~ Revised Nov 10, 2017 ~
LEVEL 2 MEDITATION
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 Level 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 and the heart; 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 lives and overrides 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, instinctual humans and intelligent, civilized humans. We continue to witness the violent, primal drive of “primitive humans” in conflict with the civilized world.
In the early stages of human development, there was no individualistic ego awareness as 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 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. 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 external 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 collective consciousness meaning there was no concept of a personal self; this collective state of consciousness exists today in many 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 the primal drives are subservient to the ego-personality. 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 security. 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 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-personality, 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 “I and 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-personality 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 ego-mind. This whirling, changing, shifting perspective of life and self is comprised of the body-mind and ego-personality; 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, force and energy. 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 and awake.
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 psychic sentiments, consciousness becomes completely identified with this world and the physical body. Conscious experience of the body’s instincts, cravings, impulses and physical sensations plus feeling, desires and personal sentiments (psychic) as well as the “chattering mind” of the ego is what this paper refers to as the “body-mind.” Thus, the body-mind facilitates and identifies with the ego/personality and the corporeal body so thoroughly that humans think that this ego-personality 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 of the nature-body. This type of thinking was discussed in Level 1 (see diagrams); these somatic energies are active in the lower half of the body below the heart. The forces at play below the heart, which include the rational mind, are dedicated to thinking about the world and its affairs, the ego/personality and the cravings of the physical body. The forces at play above the heart, which include the reasoning mind, conscience and intuition, are dedicated to spiritual perceptions, values, and quality of character of the divine-human Self; the heart resides in the middle as the mediator. Generally speaking, these contrasting forces tend to manifest in the persona of an individual in terms of selfishness and 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.
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 nature comprised of feeling and desire. 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-Self-identity). For clarification, feeling discussed in this paper is not touch; touch is 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 and stimulation through the 7 centers of psychic perception in the nervous system (diagram in Level 1). Sensation and stimulation can arouse the body/body-mind on the animalistic level or it can stir the psychic level with feelings, desires, rational thinking, emotions, sentiments or cravings. The body-mind and the psychic 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 events 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 Level 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 (psychic 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 women, 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 the psychic 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 psychic 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. Our individual behavior is also influenced by the collective unconscious which is represented by archetypes 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 Level 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 “unique 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 endeavor. These illusory projections 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-personality, these negative life experiences adversely affect the self-esteem and hinder the spiritual development of the individual. Level 2 Meditation is a slow and methodical process for cleaning up these unconscious obstructions.
There is a name for this dark side of the soul – 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 shadow reveals itself and its power as the “personification of your darkness and weaknesses” and when active, is frequently felt in the solar plexus, the power center. It 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 arrange things so we do not see an issue 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 our original mistake or condition 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
Level 2 Introduction
The individual who has completed Level 1 knows by now that meditation is a 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 Level 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 that “no one puts new wine in old wineskins.” Psychic energy is usually discharged and dissipated into the world through our daily activities, unconscious habitual behaviors, and personal attachments. Level 2 meditation prevents these energies from being dispersed and instead focuses them internally upon the issues and errant behaviors we must transform. In the transformation 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 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. If one can build this “wall” and truly separate from 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 will be 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 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 that their true nature may be understood and healed so they 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 our weaknesses that our 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 in Level 1). The focused meditation work begins on the physical level by engaging the non-personal forces of self-preservation, self-gratification, instincts, impulses and 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 understanding and perceptions of life and self; this relationship with the body is our first center of awareness. The work of Level 2 meditation is in the second center of awareness – the ego-personality, a very deeply-rooted complex. The ego mind resides in the “waters of the psychic” and the transformative work purifies the psychic waters with heat (focused attention) and turns these waters into vapors (air) which will help us “to rise” to a new center of awareness, Self-realization.
There are many references in the Bible which refer to the meditation process and these transformative experiences: The eye (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 will lift all above the misery of life and be the foundation from which the Christ Light emerges in the next level of meditation.
Before beginning the advanced work on this level of meditation, it is important to take a thorough evaluation of the conscious self, the ego-personality. Make certain there is no unfinished business or lingering personal issues with others that could interfere with the work at hand; be clear enough to be focused and committed. In Level 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 and unstable emotions. These varying issues are considered to be fragments of our self and our power which 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 filled with light. This enhances the awareness of the psychic nature of feeling/desire. 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 diagram below is an alchemical symbol for this process); it means to be contained and complete within your Self. This is the experience of wholeness and Wholeness of Being is the goal in Level 2 meditation. Wholeness of Being is Self-realization.
This meditation requires that practioners be skilled in Level 1 breathing techniques and be able to maintain a focused mind for a prolong period of time. The shadow and the elemental energies of the body are the source of “mind-chatter” which is the “voice of the shadow.” The shadow keeps one’s attention constantly focused on the external illusions of the world and the ego-personality. The ability to focus the attention within is mandatory to achieve any level of success. There should also be a deep and consistent peace and calmness within from success on Level 1 and a feeling of closeness to the divine. If you are not at this level of proficiency, then success will be difficult, if not impossible.
~ Step 1 is to hold the light (your focused attention) steady on the spiritual heart in the middle of the chest; this is the “center of operations.” Be aware of the psychic field surrounding the body – it is like an egg-shaped energy bubble (see diagram below); breathe “smoothly” and calm the psychic energies; and maintain the stillness for as long as possible. Do not forget to keep the Christ Light in your heart during this meditation. When necessary, pray to Jesus for his presence and guidance in working with the shadow. Psalm 23 is the prayer for this meditation.
~ Step 2 is to breathe, watch and wait. Everyone is different so telling a person exactly where to begin 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 (light) will present itself. Fill it with light, know it, heal it and bring this fragment into the Wholy Self.
~ Step 3 Repeat until all of the psychic energies are clear and the “dark side of the soul” is filled with light. This indicates you have forgiven yourself of past sins and mistakes and regained that “lost energy.” This does not mean the shadow has been eliminated; we must always be vigilant so its influence does not arise and bring back our errant behaviors.
~ Step 4 BE STILL in the Light of the Spiritual Heart… and don’t talk about it, simply let it shine.
There is a point in this meditation when the “reconciliation of the opposites” (the union of feeling/desire, anima/animus) is fulfilled and one experiences an involuntary, spontaneous union of the psychic nature. The closest description of this experience is that it is a knowing of the wholeness of the Self (not your personal knowing, but a higher knowing which comes from above). Self-realization and wholeness are the goals of Level 2 Meditation. The next step is to maintain and build out the virtuous “wall of personality” in preparation for Level 3 Meditation and let the spiritual heart become one with the selflessness and unconditional love of Jesus Christ.
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.