Greetings. This is Jim McCarty welcoming you to the L/L Research podcast, In the Now, Episode #59. L/L Research is a nonprofit organization dedicated to freely sharing spiritually-oriented information and fostering community. Toward this end, we have two websites: the archive website, LLResearch.org, and the community website, Bring4th.org.
During each episode we respond to questions sent to L/L Research from spiritual seekers like you. Our panel consists of Austin Bridges and Gary Bean, and myself; each of us a devoted student of the Law of One. Your questions allow us to explore the Law of One and related matters of metaphysical interest. We hope only to offer a resource that enhances your own seeking process. Please know that our replies are not the final word on these subjects. We ask each who listens to exercise their discernment and be sensitive to their resonance in determining what is true for them.
If you would like to submit a question for the show, please do so. Our humble podcast relies on your questions. You may either send an email to contact@LLResearch.org or go to www.LLResearch.org/podcast for further instructions.
Again, I’m Jim McCarty and we are embarking on a new episode of L/L Research’s weekly podcast, In the Now. And I believe our first question is from David via Bring4th and he says:
“In his book, Soulcraft, Bill Plotkin defined ‘soul’ as ‘the vital, mysterious and wild core of our individual selves as essence unique to each person, qualities found in layers of the self, much deeper than our personalities’. He defines ‘spirit’ as a ‘single, great and eternal mystery that permeates and animates everything in the universe and yet transcends all’.
Plotkin argues that a fully-developed person needs to journey in both directions—downward towards the darkness of soul and upwards towards the light of the spirit. He says, ‘Soul is ultimately an agent for spirit.’
Ra refers to 3-D humans as body/mind/spirit complexes, but I am not aware that Ra mentions soul or its place in the cosmology of human spiritual evolution. It appears, however, that Ra does contemplate something like Plotkin’s concept of a soul, given Ra’s teachings of the basic function of free will, choice and catalyst in an individual human’s 3-D incarnation.
Can you comment on the role of soul in the Law of One?“
Gary, what have you to say about that?
Well, I ran a keyword search on the word “soul” and was actually surprised how many times it came up in the Law of One. I wasn’t even sure whether Ra actually used the word. I’ll say that in general, I see soul being used in a broader and a narrower sense.
In the broader, soul can be used as the self, or the entity, or the mind/body/spirit complex. You hear soul used in that regard especially when there’s been a catastrophe—say for instance, a ship sinks and you might hear that there were fifty-six souls aboard.
In the narrower definition, I see soul being used for the disembodied self, that is, everything that the individual self is, minus the body. Whether that is a mind/spirit complex or just spirit is, I guess, subjectively determined.
I personally cannot understand how there could be an individual self minus the body. You could say there is a discarnate self, but in whatever plane the self finds the self in, they manifest a body commensurate with that plane. For instance, the third density self manifests the chemical yellow-ray body. The self in the astral plane manifests the astral body, and so forth. So, Ra uses the word “soul” multiple times, but more so in the sense of the discarnate self—the self not manifest in the physical illusion. In two instances, actually, they use it interchangeably with spirit. They say ‘integration of soul or spirit complex’ and the ‘integration of souls or spirits’. But in general they seem to use it as the self sans physical body. That’s my basic rudimentary reply.
Okay. Austin, how about you? What have you got to say about this?
Well, similarly to Gary, it seems like soul is often used in different contexts. Each person might have a unique way to define soul based on the spiritual system they are working within, which it seems that is how Plotkin is working. I’m not familiar with his work, but based on how it is described by David, it seems like he is using the word to describe something very specific. But Ra uses the term “mind/body/spirit complex” to refer to all entities—not just third-density humans—and at all times of their existence, whether within incarnation or in between incarnation.
Like Gary was talking about, sometimes soul is used to refer to like an essence that just persists in between incarnations. Ra uses the term “mind/body/spirit complex” whether an entity’s in third density or sixth density, or even seventh density or the totality of our experience, which they refer to as the mind/body/spirit complex totality’. So, that is a persistent factor of our beingness throughout all of our evolution, all the way back to the Creator.
Maybe the difference is that it seems Plotkin and many others would define our soul as something that is separate from our physical bodies—as Gary was touching on—and separate from what the Confederation calls our personality shell. It’s easy to see the separation when our physical bodies may die and disappear, yet our essence continues on. But in my interpretation of Ra’s description, we simply shift bodies instead of losing our bodies. The personality shell, in my opinion, is also sort of an artifact of the physical body, and the physical body’s imprint on the mind complex. So, when the physical body dies and fades away, then a lot of that personality shell also fades away. This might also be what Plotkin is talking about when he says that the soul is separate from our personalities, or deeper than our personalities at least.
But this doesn’t mean that our souls are necessarily separate from our bodies like perhaps an insect can shed its exoskeleton, or a snake can shed its skin. The exoskeleton is still an essential part of the insect, and it can’t be said that it is necessarily separate from it, or the skin of a snake can’t really be separate from the snake’s skin until it sheds it. So perhaps what Plotkin calls the soul could be related to the mind/spirit within the mind/body/spirit complex. I think that’s maybe what Gary was getting at.
This may also explain why he speaks about the journey downward to the darkness of the soul. In our present incarnations, the unconscious mind—through which we may become more conscious of the functioning of the spirit complex—is necessarily seen as darkness. This journey into darkness is part of the spiritual seeker’s journey in third density of courting the unconscious and discovering the jewels of the Creator within. But to Ra the mind and spirit are not separate from the mind/body/spirit complex. The complex aspect of seeming separation between the three is only illusory. They are all single and unified and they are our essence as an entity.
Plotkin’s spirit to me seems very much like Intelligent Infinity. He described it as the single great and eternal mystery that permeates and animates everything in the universe and yet transcends all. Sounds a lot like Intelligent Infinity to me or simply just the Creator in general. To say that soul is ultimately an agent for spirit could still be accurate. This is not only because anything could be said to be an agent for the Creator but, even more specifically, the mind/body/spirit complex is essentially an agent for Intelligent Infinity finding its way back to the Creator—if that is what we would say is our soul. And even more specifically, that journey into darkness is ultimately a journey for contact with Intelligent Infinity, I think at least in some sense.
So, even then the mind/spirit in that journey into the darkness with the mind/spirit is still an agent for Intelligent Infinity or spirit, in Plotkin’s terms. So, that’s sort of how I see the two terms that David talks about relating to the Law of One.
How about you, Jim?
You did a good job there, Austin. Well, as far as I’m concerned, Ra does look at soul as being the same thing as the spirit and don’t use the word “soul” as much as they use the word “spirit.” I think that’s been consistent throughout the Ra contact with other terms as well. Ra does recognize what is called
“’prana,” but is more likely to call it Intelligent Energy that enters through the lower chakras and moves upward. And again, chakra is another term that is more familiar to a lot of people than energy center.
So, I think that in these three instances Ra uses a word that most people don’t use for that particular description or function.
I’m not really sure what Plotkin means when he says “downward toward the darkness of the soul.” I mean, is the darkness he’s talking about something that is dangerous, or is it just something unknown? And what does he mean when he says “down”? I don’t know what he means by the down part. So, I’m kind of puzzled by the way he describes “soul” and why he would separate the two because I don’t think there is a real separation. Ra uses the terms pretty much interchangeably, but mostly uses the word “spirit”.
Any other thoughts, guys?
I have a quick note about terminology. I mean, obviously we know that a word can have multiple meanings and it can mean different things to different people, but it gets even more dicey when you dive into metaphysics and try to pin a term down to a definition. I think with the Law of One we’re a bit spoiled because Ra did have an ability to be more precise with their terms, including vague, nebulous concepts like spirit or soul. But there’s not often a one-to-one equivalency between different systems of thoughts or between different perspectives and so forth. But nevertheless, comparing and contrasting is an incredible tool for gleaning insight, so it’s definitely a fun and worthwhile exercise.
But, no, no more thoughts from me.
How about you, Austin, any final thoughts?
No, I don’t think so.
Well, that was quick and curious. Okay, so I think on our second question, we want to talk about meditation a little bit. It’s something that kind of sprung up as an interest for all three of us and we’ve each begun to refine our meditation process.
Before we get into specific question, how about defining meditation?
Austin, do you have a good definition that you could use for what is meditation?
That’s a good one. I don’t have a prepared answer for that, so I’m going to have to wing it. Meditation, I think, has a lot of definitions. Specifically, for me, I view meditation as a way to enter into the mind in a way that invites passive listening or silence, versus active thinking. If you just pay attention to all the thoughts flying through your mind that you aren’t even really aware of through the day, I think that we’ll notice that sometimes we can be actively thinking without realizing we are actively thinking.
Meditation is bringing your awareness to that and paying attention to it, and gently, in my mind, trying to coax it into a more silent and still state. Meditation is not about really forcing it and not really about blocking out thoughts, but is about just gently entering into stillness as best that we can. There’s also things like, you know, guided meditation and visualization. All of these things are useful in their own ways, and I think all of them require a sort of an inward perception and stillness in a sense.
So, it’s a really difficult term to really nail down, but that’s what it is for me.
Okay, way to wing it, Austin! Good job.
Gary, how about you, would you define meditation?
Yeah, I’m so glad Austin went first. I’m not the quickest on my own two feet, especially not without a keyboard in front of me. But, yeah, I agree entirely with the direction that Austin headed and agree also with his mention that there are so many ways to describe meditation.
Another aspect that builds off of what Austin said that I would focus on is the aspect of witnessing consciousness. So far as I understand, the usual workings of our mind/body—we are identified with the contents of our consciousness, whether they are thoughts or sensations, memories, anticipations—are constantly attached or trying to avoid these things. We make an identity out of all these moving pieces that, you know, Buddhists would tell you are impermanent. They rise and they fall and have no lasting identity.
Meditation, then, is an activity of dis-identifying from the passing play of mind and body—pulling back and discovering the awareness that is aware of thoughts, the body, and of the separate “I”. There is existing right now in each of us this…this spaciousness, this openness, this freedom, that is just awareness itself. There’s no content to it—it’s free of everything. It’s free of space, time, limitation, birth, and death and it is—so to speak crudely about it—moving closer to the Creator. And in meditation—through focus, concentration, and, like Austin was saying, passive listening—we pull back from the contents of our mind and rest and abide in that awareness so that we learn to witness what is transpiring with equanimity.
Ramana Maharshi said that meditation is our natural state. And so, what we call meditation is like the formal method to get back into our natural state. So, to wrap up my winding answer, meditation is a method of sinking back into witnessing consciousness.
Good job, Gary. I like the way you wind around there. You did a really good job.
We’re all kind of like explorers, I think. You know, we start off with the concept of unity, as Ra does, and see how we become individualized and move out into levels of awareness—densities of awareness—to provide the Creator ways of knowing Itself. We are doing the same thing by providing ourselves ways of knowing ourselves. And as we enter into incarnation—especially in this third density where we have a veil of forgetting between our conscious and subconscious mind—we have this identity that we more and more define by what we do, what we want, how we feel, and where we are. This mind helps us to navigate through the illusion, gather all these experiences, process catalyst, and provide the Creator a way to know Itself—a way for us to know ourselves and the Creator. But it also seems to almost separate ourselves.
Charles Eisenstein talks about the story of separation, which seems to be necessary at a certain point up through, you know, most of the end of third density. We become so individualized that we forget that there is a larger self to which we are totally attached—we are part of and not separate from. I think that what we’re trying to do in meditation is to quiet our mind, which is so valuable as a way of navigating through the third density illusion, so that we can kind of get back to who we really are, and to commune with the Creator. Meditation is a lifeline. It’s as if the Creator is saying, “Well, if you all forget where you’re really from, remember to meditate.”
Back in 1962 when Don first started his experiment with supposedly channeling the philosophy of extra-terrestrial sources, the Confederation of Planets in the Service of the Infinite Creator has always had one primary message, which is to meditate. And they have continue to say that for well over fifty years now. So, there must be something to this. I think that what we really trying to do when we meditate is to give us a little sustenance—some spiritual food, a reconnection with the Creator and who we are. I guess the very simplest definition I’ve heard is that prayer is talking to the Creator and meditation is listening to the Creator.
So, I think that with meditation what we’re trying to do is to quiet our minds and put these valuable resources aside for just a little while as much as possible so that we can reconnect with what is real, become revitalized, become aware of the will of the Creator for ourselves in our lives, and begin to move according to that will because there doesn’t seem to be anything else that is of greater value than becoming one with the Creator. And I think that meditation gives us a potential path back to the Creator that we can travel in this incarnation, in this illusion, with this mind set aside for a little while. We can bring it back later on to, you know experience and describe and so forth, but for a while we need to set it aside. I think that’s basically what meditation is doing—at least that’s the way I’ve been approaching it here recently is to try to quiet the mind so that I can perceive what is real.
So, any more thoughts on definitions or questions?
Yeah. I like that statement you said about meditation being listening to the Creator and prayer being talking to the Creator. I have a slightly variant perspective, although it doesn’t necessarily disagree with what’s been said, but it does frame things in a different light. It goes along the lines of being able to inhabit first, second, and third person viewpoints. Those terms are normally reserved for, you know, writing, fiction, and storytelling, but when we think about it, we can inhabit all those things in our consciousness in relationship to the universe and things around us.
So, with that in mind, the first-person perspective is I am that. The second-person perspective is you are that. The third-person perspective is they are that or that is that–an objective viewpoint. So, in my view, meditation is sort of like the first-person identification with the Creator. It could be called listening to It, but it’s also finding that space inside of you that is the Creator where you say, “I am the Creator.” I think that with the second-person perspective when you’re saying you could be similar to prayer where you are talking to the Creator. Maybe the Creator responds or the maybe the Creator responds from within in that first person, but prayer is essentially identifying the Creator as you and reaching out to that. As for the third-person perspective, to me it is what Ra called contemplation.
Ra essentially said these three things are sort of keys: meditation, prayer, and contemplation. Meditation being the primal one, but meditation, prayer, and contemplation are three methods of the spiritual seeker. And so, contemplation is what I view as an objective view of the Creator where you’re trying to look at the Creator, but not necessarily talk to It. It’s when you think about the Creator, view It in an objective light, and view It in all the amazing and intricate ways in which It manifests Itself in our reality.
So, that’s another sort of alternate definition I think you can take.
Yeah, I like that. Good job.
Okay, any thoughts on that, Gary?
Yeah, the first-, second-, and third person-perspective is a really interesting way to look at those three activities. I’m going to hang onto that one, as well as the thing Jim said about how prayer is the talking and meditation is the listening.
Another aspect of meditation that comes to me that I get a lot from Ramana Maharshi, as well as Gangaji who is a modern teacher of Maharshi’s lineage,—if that’s the right word—is that meditation is about just stopping. Meditation is simply just stopping your agendas, your reaching, your seeking, your plans, and your strategies for how you’re going to achieve enlightenment. Meditation is just setting that all aside so you can just be and rest. Let it all go.
I think that perspective connects to the study of being that Ra talks about at multiple points in the Law of One. I think meditation is the tool for that study, as well as contemplation and prayer. But meditation, especially, is a study of being—not as an object, per se, or like how you would study a subject in school. Rather, but it’s the practice of being because meditation is probably the only time during your day outside of sleep that you are probably setting aside doing. It is a doing in its own right, but in essence, it is a rest and a surrender of the conscious mind. I think it’s a way to live out the courtship that Ra describes between the conscious and the unconscious mind that precipitates transformation.
But yeah, those are my thoughts.
You did a good job. So, how, how do you guys practice your meditation? How do you approach it on a daily basis? Do you meditate at certain times or meditate for a certain length of time or a certain way?
Well, I would love to be one of the people who wakes up in the morning and meditates immediately. But whenever I do that, I just go back to sleep even if I’m sitting up—no matter what. I’m just not a morning person so I cannot for the life of me meditate in the morning. But otherwise, I try to meditate every day. I think all of us probably—besides Jim—will say “I need to meditate more.” But I try to meditate every day, at least for a little bit. I do my best to have a set meditation practice where I make a ritual out of it where I have a specific stool that I use and a specific table to set up a candle and incense, and I clear everything away, which sets my mind into the it’s-time-to-meditate phase. I try to do that every day for at least fifteen to thirty minutes.
Earlier in my spiritual practice I felt the need to meditate a whole lot more and I was meditating for thirty minutes to two hours every day. But the more I’ve meditated, the more I find that I can find small moments throughout the day that sort of indicate meditation. I use body mindfulness a lot to do this. Whenever I notice I’m tensing up any particular part of my body, I will consciously relax it and take that moment to turn inside. I take a couple breath and close my eyes, which puts me back into a relaxed, more conscious state. That becomes a habit the more that you do it.
I know that there’s a lot of people who go throughout the day with tensed muscles all over their body and they don’t even realize they’re doing it and that causes a lot of health problems. It’s, I think, one of the biggest reasons why stress is so unhealthy. So, I think that it would be very beneficial if we can make a habit out of body mindfulness. Throughout the day, let’s try to turn our attention towards what our bodies are doing so we can relax our bodies. Then, we can use that as a moment to meditate.
So, those are really the main ways that I get my meditation in.
All right, very good. Gary, how about you? How do you approach your practice?
I prefer it first thing in the morning, though I am one among the legion for whom it’s a constant battle to really keep that discipline in my life. I wax and wane with it, unfortunately, and there is no judgment in the big picture, and what’s the hurry, right? We’re already there and we’re already enlightened. But I would like to practice it more and I don’t do it enough by my own measurement.
There is a chapter from Scott Maniker’s Universal Vision called “Meditation: The Royal Road” and it kind of set the template for me. So, my basic practice of meditation is really bare bones. I sit on a zafu and zabuton. As an aside, if anybody is listening who wonders how to meditate while sitting upright on the floor, you just need to elevate your butt, maybe your hips above your knees and ankles, something like that. But the two-cushion method allows you to do that. You sit on a cushion so your butt is elevated, and you can sit upright with an erect posture for a long time, at least I can.
So, anyways, I plop down on the cushions and say a little prayer or a little invocation at the beginning to kind of set the tone. Then, I just try to keep my attention on my breath—my breath is the point. I watch it come in, I watch the pause, and I watch the exhale. Without forcing it, I just allow it to rest gently. And when the mind wanders, which doesn’t take too long, then the objective is to be mindful again and to wake up and realize that your attention has been taken away by thought. When that happens, you just gently bring the attention back to the breath. And that’s it. It’s just a repetition of that over and over and over again. If I’m consistent with it, then that muscle gets strengthened and I am more present. I’m more mindful and my attention is more likely to rest on my chosen point on its own, which is the breath, and stay there. But that’s the thing, I’m not consistent and I don’t get that cumulative benefit.
So, how about you, Jim? What’s your practice?
Well, ever since the Ra contact, I think Carla and I tried to meditate twice a day for fifteen or twenty minutes. We pretty much did that for our entire time together. Unfortunately, I didn’t really take it that seriously then and I would use my morning meditations for planning my day, which you know is a disgraceful use of a powerful tool.
Shame on you. [laughs]
Yeah, but probably about two weeks or three weeks after Carla made her transition, there was just something inside of me that said, “This has to become more of a central part of your life. This is important so let’s get going.” So, I started meditating twice a day, as usual, trying to lengthen the time from fifteen or twenty minutes to thirty. That took a while. And then several months later in October of that year when I was recording Carla’s A Wanderer’s Handbook in the basement, I came upon the section on meditation where she recommended Joel Goldsmith’s book, The Art of Meditation. So, I kind of took that as a real suggestion that really came from her in a kind of round-about way and I read his book. In it, he recommended meditating a number of times during the day to really engrain it as a part of your behavior. That felt really good for some reason, so I started doing that and I’ve continued doing that.
I guess I meditate five or six times a day and it could be anywhere from twenty or thirty minutes up to an hour. But the length of time for meditation really doesn’t matter. What matters is the quality of the meditation. If you can quiet your mind for a minute or two minutes and feel that just a little bit of the presence of the Creator, that’s quite sufficient. I mean, you’ve already made a good contact there and it can be built upon. So, I don’t worry about the length of time. Sometimes I meditate longer, sometimes short. I try to focus, like Gary was saying , upon my breath with the idea that the mind is a valuable tool that for the moment needs to be set aside. When I meditate, I’m looking to relax my mind as much as possible.
When I first started meditating, I was just playing it by ear. I didn’t read books on how to meditate or anything. But I started taking long, slow inhalations and exhalations and watching my breath, just like Gary said, and then it seemed to be natural. The most relaxed point in that process seems to be after you exhale. It’s almost effortless to hold your breath then, and you can do it for quite a while. So, I hold the breath in for at least six or eight counts. I know that other folks like Amos who practices with the pranayama that Steve Tine was talking about in our very first channeling intensive say that the breath is held or stopped, both at the inhale and the exhale, which I’ve tried to do—hold my breath both times. But it doesn’t feel right to hold the inhale because that’s when you’ve got a full chest or lungs full of air, which makes it feel like it’s work. Meditation shouldn’t be work. It should be free, easy, and flowing, in my mind.
So, I watch the breath and I take the long, slow inhalations and exhalations and hold the breath at the end. I don’t breathe in the normal sense. I call it “dragging the breath” on both the inhale and exhale so that you create a kind of a steaming sound or feeling, going, “ahhh, hahhhh, ahhh, hahhhh,” sort of like that. And for some reason that seems to activate some of the energy centers, especially the indigo ray and occasionally the violet, and the whole brain. So, I look at that as a helpful thing. There seems to be something in that activity that responds to a good meditation. A good meditation for me is one that is fairly free of distraction. I’ve never had one totally free of distraction. But it tends to cause the indigo ray to vibrate and to come more alive than it usually is.
So, there’s probably more I could say. Do you have any questions?
Yeah. In the technique you described that you developed where you call “drag your breath,” are you constricting your throat when you do that?
No, not necessarily. Maybe just a little bit. But more of what I’m doing is trying to take the breath up into the upper sinuses so that there is a natural kind of roiling or boiling of the breath. It’s hard to describe, as you can tell, I’m having trouble here. It just makes the breath active and it gives it more of a role and it produces more activity in the brain.
Oh, yeah, I know exactly what you’re saying. [laughs]
Yeah, I attended a pranayama class while Austin and I were at Omega a couple weeks ago. It was just an introduction and it really got me wanting to get into pranayama. Basically, he laid out the concept of the ways in which working with the breath can do exactly what you were feeling—activating chakras or shifting balances. One technique that he shared with us was the constricting of the throat, which creates a louder sounding breath. This is why I thought that is what you were doing because it stimulates the glands near the esophagus, which, I think, have some kind of corollary in the chakras—might be the blue ray or indigo ray, I’m not sure.
But yeah, you’re on this self-exploration track of empirically observing what results you get when you change the breath. It’s really fascinating.
Most people who teach meditation say just to let intruding thoughts drift away. They say to not pay attention to them and to let them go, which I pretty much do. Sometimes there are thoughts that try to hang on, you know. Or sometimes I’ve got a concern that follows me into meditation such as I’m worried about why my cat Dan D. Lion didn’t come to breakfast this morning. Where’s Dan D. Lion? Or maybe I’m having a disagreement with this person somewhere.
When that happens, there are a several things I’ve discovered that you can do if you have intruding thoughts during meditation. One, hold the breath. For some reason, when you hold the breath it tends to clear the mind. Another thing that can clear the mind is a long, deep, forceful inhalation/exhalation, like you’re rebooting or like you’re just blowing away whatever thought it was. And a third thing you can do is to see each inhalation and exhalation as kind of a cover over the thought that you can use to cover it up until all of a sudden, it’s gone. And you can combine those things. Most of the time though, I find if I just keep on going and I don’t worry about the thoughts, that they do begin to fall away eventually, even though sometimes it does take a while.
I have a very active mind and sometimes I think that in maybe another life or another planet somewhere I was a pretty good meditator and I made it hard for myself here. Ra mentioned way back in 1981 that I needed more discipline in my meditations, so I’m working on discipline these days.
My basic structure of meditation is centered around the idea that the more you can rest your attention on a point of focus, which is often the nose or tip of the nose or the breath moving in and out, the more the monkey mind stops jumping around and taking your attention. Monkey mind learns to quiet down.
Would you say that that is true in your case, in your meditation?
I’m glad you mentioned that because that’s a critical point that I forgot to mention. Yeah, I try to concentrate my attention on the third eye. I discovered that when I do that, that it seems to be like an activator—it’s like plugging in to a power source. Whereas if I don’t, if I get, you know, lax and I forget to do that, then I’m kind of drifting and I’m not focused. It’s so much more easy to focus if I can focus—it’s easier to focus if you’re focused! It’s an identity—on the third eye. That’s something that I definitely do, yeah. Thanks for mentioning that. I forgot about the obvious.
Third eye. I remember Paramahansa Yogananda describes using that as a technique for keeping your attention there. So, you’re not following the breath per se. I mean, you’re aware of the breath, but your focus is centered on the third eye.
Both. The focus is on the third eye while I’m inhaling and exhaling with this dragging of the breath. It all becomes automatic after a while. For a while it sounds like a lot of stuff to do. Like, “let’s see, am I doing this?…hmm, okay.” But after a while, it all becomes it becomes rhythmic. The rhythmic activity and the rhythmic breathing, after a while, seems to help you to automatically get this one point of focus, whereas in the beginning you create it by where you put your attention. In the beginning, you have to try to hold the attention there and ignore extraneous thoughts. But then after a while it becomes much more natural and it’s just a wonderful feeling. It’s one of those things that you just don’t want it to stop.
I’ve got more questions, but so as to not hog up the space, Austin, do you?
No, no. Keep asking questions.
So, would you say that you enter what you would call stillness and if so, what is, can you define that or define it or put words to it somehow?
Usually at the end of my meditation I’ll slow the inhalations and exhalations and begin to hold my breath longer. At that time it seems like the automatic feeling of the center is in place. I feel—yeah, I would say “still” is a good way to describe it. Also, there’s a kind of ethereal feeling of—I don’t know if it’s the presence or if it’s the creation around us that’s vibrating, I can’t really say for sure—being very centered. I feel very sure, I feel very comforted, and I feel very supported. I feel very inspired and that’s what I don’t want to have stop.
So, that’s where I am right now. I don’t consider myself a good meditator. I’m working at this and trying to get better at it, and I think the progress comes really slowly. I think sometimes it comes with a little leap forward. All of sudden, maybe one morning maybe the stars are right and the adept cycle is in just the right place for you and it’s easier to get into the meditative state and to get to that automatic point and you think, “Oh, I’ve got it now! What a treasure.” You know, the next day, “Where’d it go? Hmm, I made it work again. I shouldn’t have to work.” But I think that it’s a slow upward movement of gaining ability where you kind of leap ahead and maybe you fall back again to where you were and then you leap a little bit ahead and slowly, but surely you do see a little bit of progress. But like Joel Goldsmith says, there is an art to it and it takes a while to learn it, you know. I mean, you can learn Chopsticks on the piano fairly quickly, but then it’s a while before you’re going to be giving any concerts.
Yeah, that’s my principle problem: consistency. I notice waxing and waning in the quality of the meditation. Sometimes I really feel like, “Wow, I’m really there!” I don’t know what the common denominator is that causes that, but most of the time it’s a struggle. It seems that it’s cumulative and consistency is required, and you’ve got that. You’re the only person I know right now doing this intensive amount of meditation.
So, another question: When I meditate, I find that I’m often using my body to collect the attention. I don’t know if I’m saying that right, but I find that my attention can go with the tension in my body or be obscured by the tension in my body. Do you feel that your attention is free of the tension, sensations, or the experience of your body?
For most of the time I think that’s true, but I usually sit cross-legged. I don’t know why, but I’ve just done that all my life. But, I can’t sit cross-legged for much more than forty or forty-five minutes. So, at some point I need to straighten my legs out and change the position. But once I’ve got the body comfortable again, what seems to happen is that the body kind of, just is not a factor anymore. It doesn’t necessarily go numb, but it becomes that I’m not aware of it. But sitting cross-legged too long will remind me, you know, that I’ve got to change positions.
So, I try to keep the body from influencing what’s going on. If it gets a little uncomfortable, then I change it and I get back to the meditation.
A nonfactor. That’s really interesting. Yeah, I feel like my body is often interfering or obscuring my meditation—not so much like there’s this uncomfortable sensation that is taking up my attention, but just this tension that kind of precludes the gathering of attention itself. I think it would definitely be helpful to do some sort of stretching, clearing work, or maybe running in place, or breathing exercises before meditation.
Well, one thing I do before meditation that I didn’t mention is that I usually offer a prayer of gratitude. I’ve discovered that I just feel so blessed and I want thank the Creator for that every time, which helps get me on the right track. Then I usually say my little Alleluia mantra right after that, which kind of helps get me focused. I forgot to mention that, too.
Another consequence, result, or goal of mediation is liberation because as I intellectually understand it, when you begin dis-identifying from the mind, then you’re not trapped or imprisoned by the workings of your mind and even your own experience. You become liberated into that infinite consciousness or into that witnessing awareness that can witness the passing play of life with equanimity, without attachment, without aversion. Have you experienced what you would call liberation in that sense?
Well, I don’t know if it would be in that sense. I’ve noted that certain interests have fallen away. I haven’t tried to make them go away. I mean I don’t watch television, I’m not interested in sports, I’m not interested in social events, or even music. [laughs] I used to listen to music like all the time, but now if I hear music, I sing the Alleluia to get it out of my mind.
So, I guess that’s been a factor. Then if I go too long without meditating, I have to meditate. I mean, I miss it. I can’t get enough. No matter what the meditation I just finished was like, whether it was not so good or good or whatever, I’m eager for the next one. So, that’s about it.
Hmm. Do you sense that there are yet, for lack of a better term, deeper levels of it to explore or to experience?
Oh, yeah. I just barely scratch the surface. I’m a beginner.
Yeah, that’s fascinating. Austin, do you have anything?
No. But we’re running on a long episode. While I have a lot to share about meditation, if we all shared everything we had about meditation, we’d probably have a three-hour long show I’d imagine. So, nothing from me, no.
Okay. I think one more question from me to you, Jim. Ra describes catalyst as or rather Ra says that meditation is the most efficient means of using catalyst. Do you know why or how that is?
I think it’s because it takes us to a deeper and truer level of ourselves. Meditation takes us closer to the Creator where we can seat the learning that we have just experienced within our being. Ra mentioned that either the prayerful attitude or the contemplative attitude or the meditative attitude was necessary in order to really process and seat our catalyst.
So, I think it’s because we do get down to a level of our own being where we are more real, more alive, more aware, more able to comprehend what we’re doing here in the illusory part of our experience.
I like to see it as the way our normal state of consciousness operates in the day-to-day. Our experience kind of jumbles about on the surface on the water, which can get really choppy as all the content of life tends to get just whipped around on the surface. Meditation is a means of stilling the water a bit to allow that content to seep down and to make contact with those deeper portions of ourselves that do know how to integrate and process them, and to understand it and so forth.
That work is done below the threshold of our conscious awareness. And as those gears turn, the fruit is delivered back up to our conscious mind in terms of processed life experience and processed catalyst, which is catalyst that has been utilized.
Nice analogy, yeah. Really good.
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