A modernised distillation of an ancient practice
A powerful way to increase your presence and awareness
The objective of this practice is to increase your self-awareness and your ability to remain present naturally throughout the day. In this way, developing a clearer state of mind and the ability to remain present in life situations - More and more able to consciously "respond" rather than unconsciously "react" based on the inner mechanisms of your personality.
The practice is based on focusing the effort on self-remembering: remaining present and self-aware in a specific moment of the day. The aim is to notice more frequently the difference between when you are fully present, alert, "awakened," and when you are instead "lost" in the mind and fully identified with it - In a lower level of consciousness where you think that you are awake, but really you are still "asleep."
In this practice, the effort is only focalised during the scheduled exercises in order to maximise the usage of energy and the results achieved. It's crucial to avoid wasting the effort by trying the exercises randomly, too frequently, or in a disorganised manner. As this approach lacks the intention, it mostly results in a waste of energy and makes the practice less effective!
Instead, when the effort is focalised on specific "challenges" of self-remembering, these exercises can become very powerful and quickly increase your level of awareness (MEYA's 7-week suggested program is provided below).
The practice is based on 2 types of exercises:
Exercises that are triggered by a specific activity (e.g., self-remember every time you go through a door).
Exercises that require an extended effort to remain present during an activity (e.g., avoid moving your hands during a conversation for 5 minutes).
What is Self-remembering?
Self-remembering means being self-aware and completely present in what you are doing – during the specific time of the exercise - without any other thoughts interfering. It's important to clarify that self-remembering is not just a memory and a concentration practice, although these are key elements. Self-remembering also means "to be fully centred", i.e., fully present and anchored to your essence. A form of detachment in which you become a neutral observer.
This mindfulness practice can be defined as a sort of dynamic meditation, but with the additional element of "divided attention" - focusing both on the activity you are doing and on your self-awareness simultaneously. This is what differentiates this practice from other forms of meditation. The divided-attention increases your energy intake as you are alert on two sides – both the inside and the outside – allowing your self-awareness to naturally increase.
Like in the eastern teaching of the "Art of War," you want to avoid a frontal attack with your enemy (in this case, the "low level of awareness"). You do this by putting "small troops behind the enemy lines" (in your practice, this means concentrating your effort to remain present in specific pre-decided moments). Only in those times should you apply the maximum effort to stay present. Any other spontaneous moment of presence during the day is welcome but is not actively sought or required. The more the effort is focused and concentrated on specific moments of the day, the more effective the practice is.
Remember that when you set an objective with your intention, and your effort to achieve it, you naturally increase your awareness.
It’s the effort rather than the result is what really counts
It is crucial to understand that it is the effort, not the result that counts! All that is required is your intention of self-remembering. In the beginning, even if you forget to do the exercise, but you keep up the effort and intention - you will be doing the practice of self-remembering even by realising that you forgot to do the exercise. Over time this gradually builds up your awareness, and you will notice how the exercise begins to become easier.
This concept is easy to understand with an example. Let's consider the first exercise of the first week: "For a week, be present every time you go through a door."
By setting the intention to remember every time you go through a door, you create a trigger in your mind that will gradually lead you to achieve the exercise.
For example - on the first day you might forget the first few doors - But the moment that you remember that you have forgotten, you are enforcing your intention. After a few days, you might notice that you begin to remember some of the doors that go through, and some you will still remember that you forgot later on - Each day increasing your level of awareness.
Even when you "remember that you didn't do it", - the practice is still working!
It's the intention and the effort to remember that builds up the energy to achieve the goal.
In time, you will be able to keep these spontaneous moments of presence for longer as you notice more easily when you fall back into the mind and find yourself identifying with it again completely.
How to practice
Below find a schedule of weekly exercises for 7-weeks. We recommend to follow all of the exercises, but if you prefer, you can also combine or extend them to be up to 4 weeks.
Initially - you may forget to do the exercises or only be able to do them for a short time. Let go of the outcome. What is important is to keep the intention of remembering each day.
Also, as you only have specific windows to do the practice each day, forgetting or failing can create some frustration or anticipation that actually increases the power of the exercise at the next opportunity.
These exercises can be very powerful if applied with discipline and regularity. They will draw energy from your automatic mechanisms into your self-awareness.
Give your best effort with maximum determination - however, remember to be kind to yourself. Remember never to give up - the important thing is to keep doing the practice. Everything goes in cycles, so expects some ups and downs and keep your focus on the effort.
You are training your willpower to be able to split your attention, which is a different state of consciousness. Everyone is starting at a different level, so even if you feel you are starting low, that's okay. What is important is that you will start going up from that level as you keep up with the effort and intention of self-remembering when the practice is scheduled.
With these exercises, you will start noticing the difference between the "awakened" and the "asleep" state of mind more and more frequently. By just recognising this difference, you begin to increase your awareness in your everyday life.
Signs of improvement you might notice as you practice
1 - Increased awareness
You may start noticing more and more details in every situation, and become more aware of your movements, throughout patterns and emotional state. You might become more sensitive to vibrations, or notice more unconscious patterns in the people around you - realising who is more or less present. This higher state of awareness could be a sudden realisation or a slow build-up, or maybe something you already felt before, but you had never realised.
2 - A reduced sense of identification with your thought patterns
By being present, you can start to "observe" your thoughts, and you become able to reduce compulsive and repetitive thinking or negative imagination. Less identification with the body, e.g., by being more in control of your posture. Less identification with emotions which are felt more and more as an energy flowing through.
3 - Increased willpower
You will notice an increased ability to concentrate for longer on your objectives. You might begin to receive intuitions.
4 - Increase the frequency of your physical body and your energetic body
By doing that, you increase the frequency of your bio-energy, which naturally stimulates your heart centre.
As you embark on this practice, there are a few optional recommendations to consider:
We suggest keeping this practice as a sort of "personal secret," as this increases the intensity and preserves more energy.
Make sure you drink more water than you usually do (even this is an exercise!).
Limit your intake of red meat, alcohol, sugar, and processed food when possible.
While practising divided-attention, you can use your body as an anchor (e.g., by not moving your hands or by focusing on your breathing)
Stimulate your abstract mind - it's the gateway to higher levels of consciousness. Maybe read something that inspires or challenges you. These are two books that we particularly like: “The Power of Now” by Eckhart Tolle and “Draco Daatson's Book” by Salvatore Brizzi…deepen your understanding of presence and inner alchemy!
MEYA 7-week self-remembering program
Below is our recommended program. Each week has different exercises. In the evenings, remember to consider how the challenge went that day. Set the intention for the next day and renew it in the morning. After the seven-week cycle, you will be able to decide how to combine your exercises to keep the effort at a comfortable level; you may also come up with your own, personalised challenges. Remember that energy goes in cycles, so if you feel that you need to take a break, then do it. In any case, we recommend having a break every 7 weeks according to your experience.
Exercise 1 - Be present each time you dress and undress
Remain conscious of your movements, and notice all the mechanical ways that you unconsciously use when you carry out this simple action. Intentionally change the way you tie your shoes or put on your socks. If you find it hard, initially repeat mentally, "I am taking my shirt off..." etc. or anchor yourself to your breath.
Exercise 2 - Be present every time you go through a door
The first few times, if you realise you have forgotten, you can go back and repeat the action, this time fully present. Later, as you remember that you forgot to do it, just commit yourself with your intention to do it at the next scheduled time. This will increase your willpower. This particular exercise also has a symbolic value that increases its power by giving a signal to your subconscious mind; going through a door represents going through a passage, from one room to another, or from one level of awareness to another.
Exercise 1 - Be present during any toilet or bathroom activity
Focus on the sensation in your body, your movements, and your breath. Notice the temperature and smells. You can swap your hands when you brush your teeth as an anchor to remain present. In the shower, you can focus on the sensation of the water on your skin.
Exercise 2 - Be present every time your phone rings
Take a breath and then answer. Remember that even when you remember that you forgot, you have increased your awareness and improvement will come as a consequence. When you remember - you can take the opportunity to set the intention to go into the conversation with your mind and your heart aligned before answering the phone.
Exercise 1 - Avoid using a common word or phrase for a day
Use one word for a whole week, or to make it more difficult, choose a new one each day. For example, words such as "like", "because", "why," "you know,' "yes/no", "okay, and other frequent words or expressions you know you commonly use. This will force you to control your mind and find a different word to express the same meaning. You can choose to change an answer you usually give: for example if to the question "How are you?" you normally answer "very well thanks," you could choose to answer "Today is a beautiful day!". Do this for the whole week.
Exercise 2 - Be present while eating
You can swap your hands while you are eating to help you maintain your awareness. This exercise will force you to stay present while you are with other people by using the "discomfort" of switching hands as an anchor for your divided attention - between the inside and the outside.
Exercise 1 - Be present while you are eating
In particular, be present from the moment you put food in your mouth, to when you swallow the bite. Bring the attention to your chewing, focus on the taste, the texture, and the different flavours, and do it consciously. This will also improve your digestion. You might start feeling the flavours more intensely, which will satisfy your appetite with less intake.
Exercise 2 – Mirror the person you are having a conversation with
Subtly mirror the posture of a person you are having a conversation with. Notice how it increases your awareness by splitting your attention between the conversation and your body movement.
Exercise 1 – Avoid moving your hands while you are in conversation
Avoid moving your hands for 5 minutes, at least 3 times a day, while you are in a conversation. Hold your hands still and try to relax, and then split your attention between the outside conversation and your hands. Notice how a higher sense of presence is needed to maintain the conversation, and at the same time, be in control of the body. As you improve, increase the time to 10 minutes or do it 5 times per day.
Exercise 2 - Be present every time you sit or stand up
To increase your results, take notes of the times you were successful in a day. Refine your intention to always improve your personal daily record.
Exercise 1 – Remember to take a deep breathe every hour
Every hour, remember to take a deep breath, relax your shoulders, and then the rest of your body. Start noticing how each hour you accumulate some tension and also how you can effectively release it. We recommend you keep doing this exercise even after the seven weeks as it allows you to release tension accumulated during the day and allows energy to flow better in your body.
Exercise 2 - Be present whilst walking
While you are walking, make your best effort to be present for 10 minutes. You can reduce your usual pace to increase your presence. If you find yourself distracted by the mind, just breathe and go back to your centre, splitting your attention between the outside and the inside. Maybe try to move your arms in different ways. Commit your full effort to stay present for the full 10 minutes.
Exercise 1 – Conscious talking
Throughout the day, only speak when you have something relevant to say - and you are able to say it consciously. Notice any time your speaking is triggered from something on the outside. You can start by avoiding any unnecessary expressions (i.e. complaints, gossip, generic comments about the weather, etc.). Or you can find a topic and avoid thinking or talking for the whole day (e.g., weather, latest news, one person, one situation, etc.)
Exercise 2 - Be present every time you switch on or off a light or anything electrical
You can start by guessing how many times you do this in a day, and then check. This gives you the motivation to count and to stay present. To make it more difficult, you can add in something like how many times you change the channel on the TV.
The Master Practice (40 days challenge)
This practice can be done during the 7-week program if you are up for the task, or on its own. If you want to do it together, we recommend starting after week 4. If done correctly, it can shift your level of awareness and increase your ability to distinguish between the difference between the two states of consciousness.
The practice has a few rules that need to be followed in order for it to be effective.
We recommend to do the practice no more than twice a year, and it is 40 consecutive days, with no exception. Select a time during your day when you are not too busy and not too relaxed. We recommend setting a reminder on your phone. Each day at this time, it's your task to put your maximum effort to remain present - whatever you are doing or saying. Divide your attention between the inside and the outside, as described above. Just one attempt a day. It's your only daily opportunity to do the practice, i.e. remaining consciously present for 5 minutes.
When you hear the alarm - pause for a second, take a breath, and just start the practice. Commit your maximum effort in those 5 minutes. You can use your body or your breath as an anchor. If you are walking, focus on your pace. If you are in a conversation, maybe try to not move your hands and use that as an anchor to presence
If you are watching TV, focus on your breath. Notice how different the experience is to watch the TV in a state of presence.
In those 5 minutes, your effort is to make every movement, word, and action conscious - without any distraction. It's your moment to be fully centred. Do your best in those 5 minutes, even if you go in and out of presence. The important part, as you know by now, is the effort to remember.
Will power and presence are like muscles; you can train and develop them. If you follow the above guidelines, you will notice your ability to stay present will rapidly increase, which will have a positive impact on all areas of your life.