After reading the instructions for this project, I closed all the windows and doors to my apartment, and set the stopwatch on my phone for 10 minutes. I composed myself, and then sat on my couch. It was nighttime, so that there were no audible sounds except the hum of the refrigerator and my own breathing. I closed my eyes and began to meditate. To help me do so, I inhaled slowly and deeply, before exhaling in an equally deliberate way. I attempted to concentrate solely on my breathing and to keep my mind bereft of other thoughts. My hands were on my side; my feet were firmly in front of me. I sat in the same position for the duration of the time. I experienced various feelings during this time period -- both a drowsiness and alertness. There were several thoughts that invaded my mind, despite my best efforts not to have them. When I heard the alarm of the phone ring, I got up and turned it off, and then began to write the reactions section of this document.
There were several reactions I made during this 10 minute stretch, both as they related to my internal processes and y external activities. After the first three or four minutes, I was no longer conscious of my breathing. I think this was a result of the drowsiness I was feeling. It was around this time that thoughts began to unwillingly come into my mind. First I found myself thinking about an uncle who has been unkind to me for the past several months. I was talking to my mother about him earlier in the evening and the sort of deteriorating relationships we seemed to be having. When I became fully conscious that I was no longer singularly meditating, I tried to reassert my focus on breathing and involuntarily shifted my feet. At this point, I think I induced the opposite effect because then I became hyper aware of myself and of my surroundings. I again became conscious of my breathing (which was no longer as pronounced as it once was). I also became aware of my arms and had to keep from moving my hands, and I became aware of my back against the couch. Additionally, other thoughts came into my mind. I began to think about some of my schoolwork, as well as other activities such as playing musical instruments. I ended the last several minutes struggling to meditate and thinking about such thoughts.
Relationship of Findings to the Readings
The reading I did for this assignment (after I conducted my independent research) related to my results in a number of different ways. What I was doing in my research was trying to control my mind consciously. However, involuntary (or perhaps unconscious) thoughts did not allow me to completely clear my mind of thought -- which is what I was trying to do. My inability to control my thoughts is akin to the concept of Strate (2009) that "there is no way to get outside of the system" (p.64): this particular system being my mind. James (1892) discusses this same concept by referring to an "awareness" that is typically present in thinking (p. 177). Involuntary thoughts and actions are a reality, and proof of the limitations humans endure as a result of their consciousness. My involuntary thoughts and actions were part of the phenomena that is associated with hypnosis, which is an altered state of consciousness as related to thoughts and actions (Kirsch and Lynn, 1995, p. 846) and which is in essence what I was attempting to induce through my meditation.
Moreover, I think the main thing I learned from my research as related to the readings is the fact that in order to completely control one's conscious or unconscious mind, one would need to totally master it. Doing so is exacerbated by the fact that consciousness actually presents multiples "selves" of an individual and his awareness (Baars, 1997, p.142). The assertion of one's will in which an individual can make real some desire of his (James, 1892, p. 415), is not always possible with the mind. As the preceding references to involuntary actions and thoughts indicates, such mastery may be beyond the realm of human capacity for the simple fact…