It was a few years ago that I started meditating, and I made very quick progress for the first few months. I was even able to train myself to lie down and consciously transition from meditation to lucid dreaming. But, then something went horribly wrong. To this day I still do not know what exactly the problem was, but my body would become so uncomfortably numb during my meditative sessions that I would simply give up in frustration.
I still could not tell you what exactly was holding me back, nor why I allowed it to push me away from meditation for so long. But the source of the problem does not seem important anymore, for in recent weeks, I have employed a new technique which has yielded the results I have been missing for the past couple of years.
This technique was borne of an observation I made about the human senses. We've always been taught that we have five, but the act of meditation itself is what led me to consider otherwise. To demonstrate my point, consider that while reading this post your eyesight left you, quickly followed by the loss of your other four commonly recognized senses.
Would you have any other tool at your disposal, which would be able to make sense of your surroundings? Your sense of reason would of course be analyzing all information perceived prior to the loss of the five senses, and desperately attempting to perceive what may be happening to you, your body, or your environment in that moment.
The literal definition of "sense" in this context is as follows;
a faculty by which the body perceives an external stimulus; one of the faculties of sight, smell, hearing, taste, and touch.
Without sight, smell, hearing, taste or touch, one can still perceive the outside world for the very ability to think informs them that they are not dead. If their eyesight had faded before a computer screen as in our example, then that recent memory would inform them that they're very likely sitting in front of a computer looking at a screen.
This is important because, whether it is true or not, recognizing deductive logic or even the thinking mind itself as another sense - one which seeks to make sense of all other senses - makes it a lot easier to understand what we need to do in order to have a productive meditation session.
The seventh sense does not perceive the physical, and so to activate it, we must loosen our grip on the material world that distracts us. If we can tune out of all of our senses, including thought, then without that noise in the way, we naturally draw our focus towards our seventh sense, which is perceiving something entirely non-physical, and therefore spiritual.
Focusing on nothing at all is a very difficult task, so I would not recommend trying to tune out of all your senses at once. It is far easier, for me at least, to focus on a couple of senses very intently until all the rest fade away. Sound and touch are the two most overwhelming senses for me, and so I use that to my advantage by focusing on the sound of my breath and the feel of it throughout my lungs and body. Before long I am paying no attention at all to taste, sight, or smell, and then I will choose either sound or touch to try and focus on entirely.
If you experience an uncomfortable tingling sensation, then approaching this from a sense-by-sense basis is helpful because it allows us to know that all we need to do is focus intently on any sense but touch, as closely as we can until that sense of touch becomes distant to us, as well as the tingling sensation.
When you are left with but one sense that you are experiencing on a heightened level, rendering the other simple senses essentially mute, you may still find yourself in war with the aforementioned sixth sense - your mind. If this is the case, recognizing that it is yet another anchor binding you to the material realm can help you to make the right decision on what to focus on.
Which sense is more overwhelming in that moment, your mind or your sense of touch for example, focus on that one. If you cannot quiet your thoughts, then draw your focus onto them. Do not engage with them, nor even attempt to interpret them, but simply act as an unbiased, unemotional observer, having the thoughts pass through you unpondered.
In my experience, when I have limited my focus to one sense, it will soon be interrupted and overwhelmed by the seventh. The seventh sense is of course an over simplification, for it is my belief that just as we have six tools for decoding our environment here on this material Earth, I suspect we also have several spiritual senses which I am combining into one.
But these senses are experienced in a completely different way, for the information detected by our spiritual senses is not physical, which means it is not organized linearly or beholden to the law of time that the material is. This is why one can often have no idea how long they were "in the zone" for after meditating, because their consciousness was aligned with the spirit and not the flesh, and thus it was not a slave to time during the experience.
I have found this "gap" as it is referred to a number of times, and when I return to this world, I have no memory of where I have been or for how long. But, I do not believe this to be because I was experiencing nothing. If I experienced nothing there would be no reason for me to feel great upon returning my attention to my immediate surroundings. More likely I do not remember them because it is impossible to. Memories are physical in nature, imprinted - in a way - on physical brains. More than that, memory itself is clearly a by product of physicality. If there is no time, then one needn't have a memory, because they would be experiencing everything at once in perpetuity- eternally present if you will. There is no need nor possibility for a notion such as memory within a world without time, and so, it would perhaps be far stranger if we brought back memories from "the gap."
So if you do employ this technique of tuning out one sense at a time, while recognizing your thinking mind as one of them, and if you do find your way to the elusive gap; when you snap back to reality and cannot remember where you have been; don't worry about it. Instead of focusing on what second by second experience you could not have had in a realm without time, focus on how you feel internally, because you will most surely find that you feel inexplicably wonderful.
You have more than five senses. Your chief and most powerful sense is your mind. If you want to experience something more than this world can offer you, then you need only quiet all six senses that bind you this world.