by Jonathan Robinson, M.A., M.F.T.: The Jaw Dropping Meditation. There’s an old saying that “success leaves clues.”
This phrase basically means that if you do what successful people do you’re likely to get similar results. I believe that people who experience higher levels of consciousness also leave clues. One manifestation of a higher level of being is the experience of “awe.” When you imagine someone being in a state of awe, how do you picture him or her? Most people report they imagine a person with their jaw hanging open, and a completely relaxed look on their face. Recently, I had the thought, “If I totally relaxed my jaw and face, I wonder if that might trigger a spiritual experience?” To my pleasant surprise, it did!
The first thing I noticed as I tried to completely relax my jaw was that it was damn near impossible to do. People hold a lot of tension in their face without even realizing it. By attempting to completely let go of the tightness in one’s jaw, it’s easy to become aware of subtle tensions throughout one’s face. In most forms of meditation, there is some precise thing to focus on—such as a mantra or a candle flame. In the jaw dropping meditation, the goal is to focus on the tension in your jaw and face. As you become aware of any tightness or holding, attempt to gently let it go. Eventually, you can reach a level of subtlety where you see that even each thought creates a slight tension in your face.
I have guided many people in this unique form of meditation, and people report different effects. Some folks report that it’s a powerful way to relax their entire body and mind in just a few minutes, while others describe it can trigger profound “mystical states.” On many occasions I’ve had the experience of letting go of my separate sense of self, and for a moment, merging with what felt like a “warm pool of loving energy.” It can be quite exhilarating! When we let go of the “tension” of being a separate “ego,” it’s possible to merge with our spiritual essence, sometimes referred to as our soul or pure awareness.
In order to experience the jaw dropping meditation in a deep manner, I have found it helpful to be guided into it. Below I’ve written a paragraph to read to a friend as he or she does the meditation. Read the words slowly and gently, and whenever you see the word pause, take about one minute of quiet before proceeding to the next words. If you want to be guided in this meditation, simply speak these words into a tape recorder and play them back when you’re ready for your journey within. As written below, the meditation takes about five to seven minutes. If you want to do it for a longer period of time, add your own words, or wait more than a minute after each pause.
Guided Meditation (Read very slowly)
Find a comfortable position, close your eyes, and take a slow, deep breath. On your exhalation, exhale with a long, slow sighing sound. Do this four times, and on the fourth exhale, let your jaw just drop open, and allow your entire face to completely relax. (Pause about one minute.) Focus on your jaw, and notice any subtle tension or holding. As you notice any holding, try to let it all go. It might be helpful to yawn if you notice it feels tight or if you can’t tell if there is any tension. Once your jaw feels relaxed, you can focus on relaxing the rest of your face. (Pause). Once again, become aware of any tightness, and as you notice it, gently allow it to completely let go. As you let go of all the tension in your face and your being, you may notice you feel new sensations of being part of something else. You can’t effort your way into your soul. You can only relax all resistance to being your soul. (Pause).
As you let go of all tension, effort, and thoughts, you will merge more fully with the present moment. When you completely relax your sense of self and become totally present, what remains is your pure awareness—your eternal soul. (Pause). If you want, you can slowly open your eyes, keeping your jaw, face, and entire body fully and completely relaxed. Imagine you just arrived into this body, and you are looking out your eyes for the first time. Behind the veils of who you think you are, there is pure awareness and love. Allow yourself to let go and merge with your spiritual essence. (Pause). Take as much time as you need to become aware of the room you’re in. When you’re ready, slowly stretch and move your body, stand up, and proceed with your day.
As with most forms of meditation, with practice you’ll become better at it. Although it can be confronting to realize how much tension you hold, you’ll soon find you’re able to let it all go much more quickly than before. When you can completely relax your jaw and face, and open up to the present moment, you’ll be left in an exquisite state of awe.