The unity of the soul and the inner life: A meditation

One should not give up, neglect or forget for a moment his inner life, but he must learn to work within it, with it, and act out of it, so that the unity of his soul may break out into all his activities.Meister Eckhart

In order to fully and completely come to know ourselves and fully express ourselves in our life, we must go within. Within us is the storehouse or treasure trove of our soul, which is overflowing with an infinite number of gifts, creativity, love, potential, and wisdom.

Within us we can find the richness and riches of who we are. Once discovered, they will easily find a way to be expressed and manifested in our lives.

As we go within, we will be inspired to “right actions” and “right thoughts” and have deep inspirations about who we really are. z

Only meditation—the quiet mind—can open this door to our inner treasure and inheritance and help reveal to us our true nature.

The mind masks this inner realm. Meditation reveals it.

Until you have taken the time to look within, you are literally in the dark about yourself.

It’s all an inside job. Let your heart lead your way.

Just read through these words a few times in a meditative state. Let them feed your soul. Then just sit in meditation and see, sense, or feel whatever impressions, thoughts, feelings, or images arise for you. Be receptive, objective and open.

Be quiet in your mind, quiet in your senses, and, also, quiet in your body.
Then, when all these are quiet, don’t do anything. In that state truth will reveal itself to you. It will appear in front of you and ask,” what do you want?
….Kabir

Navigating the death and transfiguration of the ego

The following description of the process of ego death and transfiguration came through in an inspired way during and following long road trips across the desert southwest of the United States. The resultant framework can be held lightly and need not be the last word. Nevertheless, the stages and indications can help one to see where they are in the process, have a sense of the good things to come, and relax into the process.

A working definition of ego

There are many definitions of ego. Here’s one that resonates highly for both truth and usefulness:

Ego is the habitual pattern of labeling phenomena as “wrong” and repeatedly responding to that misperception and misidentification of what is actually the case, which is the process of the Infinite unfolding and learning through successive forms and experiences within Divine Imagination.

Ego is thus a feedback loop of negativity seeking to strengthen its own imaginary status as a negative-energy entity through ever more negation. At the same time, the ego is seeking on a deeper level to be released from the unsatisfactory state of lifeless denial that it has made for itself.

The ego process conjures and attempts to maintain a sense of reality based on wrongness, which forms a weak identity and worldview that needs constant protection since it is itself what’s the matter, so to speak. The attempt to maintain an imaginary self and worldview through continued negation and judgment results in exhaustion, and eventually the ego ceases to function. It is at this point, when the ego has thoroughly burned itself out, that the ego’s deepest desire is finally granted.

An alternative, and much gentler, way is for the ego to choose to surrender to a new way of being, in which a vaster sense of identity and vaster capabilities are available. Such a surrender can happen at any time.
Importantly, we are not labeling the ego as wrong. We can see it as a stage of development, with its own beauty. And as a stage of development it also has inherent limitations, which homo sapiens is discovering rather painfully. The next evolution of human is emerging now and a defining feature of this new species is that it will operate beyond ego. In the meantime, we would do well to understand the process of evolving beyond ego so that we can navigate this transformation with as much grace as possible.

Here are a few key egoic patterns to keep in mind:

  • Attachment and aversion
  • Condemnation/judgment
  • Reactivity: a spectrum of passivity to aggression/violence
  • Defensiveness and overidentification (with small ideas)

These patterns will resolve into the following post-egoic characteristics:

  • Openness, willingness
  • Discernment
  • Right, aligned responsiveness
  • Generosity

Five stages of ego death and transfiguration

Let’s explore five stages of ego death and transfiguration that give an overall sense of the journey from ego- and fear-based living to post-egoic being. Although the stages are presented in a linear fashion for clarity, they overlap and people tend to experience moving back and forth among them. Nevertheless, over time there is a shift from experiencing confusion and fear to knowing clarity and peace.

Stage 1: Initiation (disruption!)

  • Life stops making sense. (stage 1.0-2.9)
  • Confusion (stage 1.0-2.4)
  • Apparent chaos (stage 1.1-3.6)
  • Sense of meaninglessness and futility (stage 1.2-3.1)
  • One may find themselves considering suicide, or daydreaming of not being in the world, as a way out of the uncertainty, confusion, and despair. (stage 1.1-4.1)
  • What used to be motivating no longer seems to work. (stage 1.2-3.3)
  • Frequent fear, anxiety, dread, despair, sleeplessness, and/or existential terror, often for no apparent reason (stage 1.2-4.9)

Stage 2: Sense of not belonging

  • Feelings of not fitting into the world, of being between worlds, of not belonging (stage 2.0-4.2)
  • Inability to cope with the extreme uncertainty (stage 2.4-3.7)
  • Work can become difficult at this stage. (stage 2.4-3.9)
  • Feelings of profound pointlessness and demotivation can be very strong. (stage 2.7-3.7)
  • Loss of appetite (stage 2.7-4.2)
  • Dawning insight: “You are not your thoughts.” (stage 2.8)

Stage 3: Glimmers of a new way of being

  • Starting to see the light of a new way of being, although it might not make sense yet, e.g. financially or in other traditional ways (stage 3.0-4.4)
  • The limit of conventional Western psychology (stage 3.1-3.4)
  • Spiritual exhaustion, often accompanied by illness (stage 3.1-4.4)
  • Oscillation between highs of love, joy, and gratitude and lows of fear and panic (stage 3.4-4.4)
  • A sense of no longer being in the personality arises and grows stronger (stage 3.6-)

Stage 4: Lightening of the heavy burden of being someone

  • A lightening of a burden one didn’t know was there! (stage 4.0-)
  • Patterns of defensiveness and reactivity are noticeably diminished. (stage 4.1-)
  • Dawning perception of beauty in everything (stage 4.2)
  • Perceiving the perfection of circumstances on a consistent basis (stage 4.7-)
  • Growing clarity and an ability to know intuitively what to do / where to go (stage 4.8-)

Stage 5: Consolidation of the new way of being

  • A new and more powerful motivation arises: actual inspiration. (stage 5.1-5.4)
  • Consistent appreciation and seeing beauty in all are integrally established patterns of the new way of being. (stage 5.2-)
  • One begins to know and experience the true nature of Love. (stage 5.7)
  • A prevailing sense of inner peace is present and will continue to deepen long after the egoic patterns have been transmuted and forgotten. (stage 5.9-)

Summary and a call to engage

The process of ego death and transfiguration into a lighter way of being is natural and completely aligned with the next phase of human evolution. In a real sense, whatever species is to follow homo sapiens will be discovered on the other side of this transformation. It is, therefore, well worth exploring where you are on the path of becoming post-egoic. If you find yourself in one of the more challenging stages, know that there is a growing number of people who have been through this transformation and who can support you on your evolutionary journey. If you have navigated this passage already, then please consider helping others who are currently in the midst of this species-level upgrade.

Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay

How to outrun what you carry inside you? Put it down.

The meditation retreat is finished – 5 days of sitting in silence. Ahead of me is a 2400-mile drive across Nevada, Wyoming, Nebraska, and on, all the way to a little place in Tennessee, just north of Knoxville. I have always loved long road trips, never really asking myself why, assuming it was nomadic blood, new horizons, adventure. And it may have elements of those things, but this time I discovered something else, something more fundamental.

I begin driving and I’m O-P-E-N. Open the way one can be at the end of a meditation retreat, yet even by that standard I am cracked open; my heart feels as big as this wide-open country that I am crossing, tears come easily. Adyashanti, the teacher I’ve been meditating with, offers a pointer, “Rest as awareness.” Not as awareness of something, just as awareness. What he refers to as primordial awareness, the awareness that is always and already present. Okay, that sounds like it should be easy, and instead I find that I don’t know how to do or to BE this simple thing, “Rest as awareness.”

My curiosity about driving and being and awareness is awakened. I am aware – of course I am. I realize that I operate from within awareness, only it’s largely filtered through this whirling maze of thought. The miles slip by and I am paying close attention, endeavouring to “lean back” into natural awareness. And I notice things. Some are not new, many are, and they are all showing up differently, perhaps more clearly.

I notice that driving is an activity where I tend to be very present and where awareness is front and center. The stream of awareness notes sounds of wind, humming tires, the great bowl of blue sky/gray sky, huge white clouds, grassy slopes, sage brush, a knot in one shoulder, a cramping leg, bird on a fence post, and of course, cars, trucks, and trailers in front, beside, behind, and all the oncoming, and sensations in hands and feet, the breath, feelings of joy, sadness, anxiety – all noticed – all accepted – all of the time, without let-up.

Out of noticing, reflection happens. “What am I?” “Why do I believe what I believe?” “Where did this particular judgement or opinion come from?” Memories arise and with them, insights. I have used day dreams and fantasies to comfort the anxious ego. I recall how, as kids, my brother and I would create imaginary worlds where we were pirates or cowboys, heroes of some sort. For me this helped ease the fears about my parents’ fighting – my father’s rage, my mother’s tears. I could go to a world where I was strong and safe. And I notice that I drive and walk and even meditate as though I must get to “That Place” where I will be safe.

Seventy years old and I have never outrun that anxious frightened ego. How do you outrun what you carry inside you? Put it down. What a gift of awareness, to see clearly and with complete acceptance.

Photo by Nuno Antunes on Unsplash

Ah, to be a child again! A meditation

Before we were indoctrinated to the rules of the world, with its entire do’s and don’ts, we were actually very receptive.

We were willing to try new things, go into forbidden places and take risks without hesitation.

We did not believe in unhappiness, defeat, rejection, or lack.

We asked for what we wanted and were willing to demand that it be provided.

We thought the world existed to respond to our needs

It might do us well to revert back to the ways of childhood if we want to bring some good into our lives. It’s not the temper tantrums or childish outbursts we want. It is the openness and freedom from limitation we need.

We have been taught to accept fear, lack, sorrow, and restriction as a part of everyday life.

We are afraid to make demands of life because we believe we can’t have what we want.

We no longer feel free to express what we feel, when we feel it. Now, we want to be everyone’s friend.

If only we would think like a child again, there’s a good chance we would find the freedom we gave up to become adults.

Inyanla Vanzant

You must be like a child to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Jesus

These words from Inyanla Vanzant and Jesus are food for your soul. Read through them a few times in a meditative state. Then just sit in meditation and see, sense, or feel whatever impressions, thoughts, feelings. or images arise for you about you. Be receptive, objective, and open!

Reading an inspiring passage and then just sitting with it in meditation is a form of meditation you may want to add to your practice. Find any inspiring passage that you resonate with, read it, and then sit and see what happens. There are many ways to meditate and connect with Source. Meditating on an inspiring passage is one that I love to practice regularly, especially when my mind is overly active.

Let your body choose your words

As a part of being mindful about what contributes to my well-being I have been noticing the impact of both the words I speak and those I think. I am choosing to veer away from common ways people speak about things like cancer when that creates stress in my body.

For example, I feel tension and a fight-or-flight response when I think of “battling cancer” or “fighting for my life.” What feels expansive and nourishing is to say I am investing in my health.

By trying words on and sensing the body’s reaction, I am also developing a deeper relationship with the conscious intelligence that animates me. It seems there is a greater truthfulness associated with the felt sense guiding me to choose on behalf of expansion and greater harmony.

I notice that my body also edits my words based on what it is ready to accept as possible. For example, if I say, “I am perfectly aligned for instantaneous healing,” I don’t feel the same deep peace as when I say; “I love the journey I am on with my body and how my awareness increases daily.”

Additionally, the words I speak have a similar impact on the collective field, in that they add to like perceptions or frequencies.

To take it even further, it will be fun to extend my noticing to changes in my “body language” with the different ways I language things. First and foremost, I care about the impact of my words on my experience, and I believe that creating congruence between body, mind, thoughts, and words brings greater peace to the world.

We are all energetic beings, some more sensitive to that than others. My hope is that honoring and developing that capacity will become the new norm.

Photo by Isco on Unsplash

It’s all new: A morning meditation

A new day, a new beginning! It’s all new. If we just stop, breathe, and notice, we can realize that nothing is the same as we left it. Even though our daily routines make us think it is all the same, it never is nor can it ever be.

So, we can exult in the “newness” of every moment of every “routine” and know that it is all fresh, new and joy-filled. There is always a “new Now” to experience. As we realize the newness and freshness of every moment, we come to appreciate and experience the wonder and beauty of it all.

Thus, you may want to say to yourself: “I really want to bring this sense of newness and freshness into all I do from now on. I want to just stop, breathe, and appreciate; I want to savor. I want to be present for each moment’s gift, for each moment’s newness.”  

There can be no greater joy or contentment than to be filled with the richness of each moment. If one reaches and strives for a hoped-for fulfillment in the future, one will always come up empty-handed. There is only the present. Let us seize each and every moment and be filled to overflowing with all it has to offer. Let each moment reveal its gifts to you! Be present and it will! Open the “present” it has to give you.

To allow yourself to experience the newness of a moment, try this experiment: Whenever you can, take a few moments to stop what you are doing; take a couple of conscious, slow, deep breaths; and then become aware of your body by doing a slow body scan from the top of your head to the tips of your toes. This will help to bring you into the present.

Then focus on your inhalation and just imagine that you are breathing in “newness,” “freshness,” and “joy.” And on the exhalation, imagine that you are releasing old, stagnant, crystalized, and mutated energies. Continue focusing on your breath and your breathing. Breathing in all that is new and fresh and joy-filled and releasing on the exhalation all that is old, worn, and stagnant. After a few moments of doing this, you will be in the present and able to receive its gifts.

You only see what you are looking for; you only get what you focus on. So what has your attention? Some regurgitation of the past or unconscious projection into the future? Or the gift of the present?

The I AM is always well

I have taken up a practice of not only saying hello to people I pass on the trails in the forest area I hike in each morning, but of also saying, “I hope you have a wonderful day!”

The other day when I said this to a woman I passed, about ten feet beyond me she turned and shouted back, “That was awesome!” and gave me a thumbs up.

Today, I came alongside a woman I was passing and gave the greeting and blessing. She replied back that she had decided that today she is well. Then she said, “How about you?” and I said, “Absolutely, every day! Why make any other choice?”

On the level of personality and separate self, there can be a fluctuation in states of consciousness or mood and choice comes into play. When I am talking about the I AM part of this equation, choice is not required. It, the I AM, cannot be disturbed by what occurs in the manifest realm with varying circumstances.

The more time I spend in conscious relationship with and appreciation for the Earth, the more I naturally rest in the I AM. Ease and magic flow into the rest of my day as well. I am marveling at the change in my overall state of being that has come from investing time with the Earth each day.

The other night when I left with two friends to go to a community dinner, it was starting to rain. I said, “There’s going to be a rainbow,” because the sun was peeking through. As we drove to the event the light rain became a deluge of rain and hail. Indeed a rainbow did appear, not only one but two, and as we came to our destination the end of the lower of the two rainbows came down in the street right where we were. Wow! I have never had a rainbow come down right in front of me and when I looked up at both rainbows, the hail still coming down looked like diamonds falling from the sky.

All I can say is living in harmony with life is beyond magical. Never before have I felt so “well.”

Image by Ales Krivec from Pixabay