Meditation for Smarties

by L. Ron Gardner on April 10, 2017

[This is an article I recently wrote for a friend’s blog.] 
Most everyone nowadays knows that meditation is a healthful, stress-relieving practice, but which method should you practice to derive the most benefit psycho-physically as well as spiritually? Before I describe the practice that I recommend -- Plugged-in Presence – I’ll briefly consider probably the two most popular methods.

Transcendental Meditation (TM): This method has been popular in the West since the ‘60s, when Indian guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi introduced it. It was the first method I practiced (way back in 1969), but I quickly transitioned to others, as I began to study Eastern philosophy and spirituality.

This method involves relaxed, non-focused repetition of a given mantra, and purports to produce a “unified and open attentional stance.” Although it is a relaxing practice, the fact that it is not a focused one, makes it one that leads most meditators into states of drifting, semi-unconscious mental reverie, alternating with states of disconnected stillness.

The fastest and most direct way to awaken Spiritual Energy, without which En-Light-enment cannot be attained, is through intense, focused attention. But TM is not such a way; rather, it’s a method best suited for inducing relaxation and random mental quietude.           

Vipassana (or Insight, or Mindfulness) Meditation: I’m very familiar with this method, having practiced and taught it. This method became popular in the West in the early ‘70s when Americans Jack Kornfield and Joseph Goldstein began to disseminate the Vipassana teachings of the Southeast Asian Theravada monks they studied under. In the past four decades, this method has become uber-popular, with hundreds of books being written on the subject.

Although Vipassana is now commonly referred to as Mindfulness meditation, it is not the same Mindfulness (or Satipatthana) method that the Buddha taught. The Plugged-in Presence method that I teach is more akin to the Buddha’s Mindfulness method than is Vipassana.

Vipassana, or “common” Mindfulness, is the practice of steadfastly paying attention to one’s breathing, thoughts, feelings, and bodily actions and sensations, so as to recognize them as impermanent and insubstantial. Vipassana, which means “insight,” or “clear seeing,” is about directly perceiving the emptiness of all phenomena, including one’s bodymind. This putatively leads to Liberation, or Enlightenment, but I contend that such “insight” is insufficent to Awaken one.
Some Vipassana teachers describe Four Stages of Enlightenment, which supposedly correspond the Four Jhanas (or Contemplative States) that the Buddha taught precede   Nirvana. But these Stages, as presented by Vipassana teachers, are dumbed-down, de-spiritualized versions of what the Buddha really taught, which was progressive immersion in the the “Stream,” or Spirit-Current, via Four Stages.

Vipassana, or “common” Mindfulness, is a positive meditation practice, but those who practice the Plugged-in Presence method and compare the two will recognize that Plugged-in Presence is like Vipassana on ‘roids, that it is the Way of Mind-FULL-Ness, rather than mere Mindfulness. In other words, it subsumes (or includes and transcends) Mindfulness, and it does so because one is being Mind (or conscious Awareness) rather than merely being mindful of one’s body, mind, and actions. And this Mind-FULL-Ness generates maximal conscious force, which awakens and “pulls down” Spirit Power (or Light-Energy), which en-Light-ens one.

Plugged-in Presence (or Mind-Full-Ness)

This method transcends all others because it is the most radical (or gone-to-the root) practice. It is the most direct, immediate and power-full practice because it is about directly and immediately plugging into the Now, the Divine Presence, and pulling down its Power, which is Spirit, or Clear-Light Energy.
Below are instructions for the practice, followed by a consideration of the practice in “Buddhist Mindfulness” terms.

Experiment with the instructions and use the ones that best enable you to plug into the Divine Presence, the Now, and pull down Divine Power, the Power of Now. Although I have numbered the recommendations, be advised that they overlap and intertwine and do not have to be practiced in the order in which I present them:

1) Sit upright, but relaxed, on a chair, bench, or meditation cushion.
2) Establish what the Buddha called “self-possession.” In other words, feel yourself as the whole body, and then be consciously present as the whole body, the whole psycho-physical being. Randomly focusing your attention on your third-eye area and hands will enable you to coincide with your body, and thereby heal the body-mind split. When you consciously inhabit your whole body— and are wholly, or integrally, present to the whole (the totality of existence)—you are in proper position to receive and conduct the Power of Now, the Force-flow from above.
3) ‘Gaze’ into empty space. If you are ‘self-possessed,’ this ‘gaze’ will amount to being whole-bodily present to (or in direct relationship to) the void. As soon as you become aware that you have retracted from your ‘position’ of conscious connectedness to (or single-pointed focus on) the void, simply reassume, or attempt to reassume, your ‘stance’ of holistic at-one-ment. To this end, you can randomly use an enquiry (such as ‘Avoiding relationship?’) to instigate your resumption of communion with the void. When the void begins to ‘shine,’ it is experienced as Divine Presence. When the Power of the Presence pours down upon you, then ‘emptiness’ has morphed into Spirit, and your ‘gaze into space’ has transmuted into empowered Divine Communion.
4) Randomly focus your attention on your breath by being in direct relationship to your breathing cycle. When the breath ‘comes alive’ as prana-shakti, or palpable intensified life-energy, simply remain present to it. Your communion with the breath cycle will transmute into true, or infused, Divine Communion when the prana-shakti morphs into Divine Power—the great Shakti, or Holy Spirit, poured down from above.
5) Totally relax your body (including your head) and utterly let go of your mind. Once you can connect to the Shakti, you will directly experience that letting go intensifies the Force-flow (or pressure) of the Spirit-current. Be an empty cup, ready to be filled with Divine Elixir from above. When you experience the Benediction, the Divine downpour, remain motivelessly present to it. Your searchless beholding of the Shakti will enable you to spontaneously merge with it.
These technical meditation instructions are all about facilitating communion, and then union, with the Divine. It is up to you to test them out and determine how useful they are for your practice. The ones that enable you to connect to the Divine Presence and channel Divine Power are the ones that you should employ.

As earlier stated, Plugged-in Presence can be likened to Mindfulness on ‘roids, the Buddha’s meditation teachings taken to the next level. In the canonical Satipatthana Sutta, the Buddha describes four ways of establishing mindfulness as the essential way to achieve Nirvana. These ways involve contemplating, in turn, one’s body, feelings, thoughts, and ideas. The “structure” of each contemplation is identical: first establish concentrated focus (which equates to voltage), then let go and abide detached (which equates to ohms reduction). Implicit in these instructions is the understanding that the synthesis (amperage, the en-Light-ening Stream, or Flow), results from the integration or resolution of the thesis (right mindfulness) and the antithesis (utter detachment, or letting go).

“The dialectical electrical ‘structure’ of these instructions is clear. First there is the thesis: voltage (concentration, or consciousness-force); then there is the antithesis, ohms reduction (abiding detached, or letting go). The Buddha doesn’t mention the synthesis, the Spirit, or ‘Stream,’ but it is implied, for without Light-energy there can be no En-Light-enment, no Ananda, or Nirvanic bliss. In fact, a common definition of Nirvana is the ‘drying up of the outflows’ (the psychical seed tendencies stored in the Heart-center that rise to the brain, ‘crystallize’ as thoughts, and contract one’s mind into samsara, successive states of constricted consciousness). And it is the inflow, or descent, of Divine Blessing Power, the Sambhogakaya, or the Nirvanic Bliss-current, that ends, or ‘dries up,’ the outflows. The Buddha is commonly referred to as the Blessed One because he unobstructedly channeled Divine Blessing Power; and you likewise can become a Blessed One if you learn how to channel, or receive, this Blessing Power.  
Because Plugged-in Presence, combines mindfulness (awareness, or presence) plus oneness (at-one-ment), it is fuller and more intense; hence I refer to it as Mind-Full-Ness. In electrical terms, Mind-Full-Ness generates more voltage, more conscious force, than mere mindfulness; hence it intensifies the en-Light-enment process. It also serves to integrate Buddhism with true Christianity. It does so because Mind-Full-Ness, or Plugged-in Presence, is the same practice as Holy Communion, channeling the Sambhogakaya, or Clear-Light Energy, is tantamount to receiving the Holy Spirit, and Nirvana and Heaven are the same timeless State.”

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Edvard October 3, 2017 at 12:08 pm

Hello Ron,
First of all thank you for sharing your profound knowledge.
I have a couple of questions I hope you might be able to answer:

1) I have practiced plugged in presence now a couple of times and I really feel how I get charged up. The third eye starts pulsating and hands start to tingle a lot. The third eye pressure/pulsation is also felt in day to day life. Does this indicate that I receive/generate some shatki but not enough to penetrate into the body?

2) I was also wondering if anyone, besides yourself, has had any success with the method of plugged in presence.

3) If I practice plugged in presence diligently for a month or so and find no success with it, what practice do you recommend?

4) What is your reality like?

Thank you very much in advance!


L. Ron Gardner October 4, 2017 at 8:12 am

1) Yes, you have awakened shakti to some extent. At some point, you may begin to feel the energy pulling down your head/face/frontal line.

2) Plenty of people have informed me of their success with the Plugged-in Presence method. But the Plugged-in Presence is not unique. It is essentially the mystical Eucharist, Christian Holy Communion, Adi Da’s Divine Communion, and the Divine Means of nondual Kashmir Shaivism.

3) I regularly experience deep, profound, and blissful samadhis, but constant physical discomfort from the Energy, which, in the form of tetanic spasms, blocks the spiritual flow in me at times. When I’m not meditating, I’m pretty much the same fellow I’ve always been, with the same concerns, and likes and dislikes. I’m a spiritual teacher, not a Guru.


Edvard October 6, 2017 at 12:11 pm

Thank you for the answer!
What I have found out from practicing diligently for a couple of days is how the kundalini affect the body. I become fatiqued, there’s a burning sensation in the abdomen and my digestions worsens. Do you think I might not be ready for kundalini yet and should take it easy with the method? That’s what I thought at least but I want to hear your opinion as well.


L. Ron Gardner October 8, 2017 at 8:51 am

Edward, yes, Kundalini can dramatically impact the body — and I speak from 45 years of experience on this. And for many, many years, I didn’t meditate because I didn’t want to deal with the uncomfortable physical symptoms from the Energy. Now, if I feel I am getting toxic from Energy overload, I hold off the conscious presence part of my practice, and just practice effortlessness, or utter relaxing and letting go. This stimulates the Energy, of course, but there is not the pressure (and possibly more problematic symptoms) caused by practicing presence, which is a “holding on” of sorts.


Edvard October 8, 2017 at 10:48 am

Thank you for all the help. Will take it easy with the plugged in presence for awhile and practice surrender/devotion. Thank you for recommending Adi da, I have started to feel naturally devoteed to him.


Bob Dee January 11, 2018 at 9:07 am

Aloha L. Ron, wow I sure have benefitted immensely from ready ALL your posts on Amazon, one of your books and now the info on this great website and blog. I just can’t thank you or honor you enough for all you have done and are doing for everyone and me personally.

That said I would like to ask 2 questions, and short answers are fine if you are so inclined to answer:

1. On your wonderful Plugged-in Presence meditation, is there any way I can do a “version” of this while walking? I walk a lot and would like to incorporate it in my daily walks too.

2. This one is kind of off the wall, but I would just love to hear your perspective on the position taken by Nick Bostrom and seemingly an increasing number other people, especially academics and tech gurus, that there is a very high probability that we are living in a simulation and are simulated being. I think from my reading that Nick thinks the probability is over 99%.

Thanks for any thoughts you might have on these and again mega thanks and appreciation for your work and service for all of us, Bob

PS: I am an avid tennis player too, and would love to hit with you. I used to get to Tijuana once in a while on business and if I ever return I will let you know.


L. Ron Gardner January 11, 2018 at 11:01 am


Bob, thank you for the kind words.

1. Yes, Plugged-in Presence can be practiced during activities like walking. It’s just a matter of being consciously whole-bodily present, and of reassuming this “asana” when you become aware you are not assuming, or practicing it.

2. It’s possible that we’re living in a simulation–but that’s not my POV.

I haven’t played tennis since I move to Mexico four years ago. Also, I’m 66 now, so hardly at my peak. At one time I was about 4.5, but if I played right now without practice and preparation, I’d probably be about 3.5. But if you’re coming to Tijuana, let me know.


Bob Dee January 12, 2018 at 4:45 am

More big thanks L. Ron! In my 71st year and not quite at my peak too, in tennis and other in departments … I am more peaked though I guess:)

Having been fortunate to be kind of like a Forrest Gump character in the spiritual world, meeting and studying Da Free, Dalai Lama, Ram Dass, Huston Smith, Timothy Leary (not sure if you could call him a “spiritual type” though but wow was he ever an interesting provocateur and showman), Amma, Baba Hari Dass, and many more, and having some very powerful spiritual experiences beginning at age 6 and staying diligently on “the path & practice” … well I am starting to think Nick might be right on his simulation theory.

Also, in general the most “spiritually advanced” people I have met seem to be the poor Matrial people I have met all over the world (outlined in Steve Taylor’s book: The Fall). It is really something I have been contemplating and meditating on for quite some time. So I would like to ask another question as I would love to know your opinion on that book if you have read it? I didn’t see a review on it from you, and you are the one person that I would most highly value your opinion on the book and Steve’s thesis.

More nui mahalos again too my honored pono friend, b


Bob Dee January 12, 2018 at 5:04 am

PS: I think I was doing a disservice to Tim by the comment I made above as I feel he was so much more than a provocateur and showman. I sure feel like he was an advanced “jnani” and well ahead of his time in so many ways … I really love and respect the guy and have deep appreciation for his contributions too.


L. Ron Gardner January 12, 2018 at 10:39 am

Bob, I don’t agree with Steve Taylor’s perspective, which seems to mirror Eckhart Tolle’s. If you read my book “Beyond the Power of Now,” you’ll see that I don’t see the problem with the world being man’s ego, but rather the suppression of man’s ego, especially in collectivist/totalitarian governments. My sociopolitical perspective accords with Ayn Rand’s and Ron Paul’s, not with Taylor’s Tolle’s, or Adi Da’s (see my two-star Amazon review of his “Not Two is Peace.”)


Bob Dee January 12, 2018 at 1:42 pm

Continued thanks Ron! I am way looking forward to your next book too! Hope you have the best year ever in 2018 and I will keep telling people about your excellent work for all of us.

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