“Psymech” is a name a colleague and I developed to describe a particular approach to gymnosophic meditation.
It is a set of techniques, or approach to techniques, that does not emphasize any particular religion or spirituality. It
instead focuses on the bodymind as a machine, something that can be run in different manners on different “settings”.
It takes advantage of habits and preferences hardwired into the brain and body, and uses them to push and trick the mind into
advanced meditative awareness. It can be used to supplement any specific meditation from any religion or spiritual tradition.
The psymech approach could be called a scientific, or even engineering, approach to meditation.
At the heart of almost every advanced meditative state, particularly the gymnosophic meditative
states like madspace or the berserkergang, is the “search” for a particular moment of inspiration. It might be
the solution to a difficult math problem seen all in a flash. It might be a moment of ecstatic contact with a deity. It might
be the experience of a gangr trigger, a meditative experience designed to call out the berserkergang. It could even be a moment
of poetic inspiration, where a new poem first comes into being. The one thing all these meditative states have in common is
the flash of the right sort of inspiration. The eureka moment.
The psymech eureka technique is basically a particular form of the eureka technique described
above. It is a specific form of the eureka technique that makes use of psymech principles to increase its effectiveness dramatically.
In other words, it is the basic eureka technique “engineered” for greater efficiency.
The psymech eureka technique is based on the following principles of mental function:
The conscious awareness is a very limited thing. Most people can only really focus on a few
things at a time. Once they reach the overload point of that awareness then they start becoming confused. The things they
are focusing on start merging, melting together. It's like how trying to cook, talk on the phone, talk to someone in person,
and watch TV all at the same time might cause you to get confused and address the person on the phone by the name of a character
on TV and tell him something that you had meant for the person in the room with you.
Most people can at the most manage to concentrate on between 5 to 9 things, like simple images
or words, at the same time. In reality it is usually even less than that in many cases. If a person is feeling stressed then
it will likely be less. If a person is deeply relaxed then focusing on one thing might be enough to produce overload.
Once the conscious awareness is overloaded, it sort of “locks up”, like a computer
trying to do too much and once and producing only that little hourglass symbol. This effectively shuts it down, leaving just
the subconscious mind active. This trick is the basis of a lot of hypnotic induction techniques.
Need For Answers
The human mind is designed, as it were, to answer questions. Even when we are not consciously
thinking of anything in particular we still tend to subconsciously ask ourselves questions. They usually center around the
future or the past, and begin with “What if....” It is a big part of what makes us human. It is a big part of
what gives us edge over other animals. We are constantly trying to predict the future, to anticipate what is going to happen
next, to get an edge. It is such a subconscious reflex that it is almost impossible for most people to hear a question without
having some impulsive attempt at providing an answer.
“What did you have for breakfast?”
See? More than likely a picture of your breakfast flashed, at least briefly, into your mind.
“It was already after nine, and Higgens hoped they hadn't started without him as he picked
up his briefcase and dashed out the front door. Where was he going?”
Again, you most likely had at least a flash of some picture of a man in a business suit headed
off late to work. It is an inherent feature of the mind to at least try to answer any question it hears, at least with a subconscious
The human mind has a strong tendency to think in terms of matched pairs. Opposites that define
each other. Black and white, good and evil, light and dark, hot and cold, happy and sad, yin and yang. It seems a fundamental
part of how human minds tend to look at the world.
Conservation Of Momentum
When the conscious mind is effectively shut off and the subconscious mind dominates (in other
words, in any altered state of consciousness from simple meditative relaxation to the unitary state) then the resulting altered
state is “colored” by the predominate state of mind before the consciousness was altered. In other words, even
though the way the bodymind functions has been changed, there is a tendency for the mental energy of the previous “normal”
state to try and carry on as much as possible as it was.
This is why the details of the techniques that alter the consciousness matter. Different matters
focused on during the techniques produce different results. Some will tend to put you in a heavily intellectual state prior
to altering the consciousness, and madspace will then tend to result, the mind carrying on the intellectual problem-solving
impetus it had in the normal state. Others will put you in a martial state of mind, and the berserkergang is then what comes
into being when the consciousness is altered. Still others will make you prone to experiencing the meeting of a certain deity
or spirit, if your mind before altering the consciousness is full of prayers and images of him or her.
Anything at all that is repeated to the sight, hearing, or touch tends to increase the focus
of the mind upon it, fill the mind with it, and produce trance states. This is why hypnotists tend to use metronomes, swinging
watches, and things like those. The repetition sets up a rhythm in the brain which keeps growing, much like how regularly
pushing a child on a swing will make her go ever higher.
There are a great many, maybe infinitely many, points of view to consider anything from. However,
in reality most people only consider a very little bit of anything they think about, making simplifications and generalizations
wherever they can. There are reasons for this: it uses a lot less energy and is a lot faster way of thinking. But deliberately
focusing upon one thing from as many different points of view as possible at the same time will tend to concentrate the mind
very strongly upon that thing. Holding a “gestaltic” view of whatever you are focusing on will tend to bring far
more of your mind to bear upon it than is usually possible, for more of your mind is united than usual. It also tends to make
your mind more flexible, as it is considering things from many different angles without relating those points of view to each
other. It is ready, therefore, to think almost anything. Furthermore, gestaltic imaging tends to call the contents of the
subconscious into the conscious awareness, as new connections and details, never noticed before, stand out simply by having
so much “raw data” floating around.
The conscious mind tends to be rational. Paradox is a concept that it cannot think rationally
about, and trying to tends to eat up a lot of conscious awareness and computing power. The longer understanding of the paradox
eludes it, the more resources the mind tries to throw into attaining that understanding. Very much like how the mind can't
stand to see an unanswered question it also tends to not be able to stand an unsolved problem. When it has thrown enough resources
into trying to apprehend the paradox the conscious mind shuts down or “locks up”.
Any thought or feeling, concentrated on or experienced either long enough or strongly enough
will tend to burn itself out. The mind will no longer be able to stay focused on it. Thoughts or feelings of an opposite nature
may occur or even become overwhelming. The mind feels “burnt” and fragile.
The psymech eureka technique combines all of these principles into a minimal number of steps,
trying to combine use of different principles where possible in order to simplify the process. The first step is to determine
what sort of eureka moment you want to experience. A flash of a particular insight? Fighting prowess? Getting “into
Once you know where you want to go it is best to briefly meditate upon emptiness. Clear your
mind and relax. The technique should be started once you are in a decent meditative state.
Focus and Relaxation
Broadly speaking, the mind can be said to have two basic tendencies: to focus and to relax.
Focusing puts much of the mind's attention and energy into one small mental “space” to increase the precision
and accuracy with which the mind handles it. Relaxation lets the mind flow and freely associate, and has little attention
to spare for any one thing.
Focus and relaxation are complementary features. Whenever the mind is focused in one regard,
it is relaxed in all others. (For instance, when focused on and listening intently to music then the mind is relaxed in regard
to what other people in the room are talking about, and no attention is paid to their talk.) When the mind relaxes in a certain
way then it tends to focus in others. (As when you sit down and unwind after work, and let your mind drift, then you suddenly
remember something you were trying to earlier, when you were busier.)
The more the mind is focused in one small “space”, the more the rest of the mind
relaxes, as ever more mental energy and attention are used on the focus. When the mind burns out on staying focused then that
energy dissipates and the relaxation the rest of the mind is in dominates. Thus focus, in culminating, becomes relaxation.
The more the mind is relaxed the easier it is for the small quiet voices of the subconscious to be heard. The more relaxed
the mind is the easier it is to hear these voices. Eventually one of them will speak so loudly that it grabs the attention.
Thus relaxation, in culminating, becomes focus.
As the mind moves about its normal business its various parts swing back and forth between focused
and relaxed states, each at its own rate. The mind can thus be modeled as a collection of waves of different frequencies.
Madspace can be described as a supernormal relaxation of the mind in some places that works
in tandem with a supernormal focus of the mind in others, to the point where you become totally absorbed into your problem,
becoming one with it. For anyone prone to having such inspirations, simply focusing enough on a problem might very well be
all that it takes to trigger it.
However, it is not always desirable to wait for inspiration to strike. Too much focus will just
as likely, if not more likely, simply lead to burnout. Fortunately you can learn to access madspace more or less at will by
taking advantage of the brain's natural tendencies.
Most of the time the different waves of mental activity (as described above) will be working
against each other as often as not. In the normal state of being most people's minds are divided, each part doing its own
thing. This natural multitasking keeps the different parts of the mind competing with each other, to a certain extent, for
energy and attention. Some parts of the mind might well be doing or thinking things that other parts of the mind are doing
Focusing greatly on the problem you need madspace for can shut off the other parts of the mind,
at least temporarily, and the focus and direction can spread through the mind until it induces madspace, as described above.
But as this great focus tends towards burnout and fatigue it is tempting instead to try to use relaxation to trigger the state.
Relaxation can be a superior method of reaching madspace. Because the whole mind is relaxed,
competing thoughts and feelings don't fragment the mind and dissipate its energies. If the need for madspace, if the need
to solve the problem is great enough, then the relaxed mind will have a decent chance of being able to intuit the solution,
and it will be receptive to the eureka moment, for it is easy to have a conversion experience if nothing in the mind is resisting
it or competing with it. However, relaxation has its limits as a key too. It is too prone to running down, simply ceasing
effort, forgetting, and wandering. Ultimately, it is only moderately more useful than focus for some people.
The use of rhythm has been shown to be an excellent way to help alter the consciousness in general
and encourage madspace in particular. Drumming is often used in shamanic rituals which do sometimes utilize madspace to solve
problems facing the community they serve. (Such as finding where the hunters should go to find game.) Metronomes are used
with hypnotism, which is also sometimes used to induce madspace, or at least the eureka moment. Medical studies have shown
that any rhythm you hear will tend to entrain your whole brain into working more or less in the same rhythm.
While this often seems to be helpful in altering the consciousness, no one is sure exactly why.
It may be because if the whole brain is working on the same cycle, it is acting already in a somewhat unified manner, making
the unitary state easier to enter. Another theory holds that by focusing on the rhythm the rest of the brain relaxes, making
it more prone to inspiration. Still another has it that certain rhythms are similar to the natural rhythms the brain exhibits
when in these altered states. The real explanation might be any of these, or all of them, or something else. The important
thing is that while rhythm works pretty well for some people, it is a limited tool still.
Breath is one of the easiest ways to alter the mind. It is what loads the blood with oxygen,
which is a necessary fuel for the brain as well as the body. Different sorts of breathing tend to have different effects.
Slowing or halting the breath can tend to dampen the mind's activity, causing it to relax. Deep breathing, rapid breathing,
and hyperventilation tend to fire the mind up, making it energetic and focused. Inhalation tends to make the mind relaxed.
Exhalation tends to encourage energy and focus.
Another way of altering the mind is with the muscles. Tensing and flexing them tends to call
up energy and focus. (Tensing muscles cause adrenaline to be released.) Relaxing them tends to bring about relaxation. Using
muscles on the right side of the body tends to activate the left side of the brain and vice versa.
The eyes are another way to affect the mind, for it responds to whatever you are looking at.
Sights that bring about relaxing thoughts are relaxing the mind. Sights that make you think or make you anticipate something
tend to bring about focus.