It is common to see meditation as something disconnected from living in the world. As such, many seekers engage in meditation practice in order to reach a degree of inner peace or even to escape from their daily reality. This escape can go as deep as seeking states of suspension, falling into various trances or artificial ‘samadhis,’ as if trying to forget one’s human existence. Seekers even feel envious of those who can ‘lose consciousness’ in meditation. However, all of this reflects a very poor understanding of the true meaning of meditation, and that ignorance runs deep into the collective spiritual consciousness.
There is nothing wrong with wishing to experience more peace through sitting in meditation, but it is of the essence to gain a higher perspective on what meditation practice actually is. The purpose of meditation is not to collect various meditative experiences. Many seekers like to recall their ‘deep’ realizations in meditation, but they are living as an old person lives – through their memories. Only those who do not have a future live through the past. Those who have a future care only about their now and their further evolution. In any case, most of these so-called meditative experiences are illusions, temporary states of mind or altered states of consciousness which are similar to those achieved through taking drugs.
The practice of sitting meditation is the ground for awakening and establishing our pure nature. Any state that is reached in meditation and which cannot be maintained in activity is false. Most mystical states and mystical experiences cannot be transferred into life because they are not real. People can become very skilled in producing such states of mind through artificial meditation techniques or forms of self-hypnosis. But it is our ability to bring the state of meditation into activity that is the ultimate test of whether our realizations are real. Obviously, this does not mean that one should neglect sitting in meditation. Most states of meditation must first be established through sitting; otherwise, there is simply nothing to bring into activity.
The path of meditation is none other than the path of awakening. To sit in meditation is to open the dimensions beyond the mind, to establish our pure nature, to deepen our realization both energetically and existentially, and to integrate and merge our me with the inner states. Only when our connection with the state of meditation is firm can we then truly bring it into our life, beginning to learn how to live our human existence from the depth of our true self.
The only state of awakening that requires more practice in activity than in meditation is pure consciousness. The reason for this is because the cultivation of consciousness is initially based on horizontal surrender. As such, in order to deepen it the eyes need to be open. However, even in the work with consciousness the majority of energetic integration needs to happen in meditation with eyes closed.
Each state of awakening needs to be integrated with life. At the beginning this proves difficult due to the numerous distractions that the outer world manifests. As much as these distractions can be disturbing, as we grow stronger in overcoming them, our relationship with our inner self grows stronger as well and the process of embodying our pure nature becomes accelerated. However, one has to be sensitive to recognize when one is simply losing oneself in the world, causing the inner state to deteriorate, as opposed to experiencing positive challenges. One should only take on those challenges that one is capable of handling and growing through.
Each state of awakening represents a different dimension of our existence and needs to be integrated with life in a slightly different manner. In the work with consciousness, we learn how to relate to the world and interact with people from the depth of consciousness and how to maintain the continuity of recognition and surrender while being engaged in ordinary activities. For instance, having conversations with others often poses a challenge because it requires me to function in a more complex way and often involves various emotional responses. However, when we succeed in it and can effortlessly relate to others while being absorbed in our consciousness, not only does our functioning become much more efficient and clear, but for the first time we begin to perceive others and indeed the whole world from our soul. We no longer relate from the ego but from the dignified and truly conscious place of our real self.
Integration on the level of being may either relate to general work with being in activity or learning how to function from the place of samadhi in the absolute. The principle is the same: vertical surrender while being in activity. This surrender allows us to maintain the necessary level of vertical depth in being as well as bringing about the stabilization of recognition. How to live in the world from the state of absence, from being rooted in the unmanifested? The pull of the source may have an adverse effect on our ability to function or on our desire to connect with others. However, as the state integrates and reaches its natural condition, there is increasingly less contrast between the source and creation, and the human can begin to function naturally again. The feeling of being rooted in the absolute starts to be translated as living from the place of universal ordinariness. One relates to others from the abode of great peace and inner repose – from the depth of the soul in her unity with the ground of being.
To integrate the awakened state of the heart in activity can present different challenges due to the natural sensitivity of the heart. In particular, the human dimension of the heart tends to become more vulnerable to the energies of unconsciousness and the general insensitivity of the world around us. So we are learning how to listen to our heart. We let it gauge how much our connections with people are real and are based on the soul, and how much they are fake, empty and meaningless. Within ourselves, we constantly deepen our surrender into the heart of the soul. By learning how to keep our heart open in a dimension that has so little love, we assist our heart to awaken even further and to reach its unconditional depth. The heart is not only extremely sensitive and vulnerable; it has also strength, the strength of reality. Through the surrender of me and embodying the I am of the heart, we reach another level of empowerment as the soul. By facing the challenge of ‘real’ life, we create another opportunity to deepen our connection to the heart and to actualize its unconditional dimension.
There are two stages of the integration of our inner states with life: pre-stabilization and post-stabilization. During the pre-stabilization stage, we are not only attempting to make our state natural within the context of activity, we are attempting to make it permanent. After stabilizing the state energetically, integration is more about learning how to live efficiently from that state while maintaining its depth. This usually involves completing the stabilization of recognition and surrender as well, and because these two elements are more difficult to stabilize, the world can prove a major distraction.
Another important element is nurturing our awakened state while living amongst other people, especially those who are not on the path. Before our state is fully mature, it can easily be disturbed by the energy of the world and the unconsciousness of others. Each time we interact with people, the energy of their mind is linking itself with our mind, and the low frequency of their subconscious can disturb the purity of our consciousness. No matter how strongly we abide inside, interaction with others always involves an exchange of energy. Unconscious people are not simply lost and disconnected from their soul, they carry a lot of negativity which can affect anyone who is sensitive. It is important to know that the more we are awakened, the more sensitive we become to the vibration of lower intelligence. Only when the awakening process is complete do we gain the necessary strength of the soul to resist the influences from the plane of forgetfulness. The strength of the soul is a combination of having fully empowered her light and having arrived at the condition of transparency. Before having embodied the strength of the soul, one has to exert great caution while connecting to unconscious people. It is however important that this caution will not be translated as a fear of confrontation with the world. Caution and fear are very different things: fear is weakness, caution is wisdom.
Anyone who is on the path must sit in meditation. Sitting meditation must be an integral part of living and there is no end to it. Sitting and external activity are the two sides of our existence. Even after we are whole and complete, we continue to sit because it is an indivisible part of living as a conscious and intelligent human being. The more we are integrated with our true nature and the more our true nature is integrated with us living in the world, the more our whole life becomes the state of meditation. Everything that we do or don’t do is happening within the vast all-containing space of our natural state. This is the realization of oneness with life, which is the natural expansion of reaching oneness with our true self.
We are not merely sitting to reach a certain goal, after which we can stop meditating and go on with our lives. One of the most ignorant views about the spiritual path is that we walk that path so that later on we can live in harmony with the world and bring peace to our human existence. In truth, it is just the opposite: we live in this world so that we can walk the path. The path is our real life. Our life in the world, with all its complications and commotion, is just a pale reverberation of real life – real life is within. So when we talk about bringing meditation into life, we are talking about bringing true life into illusion. Illusion is part of existence and we do need to master the realm of illusion as well, but we should never forget where we are coming from, what our priorities are, what our purpose is and why we exist at all. When we walk the path, we represent higher consciousness and serve the higher purpose. We become part of the universal order of beings who are the protectors of the sacred shrine of reality. And yes, integrating that reality with illusion is an indivisible element of becoming whole.
For a glossary of the terminology used in this teaching and for further resources, you may visit our website www.anaditeaching.com
Click here for a printable version of this article.