There are lots of ways to meditate. But hey, we’re all busy people, so let’s cut to the chase: what’s the best way? We’re going to find out. We’ll start by looking at what meditation actually is, some of the laws that govern it, and then get to the point about how to use meditation to create a better life. Because, full disclosure, that’s what every single one of these teachings from the Guide is really about.
There’s a tendency to think that bigger is better. The truer way to express this, though, is that wholer is better. Said another way: more whole is more happy. Our goal, then, is to unify our whole selves, folding in the split off aspects of the Lower Self that remain in separation. If we understand that this is where we’re going with meditation, it might make our practice of meditation a bit easier, and gobs more effective.
Meditation is a tool we can use for deliberate, conscious creation. Truly, it’s one of the most powerfully creative things we can do. But frankly, we are always constantly creating, whether we realize it or not. All our conscious and unconscious opinions, all our happy and sad feelings, all our guided and misguided concepts about life—they all role up into one ball of actions and reactions that effects the outcome of everything that happens around us.
Much as we might like to believe that our thoughts don’t matter as long as we keep them to ourselves, in fact, every thought has a consequence, and brings about a specific result. But considering how jumbled and conflicting our thoughts so often are, sometimes varying markedly from our emotions, it stands to reason that what we create must be a mixed-up mess. Indeed, our confusing lives are often a testament to this.
It’s totally lost on us that our unwise thoughts, our destructive feelings and our unchecked wishes have the power to create. No joke, these all bring about negative results just as surely as if we were committing conscious acts. So then think what an enormous difference it would make if we were to test and challenge our mental conclusions, adjusting our aims and ideas to align with the truth. Imagine if we purified our feelings by having the courage, honesty and wisdom to go through them, instead of bottling them up and hoping they never spill out.
Consider the truth that whatever is inside, no matter how painful it might be, cannot be avoided, but rather must be expressed and released. If this were our approach, we would find ourselves harboring a completely different attitude towards life and our part in creating it. And that, friends, is what meaningful meditation is all about.
Our beings are steeped in a potent and highly creative substance, called our soul substance. We live in it, move in it, and our being is it. Everything we consciously send forth into this soul substance must turn into form. As such, meditating is creating. Because whatever we speak, out loud or to ourselves, creates; whatever emotionally charged thoughts we have, create. This creative substance, which changes constantly, is impressed by all that we send into it, and it in turn molds our experiences. That is how creation unfolds.
If we understand this principle, we’ll see that it doesn’t take a mind reader to know exactly what other people think and feel and believe—both consciously and unconsciously. All we have to do is look at their life. Where are they fulfilled and enjoying abundance, and where are they wanting and feeling impoverished? It’s really not rocket science. The sum total of everything we express—our thoughts, feelings and attitudes—creates the totality of our life.
This points to the reason why one of the most important aims of this spiritual path is to bring whatever is in us into our conscious awareness: all we think and know, everything we want and believe in. For that’s the only way to get a good, clear look at all our conflicts and mistaken perceptions. Then, and only then, we can start to create a better life. A truly good life.
We want to use our meditation, then, for the purpose of emptying out our destructive attitudes and wrong conclusions about life. We need to become aware of all our inner errors—and make no mistake, wherever we are not in harmony, we are in error—and then use meditation to gently and gradually impress our soul substance with correct beliefs.
A good place to start is by using meditation to clear away the inner hurdles that are preventing us from meditating. Perhaps this sounds like a paradox, but it’s not. If we’re not creating the life we want for ourselves, our ship is headed in the wrong direction. We’re got to turn the boat around by discovering where we harbor negative and not-quite-right beliefs.
There is a truly limitless supply of joy and abundance in this universe, and it’s ours for the taking. If we’re not getting what we want, the only thing limiting us is our own mind. Dumping false ideas is like letting go of ballast that’s been holding us back. But we’re the ones ignoring the truth about the universe and how it works. We’re also the ones ignoring the untruths trapped inside us, including any untrue notions about meditation.
Whenever a creative act takes place and something new manifests, it has come about through the fusion of two principles: the active and the receptive. This applies to absolutely everything, from the most insignificant to the most magnificent. Which means that both of these principles must be part of our meditation, if we want to use it to create good things.
At various stages of development, and in different areas of our psyche, we will want to use different approaches to meditation, sometimes being more active and sometimes more receptive. When we first get underway, the conscious mind will kick things off by playing an active role, concisely formulating our thoughts and our intention. Whether spoken or in silence, we will speak words. And the more clear, constructive and truthful we can be, the more our unconscious obstructions will dissolve, providing we are dealing with them in an honest and realistic way.
So let’s say we want to meditate about having more fulfillment with an intimate partner. The clarity and strength of our conviction that we deserve this, and that it is possible and in keeping with divine laws, will depend on whether we’ve faced our wish to not love. If we’re not even aware that we have such a wish, we will lack conviction; we will have doubt.
If, however, we’re willing to first face up to our hatred and our demanding way of loving, and we’re truly willing to give these up, we can meditate then for having an increased capacity to love. If we work in this way, we will realistically deal with what has been obstructing our fulfillment, and then all doubt and resistance will vanish; we will fully believe we deserve the best life has to offer.
We can think of the soul substance like a giant receptor site. The more we are able to have a single-pointed conviction that is unconflicted and uncontaminated with hidden negativities that create secret doubts, the more deeply and clearly will we mold this substance with our imprint.
When we’re living in truth, with no errors in our understanding, our soul substance will be malleable and easy to impress, so creation can flow forth like a fountain. Our attitudes will be positive and our grasp of the limitless nature of the universe will align with the divine laws of truth and love. Therefore, we won’t have any reason to be defending ourselves. In such a defenseless state, our soul substance is resilient and receptive, loose and free.
Conversely, when we’re holding onto distorted concepts that foster negative feelings and destructive attitudes, we are breaking divine laws. This makes us feel fearful and guilty, and that makes us feel we must defend ourselves. It’s our defenses that make the surface of our soul substance brittle and hard, which makes it much tougher to imprint; our wants and desires can’t make an impression.
To use meditation in a creative way, it needs to include these four stages or phases: 1) Concept, 2) Impression, 3) Visualization, and 4) Faith. Let’s drill down a bit further and explore how this works.
We start out by using our conscious mind to formulate a concept of what we want. As with any other act, we need to have an intention and to make a decision using our will. So the initial tools to pick up are the thoughts and concepts we’re already aware of. What’s our intention? We need to be able to state this, clearly and concisely, and with conviction. The more laser-like our intention, the stronger the creative force.
If there is weakness and doubt in the statement of our intention, our work is already cut out for us. We must turn our attention to this obstruction and uncover our unconscious blocks. These are aspects of our own Lower Self that always hold distorted misconceptions.
Once we’ve dealt with whatever obstructions have surfaced and we’ve managed to become clear in our minds, our inner will needs to relax; we must now allow our soul substance to be impressed. But if the mind won’t give up the iron grip of its present narrow thinking, creation and expansion are going to be impossible.
In meditation then, the mind is going to have to take a leap, allowing itself to conceive of a new possibility. We may need to start by considering intellectually that it could be possible for things to change, and to align with our wish that they would. We can do this even if we can’t now conceive of ourselves living free from whatever is blocking our way.
We need to start prying open the lid on our old thinking. We must come to know and believe that, yes, we too have the right and the ability to mold our soul substance using our mind. We might not have even thought of this before, and now we might find that we doubt this very much. We can begin my simply accepting this hypothesis, and then being willing to check it out and discover if it’s true.
Many people give up on meditation because it doesn’t seem to work. What they are not factoring in is the importance of what’s lurking in the unconscious. For if our conscious mind has superimposed a thought over the top of some contrary unconscious thought, the conscious thought will get rejected and the creation process will not work. We will know this is happening by our feelings of ambivalence.
If we sense rejection, we have to deal with it. For this inner contradiction will throw a wrench into the works. And the process we can use to resolve this conflict is meditation. We can face the untruths that must be faced, and overcome the fear and resistance that must be met.
In short, meditation offers us a wonderful opportunity to discover where and how we are resisting getting what we want. The goal is to give up the resistance, not give up the meditation that points it out to us. So sitting in meditation, we can ask ourselves: How much do I really want it? Are there some aspects of getting what I want that I fear? Am I willing to the pay the price to have what I want?
Then we can set our mind on the right track by unifying our conscious and unconscious thoughts, as long as we don’t look away from any subtle emotional reactions arising from our inquiries. Remember, when we become more cohesive—more whole—our soul substance can be then impressed with our goals, our wishes, or our desire to expand into a certain state.
When this happens, we will actually feel the concept we are issuing forth ‘sinking into us.’ It’s just like a seed falling into soil where it can germinate. If we’re undefended, the germination process will proceed, and we won’t stunt its growth through our doubt and impatience. We’ll trust the creative process and allow it to unfold in its own organic way, even if it might materialize somewhat differently from how we imagined it.
That’s the most desirable way to go about creating. Correction: this is the only way possible to create. There is an active impressing that must take place, and then we must receive the impression. The more readily we can feel this interaction—to understand the language of the creative process—the more effectively we’ll be able to create. We’ll comprehend that certain occurrences as well as our own inner reactions are just the answer we were looking for—so we can see what’s hindering us.
This is why people with strong defenses aren’t able to meditate. They may start with good intentions, and their minds may actively formulate a proper concept, which they imprint on their soul substance. And then nothing happens. They aren’t able to receive the impression because they won’t let down their guard; they keep fighting to hide whatever it is they don’t want to see.
The third phase in the process of meditation is visualization. It may help us understand what visualization is by becoming clear what it is not. It isn’t wishful thinking, nor is it daydreaming or fantasizing. All these are attempts to whisk away our hopelessness, which only exists because of buried destructive attitudes or painful residual feelings, both of which we secretly hope to avoid.
When we sit in visualization, we are sensing ourselves already being in the state we want to step into. We can experience ourselves as we would be if we were loving instead of resentful, fulfilled instead of empty, content instead of anxious or depressed. Visualization is the way to properly conceive of the desired state; it’s the way to consider that something new or different is possible. When we visualize, we literally feel ourselves entering into another state. We don’t need to have all the particulars, for that can easily lead us down a road of wishful daydreams that are more hindrance than help.
If we discover we can’t achieve the desired state we want to experience, we’ve got a clue that some counter-truth is hanging up in our unconscious. And recall, untruths are what keep our soul substance from being impressionable, because they make us hard and brittle.
So this is good news. For we now know to go in search of whatever’s weakening the power of our thoughts. Visualization then requires that we are constantly tuning our awareness to our inner reactions. We can do this kind of listening as we sit quietly in meditation.
The fourth phase of meditation is faith. This isn’t something we can force; faith is not an act of will. Trying to superimpose wishful faith over clouds of doubt is dishonest. Unfortunately, all too often this is exactly what happens in religions. The results are about as encouraging as one would expect. Worse yet, faking faith discredits all spirituality since many can’t distinguish the difference between plastic faith and real experience.
Starting out, we’re going to have to grope in the dark a bit, searching for faith by way of an experimental approach. If our faith is lacking because we are living in blindness, cutting ourselves off from the truth of the universe, we’ve got to deal with this. Maybe we have some kind of hidden stake in maintaining a faithless attitude. We need to have the courage to look at what this could be.
Because the truth is, it’s basic human nature to love and to be joyful. So if we find ourselves hating and in despair, we’ve lost our connection to our inherent nature to know that this is a benign universe. If we no longer know this, at some point we made a deliberate decision to not know this. This is a dishonesty that must be unearthed, admitted to and, at long last, given up. Glory be.
We’re going to need to adopt an open attitude and be willing to ask a lot of questions. We’ll have to consider possibilities we haven’t yet experienced. Then—and this is big—we’ll need to give new possibilities an honest chance. This requires three things: 1) the wisdom of having patience, 2) the intelligence to know that there are more possibilities than the ones we’ve already experienced, and 3) the good will to stay in the not-knowing, as we grope to find the right way. Whenever we honestly seek answers, the true universe delivers. We just need to open up to let them in.
Similarly, when we use meditation in the way outlined, positive results must occur; we can count on it. But when we are still in the early gray states of doubt, we are apt to think that the manifestations or answers to our inquiries are coincidences. ‘They would have happened anyway.’ So we discount the response. This kind of reaction is inevitable, and totally predictable. This is nothing to feel badly about, and we shouldn’t hide this reaction from ourselves any more than we should hide any other reaction.
Rather, we can reapply some honesty and intelligence. We might be saying to ourselves, “Yep, this sure seems miraculous, like there’s a living process at work here that could surpass what I thought possible in my fantasies. This is what I want, but it seems too good to be true. I have my doubts, even though I’m willing to give it a chance.”
In the midst of all this waffling, with our doubts and conflicted thoughts in full regalia, we should be turning to meditation. Check out what the doubtful side wants, and what it doesn’t want. Let it have its say. Then we can ask for guidance so that we receive further answers.
There are a whole host of ways for an answer to come: a bolt of inspiration, a sudden flash of a thought, a new awareness of a feeling, or a word we read or hear somewhere. Most often, they’ll arrive when we least expect them. Over time, we’ll start to catch on that these answers are indeed part of a living process that is so organic and so profoundly meaningful, nothing our brains could dream of could ever match it.
We’ll start to see that these answers, and the enlightenment that comes with them, are pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. Little by little, they fit together to form a comprehensive picture. Eventually, we’ll learn to rely on this process over anything else. Seriously, there is nothing in the material world that is more real than this.
As we follow our spiritual path in this way, the reason for our incarnation in this lifetime will unfold. And when we understand the meaning of our life, with a certainty gained by way of our inner experiences, we’ll have faith.
Until then, we must learn to grapple with whatever arises, at whatever stage, that is preventing us from reaching faith. This could take years; we all have much work to do. But the incontrovertible experiences that lead to that thing we call faith is worth working for.
Sometimes we block ourselves from pursuing faith because it’s not the fashion of the day; we keep a closed mind to avoid being ridiculed. Just as frequently, people won’t listen for answers to honest questions because they fear there won’t be any; they don’t want to find out there’s nothing beyond what we can grasp in our hands. In their fear, they can’t let go enough to be open and receptive.
True answers can’t arrive if the mailbox door is nailed shut. We have to become ready to listen. But fearing bad news, we remain in our tight position, vacillating and theorizing and teetering on the edge of an apparent abyss, terrified of making a commitment to knowing the truth. We can hang out in theory-land for many lifetimes. But to take the risk—including the risk we’ll hear an answer we don’t like—requires some courage. Then the truth can come flooding in. Theories can only carry us so far—to the doorstep of a propped up faith—but not all the way to the real thing.
Real faith is a knowing, an inner experience that’s beyond the shadow of doubt. Reaching it requires we have the courage to take chances, to risk finding out the truth. The level of commitment and honesty needed goes hand in hand with the attitude we need to face our Lower Self. To the same degree that we hide from our Lower Self, fearing what we’ll find in the oft-ignored corners of our unconscious, we won’t have the courage needed to find the truth, and to then know real faith.
There are a few spiritual laws regarding meditation. Understanding them will help to establish the overall picture of the sequence and flow of the four phases. One of the most important laws, which can also be found in Scripture, states: According to your belief you shall experience. This should now seem quite clear, from all that has been said already. Keep in mind, this means we can create anything we can conceive of, from the most dismal states of hell to the most sublime states of heaven. Plus everything in between.
So if we believe that we cannot change, that we live in a hostile universe, and that our ultimate fate is tragedy, guess what. We will—we must—experience just that. All our actions and reactions will collude to bring it about. But if we believe in the truth that abundance and joy can be ours—that we can change and grow out of our poverty, our misery and our despair—we can’t help but do so. This belief, of course, needs to include our willingness to remove our own obstructions.
When we violate divine law by launching ourselves down a road of hate and spite, we can’t even believe in the possibilities of love and light. Then we’ll unconsciously want to cheat life, hoping to get more than we’re willing to give, in violation of yet another spiritual law. So now, no matter how much we might try to believe in life’s abundance, it won’t work. Our soul substance will refuse the impression because we’re standing in violation of this other law. Simply put, we can’t cheat life. There’s a finely calibrated mechanism that balances all this out.
There’s another law that says we can’t skip steps. If we have an obstruction that violates a law—and remember, all obstructions somehow violate spiritual laws of truth—we have to deal with that first. So as we go along, we will need to adjust our meditation to aim in the necessary direction. If we don’t clean up the obstacles standing in our way, the results we want won’t come. Creation isn’t fickle, it’s just a stickler for following these laws.
We have a choice. We can follow the positive movement of a benign circle, or go round and round in the misery of a vicious circle. Living life on a positive note might look something like this. When we live in a spirit of honesty and openness, removing our defenses, facing our Lower Self, and becoming willing to change, we feel our birthright to experiencing abundance. If we get stuck or are blind, we will search for the answers, knowing they’re never as obscure as some part of us wants to believe. We know that clear answers can always find us, if we’re open. Cue the song birds.
Conversely, when we’re unconsciously holding back and not committed to being honest or to knowing the truth, wanting childishly and unfairly to get more than we give, our convictions will be half-hearted. If we want the goodies without making any changes in ourselves, we will invariably doubt that change is possible. So then our concepts and visualizations will be too weak to impress our brittle soul substance. Our doubt will be reinforced, and we will become even more negative. Cue the dragons.
This may all sound rather busy; there are lots of moving parts. Indeed, there is an art to effective meditation. As we progress, there will be an ongoing interaction between the active and the receptive principles. Our conscious ego-mind may start out activating the Higher Self, which can then be allowed to respond. But then the responding spiritual self takes on the active principle, and the conscious mind must become pliable and receptive; it listens and is impressionable, tuning into the messages that come forward.
Or the active ego-mind could turn its attention to the Lower Self, giving it some space to express itself. Again our mind listens so that the destructive voice can be heard. This doesn’t mean we give in to the Lower Self, identify with it, or are become impressed by it. But we use our discernment to absorb what it says and evaluate it.
Just as our conscious ego-mind can be instructed by our Higher Self, so can our Lower Self be instructed by either our ego-mind or our Higher Self—likely in that order. After we have given our Lower Self free rein to vent its destructive nonsense for a while, we can start to see where it’s gone off the rails. We’ll start to get a bead on where it’s in error and what misconceptions it’s holding onto, along with the damage that this is causing. So a dialog develops; the parts interact.
After we have gotten some practice under our belt, our ego-mind can ask our Higher Self to please offer some instruction to the Lower Self. Then give it the floor. Listen to it. We can let the wisdom of our own inner divinity—our Higher Self, or spiritual self—inspire us on every level. It can speak or it can write to us, through our attentive ego-mind.
The Higher Self can communicate with the Lower Self in a number of ways. We might hear an inner dialogue being conducted by these two levels of our consciousness. The ego can then align with the Higher Self. Or this might all go on while we are asleep. Once we get the hang of how this goes, the influence of our Higher Self can continue on the involuntary level, without the ego’s help. But first, the ego will need to assume responsibility for making the introductions and keeping the channels of communication open; this is a necessary step that can’t be skipped.
Such advanced states can only come about if we have invested the time and effort needed to master and practice the four phases, as described. But as we become increasingly tuned into our inner processes, and so to the inner world of truth, the wall that separates our ego from the greater reality will disappear.
We can meditate on just about anything. In fact, it can be super-helpful to remember that we can meditate to meditate. We can ask for inspiration about the right topic, help with concentration, or knowing where the wall is in our soul substance—what untruth needs to be loosened up. We can use meditation every step of the way to support our meditation practice.
If our resistance is great, we must recognize that we don’t want the positive and instead prefer the negative. Then we can deal with that. It’s a serious problem for us to deny that we desire the negative, but then go on to complain that our meditation isn’t bringing the wished for results. But the minute we realize we want the negative, we’re one giant leap ahead, because now we’ve got something to meditate about.
If we practice it right, our meditation will keep changing. When the creative process works, we’ll feel it and outer manifestations will follow. But when we have bottlenecks in our inner system, we need to focus on those areas. Then later, we can again turn our attention to desirable outer goals.
Meditation can be a valuable tool for working with our fears. And who doesn’t have a few fears. The most universal fear is the fear of death. There is an inner wall that separates us from the process of life that continues beyond death. We can actually remove this wall if we are willing to fulfill the necessary conditions. Then we can experience the truth of eternal life, right now, while we’re here in the body.
But this means we’ll have to give up everything that keeps the ego in its state of separation: our self-will, pride and fear, our belief that we are somehow different from others, that either of us can be important, but not both. All these errors must go if we want to become aware of who we really are: the great consciousness that knows no walls and has no fear.
As long as our ego is running the show, we will fear death, even if we delude ourselves by not looking at it. And it shows up in all kinds of crazy ways. To remove this, we’ll have to play fair and square with life. No cheating. No setting ourselves above anyone else, nor feeling like we’re below others. For our fear is a condition of our ego; we know this, but have chosen to forget it.
There is no question, problem, conflict or darkness that we can’t bring into our meditation. Too often though, even after we’ve experienced the truth of creating through meditation and have developed an authentic faith in it, we forget to use it. We lose sight of how effective it can be for the biggest as well as the smallest issues of life. In reality, there’s no such thing as big or small. Everything is important. Our whole life matters.
When there are no more walls, and no more ego, we will be lived through by divine consciousness. Then we won’t need to sit in meditation, thinking about a specific issue, listening, shutting out the meandering mind that wants to wander away with random thoughts. At that point, we will no longer have to make an effort; we will just emanate creation. We will live it and breathe it and be it. When our real self is free, every thought and feeling will be a creative act of meditation.
There are several stages that lead up to this Grand Poobah state. At the least enlightened level are the people who use petitionary prayer. This notion that there is an external deity who hears our prayers and makes arbitrary decisions about who to reward is childish and indicates a lack of personal development. Such people believe that if they plead humbly enough, their wish will be granted by the disembodied voice behind the curtain.
Oddly, although primitive, such prayers are often answered because of the power of the person’s conviction, their visualization, and the reality of the law that ‘according to your belief you shall experience.’ It’s the power of the thought that really does it, especially when combined with love, honesty and a humble spirit.
The next stage is the request to go in a certain direction, and it is considerably more enlightened. It works because we know these processes will respond, assuming that what we desire is in keeping with divine laws.
In the third stage, we know that our wish will be fulfilled because we have a right to it, we deserve it, and we will do what must be done to clear any obstructions. With such total commitment, we believe the divine powers within will respond. And they do.
In the fourth stage, which is the most advanced, we know our wish has been fulfilled even before it gets here. There’s an inner click, and we just know that the divine process is in place. At this stage of the game, our doubts and negativity have been eliminated.
Surely, we may not be in the same stage in all areas of our lives at the same time. But this gives us a gauge of where we are on the continuum, which culminates in the state of union.
So where is God in all of this? Aren’t we wanting to meditate so we experience God? In truth, it doesn’t matter whether we’re meditating for the express purpose of creating a better, more meaningful life for ourselves, or whether our goal is to experience the divine within. Because either way, the inner state is the same, and both bring out the same result.
If we have a felt sense of God inside ourselves, so that we know we are a manifestation of God, our life will be rich and we will feel fulfilled. Or if instead we start out conceiving of the abundance of life, we’ll succeed only when we experience God’s will for us, which is to have a rich life. Because that’s the nature of life. Either way, we’ll have to remove our own obstacles to true unity. Moreover, it won’t work to split off and ignore the undesirable parts of ourselves, hoping we can enjoy Oneness when we are anything less than whole.
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