STAGE 1 MEDITATION - EARTH
Instinctual Nature, Auto-Erotic Drives, & Primal Spirit
PHILOSOPHY & KNOWLEDGE OF STAGE 1
Most people feel happy and secure in their everyday routines. In fact, most people tend to resist change; like sleep, they are comfortable in the bliss of non-being. Yet, it is challenging to remain in blissfulness because of the impulses, instinctual drives, and desires of the physical body; something no human can escape. The body must be continuously sustained, fed, housed, nurtured, satisfied, and consoled – this can be a monumental task to maintain on a consistent basis.
Consequently, the human primal experiences in life, at times, can be stressful as people attempt to satisfy the cravings of the body. This self-preservation cycle keeps life perpetually transitioning from peaks of fulfillment to troughs of anxiety. The primal drive inevitably leads us into the pleasure/pain syndrome of constantly seeking pleasure and avoiding pain.
From this perspective of life, humans become attached to the pleasures of the world and are willing to do whatever they must to satisfy the physical and emotional passions of the body while avoiding pain – not realizing that the flip-side of every pleasure is pain. Mistakenly thinking that the sole purpose of life is to serve the desires of the physical body and ego-persona, this destructive cycle perpetually spirals downward leading people into pain and darkness as they seek greater pleasures to satisfy their desires which bring new pain and suffering. This empty, lonely and never-ending wasteland of self-indulgence is rooted in the greatest delusion of all – self-love.
Peoples’ lives change every day, consciously and unconsciously, as they attempt to maintain balance (homeostasis) in the changing circumstances of their world. They constantly struggle to make their ideal life a reality and they often suffer when their efforts are thwarted and their expectations fall short. The uncertainties and difficulties encountered in life are often experienced as states of frustration, despair, stress, or hopelessness. These terms are used to express the feelings which arise when a person’s worldly desires, aspirations, ideals, values, and intentions are not properly aligned with his or her own unique destiny.
These conflicted states as well as the darkness, negativity, and violence of the world often influence the physiology, psychology, and general well-being of the individual. In the extreme, these states can be experienced in the body as feelings of depression, anxiety, dark moods, stress, tension, loneliness, and various kinds of negativity. This paper refers to these states which take up residence in the memory of the cellular structure of our bodies as residual corruption.
Generally, repeated patterns of stress, anxiety, depression, negativity, or disharmony as well as environmental pollutants can also be established in this collective organic memory which is referred to in these writings as the body-mind. Residual corruption varies from person to person which means the patterns of one person’s bodily responses are different in degree from those of another.
For instance, two people will react differently if they are surprised by a snake or they will have a different bodily response to bad news or to life in general. People of faith tend to have a stronger or more peaceful constitution regarding change than those who live a secular life because they have faith these events are life’s lessons meant for their personal growth.
In the diagram below, the body-mind is identified in red text in the lower portion of the torso. This is to indicate that it is the physical body and the 3 lower chakras which emit the sensations of residual corruption, sensual desires, instinctual drives and impulses, dark thoughts, anxiety, low self-esteem, and the chattering-mind of the ego-persona.
This barrage of lower energy sensations, sensual desires, dark impulses, and constant distractions from mind-chatter adversely affects the entire body, mind, and spirit of people every moment of the day. For those who are willing to take responsibility for their lives, the focused breathing exercises of Stage 1 meditation are the pathway out of this pain and darkness; this is the beginning of spiritual freedom.
The experience a person has with regard to these psychic patterns, residual corruption, and organic conditions in the body/body-mind is the starting point for the meditation process. The first stage of meditation clears and purifies the body and body-mind of residual corruption, unwanted anxiety, and stress, as well as the primal instincts and fears which come from being in a physical body which someday will die. Through a specific focused-breathing technique, these disturbances are gradually diminished and eliminated from the body improving the quality of life and clearing the way to experience higher states of consciousness, such as being free from the fear of death.
There are many benefits that can be derived from the practice of meditation like good health, relaxation, peace of mind, and emotional stability. Although these benefits will be experienced as a by-product, they are not the end goal. This first stage guides practioners in a focused-breathing meditation which releases illusory attachments to the world and purifies and stabilizes the emotions as a preparatory step for entering the stillness within. In order to be in the stillness, a person must utilize focused-breathing to relax the physical body and still the mind to stop the constant mind-chatter in the head.
The Personal Worldview
The thoughts, feelings and desires which run through our minds from daily experience condition the consciousness and influence our self-concept, altering the configuration of internal feelings we have regarding life. Any conflict, turmoil, or contradiction experienced in life between our internal hopes and external realities are found in the patterns of our thinking.
Our thoughts are creative energy and these energetic patterns are continuously and habitually programed into the autonomic nervous system (ANS) each and every day through our reactions to life; this is how the personal worldview is continuously configured. The worldview is about the collective life experience, the self-concept, and the personal feelings and desires of the individual.
Thus, from our worldview, we form our own unique perspective of life which influences the nature of our experiences. Relative to the relationship we have with our: bodies, experiences, attachments to the material world, self-concept, individual desires, and relationships with others, we formulate our unique worldview. Our worldview likely contains beliefs about the political and social world-at-large which will include our real and imagined fears, prejudices, perceptions, misconceptions, personal desires, limitations, and dreams.
The significance of the worldview is important because whenever we experience life, we will always have a reaction or response that is based on the internal patterns of our worldview. What this means is that we will see life as we are, not as it is! The optimism or pessimism of our worldview is synonymous with the way we perceive and experience the world and others. The unique experiences we draw to ourselves from the world will affect our beliefs, and these beliefs will, in turn, alter our worldview (ANS), which alters our perspective, which alters the way we experience life, which determines the kind of experiences we draw to ourselves and establishes the way we interpret these experiences. Everyone is caught in this perpetual loop-of-life experience – except those who have unraveled this mindless cycle of conditioned responses through the experience of self-analysis in meditation.
In this realm of duality, on a daily basis, we encounter people, situations, and things in the world to which we are either attracted or from which we are repelled. This magnetic impulse determines our response to these external objects, events, and people in the world and this polarity response is registered and felt in the body/body-mind (ANS). From these sensual, magnetic attraction/repulsion experiences, we establish impressions about the various circumstances, things, and people in the world, all of which further create our worldview.
The accumulated impressions of our worldview entice us to re-experience the pleasures we have previously experienced or make us avoid encountering the things we don’t like. These responses are stored in the body’s memory where they arise and react whenever similar situations occur. This cycle of pleasure and pain is repeated continuously throughout the day, every day. This cycle is how we compare and analyze experiences and determine whether our life is successful or not, that is, whether we are moving toward or away from our ambitions, desires, or ideals.
For many people, worldly experience is a painful struggle because their beliefs about how they would like life to be are in sharp contrast to the reality they experience. They do not know how to get free from the endless cycle of pleasure/pain. The degree to which the pleasure/pain cycle affects us is determined by how much we are invested in a specific outcome or whether an experience manifests the way we want it to. This loop-of-life experience is the ongoing illusory-stream of life that anchors us to 3rd dimensional reality. This is where and how life is spent and how it will come to an end unless some action is taken to change this repetitive dead-end pattern.
Whether our strategy in living is to have an ideal life or to just make improvements in the quality of our everyday experience, the key is learning how to control and properly manage the internal thoughts and feelings we have toward life. It is from these reactionary and repetitive thoughts, feelings, and impressions that we all create our future life experiences… for better or for worse.
Meditation enables us to gain the personal power, knowledge, and clear perception we need to reach internal equilibrium. This means standing at a point of equilibrium between pleasure/pain, like/dislike, happy/sad and accepting both with equanimity. Spiritual balance is having enough internal power, knowledge, and spiritual realization that the elemental forces of nature, the ego, or the illusions of the world are unable to tip the balance of this internal peace. Meditation experience reveals the serene neutral point between these dual polarities which enables us to be in the moment between opposing forces without being pulled one way or the other.
The Primal Struggle
Although humans are conscious, they have no idea how it is they are conscious; they have no idea what consciousness is or how it works. From birth to adulthood, human consciousness transitions through 4 structures of awakening, the: archaic (infant, toddler), magical (child), mythical (teen) and mental (adult). These stages gradually reveal to us the conditions and circumstances of the world in which we live.
At each stage, humans struggle to understand their relationship to this physical realm, to people, and to material objects (See: Perception). They become distracted, enraptured, and trapped in this complex maze of shifting sand and never stop to ask… “Who am I, how is it that I am conscious, and where was I before I was conceived?”
Unfortunately, for the majority of people in the world, consciousness is exclusively fixated on feeding, sustaining, preserving, and satisfying the physical body. For the majority of the Western world, consciousness is fixated and lost in the illusion of the ego-persona and the material world. Educated Westerners understand the difference between their sophisticated, technological lifestyle and the more primitive life, but they fail to recognize that they are just as stuck in the 3rd dimensional worldly illusion as a native in the jungle, except the native is not as lonely, neurotic, or medicated.
This conversation is not meant as a judgment of individual people or lifestyles; it is about the lifelong struggle we humans have in understanding consciousness and what we can do to change and improve our life experience by awakening from the worldly illusion and shifting the focal point of consciousness to a higher level of awareness. It is important to recognize that the peace, stability, and well-being of an individual’s conscious experience is not dependent upon external material conditions, but upon internal self-realization.
The unconscious instinctual impulses of the physical body (aka the primal spirit) are the primary source of the urges of life as well as the impetus to survive and propagate. Being in a body, humans constantly experience the driving force of these life urges and the compelling influence of their dark characteristics which make us act and react to the circumstances of life.
These primitive, undeveloped, and unconscious forces of our animal body drive us to do things in life for which we are ashamed, embarrassed, and confused, adversely affecting our health and psychology. Therefore, spiritual liberation begins by transcending, transforming, and subduing the non-personal, instinctual impulses of the physical body.
We humans are unable to consciously control the urges, instincts, or impulses of the body, such as: hunger (greed and want); or inertia of the physical body (laziness and restlessness); or self-defense (enmity and friendship); or reproduction (love and lust); and maternity (nourishing and devouring). These instinctual, impulsive and primitive drives find their psychic expression in 3 neurological centers found below the diaphragm: the survival drive (self-preservation, aggression, greed, primal fears); the sexual drive (self-gratification, anger, lust, selfishness, gluttony); the drive to power (self-image, self-centeredness, pride, envy).
Obviously, this lower, primal level of the human experience is the source of our problems, anxiety, pain, disappointments, and personal insecurity. The selfish inclination of this primitive, non-personal, unconscious, instinctive content sees everything in terms of “I want.” Although this is the elemental, survival instinct of a physical body, the personal consciousness of the individual sees it in terms of “I am doing the right thing to get what I want.” It should not be surprising to anyone that self-love is the root of all evil in the world.
STAGE 1- BREATHING MEDITATION
Meditation is a bottom-up process of realization and transformation – this means establishing a firm foundation by first awakening and dealing with the physical destiny and energies of the body so higher states of consciousness can be awakened and realized. For those who are new to meditation, this first stage is about training the outward looking, sense oriented ego/body-mind to perceive the functioning reality of the internal energies of the physical body.
Psychic, mental, and noetic destiny will also be engaged consecutively as consciousness awakens on these levels. Physical destiny is experienced in meditation as the health, instincts, impulses, desires and “chattering” of the body/body-mind, and the lower psychic energies, i.e. our feelings and experiences with the primal instinctual impulses of the body.
Internal self-reflection requires a quiet meditation area, a comfortable sitting position, and a set time period for meditation practice. Relax the body and sit up straight. The thumb and first two fingers of each hand may touch, the fingers may be intertwined, or the palms may rest together to create a circuitous path for energy to flow. Use any sitting position that is comfortable. With the clarity and power of this system of thinking, the sitting position doesn’t matter as long as you can focus and the body is sitting erect and not creating distractions.
The purpose of focused breathing in Stage 1 is to still the energies of the body by slowly releasing tension, anxiety, fear, pain, and uncomfortable memories. This transformation process begins with the subduing, smoothing, and refining of the physical breathing which relaxes and changes the cellular structure of the body with each deep, peaceful breath. Control of the physical breathing is the beginning of purging the body of its fears, anxieties, misconceptions, and impurities.
Proficiency in the breathing technique must be achieved before any transformative practices begin. As the breathing becomes refined, smooth, and effortless, the body/body-mind will feel increased light, vital energy, and confidence to neutralize the negative energies; this brings about a natural harmony, peace, and stillness not felt before.
Meditation can empower and transform the individual as the negatives in life turn positive and personal transformation changes the life experience for the better. Sitting quietly with focused thought opens us up to ourselves and to many previously unknown internal perspectives and intuitive insights about our lives.
This requires taking full responsibility for: the unique circumstances of one’s life experience and gradually resolving and letting go of all past grievances and personal pain; transforming the dark primal instincts and impulses of the body to the point of managing all urges, impulses, and desires; and learning to stand with peaceful equanimity in the presence of adversity. Mastery of the lower instinctual forces and dark impulses is depicted by the image of Mother Mary standing upon the earth with the serpent underfoot.
The ego-personality and the forces of the nature-body are a formidable adversary in this breathing and transformation process and should not be taken lightly. The ego-persona must be managed and subdued during this meditation as it will fight any attempts at undermining, subduing, or altering its power base. The ego holds tightly to getting what it wants and to its attachments in the worldly illusion, even though ego-mind is an illusion itself. The ego state is a very complex and challenging barrier between what it wants externally and what the inner Self wants, like: peace, knowledge, happiness, inspiration, and for some, Self-realization.
In the process of living, much of our spiritual light is lost in the world through our attachments to the things and people with whom we are involved as well as from our undisciplined, erratic thinking, volatile emotions, and stupid decisions. With disciplined effort, focused-breathing begins to withdraw our personal power from the world of nature and the influence of the ego/body-mind and return it to us as increased awareness, assurance, and vital life. As power is drawn inward from the physical, sensual realm and turned within, it awakens the higher levels of consciousness and revitalizes the physical body.
This transformation process will gradually awaken our spiritual nature. Practicing this exercise daily begins to alter the consciousness, making it focused, resilient, confident, patient, positive, disciplined, strong, and persistent. As consciousness changes for the better, conditions like anxiety, stress, craving, and related pain are literally eliminated from the body. In other words, as a result of practice and increased realization, we become less emotionally volatile, more balanced, patient, fearless, serene, confident, courageous, and accepting of the future.
This inner serenity creates the condition in which negative patterns can be easily neutralized, dissolved, and eliminated from the body/body-mind and this, in turn, compels the nature-matter of the body to change accordingly. This process spiritualizes the matter of the body turning nature-matter into intelligent-matter or vital life into vital light. This is what Christ refers to as the regeneration of the body and soul. The “new wine in the new wineskin” is being prepared.
Breathe for a moment or two and relax the body. Notice there is a slight pause at the beginning of each inhale and exhale. After a few breaths, eliminate this pause so the breathing is connected, in other words, there are no pauses; the in-breath flows smoothly into the out-breath and vice versus. The use of focused, connected-breathing seals the body off from the intrusion of elemental nature energies which enter the involuntary nervous system during the pauses in breathing. This nature energy plays along the involuntary nervous system stimulating the senses, creating sensation, and inducing mind-chatter. Connected-breathing prevents stimulation to the body and senses allowing for improved concentration. Practice connected-breathing until it feels comfortable. Try to keep the body-mind quiet by stopping the mind-chatter; learning to focus the mind is the key to success.
When the breathing is relaxed, begin to breathe from the center of the body. This area is behind and slightly below the navel; between the navel and the spine in the center of the body. This is the lower energy center used by yoga meditators as well as Qigong and Tai Chi practioners. The exercise at the navel works with the vital life energies of the body. This energy center which is between the navel and the spine is where embryonic breathing takes place when a baby is in the womb.
The embryo pulls nourishment from the mother through its umbilical cord which feeds the body through the navel. After birth, infants continue to breathe from the navel area because it feels natural. It is only when the consciousness awakens and begins to integrate with the body that this natural breathing cycle is interrupted and breathing shifts to the lungs. The focused, connected breathing exercise, when done correctly, will reconnect a person with this natural breathing cycle bringing a deep sense of peace and relaxation.
A newborn infant, for a period of time after birth, still utilizes embryonic breathing; when it inhales, its belly does not extend, but remains tight so breath is driven upward toward the head; this also happens for us in deep sleep. When the baby breathes out, the belly relaxes and extends outward a little until the in-breath once again tightens the abdomen and the cycle repeats. In the upward movement of breath, the physical breath transitions into the more subtle psychic breath which swirls around in the psychic atmosphere; the same action takes place with the mental breath and its atmosphere; and likewise with the noetic or spiritual breath. This type of breathing properly regenerates the body as it synchronizes and balances the bodily energies.
Locate the embryonic area within the central cavity by finding the spot that feels most comfortable (or warm, or tingly, or just feels right). Stay focused in this area while concentrating on the connected-breathing. Relax the body so the breaths become long, slender and smooth. The breath, body, and mind are interconnected; refinement of the physical breath calms the body and stills the mind. Improved skill in this exercise will be noted as the breath becomes refined, that is, calm, slow, long and smooth.
For many people not experienced in meditation, it is challenging at first to get the ego-mind to be quiet because the ego and the chattering-mind are integrated and it does not want to be disciplined. Our personal attention has been totally dominated by the ego-mind and it is not going to relinquish its hold on its inflated self-image without a fight. Nevertheless, the goal of meditation is to neutralize the influence the ego has on a person’s attention and self-image. In the focused-breathing exercise, if there is significant mind-chatter disturbing the concentration, focus on the tip of the nose while breathing until control is regained.
Another method is to follow the breath in and out of the nostrils and if necessary, count the breaths from 1-10 and back from 10-1. The goal is to stay focused on the breathing without interference from the mind-chatter, the body-mind, or the emotions. In the beginning, this may mean pulling the attention away from these disturbances repeatedly until they lose their power to disrupt the focused-breathing. Simply acknowledge what has distracted the focus and gently and patiently let it go while bringing your attention back to the breath. When the excessive chattering has subsided, return to the focused-breathing technique.
STEP 1 – The first goal is to learn to control and eradicate bodily disturbances and ego mind-chatter through the focused-breathing exercise. This first step will take some time to reach proficiency for beginners so be patient and get it right. The goal will be realized when the focused-attention can be kept on the cycling breath with effortless effort. There is no exercise more important to this system of spiritual development than focused-breathing.
It is used throughout all the stages of meditation, and later, in the advanced exercises. Focused-breathing will guide the internal flow of light-energy, breath, and peace throughout our entire being, opening new doors of perception. When practice has become proficient, that is, when the mind is quiet, the body is relaxed, the breathing is long and smooth, and the attention is focused; only then does the real work begin.
STEP 2 – When the breathing technique is practiced successfully, the next step is to transform and purify the vital energies of the body. This is accomplished by directing the breath and the instinctual, bodily impulses through the light center in the lower abdomen with each controlled and refined breath, filtering these energies like water in a pool running through a filter. The practioner remains still and focused in the light and simply breathes; the instincts, impulses, and residual corruption of the body will arise on their own and come to the filter like a moth to light. Remain still and peaceful; do not personally identify with these lower bodily energies.
This filtering process will transform and purify the vital energies of the body by removing residual corruption, anxiety, stress, and other abnormalities. Practice until these energies are purified by eliminating the corruption. The goal is to transform the non-personal bodily urges so they no longer manifest in purely selfish ways and consciousness is free from the compulsive, primitive desires.
By so doing, consciousness no longer identifies with the primal instinctual nature of the body and is liberated and profoundly changed. One of the goals of Stage 1 is to recognize that we are more than a physical body and ego. This change allows for consciousness to naturally shift its focus to a new center of awareness, namely, the lower psychic. When one becomes conscious of the lower psychic, this is the beginning of Stage 2 Meditation.
NOTE: Do not allow for the ego-mind to become involved in the focused-breathing exercise; do not allow the ego-persona to enter, speak, or disturb this process. Become an impersonal point of observation focusing entirely on the flow of breath and keeping the bodily aches, itches, and sleepiness at bay. Gradually, there will be moments of stillness, lucidity, and focus followed by minutes of the same.
Practice until this state can be maintained with effortless effort. When one is nearing completion on this level of meditation, an important benchmark to look for is when you realize that you are not the physical body, the instincts, the impulses, or the urges of the body, but the real you is the impersonal observer; this is not an intellectual understanding, but an internal knowing realization.
When the impersonal self has sufficient control over the auto-erotic urges so they can be consistently subdued and managed over a period of time and goals can be achieved, one should become conscious of the lower psychic of Stage 2. Make sure this stage has been reached or the undisciplined impulses and urges will rise up and interfere with the work on the next level. It common to think we have gained control of these powers, yet they still govern us. When these urges compel us to act, think, and behave relative to the auto-erotic drives rather than according to our higher values, we are not yet free.
This first stage of meditation is the preparation of the new wineskin in which the physical body and nervous system are purified and strengthened to receive the light of Christ. This is similar to having the proper water pipe for a pressurized water system. The longer focused breathing is practiced, the more the body/body-mind is purified, vitalized, and stregthened but use common sense. For beginners, set a goal to do 15 minutes then work toward an hour. Ideally, practice the focused-breathing exercise for 15-30 minutes upon awakening in the morning and at night before bed; focused-breathing can be practiced for as long as one is comfortable and relaxed.
Do not allow for an overactive imagination to become involved in the meditation process; it is as simple as the instructions indicate. If any discomfort in breathing or anything questionable arises, take a break. Extreme or forceful breathing can be dangerous; don’t do it. Following the instructions will insure that no problems occur.
SIGNPOST: Our physical body, vital energies, and instinctual mind are connected to the natural world. All of our life, the body has been programmed to respond to the external stimulus of the surrounding environment. This connection also pulls the subtle energies of the body-mind into the world which continuously reacts to this stimulus. Here is something only a person who meditates on this level knows – when the subtle energies of the body-mind and chattering-mind are engaged with worldly thoughts and desires, it pulls the breath into this external activity. Embryonic breathing (described above) is the way to draw the mind and breath back into the body. This experience frees the body, body-mind, and breath from the distractions and chaos of the material world.
Aside from physical breathing, there are 4 subtle breaths (vital, psychic, mental, & spiritual) which circulate in the atmosphere of the body. In this stage of meditation, the focus is on the body/body-mind and the physical/vital breath which are caught up in the turbulence of the body/body-mind’s thinking and reactions to worldly matters. Focused-breathing in the lower abdomen also focuses the light of one’s attention on the vital breath and primal energies of the body which are subdued and purified; this is the purification of the corporeal soul. The purification of the soul is the primary objective of this meditation (see diagram below).
~ Imagine a large circle with a small dot in the middle; we are the dot. The large circle is the omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent Consciousness or what we call God. We live, move, and have our being in Consciousness. We were created in the image and likeness of our Creator, so we are co-creators with the Creator. In the Divine Matrix of this universe, God breathed life into our living souls and by this living, holy breath, our physical bodies are sustained. The purpose of our souls being integrated into a physical body and experiencing life in this elemental world is for the development of self-conscious experience and awareness because God, the Father wants us to be as conscious and loving as His Son.
In other words, the little dot in the middle of the circle is expanding to become conscious of the big circle. Letting go and letting God means becoming one with the big circle and experiencing all that God is; meditation is the practice of learning to let go. The difficulty humans have in becoming one with God comes from all the worldly and sensual attachments, self-centeredness, habits, delusions, possessions, bad decisions, and fears we have acquired in life. These aberrant behaviors of our being comprise our concept of the dot in the middle of the circle, that is, the dot is who we think we are and we humans are reluctant to let go and experience our full spiritual potential.
I rest in the bell of your blossom looking up at your sky,
I feel my breath slow to match the cadence of your sigh;
And as your peace caresses me like a warm, gentle hand,
I submit my heart and soul to the will of your command.
Then you birth me like a flower, opening beside the stream,
And I release the world to you as I awaken as from a dream,
To witness morning glory’s boundless expression of blue,
As you love the beautiful flower and the little honeybee too.
Then, my true life quickens to become the cadence of your sigh,
As I rest in the bell of your blossom, looking up at your sky.
Next: Stage 2 Meditation