(1) The greatest antagonist to consciousness/intelligence is fear,
that is, the biochemical emotion/experience we call fear, the fear/flight side of the
fight/flight adrenaline neurohormone.
(2) Pretty much all modern humans live in a state of
low-grade emergency, characterized by a chronic overproduction of adrenaline, chronic
neuromuscular hypertension, and chronic imbalances in sympathetic and parasympathetic
This is the place to start. Practice relaxing.
Most breathing exercises are essentially relaxation
exercises. Most mantra exercises are also primarily relaxation exercises. (The mantras
content, it's words, are orientation-effecting, but it's repetition gives a certain area
of the mind a "busywork" that quickly lulls the whole mindbodysystem of the
practitioner into a very useful and healing relaxation.) All isolations-- that is,
exercises in which an important element is that the practitioner be alone, or in some
special place-- are relaxation exercises; because the foremost cause of our chronic
low-grade emergency problem is crowding and overexposure to
stranger-therefore-potentially-hostile humans. And so on.
Here's a bit of bait for you. Relaxation is the key to the
siddhis, that is, to those so-called "Psychic Powers". Seriously. You want the
powers? You've gotta learn to relax, make relaxation, neuromuscular awareness and
self-control, your own personal fine art.