Despite all this development, I can't say I know much. The path of "enlightenment" as some like call it, feels less like a confident stride and more a bumbling through the dark with my pants on my head. Am I getting somewhere? It feels like it, but I don't know.
I know the feeling. I have come so far, but there is so much in front of me. I want to help others, but I don't know that I actually know enough not to mislead them. I am certainly no authority.
I've been working on this and I'm having some trouble with the "stop all thoughts part". I often get into the these trances on walks, but its often broken by some barreling thought train. But man...when you do hit that sweet spot. Its likes seeing the world through a child's eyes for the first time. Its breath-taking...you wonder how you've never seen it that way before?
For me, it comes very easily. It is less something I have to try (so the "stop thoughs completely, almost" might be a bit confusing), and more something that just happens. If you play a musical instrument, I am sure you will get the next bit: the only instrument I ever learned to play somewhat well was the piano. And part of playing well is to play without effort. It is about doing something until it becomes unconscious memory, and your body just knows what to do with minimal input from your conscious mind. It just sort of falls out of your fingers because they know what to do. I think that state of mind is about being there so often, and for such a large part of your day, that it becomes a default state.
As for meditation, I'm working myself to a consistent 15-20 minutes a day. I'm no where NEAR 2-3 hours of trance but that sounds simply joyful. Attention is such a fickle beast.
Oh, it doesn't have to be 2-3 hours a day, or even 2-3 hours a week. Eventually, the meditative state is something that spills over into your life, and you find less need to actually sit down for it. The concept here though is that when you can get to the point where 3 hours of sitting (or lying down) is exhilerating rather than boring, you are probably already there.
For a long time I suffered from pretty low confidence, and was in denial about it. I tried to maintain an "image" of me being a smoother more socially adept person then I really was, which gave my critical mind a field day when I failed to measure up.
It might please you to note then that I am as socially awkward as they come. Being socially accepted is a matter of understanding certain social conventions, and then learning to respect the social conventions of the group you would like to be accepted into. I guess I would say that I don't have so much concern for how I am perceived- to me how I feel is more important than how I am seen (and that is nice, because it allows a person to be fairly uninhibited); to any observer, I am probably fairly bizzare in my mannerisms! A funny walk... maintains eye-contact way too long...hangs out with homeless people(they are some of the only people who will connect with a stranger on a profoundly personal level)...I guess I must look like a hipster on anti-depressants, lol. You have to learn not to try to impress others by knowing the right secret handshakes. You might be surprised how much the outward traits of being dis-interested in all of that will still be noticed, and how many people will still connect well with you. Very few people are their true self in public. They don't want to make a scene, and they want to be accepted by those around them. When you actually are (your actual, un-modified self)... some people will be disgusted, and some people will connect to it instantly. And impressing the sort of people who demand a rigid set of pre-determined qualities in the people they interact with isn't worth your time or your worry.
I think you get it though. Not loving yourself will only hold you back, because you will feel unworthy. It isn't about narcissism, it is about being comfortable with yourself.
"The Mole is an animal that digs tunnels underground. In search of the sun, it sometimes comes to the surface. When it sees the Sun, it is blinded."