exercise is a bit boring and fatiguing. It even produces a strain behind the eyes. However, if you persist, at a certain point you will feel much discomfort followed by an immense relief. And this will create a peak experience. Like an orgasm, first it’s tension then a relief producing euphoria.
Altering our perception is an act of will.
Wilson also used Wilhelm Reich’s breathing exercises for the focusing of perception: lie down on the floor and take a deep breath. Exhale as slowly as possible going down from the lungs to the stomach to the genitals as you say “out, down, through”.
Wilson said that if first you do the breathing exercise followed by the pencil exercise, you will be rewarded with a feeling of exaltation.
Breathing is inter-relating with our environment. By breathing, we become a part of the world around us. That’s why, if I live in a smog filled city, I will absorb this smog and become toxic, too.
Research shows that living close to the sea makes one healthier because of the air that’s full of minerals and negatively charged ions. These ions help strengthen our immune system, absorb oxygen, balance serotonin levels and counter-balance the positive ions (free radicals) we get from computers, TV and electricity in general.
We take breathing for granted without realizing its true power. If done properly, breathing can revolutionize our lives. That’s why I like to sit on the beach to do some basic Pranayama yoga breathing exercises. Blood needs fresh air to flush out toxins and the sea air is perfect for this.
Life is but a series of breaths. Yogi Ramacharaka
As for the mantra today, it’s from Berlin’s “Take My Breath Away”. Ok, maybe I’m being a bit kitsch and I should have used Sting’s “Every Breath You Take” but that’s just how I woke up today…feeling kitsch.
Breath in. OM. Breath out. Breath in. OM. Breath out.