STAGE 2 MEDITATION
The Creative Life, Transcendent Psychology
Biologists refer to our human body as an “animal” body because we have the same instinctual nature and primal drives (survival, sexual, and power drives) as the beasts of the jungle. These drives and bodily urges exert a tremendous motivational force on the physical body and how it lives, responds, and behaves. Were it not for these drives, humans would be completely passive and uninspired to do anything. The recognition and management of these primal forces and urges is the focus of Stage 1 meditation.
In our unique human situation, we occupy an animal body that is miraculously infused with higher intelligence which emanates and is expressed through the mind, the heart, and the nervous system. However, while the primal drives and instincts of the body remain constant, the degree of functioning intelligence varies widely from person to person. Unfortunately, for a large portion of the people on the planet, the animal instinctual nature completely rules their life which overrides or veils the connection they have with higher intelligence.
These varying degrees of being conscious – from primitive to civilized – have existed throughout history. As an example, Rome was at its pinnacle as the highest civilization the world had known when primitive tribes from the north invaded and destroyed what higher intelligence in humanity had created. Today there exists in the world the same disparity between primitive, instinctually-driven humans and those humans who favor a “civilized” society. Although we continue to witness the violent, primal drive of “primitive humans” in conflict with the civilized world, there are also those “power-driven” humans who want to dominate the civilized world and are willing to use whatever means necessary, including violence, to get their way. This is the “two steps forward and one step back” nature of development in the physical realm of unenlightened humanity.
In the early stages of human development, there was no individualistic ego awareness as we know today; these qualities of being were unconscious and meaningless to the survival challenges of existence. Eventually, the more evolved of the nomadic tribes recognized that hunger and self-defense could be readily satisfied in a more civilized and secure environment. This shift in awareness toward civilized, agrarian existence required a concerted effort by these humans to regulate and manage the primal instincts, impulses, and basic urges so common goals could be achieved through communal cooperation. For community to become a reality it became necessary to regulate and manage the brute force of the survival drive as well as the raw sexual drive; humans had to learn how to be “civil” with one another which meant managing the power drive also.
As time passed, the most significant and miraculous transition of consciousness Western Civilization has ever known emerged around 1500 A.D. during the Renaissance Period. This quietly unfolding event emerged within a relatively small percentage of humans; it was the transition from being conscious to becoming self-conscious (See: Perception). To put this into context as stages of consciousness… the mineral kingdom is conscious at a level we know as deep sleep, the vegetable kingdom is conscious as lucid dreaming, the animal kingdom is conscious, and humanity is now self-conscious. What is incredible about this is that humans have only been self-conscious for a little over 500 years. Prior to that time, for the most part humans were only conscious, living an externally-oriented life in a primal experience of urges and instincts in the nature of the animal body.
Remember, at the time of Christ, people lived locally. In other words, people were born and died in a communal village or in a tribal setting following the ancient, ancestral customs and mores of their elders. In essence, these “communal rules” were a pre-established, habitual life a person was born into and required to follow; just another “cog in the wheel.” A person did not bother to “think” as there were few, if any, alternative lifestyles from which to choose; they simply had to do the chores they were assigned in order to eat. It was a very impersonal existence; no one ever entertained the thought of “I am an individual self who has choices.”
All of humanity at this time lived in what we today refer to as participation mystique meaning there was no concept of a personal self; all life was external and had mythical, symbolical, and fantasy type emanations. This collective state of consciousness still exists today in remote areas of the world. Looking back 2,000 years, it is astonishing to think of the conscious state of humanity and this period of earth as being the setting in which Jesus Christ made his appearance. Jesus Christ was not only a self-conscious being, but also a Self-realized or God-realized being that was one with God, the Father. It is no wonder so few people understood him and others, threatened by him, had him crucified. His message was meant for those of today who can now understand what he means when he says, “Come follow me. These things I do, so shall you do also and greater than these.” We can become Self-realized as Jesus demonstrated and remove the darkness of the world from our hearts so our “light can shine before all mankind.”
In the world today, the majority of people are self-conscious, but few are Self-realized. The personal self or what we call ego is now the center of consciousness and in the more advanced humans, the primal drives are subservient to the ego-persona. Individuals who live on the primal level of life are only capable of thinking about satisfying the desires of the body and perceive of external reality exclusively in these terms; such an individual has never outgrown his/her dependence on bodily comforts and self-satisfaction. Primitive people in the modern world who still live in collective consciousness are incapable of conceiving of the greater awareness and freedom that are enjoyed in the personal self-conscious awareness with all the feelings and sentiments of the life experience. It is inconceivable to those living in the primal, auto-erotic states why a person would put aside his/her comforts and through self-discipline focus on a creative project, read for self-improvement, or selflessly help others. Likewise, it is incomprehensible to the person who is attached to power, prestige, and the sensual enticements the modern world brings to the body and ego-persona, why anyone would consider “dying” to this pleasant worldly experience so the center of consciousness can shift its focus to the God-Self within.
The Renaissance Period was referred to as the “Enlightenment” of humanity, with its focus on awakening to a “brand new, never-seen-before” perspective of external reality in the 3rd dimensional world; it was a flourishing of art, science, music, religion and self-awareness. For the individual, it was an extraordinary awakening of the self-concept or the “I – not I” realization. This florescence of consciousness within humanity was what many consider as the dawning of the modern age. Nevertheless, this pre-modern state of the world and the inconsistent availability of scarce resources held captive the attention and the time of people struggling to provide for themselves the necessities of life. This cycle of “boom or bust” and working to just stay alive was the way of life up until the end of WW II. Ironically, in this post-modern world with its abundance of resources, gadgets, sensual pleasures and abundance of leisurely time, it is the bodily urges and ego/personality that now holds captive the mind of the individual.
Change in the conscious experience of life with the emergence of ego has radically accelerated civilization, technology, and self-awareness. But the downside to this advancement is that humanity relinquished its personal identity and power to the ego which now rules supreme in the world. The personal self with all its opinions, arrogance, likes and dislikes, prejudices, prideful conceit, and selfishness is primarily what comprises the self-concept today. There is good which comes from the personal self, but if we were to dig deeply, we would discover that most of these “good intentions” have ulterior motives behind them. For the majority of people, the personal self is so confused, conflicted, and insecure that people find it necessary to wear a “social mask” in public so no one can see who they truly are or what they are really feeling or thinking. This mask has the ability to show a smile when “you might feel like wringing someone’s neck.” Of course, the social mask is different for every person, but its function is the same. Ironically, the mask has so many “faces” that people become confused as to which of the faces is theirs.
The sum total of these attributes and characteristics discussed above is the modern day ego-persona or in esoteric terms, the counterfeit spirit. This term, counterfeit spirit reveals a truth most people do not want to know and that is, that there are so many changing faces, feelings, thoughts, impressions, fears, moods, and opinions about self, life, and others that they do not really know who they are. Generally speaking, each of us is a compilation of bodily aches, pains, urges, anxieties, fears, and impulses, along with psychological feelings, desires, disappointments, confusion, uncertainties, sorrows, and insecurity as well as the constant chattering of the “semi-rational” ego-mind. This whirling, changing, shifting perspective of life and self is comprised of the ego-persona and the body-mind (instinctual urges, impulses, desires); it is who most people “think” they are. In reality, the only way for a person to find out who he or she truly is means “seeking out and finding” the knowledge and experience of self-realization through meditation or what some refer to as self-reflection or introspection.
The Worldly Human
It is through the physical body that conscious intelligence meets unintelligent nature. The elemental matter of this universe is nature-matter, which includes our physical bodies; in and of itself nature-matter has no self-awareness, but it abounds with power and natural forces. Nature is not self-conscious. Nature is conscious of its function only. Our physical body is conscious of its function only; it cannot be conscious as itself. It is only when conscious light, a.k.a. conscious intelligence, is integrated into a physical body that the body appears to be alive, awake, and self-conscious.
The conscious intelligence we experience as “our consciousness” is so dispersed in the nerves and blood of our body that we are unable to formulate an awareness which allows for us to distinguish “who we are” separately from the body and senses. As we age, we become more oriented to our physical form; we become conscious of the impressions of the senses as well as the sensations of the body, and gradually, we become more and more conscious of the natural world in which we live. After a time, we are unwilling to disengage from the natural world long enough to realize that we are a being of conscious intelligence separate from the body and the external world. The constant bombardment of physical sensations in the body holds captive a person’s attention to the things and people of the natural world, and it is this experience of sensation that dominates our thinking.
It is only because of conscious intelligence being integrated into the nature body that we are able to formulate an understanding of the natural world. After years of experiencing the physical sensations of the body and psychological sentiments, consciousness becomes completely identified with this world and the physical body. Conscious experience of the body’s instincts, cravings, impulses, and physical sensations as well as the “chattering mind” of the ego is what this paper refers to as the “body-mind.” Thus, the body-mind identifies with the “semi-rational” ego/personality and the corporeal body so thoroughly that humans think that this ego-persona complex is who they are.
The quality, nature, and characteristics of individual humans are defined by their “thinking.” Thinking, or more correctly, “mind-chatter” originates in the body-mind which is primarily influenced by the primal drives and sensations of the nature-body. This type of thinking was discussed in Stage 1 (see diagrams); these somatic energies are active in the “lower half” of the body below the diaphragm. The solar plexus is the meditating field of experience between conscious intelligence and the instinctual nature of the body. The forces at play from the body and body-mind, which includes ego, are dedicated to thinking about the world and its affairs, the desires of the ego-persona, and the cravings of the physical body. The “higher” forces at play above the diaphragm, includes the reasoning mind, conscience, and intuition are dedicated to spiritual perceptions, morals, and the quality of character in the divine-human Self; the solar plexus, “our human self” resides in the middle of these opposing forces as the mediator. Generally speaking, these contrasting forces tend to manifest in the ego/persona of an individual in terms of selfishness or selflessness respectively. All humans determine which of these forces come into play in their lives simply by how and where they direct their attention, interests, and intentions. (See: Wheat & Tares in Opposites)
Psychic Nature & Meditation
As we have discussed, the physical body is driven by the power and force of instinct, impulses, and urges, but being composed of nature-matter, it is not conscious. The intelligence and life which animates the human body is the conscious intelligence which has been miraculously and mysteriously infused into it. Simply stated, the consciousness which comprises our being is expressed as a triune intelligence of knowing, thinking, and doing (see diagram below). In this earthly life, we primarily experience conscious intelligence as the doing self which is referred to as our psychic or psychological nature comprised of feeling, desire, and intellect. In a nutshell, feeling, desire, and the body-mind are 3 of the primary aspects of conscious intelligence through which we are able to experience physical life; the other 4 aspects are higher states of the thinker (reason-conscience) and the knower (Self-knowledge and Self-identity). For clarification, feeling discussed in this paper is not touch; touch is the tactile experience where intelligent light meets nature-matter; there are 4 senses (sight, hearing, smell, taste) and feeling is not one of them.
The body-mind experiences the instinctual nature of the physical body through a variety of tactile sensations in the 4 vital systems (digestive, circulatory, respiratory, and generative); as well as in the nervous system, the blood, and the senses. The psychic nature as feeling/desire experiences sentiments from the body-mind’s experience as well as sensation, stimulation, and awareness of the natural world through most of the psychic centers in the nervous system (diagram at bottom in
Level 1). Sensation and stimulation can arouse the body/body-mind on the animalistic level or it can stir the psychic level with unpurifiedfeelings (emotions & sentiments), unpurified desires (cravings & urges) and semi-rational ego-thinking.
The body-mind and the psychological nature are both connected to worldly experiences through the solar plexus in the mid-section of the body. The solar plexus is a wide-open portal through which humans encounter all of the sensations and impressions from the events and people of life; this connection becomes apparent when we experience a frightful surprise, fear or tragedy as a painful “knot in the gut” or joyful exhilaration when greeting a love one, or nervousness and embarrassment when standing before a large audience, and so on. The awareness and management of the solar plexus is part of the work in Stage 2 meditation.
We experience life in a 3rd dimensional reality of time/space which has up-down, near-far, and slow-fast. We also occupy an elemental body of nature and decipher our experiences in terms of good-bad, right-wrong, profit-loss, like-dislike, and favorable-unfavorable (psychological sentiments). It is primarily our desire for various things in life that makes us feel good or bad. We are happy when we get what we desire and feel disappointed when we don’t get our way. There is also a tendency for us to explain and orient the experiences of life in terms of feeling and desire as they relate to our body. We frequently monitor our well-being in terms of how we are feeling or we gauge our success in life by how well we are getting what we desire.
This process of orienting our experiences based on feeling and desire is different for men and women. When sensation and stimulus are experienced on the psychic level, there is a different orientation for the male (+) and female (-) in regard to desire (+) and feeling (-). For the male, life is oriented and motivated primarily by desire and secondarily by feeling. Whereas, for the female, life is oriented primarily by feeling and secondarily by desire. A man sees something and measures it by how much he desires to have it. A woman experiences something and measures it by the way it makes her feel. There is a saying that “in the man, the woman is hidden and in the woman, the man is hidden;” it is our “hidden other” which allows us to recognize our soul mate in the world. A conscious awareness of the dual polarities of the psyche is important in order to recognize and comprehend our psychological nature.
In Analytical Psychology, feeling (-) and desire (+) are expressed as anima (-) and animus (+) which also represent the feminine and masculine aspects of the psychic nature. These dual aspects also refer to the unconscious and conscious parts of our psychological nature. For the conscious male, his feminine nature is unconscious and likewise, for the female, her masculine nature is unconscious, but these unconscious aspects of our being often emerge. As an example of this unconscious behavior, without realizing it, men tend to express their unconscious feminine (anima) side as moodiness and brooding, whereas women tend to express their unconscious masculine (animus) side as unsubstantiated assumptions or accusations. What this really reveals in behavioral terms is that the subjective polarity of the psyche residing in the personal unconscious is undeveloped, immature, and inexperienced, with a tendency to be negative. Our individual behavior is also influenced by the collective unconscious which is represented by archetypes or personality traits which are sometimes characterized as mythological figures. Understanding how our psychic nature functions is critical for advancing individual spiritual development.
The personal unconscious of each human is a vast reservoir of unfinished business. It is the beginning point of Stage 2 Meditation. Throughout life each human has relationships with parents, siblings, friends, and people at large. These relational experiences can range from good to horrible and in some cases, abusive and damaging leaving psychological scars and behavioral problems. Most often these negative experiences happen when we are young and incapable of dealing with the trauma, so we relegate these issues to the personal unconscious and move on through life as if everything is okay. In addition to this, it is safe to say, that every one of us, at one time or another, has done things in our life for which we have regrets or sorrow. If these issues have not been successfully resolved, they also get relegated to the personal unconscious.
From time to time, without realizing it we all project our “flawed or slanted” perspectives onto other people, like seeing only the best in a new love or projecting nefarious qualities onto a mean boss or having unrealistic expectations for a new business venture. These illusory projections are not based in reality and have to be drawn back into the psychic content at some point. Obviously, this reservoir of unfinished business is vastly different from person to person. However, from the perspective of the ego-persona, these negative life experiences adversely affect the self-esteem and hinder the spiritual development of the individual. Stage 2 Meditation is a slow and methodical process for cleaning up these unconscious obstructions.
There is a name for this dark side of the psychological nature – it is called the “shadow self.” It is comprised of “fragments” of our personality that have been hurt or rejected by the ego and repressed into unconsciousness. But, the personal shadow also reveals itself and its power as the “personification of your darkness, anger, resentments, weaknesses, etc.” and when active, is frequently felt in the solar plexus, the power center. The shadow is the equivalent of the devil in Christianity which tries to lead us astray. The shadow does have the “power” to subjectively lead us astray or make us feel guilty or arranges things so we do not see an issue or person clearly or correctly; whatever it takes to get our attention it will not hesitate to do because it wants resolution with the conscious self. It has the “power” to recreate in our life experience the circumstances which mimic the repression of a part of our personality and will continue to repeat this action over and over again until we take notice. These things are done, not by some dark and sinister power, but with our own personal power that we lost in the original situation. In reality, our shadow self is a part of us that wants to be released, redeemed, forgiven, and brought into the light. Resolution of the shadow means wading into our personal darkness to reclaim our fragmented self and forgiving our mistakes, resolving the pain, and reclaiming our power for the purpose of wholeness and self-realization. This is what I believe Jesus Christ meant when he said, “Physician, heal thyself.” See the link below for detailed information on the shadow.
THE SHADOW: Our Dark Self
Stage 2 Knowledge
The individual who has completed Stage 1 knows by now that meditation is the steady, concentrated, internal focus of our attention which temporarily suspends the distracting “chattering” of the mind and the desires and urges of the body with an ever-increasing, effortless proficiency. The Stage 2 process begins by preparing the psychic field for the work of transformation and internal stability. In Mark 2:22, Jesus uses a parable which perfectly describes the transformation of the psychic energies when he states, “No one puts new wine in old wineskin.” Psychic energy is usually discharged and dissipated into the world through our daily activities, such as: unconscious habitual behaviors, intellect, excessive sex, self-indulgence, and clinging to personal attachments. Stage 2 meditation prevents these energies from being dispersed and instead focuses them internally upon the issues and errant behaviors we must transform. In the transformational process each issue that is resolved brings new insight and increased energy; this purified energy is the “new wine” that will fill our new wineskin.
In order to have a “new wineskin” to hold the new wine, we must prepare a “sealed vessel” as the alchemists say; one that can contain the intensity and protect the increase of purified light energy. The transformation of the psychic energies is the sacred work alchemists have referred to in all of their writings – we humans are “the sacred vessel that is prepared to illuminate the world.” A sealed vessel is required in the transformation process so that what is within stays in and what is without stays out; otherwise, we would continue to be adversely influenced by the world and trigger our old habitual patterns of behavior instead of separating ourselves from them. A sealed vessel is often shown in alchemical diagrams as a wall meaning that our virtues are the bricks in the wall and our will is the cement which holds these bricks in place. To me, this is what is meant in Ephesians 6:11 that says, “Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.” If one can build this “wall” and truly separate from the enticements of the world, he/she will understand what Christ meant when he said, “I am in the world, but not of the world.” In reality, this wall of the personality is built on the qualities of our character – honesty, integrity, sincerity, kindness, compassion, selflessness, and love of truth. This is the foundation upon which the true Self is realized.
Meditation within the sealed vessel means the psychic energies, which are very volatile, will continuously circulate and bring into the “focused attention” of the practioner various unresolved issues, personal weaknesses, shadow realizations, and non-personal instinctual energies for the purpose of transformation. Transformation means recognizing these undeveloped, unconscious energies as being a part of oneself and putting them into the light so their true nature may be understood and healed and the redeemed light energy can be integrated into the wholeness of our being. In this way, unacceptable behaviors, reactionary anger, disappointments, resentments, unconscious responses, and negative projections can be transformed and eliminated by turning this energy into virtues, goodness, and personal dignity – the “new wine.” Note: Today’s so-called “safe space” is nothing more than a hiding place for the shadow so it does not have to face the challenges of life which reveal an individual’s personal weaknesses. It is only when we face prejudices, weaknesses, and adversarial circumstances that our true strengths are revealed.
In this quest for Self-realization, another way of understanding these alchemical stages of transformation is to recognize that we are in an elemental body of earth, water, air, and fire (see diagram at bottom in Stage 1). The focused meditation work begins on the physical level by engaging the non-personal forces, self-preservation, self-gratification, instincts, impulses, and sensual urges. Directly confronting these elemental forces loosens the earthly bonds we have with the body so we can become more fluid (psychic nature) in our actions, understanding, and perceptions of life and self; this relationship with the body is our first center of awareness.
The work of Stage 2 meditation is in the second center of awareness – the psychic nature which includes the solar plexus and the heart. The ego-mind resides in the “waters of the psychic” surrounding the solar plexus and the transformative work (Part 1 of Stage 2) purifies the “emotionally-contaminated” psychic waters with fire (focused attention) and turns these waters into vapors (air) which will help us “to rise” to a new center of awareness, Self-realization. When our true Individuality (or Ego in Hinduism & Buddhism) is realized in the stillness of meditation, this signifies that the ego-persona is no longer in control, but has taken “a backseat” to the authority of our true Self. As long as we are in the body, we need the ego to function in the world, but it is no longer the decision maker.
There are many references in the Bible which refer to the meditation process and these transformative experiences: The eye (singular eye or focused attention) is the light of the body; the Light is the life of man; man is spiritually born out of water (feeling) and fire (desire) that is, the psychic nature; and except a man be born of water and spirit (purified desire), he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. John the Baptist says, “I baptize you with water: after me shall come one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” The purified state of the psychic nature is considered the Kingdom of Heaven which will lift all above the misery of life and be the foundation for the Christ Light; and this will prepare the practioner for union with the Spirit and Life in the third stage of meditation.
The Waters of the Lower Psychic
In Stage 2 meditation, the primary work in the psychic nature involves making the personal unconscious conscious which begins with the “shadow work” of resolving our uncivilized issues like selfishness, anger, impatience, arrogance, vengeance, excessive desires, unstable emotions, and unhealthy, unstable, habitual behaviors from the past. These varying issues are considered to be deficient fragments of our conscious self and our power that reside in the personal unconscious. The goal is to identify, recover, and resolve the issues of these “dark fragments” and fill them with light until the psychic nature is “whole and pure.” This transformative work takes place in the lower psychic in the area of the solar plexus which is like the central sun of our body; the solar plexus is often referred to as the abdominal brain.
In order to understand the context of this meditation work it is important to recognize the living symbolism of the “waters of the psychic nature.” The knowledge revealed from symbolism is possible because of these universal laws: As it is above so it is below and as it is below so it is above; as it is within so it is without and as it is without so it is within; and for every macro perception there is a micro perception, like the sun of the solar system, our solar plexus, and the nucleus of the atom. With these universal laws in mind, Genesis has always been thought of as the Macro perception of the Creator creating Creation, but now consider that the Micro perception is the Creator creating the matrix of the human body.
In the symbolism of the KJV of the Bible, Genesis 1:6-10 the nature of the psychic waters are distinguished from the waters of the earth. “Verse 6: And God said, Let there be a firmament (our diaphragm) in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. 7. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. 8. And God called the firmament Heaven (our inner self). And the evening and the morning were the second day. 9. And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. 10. And God called the dry land Earth (our outer self): and the gathering together of the waters he called the Seas (our psychic nature): and God saw that it was good.”
It can be argued that earthly manifested life below the diaphragm is comprised of our “semi-rational” ego-persona, the elemental-animal body, the fluids of the circulatory system, air (oxygen) for life to flourish, and the fires of the nervous system while everything above the diaphragm is heavenly
unmanifested life in the waters above the waters (purified psychic energy), the reasoning mind, conscience and the spiritual light. In the NRSV of the Bible Genesis 6-7: And God said, "Let there be a dome (diaphragm) in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters." 7. So God made the dome and separated the waters that were under the dome from the waters that were above the dome. And it was so. In the RSV Genesis 6: “Let there be an expanse in the middle of the waters, and let it exist to make a distinction among the waters, in the waters.” Keeping this symbolism in mind let us continue.
Stage 2 Meditation – Part 1
Feeling is the passive aspect of the psychic nature which is present above and below the diaphragm. When it is active below the diaphragm, as it is in most people, it is present as the dark-side of the feminine principle or anima which adheres to the nature of instinctual, bodily consciousness. The anima is the origin and substance of the body-mind, affecting it psychologically through negative emotions, moods, and resentments. This dark energy is part of the unconscious shadow which is below the diaphragm and felt in the solar plexus. When properly transformed, feelings above the diaphragm are pure, loving and receptive to intuition. Simply stated, feeling below the diaphragm is comprised of various emotions and above the diaphragm is pure feeling.
Desire is the active aspect of psychic nature which is present above and below the diaphragm. When it is active below the diaphragm, as it is in most people, it is present as the dark-side of the masculine principle or animus which stimulates the lower desires, appetites and impulses of the body. Desire also stimulates feeling and often leads it astray; it is the cause of misdeeds, anger, insensitivity, and compulsive behaviors. As a result of these errant behaviors, desire is often the cause for transgressions which are “hidden” in the unconscious shadow. When properly transformed, desire above the diaphragm inspires and motivates us toward the divine nature.
In the ego-persona, feeling is passive until stirred by desire; when aroused, feeling in turn, stimulates desire and the interaction between the two constantly creates “waves” which agitate the waters of the psychic. Thus, the unrestrained and volatile nature of feeling/desire and the presence of the shadow in the lower psychic is the beginning point of Stage 2 Meditation. It is much more effective to divide this level of meditation into two parts since the work below the diaphragm is about transforming the dual-perspective of ego-reality, the lower instinctual-psychic nature, the shadow, and the behaviors which result from this inferior experience of life.
On the other hand, the higher psychic above the diaphragm is non-dual reality, so the work in the heart center does not begin until duality has been transcended through the purification and transformation of the solar plexus center. When one has severed attachments from worldly influences and internalized personal power, then one will experience non-dual reality in the lower psychic and the Sacred Heart begins to awaken. Then, the work in the heart center begins to purify, synthesize and unite the energies of feeling and desire; duality to non-dual perception. This is an alchemical marriage in which the masculine/feminine, anima/animus become one or androgynous. Spiritual androgyny (genderless) is where humanity’s destiny lies. In the future, our bodies will conform to this new spiritual reality.
This meditation requires that practioners be skilled in Stage 1 breathing techniques and be able to maintain a focused mind for a prolonged period of time. The ego, shadow, and the elemental energies of the body are the source of “mind-chatter” which is the “voice of the shadow.” The shadow of the ego-persona keeps one’s attention constantly focused on the external disturbances, illusions of the world, inner turmoil, and unsatisfied desires which are felt in the solar plexus. The work on this level focuses on transforming these energies, allowing for your real, unblemished self to emerge. The diagram below is from a meditation book of the 1600’s The Secret of the Golden Flowerthat illustrates the work in the solar plexus which has been explained in this paper – albeit a different and updated explanation, but the same reality.
There is physical breathing, but there are also three “non-physical” breaths in the body which stream through their respective atmospheres like the jet stream moving in the Gulf or like the jet streams circulating in the Earth’s atmosphere; these breaths are the cause of physical breathing since the body is not capable of breathing on its own. For most people, the noetic breath is hardly noticed and the mental breath is weak and sporadic, but the psychic breath is closely connected to physical breathing and mind-chatter. What circulates in one’s psychic atmosphere stimulates physical breathing and disturbs feelings, desires, and mind-chatter. Control of breathing is control of the psychic nature and this is the key to successful meditation on this level.
~ Step 1: Breathe – focused, connected breathing as explained in Stage 1. Practice smooth, rhythmic, slow and long breaths until relaxed. Be very relaxed during this meditation; do not exert the will. Let the heart slow the breath and let the breath slow the heart so breathing cannot be heard.
~ Step 2: Begin by focusing the attention in the Sacred Heart above the diaphragm with the intention of identifying and transforming personal issues and making the personal unconscious (shadow) conscious. This work means “peeling back the layers” and owning all our errors, sins, misdeeds, excessive behaviors, dark thoughts and emotions, etc. Healing in the solar plexus restores personal confidence and self-esteem as this is the center of our human spirit and the self-image. In Stage 1 meditation, embryonic breathing of vital life is focused at the navel center; this is the beginning of the in-breathing cycle. In Stage 2 meditation, in-breathing of the life-force (prana) focuses on the solar plexus center; this is the second part of the in-breathing cycle which is the same internal, smooth, relaxed, and focused breathing as in Stage 1. The third part of this cycle moves upward to the head and then returns to the body on the exhale. Healing means revisiting past pains, but if ever things get too uncomfortable, simply pause, relax and breathe normally from the lungs. Focus on the Sacred Heart and be open to the love of the Holy family. Let your progress be steady and relaxed.
~ Step 3: Breathe, watch, and wait. Everyone is different so telling a person exactly where to begin with the transformation process is not effective. From my experience, when the psychic energies of feeling/desire are calm, the “part of your psyche” that needs the most attention (healing light) will present itself. Fill it with light and fully know it; to know it is to heal it; and let this fragment integrate with the Wholy Self.
~ Step 4: Repeat until all of the “wounded and dark” psychic energies are healed and the “dark side of the psychic nature” is clear and peaceful. Release attachments and the “duality perspective” of life; withdraw your personal power from the world, “breathe” it into the solar plexus and it will fortify and support your “virtuous spiritual armor.” Forgive yourself of past sins and mistakes and allow for the regained “lost energy” to integrate with the psychic nature. Having accomplished this does not necessarily mean the shadow has been totally eliminated, but it does mean you have risen above it. We must always be vigilant so its influence does not arise and bring back our errant behaviors. When one can breathe comfortably from the solar plexus, this indicates the psychic nature and shadow influences have been transformed.
For those who have never done this exercise, be aware that in the beginning this work will “stir things up.” Anger, resentments, disappointments, and regrets will surface, but this is what has to happen in order to heal our personal shortcomings. As long as you feel comfortable, stable and centered continue doing this until you become clear within. Eventually, you will feel personal empowerment, self-discipline, and internal stability emerging from your solar plexus center; this is the “new being in the place of power.” This work usually takes months to complete so be patient. As you near completion, the sacred heart will begin to open.
Stage 2 Meditation – Part 2
In order to begin part 2, it is necessary that the dark energies, psychological issues, and the dual-perspective of the lower psychic have been resolved and neutralized so nothing from that level disturbs this meditation. The final step in this meditation process is to be clear and selfless enough for the dual aspects of feeling and desire to immerse themselves into one another like a divine marriage (the first diagram above is an alchemical symbol for this process when heat is applied); it means to be contained, complete, serene and flowing within your Self in the activity of life. This is the experience of wholeness, and Wholeness of Being is the goal in Stage 2 meditation. Wholeness of Being is Self-realization.
~ Step 1: Hold the light (focused attention) steady on the Sacred Heart in the middle of the chest and breathe softly. At the same time, be aware of the psychic waters surrounding the body – it is like an egg-shaped energy bubble (the second field from the body, see diagram below); breathe “smoothly” and calm the psychic energies; maintain this stillness while being alert and attentive. Do not forget to keep the Christ Light in your heart during this meditation, and be receptive to the presence and guidance of the Holy Spirit.
~ Step 2: BE STILL in the light and love of the Sacred Heart… and simply let it shine. The symbolism of the “Rosy Heart” represents purified desire and the refined conscious self, that is, one who has died and been reborn into the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus and Mary are pointing to this heart on the homepage.
There is a point in this meditation when the “reconciliation of the opposites” (the union of feeling/desire, anima/animus, male/female) is fulfilled and one experiences an involuntary, spontaneous union of the psychic nature. The closest description of this experience is that it is a non-dual, knowing of the wholeness of Self (not a personal intellectual understanding, but a higher knowing which comes from “above and within”). Self-realization and wholeness are the goals of Stage 2 Meditation. It is important to maintain and continue building the virtuous “wall of personality” in preparation for Stage 3 Meditation. Let this new center of Self-awareness become one with the selflessness and unconditional love of Jesus Christ. Remember, spiritual androgyny (genderless) is where humanity’s destiny lies.
* Meditation requires discipline, focus, consistent practice, and a healthy lifestyle. Avoid those things which dissipate, diminish, and disturb the vital life energies of the body. It is vital life, vital light, and breath which open the door to the next level.
THE ROSY HEART
Awakened as by the rhythm of soft rain,
To peer into a steady flame,
And though surrounded by the shadow of night,
To mark the glowing pinprick of light.
Then, off in the distance another flower,
Blossoms with a most fragrant power,
Calling its lover to come unto itself,
To partake of the holy wealth, and
To cross the teeming void of time and space,
To witness the pure, white pearl of grace.
Then, two becoming one rosy flame,
Awaken fully as by the sound of rain.
Blessed are all simple emotions,
Be they dark or bright!
It is lurid intermixes of the two
that produces the illuminating
blaze of the infernal regions.
The terminology of the Triune Self, the 4-fold body and the breath-form are taken from the book Thinking and Destiny by Harold W. Percival. Basic terminology regarding the instinctual body, the shadow and the psychic nature come from Analytical Psychology and the writings of Carl Jung. The application of these terms to the different stages of meditation is based on my own meditation experiences.