TAKE A MOMENT FOR A META-TUNEUP

Most people have some familiarity with the concept of "meditation", either through personal experience, readings or discussions with those who have meditated. Meditation is an intensely personal inquiry of one's internal experiences; a challenge to think. However, meditation is a lot more than just a set of mental exercises designed to "relax."

Quite often, people conduct their daily lives under stress or in pain, without fully realizing these effects or their consequences...until its too late. Rarely do they pause to take a mental inventory of their internal experiences. Meditation is a vehicle for accomplishing such a task. It is a way of paying purposeful attention on the inside; of becoming deeply engrossed in a limited focus of attention, and thinking of that focus in terms of its sensory components (i.e., how it looks, sounds, feels, smells and tastes). By so doing, you are utilizing your full capacity to become aware of the present moment; fine-tuning your ability to detect and process information. This type of exercise, meta-tuning, allows you to clarify the connection between your perceptions and external experiences. This enables you to make useful distinctions in order to gain a greater understanding about what is going on in your environment. Additionally, it often promotes a healthier, calmer, refreshing sense of well-being.
The focus of your attention during meditation can be limited either to experiencing familiar objects, or evaluating a more thought-provoking concept such as how you know, internally, when someone has answered a particular question to your satisfaction (what happens to you inside that allows you to know that).
Care to try an exercise? Select an object that is frequently a part of your life, something to which you may have some positive associations but are unsure just how you know this to be the case. For example, it might be a form of snack food that is frequently available to you. Suppose, for illustrative purposes, you were to choose honey-roasted peanuts. Find a comfortable place, take a few deep breaths and allow the muscles of your body to release any observable tension. Be aware of that pleasant, sinking feeling; a feeling of warmth and heaviness, as you can become increasingly more relaxed. Be sure you have a sampling of the selected object available. In the present example, take three peanuts; eat them one at a time, paying full attention to every aspect of the experience. Study each peanut as if you had never seen one before. Notice its shape, color, surface. Feel its texture. Smell the peanuts. Bring each one slowly to your lips. Chew it carefully, noticing the taste. Experience the impulse to swallow, and imagine that your body is now heavier by the weight of one honey-roasted peanut. Pay attention to any sights, sounds or feelings that inform you how you know you like the snack you have selected for this exercise.
Meta-tuning , the process of examining how you know what you know-- the internal criteria of your understandings-- helps refine your inner wisdom. That is your ability to make fine distinctions in your experience, in order to develop a lifestyle that is amenable to making useful decisions, and consistent with good health.
We live in an anxiety-producing, stressful culture. To cope with the consequences, we often select various chemicals-- instant cures-- to calm us down such as, alcohol and tranquilizers, cigarettes and other drugs. We use the media-- newspapers, magazines, TV and radio-- addictively, regulating our states of consciousness in order to justify our continuing race on the treadmill. The linchpin of the treadmill is time; specifically, the future. This is the factor around which many of our experiences are organized. Most of us spend very little time aware of the present moment. Rather, we are often absorbed in anticipating the future. That is, planning strategies to avoid unpleasant, stressful things from happening, and to force outcomes that we do want! Needless to say, all that mental manipulating can generate extreme anxiety. By taking the time to meditate and meta-tune ourselves, we stop the treadmill, get off and smell the roses of the present state. The various meditative processes provide opportunities for creating calmness and stability while refining our understand-ings of the world in which we live.