“Stop the world,” was the advice of author Carlos Castaneda in his amazing book Journey to Ixtlan, based on Yaqui shamanism of Mexico. This is not to say that we stop the rain, winds, or the forces around us. We can simply stop our own involvement with the physical world around us and the spinning web of confusion and noise that fights for our constant attention.
We can change our perception of all of this during meditation. We can tune out the outer din and reach inner peace deep within ourselves where spirit resides. We can put our analytical brain into a sleeping mode and engage the super computer that is our higher consciousness.
How Can You Stop the World?
Stopping the world to enter a meditation state of blissful peace and out-of-body timelessness is not easy for many of us. Many people find it difficult to tune out external distractions. To do this, you must control your physical senses.
We can tell ourselves not to be distracted by the fragrances, compelling images, and startling sounds that compete for our attention. We do this not to be dead to the beauty and majesty of the physical world around us, but to focus on attaining another higher level of consciousness without distractions.
The beauty and aroma of a daffodil or perfume can be overpowering. The chatter of children can be either amusing or bothersome, but always hard to ignore. Consider that we are not turning our backs on the world around us, but taking a little break from all of the hubbub to explore higher consciousness beyond this limited reality.
How We Shape Our World Through Perception
Maurice Merleau-Ponty, the early-twentieth-century author of Phenomenology of Perception, was one of the first people to write about the role of perception in how we shape our world. He suggested that we can selectively shut down sensory awareness of the immediate, physical world around us. The mystic does this to leave the ordinary world and enter a non-ordinary reality. The brain no longer processes the physical senses of smell, touch, hearing, or seeing in the ordinary way. It is much the same as being asleep and not alert to the sounds and smells in the room where you recline.
The ordinary world is like a blender that gets you all caught up inside its spinning confusion. It grinds you up and spits you out in its own image. You must learn to control your perceptive awareness if you want to seize the moment and experience something much more profound beyond this world.
Being in the Zone: The Ability to Tune Out Distractions
If you really think about it, you will realize that you already have the ability to tune out distractions and selectively focus to reach a different level of consciousness. You might have experienced this as a school child on the baseball field when you tuned out all distractions when it came your turn to bat. Perhaps you can recall making the fastball headed your way slow down in your mind’s eye.
Top athletes often describe this sensation of slowing things down as “being in the zone.” The best batters do this. Other athletes do, too, according to accounts of top performers in the book The Sweet Spot in Time by John Jerome. This is creating timelessness or stopping time.
Tuning Out the Clamoring Noise
Or perhaps you have found yourself in a crowded, noisy room where you were able to tune out most of the clamoring noise to hear only one voice in the crowd. I experienced this in a dining room in Oregon during a Chamber of Commerce dinner. I found that I could tune out all of the clamor to hear just one voice.
I discovered that in a state of heightened consciousness I could focus my attention and make everything appear to move in slow motion. If I released my focused attention even a little, the sounds would return and the motion of activity would appear to speed up again.
Meditating in a Crowd with Eyes Wide Open
It was an eerie experience, but one that it is possible for you to replicate. If you do it right, you should be able to meditate in a crowd or even with blaring horns and sirens all around you. You can learn to meditate with your eyes wide open or your eyes shut.
With practice, you can meditate anywhere and reach higher consciousness states quickly. This is simply selective perception or controlling your sensory overload. This is stopping the world.
Entering a State of Timelessness
Once you have learned to enter this state of higher consciousness, you will be able to enter a state of timelessness, where almost anything you can imagine will be possible for you to experience. Zen masters and warrior athletes do this all of the time. Dan Millman, a former world champion athlete, wrote about his martial-arts approach to entering higher states of conscious awareness in his groundbreaking book The Warrior Athlete, later reissued as The Inner Athlete.
The first thing you must do to stop the world is gain control over your physical body and reach a place of inner peace and quiet. With practice, anyone can learn to do this. Once you experience this state, you will be able to return to it freely. Your spirit longs to be free and seeks release, if you will provide it.
©2012 by Von Braschler. All Rights Reserved.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher, Destiny Books,
an imprint of Inner Traditions, Inc. www.innertraditions.com
This article was adapted with permission from the book:
7 Secrets of Time Travel: Mystic Voyages of the Energy Body
by Von Braschler.
The author examines and explains: • the seven secrets of time from the viewpoint of mystics and scientists, including Helena Blavatsky, C. W. Leadbeater, and Albert Einstein • how transcending the physical body offers new hope for the treatment of illness, emotional problems, and addictions • step-by-step instructions and exercises to develop your time travel abilities via the energy body.
About the Author
Von Braschler, a former faculty member at Omega Institute for Holistic Studies, has led workshops through the United States and the United Kingdom. A lifetime member of the Theosophical Society, he is the author of several books, including Perfect Timing and Chakra Reading and Color Healing.