The two realities of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD): achieving and sustaining the meditative state
Wake up! Snap out of it! Get your head out of the clouds! Sound familiar? Of course it does! That’s because you have ADD. But don’t get the wrong idea: this article is neither an apologia for ADD nor more (rhetorical) pronouncements on that which we already know about the so-called “disorder” (which is very little). Instead, it's an article about how to heighten your ADD experience in a healthy way.
Meditation is a powerful practice. It doesn’t require very much at all, except dedication. And forget about all of the gurus’ “mindful” suggestions about exactly how to practice it. The truth is, do whatever works—within the guidelines I’m about to set forth. Have I just contradicted myself? Perhaps for those unlucky ones who don’t have ADD, I just might have. But, sadly, we’re not interested in you right now. Oh, we don’t mind if you come along; if you don’t understand something we’re saying (or doing) just ask one of your ADD friends, and they’ll explain it.
Okay, so now that we understand the audience and my personal point-of-view on the matter, the next order of business—before we get to the practice, itself—is to explain the theory. Well, my theory, anyway. There exists in the whole of the universe as well as in each grain of sand (just follow me here) the same energy impulse. That is, all energy is the same energy. Got it? The energy that animates my dog is the same energy that keeps the molecules in my desk from floating off into space. The same energy that the lids of my eyes use to blink is the same energy that keeps the sun blazing. The same energy that fires off my printer is the same energy that makes my coffee hot. Energy is everywhere, and it’s singular.
Except when we talk about psychology. If we think of Nature as the embodiment of energy, we can think of our thoughts (yes, they’re produced by energy, but that’s not my point here) as self-created “meta-nature.” By this, I mean that our thoughts produce a kind of contact lens through which we view the world, and it is from this—and only this—vantage point that we experience our world. Call it consciousness; call it whatever you’d like. The only problem with this is that it spawns all sorts of permutations about what really is (Nature) into what we perceive it (Nature) to actually be. Therefore, people who search for so-called “enlightenment” are actually attempting to rid themselves of the contact lens so that they can experience Nature as it is, without the layer of meta-nature. In order to further explain this dichotomy, I refer to a relatively new theoretical phenom called Internal Family Systems (or IFS). Essentially, IFS ratifies our meta-nature into “parts.” These Parts, mostly formed in childhood, are various aspects of ourselves that have manifested because that part of ourselves which caused what the outside world perceived to be inappropriate behavior. Therefore, in modifying the particular behavior, we actually create a Part. This Part “speaks” to us about not performing the bad behavior. The only problem is that the Parts are stuck at the age of when they were formed, which is mostly a child. The Part doesn’t recognize that we have evolved into adulthood; it still thinks we’re, say, five years old. And, especially for those with ADD, there are many many Parts, all of them trying to keep the “internal system” functioning well. So Parts aren’t bad, even if they tell us things that make us feel that way.
- There is only one source of energy.
- This energy creates Nature as it is—regardless of the organism that’s experiencing it.
- Humans, however (for I can only speak from this point-of-view, but I’m sure that all “conscious” beings experience this), have create a “meta-nature” which is our individual perception of Nature.
- Like a contact lens, perception is built from our many Parts.
- This, in turn, causes a misperception because we don’t even know that we’re in this meta-nature—we believe that we’re actually in Nature.
- To achieve “enlightenment,” one sheds his or her contact lens and is, thus, able to experience nature as it actually is: Nature.
And it is this dichotomy that routine meditation eradicates.
What Meditation Is
Meditation is, essentially, a state of presence where the observer (the conscious mind) is aware that he is, in fact, conscious. Thusly, he observes his Parts but is not inhibited by them. He simply watches them doing their jobs, trying to keep the internal system in tact. As we know from quantum physics, that which is observed changes its physicality; therefore, once observed from outside the meta-nature (once observed with Self), the Parts are brought into the present time. Once brought into the present, they are relieved of their burdens (they’re no longer five years old) and, as a result, rejoin the system. As Parts rejoin the system, the system becomes more and more harmonious.
How to Meditate
At first, especially for us ADD-ers, it will seems strange—in fact, for those of us who have the “hyperactivity” (ADHD) added into the mix, it may at first take some time before being able to sustain an entire meditation session. Like all else, meditation takes some practice.
- Silence all cellphones and other gadgets, including telephones. You do not, for any reason, want to be disturbed.
- Sit down and get comfortable. Many ADD-ers require at least one nap during the day, usually around mid-afternoon. So, if you find that you’re falling asleep during your meditation, try meditating just after awakening from your nap.
- Close your eyes.
- Notice your breath, and begin to breathe deliberately—big breath in, hold it for a second or two, then out. Both inhalation and exhalation should be done through the nose. Pranayama is an excellent technique.
- Eventually, begin to observe your breath by not controlling it. Just watch yourself breath in and out naturally through your nose.
- Picture a comfortable room.
- Watch as you walk over to the most beautiful, most comfortable couch ever created and have a seat.
- Let your Parts know that they’re invited to join you.
- The first one to show up gets to join you. Ask the others to move back, telling them that they can join you next time.
- Watch as the Part sits down on an equally comfortable chair opposite you.
- And listen….
The Part will, hopefully sooner rather than later, begin talking to you. Ask it questions such as, While I know that you’re doing your best to protect me, I want you to know that you no longer have to. I’m an adult now, and you need a rest. The part will agree with you—all Parts are exhausted because they’ve been “protecting” you for years or decades, depending on your age and the age of the part. I say “protecting” because that’s what a Part believes it’s doing. A part never wants to cause harm to the system even if it comes across as hostile or even evil. In actuality, it’s neither of those; it’s trying to protect you and, in some cases, takes on a hostile or evil persona.
How to Integrate Meditation
As you become more comfortable and fascicle with your meditation, you want to begin to bring it into your daily life. The way to do this is, actually, quite simple.
- Whenever you find yourself in a situation where your Parts are active, bring the part back to that beautiful room that you visit during your meditations and ask it to “back off,” telling it that it can talk with you during the next meditation. Right now, you’re involved with x and need its cooperation so that you can do the very best job of performing x as possible.
Here again, you may find that, at first, integration is difficult. After all, you’re talking to your Part in your beautiful room while you’re interacting with whatever situation in which you’re currently engaged. But as you keep returning to that room with your Part, you’ll see that you’ll soon have the ability to exist in both your “meta-nature” and Nature simultaneously.
Good luck with this. And let me know how it goes.
- 7 simply reasons why you should meditate daily (mnmlxstnc.wordpress.com)
- Taming the Monkey Mind: Days 3 & 4 (lessonsfromtheendofamarriage.com)
- Introduce me to meditation properly (ask.metafilter.com)