The Spiritual Journey Through a Meditation Practice
The Buddhists and others say that all life is suffering. Others refer to our existence as composed of a pain body. Certainly as we look upon the human condition worldwide we see much of both, and we may wonder if there is a way out of this dilemma. We seem relentlessly programmed to make choices and decisions that lead us into further suffering.
Circumstances that lead to pain seem beyond our control. Our experience tells us that we seem to have many different parts to ourselves in conflict with each other. Sometimes we are afraid and sometimes we feel secure. Sometimes we are angry and sometimes we are calm. Sometimes we are discouraged and sometimes we are positively hopeful. You have probably heard that we have a higher self, a soul, a transcendent self, a lower self, a subconscious mind, a shadow self, a super-conscious mind, an unconscious mind, a chakra system, and even more. The apparent separation of each of these conflicting elements of us is actually a perception of separation, and that perception of separation is the actual cause of the suffering and pain.
Through meditation we are able to integrate all the illusions of separation, and merge our awareness into the unitive state where we realize the underlying infinite, conscious principle that is both the very essence of all of who we are and the absolute nature of all there is.
The Goals of the Meditation Process
There are several phases to be keep in mind as you develop your daily practice. This is not an intellectual process, but rather an experiential process of discovering first-hand what your True Self is. This discovery is not revealed by thinking about the subject or analyzing ideas about it, but rather allowing the truths to arise from the experience of direct expansions of awareness and realization.
When the reality of the unity and interconnectedness of all things becomes your experience you will awaken to a new way of viewing yourself and all life. You will feel as though you have awakened from the dreams of a deep sleep. Until you have this experience you think you are awake and directing your life through conscious decisions. When you awaken your awareness pierces through the images that your five senses tell you is reality, and you become aware of the truth that underlies all existence.
You will sense that everything is created out of the same energy, and is therefore fundamentally the same fabric of existence. You will feel more connected with this fabric of creation and more awake and more in touch with everything. You will realize how absorbed in an illusion you were. You will feel reborn as you awaken into a fresh new view of everything.
The meditative practice was developed as a means of connecting with the field and consciousness of creation, and to listen to the still small voice which emanates from the infinite divine presence. Your sense of being connected with and one with the fullness of the divine will become natural and automatic.
With each meditative experience you surrender into the greater awareness of who you are and when you return to your normal every day consciousness your awareness is changed, and with this new awareness your life changes. You know that you and the rest of manifest creation are not what you always assumed they were, and life doesn’t work the way you assumed it did.
The only way to know this is by direct experience. It is not known by reading, thinking, or any of the other normal ways you have come to know anything. It is by direct experience in consciousness only.
Introducing the Ego
The confusion comes from the fact that there are fundamentally two major components to who and what we are. The part of us that we think of as the conscious person is what has been developed since we were born and which we call the personality. The personality is formed from traits we have acquired from our parents genetically and energetically and our experiences in this life. Underlying the personality are many sub-identities with traits we have carried over from many lifetimes, and they are mostly composed of fundamental beliefs and emotional reactions. This collection of identities and reactions is what we call the ego.
The ego is the aspect of who we think we are that was developed over time living in a manifest existence of separation. Therefore, the ego is driven by many defenses to whatever it perceives as a threat to its comfort or existence. Most of the traits of what we think of as fundamental to be human are actually merely the defensive characteristics of the ego. This includes our emotional reactions, beliefs, and our judgments, criticism, and blame. Because the ego is a survival mechanism coping with the sense of separation from God, all human beings have similar reactions and defense mechanisms. Naturally, each person has developed a unique style and preference for particular defense mechanisms, but the underlying core similarities are closely similar for all people. For instance, one main core mechanism of the ego is fear.
The experience of perceiving separation from our divine source engenders a number of fears. Because the underlying reality of existence is love and light, the experience of separation isolates the ego in darkness and void to a degree hard to imagine, and the ego will do anything it can to prevent itself from feeling the terror of this pain. The ego is terrorized by anything that threatens its survival. So the ego is driven to cling to as many things as possible to give it assurance that it does not have to go into the deep void of separation or come to its end. So this powerful underlying fear drives people with many passions to accumulate, own, attach to, possess, grasp at, or control in an attempt to insulate themselves from the pain of separation and the fear of ceasing to exist.
There is More to You than the Ego
Beneath the surface experiences of the ego is a deep and aware part of you that is aware of its connection to the divine source of love and light. It is present with you now at this very moment, but it normally operates below your level of conscious awareness. This is what we call the True Self. It is also called the Soul, Higher Self, Master Within, God Presence, Enlightened Consciousness, Awakened Self, I AM Presence, and other such names.
What defines our perception of our spiritual evolution is the gradual bringing to the surface of our awareness of the True Self. As it emerges more and more it gradually integrates its awareness into the perceptions of the ego and we experience a merging of our conscious awareness into the awareness of our Soul. I refer to this process as the soul merging, and it is a process that continues until the ego traits completely dissolve.
Whatever role the ego plays for us can be replaced and managed better by our True Self or Soul, and this is what makes enlightenment a process rather than a destination. It takes time to discover and get in touch with the many overt and subtle aspects of our ego identities, and therefore it generally takes many lifetimes to experience the complete dissolution of the ego and the full emergence of the True Self or Soul. Once a person becomes aware of these truths, the process proceeds at a much more rapid pace than he or she did prior.
Meditation enables us to disconnect from the realm of the five senses and realize our inner realities and connections in ways the five senses could never provide. There are many types of meditation and it is a good idea to try several until you find the ones that work best for you. I have written other articles on this subject.