The bridge between where you want to be and where you are now is often simple a state change. A shift in how you are being in the world. A change in the mindset and perspective you’re holding.
Meditation is one way to achieve this. Settling into the space of your own mind to let what you are being dissolve, if only for a moment, so that you can pick a new direction to go. Pick a new state to be in.
It can be as simple as replacing frustration with calm.
It can be as complex as replacing one idea of the future with another.
It can be as nuanced as aligning with the sensation of your body.
The ability to shift states from a less desirable one to something new is one of the greatest skills a person can develop. It gives us control of where we are; of WHAT we are. It gives us a clean perspective of our malleable reality.
Sometimes it doesn’t go so well. Sometimes that state shift is hard to hold. We see the new one, try to go there, get the visuals down, and then we’re sucked back into the energy of where we were. Where we don’t want to be. And if we’re not careful the frustration of being sucked back into the old space actually changes our state of being in the WRONG direction.
Sometimes it helps to have a little help.
Let me ask you this: have you ever been so excited that sitting down to close your eyes is difficult?
It’s as if they want to be open and they will adamantly make sure you know. You’re squeezing your eyes shut but the second you stop they slowly drift open and you’re sitting there thinking about how pathetic it is that you can’t even keep your eyes closed.
And to be sure, I’ve learned some tricks to beat the won’t-play-nice eye lids.
But then one day I thought: What if the whole point of this equanimity… of this acceptance of where we are so that we can get to where we want to go… requires that we actually let our eyes open? What if it’s not about forcing an experience we can control and just using what’s in front of us?
This is the first time I thought about Table Top Totems in any seriousness.
The wearable kind has been a powerful mechanism since day one. I and many folks who now have one really value that tool. Some might explain it as magic: the totem holds power and energy I need, like a spiritual battery, and it tunes me in and gives me power for my rituals and daily life.
Others explain it in science: the presence of an object on my body that REPRESENTS a specific idea or intention gives me something to subconsciously hold onto; it helps me keep that idea in mind even when I’m not conscious of it and resets my neuro pathways one step at a time. Like a placebo that tricks the body into healing.
Ultimately how the person explains what their totem does is not really what matters. Because remember, a totem is an object or symbol of significance and meaning to a person or group of people. Who are we to judge WHAT that meaning is and in WHAT context the person interacts with it?
But Table Top Totems, or maybe a more mystical name might be “Totemic Shrines”, are a bit more practical.
In one sense, yes, they still contain the ideas and intentions represented, so every time you enter the room you know whether you see it or not, on some level in your mind, that it’s there being a particular thing.
But the more direct use is for those times when your eyelids just won’t close. Or when you just prefer to have them open.
They essentially hold space for a sort of walking meditation. Only instead of moving your feet, you move your eyes.
Along the lines, down the curves, over the texture. As light shifts in the room new shadows and colors play over the Totem. You’ve got a whole little world to visually explore.
This is another access point to a state shift.
Meditation, movement, psychedelics, sex… there are a number of ways to get into different spaces. Different ways of being in the world.
With the Totemic Shrines I wanted to create one that was non-denominational. One that played off of both walking meditation, which I am a fan of; as well as the sit still and don’t move your body sort of meditation.
I’ve found that with some of the Totemic Shrines I’ve made, and tested, I can slip into a meditative trance like state within 5-10 minutes of moving my eyes along markings and over surfaces. Many times it takes longer. Sometimes I don’t ever feel a visceral state shift.
But the interesting thing is no matter how “deep” I get with it, when the bell goes off, or I simply decide I’m done, and I blink my eyes, stretch my arms, and stand up, I actually do feel different. Often better…
I’m not suggesting that every time your eyes won’t close you should stare at something interesting. But as an alternative to the bull through it mentality of controlling your realty, I’m suggesting that there are many ways to move forward. And these Totemic Shrines are just one more.