STAGE 2 MEDITATION - WATER
Transformation of the Lower Psychic
PHILOSOPHY & KNOWLEDGE OF STAGE 2
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 a physical 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 in a living human, 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 1600 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, lived 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-personality. However, individuals who live on the primal level of life are only capable of thinking about materialism and satisfying the desires of the body; they perceive of external reality exclusively in these terms. Such an individual has never outgrown his or 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 or 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, materialism, 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 their center of conscious awareness 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. 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 for many people 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-persona 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-persona 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 truly their own.
The sum total of these personal 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, 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 ego-persona and the body-mind (instinctual urges, impulses, desires, etc.); 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. Only consciousness can be conscious as consciousness. 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. However, although people are conscious, they seldom think in terms of “being conscious that they are 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 and/or unable 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 rational ego-persona and the corporeal body so thoroughly that humans think that this ego-persona complex is who they are. 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
The forces at play in 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 quality, nature, and characteristics of individual humans are defined by their thinking. What we call thinking is primarily mind-chatter being influenced by the primal drives and sensations of the nature-body. These somatic energies are active in the lower half of the body below the diaphragm.
The solar plexus is the mediating field of experience between conscious intelligence and the instinctual nature of the body – our Human self. The mind, heart, and solar plexus represents our Psycho-Cognitive self; and the higher forces at play above the diaphragm, including the reasoning mind, conscience, and intuition are dedicated to spiritual perceptions, morals, and the quality of character in our God Self.
Psychic Nature & Meditation
The consciousness which comprises our being is expressed as a triune intelligence of knowing, thinking, and doing (see diagram at bottom). 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 on this website is not touch; touch is the tactile experience where intelligent light meets nature-matter; there are 4 senses in the head (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.
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 rational and semi-rational ego-thinking. Note: The diagram below has listed the 4 states of being, whereas, the diagram above has 4 emanations of soul. For an explanation, see: Being & Soul
The body-mind (emotions generated from physical experiences & neural sensations) 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 loved one, or nervousness and embarrassment when standing before a large audience, and so on. The awareness and management of the solar plexus is the primary work in Stage 2 meditation.
We experience life in a 3rd dimensional reality of space/time 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-persona and repressed into unconsciousness. But, the personal shadow also reveals itself and its power as the personification of our darkness, anger, resentments, pain, weaknesses, etc. and when active, is frequently felt in the solar plexus, the power center. The shadow corresponds somewhat to 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.
Resolving the issues of the personal shadow is the primary work of Stage 2. The content of the shadow, the: dark desires, guilt, regrets, cruelty to others, arrogance, greed, insensitivity, heartlessness, lust, selfishness, anger, pride, irresponsibility, envy, gluttony, and laziness are expressed in the voice of ego-personality – the chattering mind. The shadow is what separates us from God and our spiritual nature; it truly functions as a barrier to the divine.
Even church-going Christians who are unaware of the personal shadow suffer from this disconnection with God. They perceive that this dark influence in their lives that is tempting and misleading them is the work of the devil. Blaming the devil for this mischief is simply projecting the personal shadow onto the devil. It relieves people from taking responsibility for their own darkness; however, they are shirking their responsibility as a Christian by not facing these unresolved issues.
In reality, it is the responsibility of each of us to resolve our personal issues and to cleanse our consciousness so we can approach the sacred altar of our spiritual Heart within. This is what I believe Jesus Christ meant when he said, “Physician, heal thyself.” See this link for detailed information on The Shadow. **Suggested reading on the psychic nature: PSYCHIC ENERGY by Esther Harding
This diagram is the Tree of Life superimposed over the body.
Everything in red is related to the Ego-Persona & its Shadow.
BREATHING & MEDITATION PRACTICES OF STAGE 2
Those who have completed Stage 1 know by now that calm focused-connected breathing is the steady, concentrated, internal focus of our attention which temporarily suspends the distracting chattering of the ego-mind and the desires or urges of the body with an increasing and effortless proficiency. The Stage 2 process begins by preparing the psychic energies from the 3 lower chakras, which converge in the solar plexus, for purification and transformation creating internal stability. In Mark 2:22, Jesus uses a parable which describes the transformation of the psychic energies when he states, “No one puts new wine in old wineskin.” These transformed psychic energies are the new wine.
The lower psychic energies are usually discharged and dissipated into the world through our daily activities, such as: worry, anxiety, unconscious habitual behaviors, semi-rational mind-chatter, excessive sex, self-indulgence, and clinging to personal attachments. Stage 2 meditation first works on purifying these energies and preventing these energies from being dispersed so they can be focused internally upon the issues and errant behaviors we must transform. In the transformational process each issue that is resolved brings new insight, increased physical energy, and conscious stability. In other words, this purified energy is the new wine and the purified body (Stage 1) and consciousness is our new wineskin.
Stage 2 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 errant behavior of the shadow and 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 the real, unblemished human self to emerge. The diagram below is from a meditation book of the 1600’s and republished as The Secret of the Golden Flower by Richard Wilhelm and Carl Jung that 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 physical body which stream through their respective atmospheres (water/psychic, air/mental, and fire/spiritual) 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 spiritual or 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.
Important Note: For those who are using this meditation system for personal transformation and spiritual growth, Stage 1 meditation must be completed before beginning Stage 2. Physical transformation and purification must be accomplished before beginning the transformation of the lower psychic and shadow.
~ Step 1: Breathe – focused, connected breathing as explained in Stage 1 and Just Breathe. As explained in focused-breathing, begin by breathing in from the navel. This breathing movement should mimic diaphragmatic breathing where the diaphragm pushes downward filling the belly until the breath is full. As it approaches fullness, you will feel the breath-energy moving up the spine to the top of the head. As vital-energy showers down the torso through the vagus nerve for the next breath, allow for all bodily weakness, pain, and negative feelings to dissipate into the universe with this out-breath. Practice smooth, rhythmic, slow and long breaths until relaxed. Be very relaxed during this meditation. Let the heart slow the breath and let the breath slow the heart so breathing cannot be heard.
~ Step 2: When breathing is relaxed, focus the attention in the solar plexus with the intention of identifying and transforming personal issues. These shadow issues will be revealed relative to their painfulness and/or their darkness. When the psychic energies of feeling/desire are calm, the part of your psyche which needs the most attention (healing light) will present itself. Deal with these issues calmly one at a time. Be strong and steady gradually owning and eliminating all the errors, sins, misdeeds, excessive behaviors, dark thoughts, and emotions. Fill these unconscious fragments with light and fully own them; to know them is to heal them; and let these fragments integrate with the Wholy Self. Healing in the solar plexus area restores personal integrity and self-esteem as this is the center of our human spirit, personal power, and the self-image.
~ Step 3: 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 non-essential attachments and the duality perspectives of life. Forgive yourself of past sins and mistakes and allow for the regained lost energy to integrate with and renew 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 errant behaviors. When the solar plexus energies feel stable and one feels relatively clear, this indicates the psychic nature and shadow influences have been transformed enough to begin Stage 3 Meditation.
For those who are beginning this exercise for the first time, understand that in the beginning this work will stir up all the things that have been repressed throughout one’s life. Anger, resentments, disappointments, and regrets will surface (one at a time), but this is what has to happen in order to heal our personal shortcomings. Deal with each issue as it presents itself. As long as you feel stable and centered, continue doing this until you become clear within. Eventually, you will feel personal empowerment, self-discipline, and internal stability radiating from your solar plexus center; this is the new being in the place of power (diagram above). This work usually takes months to complete so be patient. As you near completion, the “psychic waters will turn to vapor” and “pass through the diaphragm”; this is when the Sacred Heart will begin to open (Stage 3).
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 and the soul as the Breath-form come from the book THINKING & DESTINY by Harold Percival; the diagram above of the Triune Self is my own. Terminology on anima/animus, the unconscious and the shadow self are from Carl Jung’s COLLECTED WORKS V. 6-13.