dwelling in our higher natures
Dec 14, 1993 07:29 AM
In our western world, the term *meditation* is used to describe a
diverse number of practices. It might be good to use it to describe
a higher form of practice, where we approach the spiritual within, and
distinguish that from the other practices, that at best distract us from
our inner natures, if not leading us astray.
If a practice has us visualizing lights, visualizing forces *doing
things*, forces changing things in the world, then we are in the
psychical, in our imagery, and the magical or phenomenal in our
practice. If we are trying to control the inner forces of nature in
order to make changes happen in the outer world, then we are attempting
to practice the occult arts, and are not practicing a spiritual
A meditation that is more psychically oriented, would be based upon
seeing things, upon directed imagery, perhaps having us imagine what
is on some other plane. A meditation that is more phenomena oriented,
would be based upon seeing things happen in the world, upon sending
out energy to change people and events in the external world.
A spiritual meditation is not psychical and passive, it does not
involve receiving impressions, images of external things. And it is
not magical, not involving the occult arts, it does not involve using
the mind, the desire, the life energies going outward to fashion or
shape the external world in some way.
In a high form of meditation, we go deep into abstract thought or
pure being. Images, visions, impressions do not come to us, or if they
do, we are unaware of them. We are operating within at a level that is
different from the lower nature, from the personality. It is there,
functional, present, but we are centered deeper within, deeper than
the personal powers or perception.
In Zen, if we were to start seeing images in our meditative practice,
we would be told to shut them off, that they are delusional, a
dsitraction from the direct path to realization. This is an aspect of
spiritual meditation, the directing of the attention *away from* the
phenomenal and sensory side of life.
Now this does not mean that we tune out the world, that we close our
eyes and forget that we have a physical body and try to exist on some
other plane. No. All the lower principles are embraced in our
meditation, they are included. But the lower principles are not
focused upon, they are not active, they are at a state of rest, and we
are aware of them being present but do not put any energy into them.
This shutting off of imagery, though, refers to a passive, receptive,
impressionable state of mind. It is different, and an acceptable
practice to take an object of meditation, such as a Tibetan deity,
and visualize it as part of a meditation. The emphasis is on
self-awareness, on staying in control of everything that happens, on
directing the flow of consciousness, which is the opposite of a
passive reception of astral imagery.
The emphasis is upon self-control, on self-direction, on inner mastery
of the experiences of consciousness. We are not under the direction of
a group leader, for instance, where we are told to visualize this
thing happening, another thing happening, and so on. We are not taken
anywhere by someone else's volition. Our training is in initiative, in
self-originating consciousness, in bringing out further awareness and
power of understanding *from within*, which is the opposite of
increased suggestibility, increased receptivity to the direction of
others, increased yielding to what others would have us see and think.
Meditation is not psychical development, and it is not hypnotic
receptivity. It involves pure thought, direct insight, beingness. We
are active rather than passive, creative rather than receptive,
and insightful rather than developed in the senses.
In meditation, we are mentally perceptive rather than psychically
sensitive; we radiate from within rather than tuning in to things
outside; we have the certainity of knowing things from personal
experience, rather than just seeing and hearing vague, illusory images.
We function in the faculty of the higher nature, rather than in astral
consciousness. And we are strengthened and centered, harmonized,
rather than weakened, disoriented, confused, filled with doubt and
The experience is more like approaching the holy with reverence than
like entering the birght colors and sounds of a carnival or circus.
We are not entering the lusty, the corrupting, the profane, the mortal
nature, but rather are rooted in the heart of the world, the heart of
life, and are sold like a mountain. There is no sense of being vague,
turblent, unstable, or weak.
In one sense, we experience the richnes of emersion in the unmanifest,
in the darkness of chaos. In another sense, we experience the perfection
of *suchness*, of the certainity of oneness, the perfection of cosmos.
The highest virtues can be experienced, and not as vague, illusive
generalizations, as unreal abstractions, but rather as living realities,
as an actual part of our being.
The correct approach to meditation requires us to have a clear
understanding of the differenct between the purely mental, and the
spiritual nature, on the one hand, and the psychical, lower human nature
on the other.
Our practice is not for personal liberation, not for the cultivation
of powers, not to cuase things to happen in the outer world. We are
not seeking to attain powers nor anything for ourselves, as persons.
We are rather cultivating the spiritual, and the lower nature will
automatically, of its own accord, come into line and take care of
itself. Externally, things will fall into place and almost happen
magically, as though they were being taken care of for us.
We do not put considerable time and energy into refashioning our
personalities, because we try to keep our consciousness functioning
at a level where we are unaware of the personality side to life. In
our hike along the mountain trail, we behold the beautiful mountains
before us and are inspired. We take in the grand panorama and dwell in
high thoughts, and do not give most of our time and attention to
wiping the mud off our boots.
The personality is a collection of habits, of attributes, a self with
certain likes and dislikes. Were we to try as a regular practice to
*personally* disassociate ourselves from it, we would not be really
doing so. The mental dialog is not escaped by thinking "these are my
thoughts and I will direct them". The desire nature is not escaped
by wanting different desires. We do not refashion the personality by
turning it on itself.
When we seek to change our personality by using it to change itself,
by disassociation, by trying to change it by functioning in it, we
fail. We cannot simply split the personality in two, and say that this,
the bigger portion, is the bad personality that we want to make better,
that that that, the smaller portion, is the real person, trying to
direct the changes in the other.
Don't split the personality in two. Don't at times say that you are the
higher self, trying to oppose the mistakes of the lower self. Don't
try to use the personality against itself. To do so does not really
allow you to function in the higher self and to make things better.
What is really happening is that a second, a alternate personality
is created, the pretend higher self, the person that we might dwell in
while being pious, while feeling apart from, above, better than we
are in most of the activities of our lives. We have created a second
personality that we switch to at times, when we tell ourselves how
spiritual we are, and fill ourselves with denial of the other, our
This is wrong and will not help us. We are caught up, ensnared further
in the lower side of life, in the personal and selfish, and have
even more to untangle ourselves from.
The proper approach is to dwell in the highest within, and leave the
personality to change over time. We don't attack the personality head
on, and even when we work on self-improvement, we don't dwell on the
process and become preoccupied with it.
Picture a block of ice. Say we are trying to break it up, to dissolve
it, to transform it, to raise it to a higher level. We don't forcefully
break it apart with an ice pick. All we'd have would be many smaller
pieces and flakes of ice. It's still ice. Now imagine it melting,
imagine it dissolving into water in the warm sunlight.
The spiritual nature has such an influence on us. It does not break
apart things, it does not do things by violence, it does not leave us
the way that we were before, but perhaps broken into pieces. Rather,
it transforms us in its radience, it changes us throughout our being,
throughout our personality, as an overall influence upon us. We are
transformed from within, rather than merely changing ourselves from
In meditation, we approach the spiritual and dwell in it. We elevate
our consciousness above and beyond the petty problems of the personal
nature. We let go of the whirl of the outer activities, and enter into
inner tranquility. We are refreshed, strengthened, and transformed.
We find that a kind thought is vaster than a commanding thought,
that a wisdom, a insight, a sense of the void, is much greater than
a colorful image or vision. We find ourselves *radiant* rather than
*receptive*. And we work on our divine right to be positive, active,
living forces for good in the world.
In our meditation, as in the events of our day-to-day lives, we
practice being self-forgetful, being rooted in a consciousness where
our activities are done in pure enjoyment, without a sense of us,
personally as doing the activity.
This is not to say that there is no sense of personality, no sense of
any consciousness in our personal natures. There is still that
consciousness, but it is experienced as something extra, something on
the side, something incidental to the main thing happening in life.
We are now centered in our higher principles, and our experience of
life arises from them as the keynote, sounding out throughout our
entire seven or ten principles, but them being the most interesting,
the most captivating, the most central theme to our experience of life.
Eldon Tucker (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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