Category Archives: meditation

How To Create a New Future

A new manner of thinking creates the new way of feeling and acting you need to build a better tomorrow. Einstein gave us the way to begin.

The practical applications of his intuited Unified Field Theory transform it into a powerful self-awareness tool for picturing the present, setting intentional goals and then creating a deeply desired future.

Einstein home page

How’s that for a big idea?

be aware

Please stay with me. I’ll unfold the implications one step at a time.

For starters, we need to decide whether self-awareness a desirable goal. For those programmed into the old paradigm of empirical science – a limited and limiting view of reality – it isn’t.

The modified Life Wheel shown below represents the hollow shell of this obsolete world view. Only the outermost level of the Wheel, the things which can be measured and quantified (mass), are accepted. The middle level of emotional intelligence (energy) and inner level of intuitive knowing (light) are both ruled out, functionally relegated to the “unconscious”.

MaterialistAthest

In fact, according to research from the University of Virginia, most people would rather do something external — even hurt themselves — than sit alone with their thoughts. Why?

Because social sanctions impelling self-avoidance are incredibly powerful. If you believe there is nothing more to life than the material surface and to expect that taboos on inner experience will be enforced with ridicule and rejection, then the blessing of quiet time becomes a threat.

This makes life especially painful and difficult for empaths. As Dr. Judith Orloff explains, emotional and intuitive awareness experienced at the inner levels of the Wheel are their functional reality.

For sensitives, restoring a complete and correct paradigm of reality can be a matter of life or death. . . suicide is the logical outcome of a narrow world view which enforces the belief that anyone whose experience draws primarily on the inner levels of the Life Wheel doesn’t – and shouldn’t – exist. (Just ask me. I’ve been there.)

Even for the rest of us, shifting to the more expansive paradigm – one that corresponds with Einstein’s quantum reality – offers multiple benefits across the board. . . improved physical, emotional and mental health, better relationships, and increased abundance, to name a few.

How exactly does all this work?

It looks like this:

Create a New Personal Reality

Open your heart to infinite possibility. Replace fear with fearlessness, resentment with gratitude, and self-doubt with infinite Self-trust. Integrate positive feelings with a clear intention for the future firmly in mind. Embed this vision into the “unconscious” mind with consistent repetition until it becomes a memory strong enough to erase and replace the past. To accomplish this, be patient, persistent, determined, and consistent in your practice of meditation.

That’s the short version.

CHAPEL PERILOUS

Chapel Perilous

Now, I’m not saying the shift is easy. If it were, everyone would be doing it.

But the process of increasing self-awareness isn’t for the faint of heart. Social taboos aren’t the only obstacle. For most, the middle level of the Life Wheel is congested – a frightful mine-field of buried traumas, painful associations and toxic emotions. It effectively clouds the inner level of intuition and blocks enlightenment.

So, if increasing self-awareness and reaping the countless blessing which follow is your goal, the work of releasing stuck, negative energy can’t be avoided. The dangers of Chapel Perilous (dark night of the soul) have to be faced and heroically overcome. The only way out is through.

That’s the bad news.

The good news, however, is that the intelligent, full-hearted practice of meditation as Dr. Joe Dispenza has associated it with quantum physics offers a safe way out of this madness. It isn’t necessary (or even advisable) to reopen wounds or relive partially-remembered old injuries to clear out the swamp.

In the same way that it is possible to delete obsolete computer software files without opening them and replace them with new information, meditative practices can reorganize the energy field without having to agonize over the past.

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Moving along, now. Activating a personalized Life Wheel is another, complimentary method for setting and actualizing a positive intention, visualizing how to move from a difficult past into a better future. It starts with creating a “Where I Am Now?” Wheel.

Here’s an example:

How My Life Looks Right Now

This personalized Life Wheel represents an introvert’s immediate experience. She has limited material resources. The outer rim of the Wheel reflects this state, being narrow and undefined. In contrast, the e=energy level of her emotional life is wide — full and rich. She has sectioned her Wheel to show how and where she currently invests her time and attention.

There’s a question mark at the center of the Wheel. She’s chosen this symbol rather than an atheist’s emphatic X, because as an agnostic, she’s open to new possibilities, though also has doubts.

When she’s ready, she can take the next step, creating another Personal Wheel to image her thoughts about what a better future looks like along with the action steps she’s willing to take to alter the old snap-shot in time. She can repeat the process as often as necessary, mapping measurable changes as she progresses.

FRAGMENTATION

The levels of our personal Life Wheels expand and contract over a lifetime. Their relationships and interactions are different for each of us. But often the levels aren’t in synch. Here, the Life Wheel is distorted to represent a fractured, incoherent state of being. When we (and our families, business organizations, government institutions and even the world) get bent out of shape, the fractured, fragmented result looks something like this:

Where is LoveThis modification of the Life Wheel shows levels out of alignment. They intersect only in part, manifesting in negative, destructive ways. Love is eternal. But remains a remote possibility, hovering outside of but detached from direct experience.

The first responsibility of the self-aware self-healer is to bring personal levels back into synch, reestablishing balance and harmonious alignment. Restoring Love to the center of one’s life is always a powerfully effective place to start.

Then, without effort, synchronous “opportunities” to extend healing on increasingly larger scales of magnitude are likely appear.

book header bird

A comment posted to an earlier blog on the Life Wheel concluded, The diagram can be applied in so many ways . . . unfortunately it probably isn’t available on mobile phones!

Any takers?

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Self-Awareness Tools for Empaths

Dr. Judith Orloff has taken the lead in bringing the needs of empaths to our attention. In The Empath’s Survival Guide, she explains the important difference between having empathy and being an empath.

Having empathy means our heart goes out to another person in joy or pain. . . but for empaths it goes much further. We actually feel others’ emotions, energy, and physical symptoms in our own bodies, without the usual defenses that most people have.

In case you’re wondering why you should care, let me add. You’re probably an empath too, even if a latent or undercover one. To the point, in his praise of The Empath’s Survival Guide, the venerable Dr. Joe Dispenza concludes: “Dr. Orloff does a brilliant job of helping us discover the empath in all of us.”

So, let’s get practical.

The Empath’s Survival Guide offers an array of tools to help sensitive people develop healthy coping mechanisms in a high-stress, high-stimulus world, while at the same time optimizing their unique gifts: intuition, compassion, creativity, and spiritual connection. (In the context of the multi-dimensional Life Wheel, this translates as honing the ability to honor and protect awareness of the middle and innermost levels, while simultaneously strengthening the protective, physical layer.)

Meditation is a strategy Dr. Orloff highly recommends. She calls it “Opening to a Higher Power.” (Dr. Joe’s meditations likewise serve this purpose.)

But there’s one powerful tool they do not mention. It’s related to meditation, but in a unique, extraordinary way — namely, the Chinese I Ching, especially in a version free of unnecessary hocus pocus, sexist assumptions and flowery talk, The Common Sense Book of Change.

The text has a long history. In the last century, psychologist Dr. Carl Jung picked up on it. In his introduction to the first genuinely useful English translation, Jung coined the term “synchronicity” to explain its power – precipitating seemingly magical and awesome non-local connections of understanding, insight, and awareness. This affect may be due to the similarity between the opening and closing lines of the 64 hexagrams and the geometric patterns seen by meditators in deep trance. (Dr. Joe is a fan of synchronisities. He tells students, as they grow in their meditative practice, to look for confirming synchronisities to appear in their lives.)

The Book of Change is a meditative tool especially suited to empaths’ needs. Its introspective method is safely accessed in the privacy of one’s own room. It gives those unable to bear the stress of travel much less mixing in crowds of thousands to participate in Dr. Joe’s popular events, another means of cultivating heightened awareness. Its benefits are cost-effective. And it is consistently available on a daily basis . . .  most especially in emergencies . . . for immediate use.

The Introduction to The Common Sense Book of Change makes its direct connection with Dr. Joe’s work strikingly apparent. In meditation CDs, he intones, “Become AWARE. Become Aware that you’re Aware.”

When, following Jung’s example, I asked, “What does the CSBOC have to offer its readers?” its answer was AWARENESS.

Hexagram 20

Personally, I owe a huge debt of gratitude to The Book of Change. In The I Ching and Me, I wrote:

For me, the Book of Change is a gateway to magic. On this side, it has been a close companion, good friend and advisor through the years. On the far side, perhaps remembered from lifetimes past, it speaks to me from a place beyond time and space.

With it, I was never alone, even and especially when I was loneliest in crowded rooms. When the world impelled suicide, it brought me back to a deeper, all-pervasive love of life.

Without it, it’s doubtful I would have survived the challenges and dangers of my “interesting” youth. Which is why, in the spirit of paying it forward, I have gone to considerable lengths to make this book in its essence available, most especially to sensitives.

Because, Yes. I’m an empath too. I clearly remember an incident from early teen years. Mom came at me in a rage, fists flying. For many years, her exact words stuck – indelibly imprinted — in my mind. “Stop being so damn hyper-sensitive and act normal like everyone else.” (Our family physician gave her the term. She used it as a complaint, like a club.)

By now, the pain has been released, the memory transformed into wisdom. When I told OA about the incident, he simply remarked, “Good advice.” (Easier said than done, I thought.) What I’ve learned is that the functional word in her demand was ACT. Act as if normal. The challenge is to honor inner awareness while, at the same time acting within the bounds of social norms.)

The reason this was so hard for me to do this was that I picked up on and responded to the non-verbal messages people broadcast, which are often quite at odds with their verbal statements.

Denial

It confused me terribly. Not to mention that my unwelcome awareness frustrated and angered the verbal message senders. Whether they were unaware of the disconnect or were simply invested in saving face, exposure was perceived as a threat. Embarrassing. Enraging. (Along similar lines, in the context of energy vampires, Dr. Christine Northrup describes the effect of mixed messages as “cognitive dissonance.”)

Especially at times when I felt obliged to keep others’ dark secrets and had no one in the world to turn to, I depended on The Book of Change to validate what I “knew” and advise on the wisest way to act on this information, one situation at a time. For example, consistent with Dr. Orloff’s emphasis on the necessity of establishing clear boundaries, I often received this advice:

IC 60 Limits

At other times, when life became exceptionally chaotic and it seemed as if there was no way out of an impossible situation, I would read this and be comforted:

IC 52 Stillness

When I worked as an Administrative Assistant at the now-dissolved UW-Madison Eating Disorders Clinic, it broke my heart to observe how sadly the treatments and advice inflicted on suffering young women (often empaths at a loss to survive in abusive families) missed the mark. I dearly wished someone would offer the same self-counseling remedy that worked for me. They might, for example, have found this, as I did again recently:

IC 27 Growth

The Book of Change has been instrumental in maintaining my sanity and weaving safely through the uncertainties of an environment dominated by energy vampires – a concept well defined, in case you’re unfamiliar, by Dr. Christian Northrup in Dodging Energy Vampires: An Empath’s Guide to Evading Relationships That Drain You and Restoring Your Health and Power.

Ultimately, the decision may come to this:

IC 21 Breakthrough

Whether this Breakthrough occurs on inward spiritual and mental levels, or on the material plane of physical location, personal relationships and job situation, depends on immediate circumstance. Or, since the levels are interdependent, each influencing the others, the necessary change might eventually span the whole continuum.

book header bird

Since I’ve already given you plenty to absorb already, I’ll save a second, powerful tool for empaths – Personalizing the Life Wheel – for next time.

In the meantime, all best

Use the CSBOC To Increase Self-Awareness

Did you know that Swiss analyst, Carl Jung, who gave us the concept of archetypes and influenced appreciation of dream analysis, also had great respect for the Chinese I Ching? He used it as as a tool for making the unconscious conscious.

In fact, Jung was instrumental in bringing the first usable English translation to the West. He wrote the introduction to the Wilhelm/Baynes version by giving an example of using it. He queried asking for a comment on the translation. The answer received was, in effect, that a vessel of great value which had fallen into disrepair was being restored.

My small yellow book follows Jung’s example. In the Introduction, I ask, “What does the Common Sense Book of Change (CSBOC)  have to offer its readers?”

Its answer: “Awareness.” A changing line yields the likely future outcome of following through. “Gain.” (I’ll show you how this works below.)

But even before starting, the book emphasizes the importance of practicing a thoughtful process of question- asking:

The quality of results depends on the state of mind in which information is received. It is therefore essential to learn how to approach the Book of Change in the best possible frame of mind.

So quiet yourself. Get past the clutter of chaotic thoughts to focus on forming a worthy question.

. . . There are many techniques for calming the mind and focusing attention. One of these is usually practiced before asking the question.

Bottom line: consulting the Book of Change is not only compatible with yogic and mindfulness practices of introspection, contemplation and meditation. They work synergistically. Settling the mind to ask the right question induces a meditative state. The ability to induce a meditative state enhances the quality of questions asked and value of answers received.

To give you the flavor of working with The Common Sense Book of Change, I’m sharing the example given in the book.

If you initially feel uneasy with this approach to increasing self-awareness, you might find the answers to commonly asked questions reassuring.

If this is new to you, try approaching it with the attitude for approaching the unfamiliar recommended by Samuel Coleridge, a “willing suspension of disbelief.” Or, as I do, at the start, prayerfully invoke protection and guidance according to your beliefs.

 

 

SAMPLE READING

First I collect my materials. I need three pennies, a pad of paper or notebook, a pen or pencil and the Book of Change.

Then I find a quiet place to sit. I take a few minutes to settle down. I clear my mind of other thoughts and silently watch the breath until it becomes slow and even.

Then I think carefully about what is going on, what is troubling me, and the issues I need to know more about. I list the decisions I have to make and consider what consequences are likely to follow from my future actions.

For the example in this book, I have decided to ask, “What does The Common Sense Book of Change have to offer its readers?”

I enter the date and my question in the Diary Section at the back of the book.

Concentrating on my question, I take my three pennies, shake them a few times in my gently closed fist and roll them onto the flat surface in front of me.

The first throw of my three coins comes up three heads. The value of heads is two, so I multiply three times two to get six.

Since this is an even number, I draw a broken line on my pad of paper. It will be the bottom line. Because all three coins were the same, I place an “X” next to this line to show that it is a changing line.

My bottom line looks like this:

Place Throws Values Sum Line

Bottom H H H 2 2 2 6 ___ ___X

Then I take the three coins and throw them again. This time I get two tails and one head. The value of tails is one, so I add one and one to get two. I add this to the two for the heads coin to get four.

Since four is an even number, I place a broken line in the second place over the bottom line. My pad of paper now looks like this:

Place Throws Values Sum Line

Line 2    T T H 1 1 2 4 ___ ___

Bottom H H H 2 2 2 6 ___ ___ X

̀I follow the same procedure four more times. My final hexagram looks like this:

Place Throws Values Sum Line

Top       T H H 1 2 2 5 _______

Line 5   T H H 1 2 2 5 _______

Line 4    T T H 1 1 2 4 ___ ___

Line 3     T T H 1 1 2 4 ___ ___

Line 2     T T H 1 1 2 4 ___ ___

Bottom  H H H 2 2 2 6 ___ ___ X

The next step is to find the number of my reading. I turn to the chart at the back of the book. The bottom three lines of my hexagram are all broken.

I turn to the chart at the back. In the “lower trigram” column of the chart, the picture which matches this figure is “k’un.”

The top three lines of my hexagram are two solid lines over a broken line. In the “upper trigram” row of the chart, the picture which matches this figure is “sun.”

By going to the box which shows the combination of upper and lower trigrams, I find the number 20. I therefore turn to Hexagram 20 for answers to my question.

Hexagram 20 is AWARENESS. So the answer to my question, “What does the Common Sense Book of Change have to offer its readers?” is AWARENESS. It reads:

Seek increased AWARENESS of the patterns which underlie all natural events. Tune yourself to the creative source of natural change. Then harmony becomes a way of life. Secrets of the arts and sciences will be revealed. Human relationships will become smooth. Mistakes of mis-calculation will be prevented. Avoid unnatural leaders.

Because the bottom line is a changing line, I go to the page directly opposite the hexagram, titled “Direction of Change.” I read the sentences for the bottom line. They advise:

Narrow-minded self-interest is not enlightened. Broaden your views. Include others. (42)

The number in parens after the warning represents the hexagram which results when the bottom line changes to its opposite, a firm line.

The new hexagram, GAIN, indicates the change that would result from the AWARENESS this book has to offer its readers. Turning to Hexagram 42, I read:

GAINS can be made after analyzing the situation correctly. When a person’s life goals are kept firmly in mind, no time is wasted. A way can be found to use whatever resources are at hand to serve one’s purpose. Serving others can be compatible with personal gain. Avoid smug self-satisfaction.

I then turn to the back of the book. In the Diary Section, I write the numbers of the hexagram and any changing lines next to my question. Then I decide what future actions I to take.

Finally, I enter a few sentences to describe my thoughts and decisions into the Diary Section. That way, I know I can return to my question, the reading and my decisions later to think more about them.

I hope this helps. Any questions? Comments? Your feedback is welcome.

The Gate Keeper

Responding to a conversation between Jordan Peterson and Stefan Molyneux, Sorting Yourself Out, I wrote:

Practical tools I’ve acquired and developed could well serve to fortify your intellectual arsenals in the ongoing media battle for the hearts and minds of the general public.

. . . my work identifies an overlooked but fatal blind-spot in Western thinking. (I will elaborate on this at length in a post to be called “The Gate Keeper.”) Suffice it to say here that unless/until we restore a complete and correct paradigm to common understanding, the downward spiral of history will continue on its course unchecked.

This, then is The Gate Keeper post.

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The middle level of the Life Wheel is the missing piece of the knowledge puzzle, lacking which one cannot get from here (daily experience) to there (inner peace and truth).

Here is the description of the e = energy level of the Life Wheel from The Handbook:

e  =  Energy

Much ignorance, misinformation and confusion surrounds the energy level of the Positive Paradigm. The state of chaos into which the world has degenerated attests to this deficiency, as well as the urgent need to correct it. Only the basics are described here, suggestive of further exploration.

The middle level is the domain of Natural Law, whose dynamics are mapped in the Chinese I Ching, the Book of Change. This body of knowledge has evolved over eight-thousand years as sages continue to observe the operations of energy and document the repetitive patterns of change.

Natural Law maps the energetic underpinnings of the dynamic, physical world. It is experienced as the patterned recurring cycles of seasonal change, and is equally applicable to humans and their cyclical life changes: birth, growth, decay and death.

The middle layer is the realm of less tangible but still measurable states of energy, including electricity. More subtly, it is the chi, ki or prana described by Chinese, Japanese and Indian traditions as the life force which animates all living beings. In Greek and Christian contexts it correlates with the breath, the psyche.

These subtle energies influence internal psychological states and drive external human behavior, which in turn affects social relationships. Knowledge of these dynamics is essential to personal survival.

Effective leadership and the quality of life within organizations hinge on the quality of awareness brought to dynamics at this level. While some leaders understand the dynamics of change at a gut level as a matter of common sense, systematic logic and deliberate understanding would significantly improve the results of the decision-making process.

Those denied access to material and social resources are often forced inside. Of necessity, turning inward, they develop and depend for survival upon strengths drawn from the middle and center of the Life Wheel.

At times, material deprivation and hardships yield the opposite and equal blessings of in-sight and emotional fortitude. At other times, however, excessive investment at the middle level results in delusions, latent with the potential for erupting into violence.

In any case, making a virtue of necessity by rejecting the material world prevents completion of the pattern. It can’t correctly be equated with spirituality.

Cultures which enforce an exclusively materialistic worldview and deny the experience of everything not tangible and measurable place severe hardships on those whose inner lives are especially active. The Handbook gives ample opportunities to diagnose such imbalances, the better to remedy them.

Societies which deny their citizens practical outlets for articulating and harnessing inner energies creatively can literally drive people crazy, to murder and suicide, or at best, underground. Many “sensitives” survive by channeling socially banned, unacceptable awareness and longing for self-fulfilling adventure into the arts: music and literature, including romance, murder mysteries and science fiction. (Substance abuse and food addictions are also turned to for escape, as are violent video games.)

This is a great loss to society. The world would be better off if high-energy, creative individuals were identified as potential leaders, trained and given employment options accordingly.

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Awareness of the middle energy level equated with emotions has recently been brought back into fashion in the guise of “emotional intelligence.” But why has the middle, Gate Keeper level for so long been relegated to the realms of the taboo and banned from conscious awareness?

Certainly laziness is one problem. Cleaning out one’s personal emotional swamp can be very hard work.

Furthermore, untamed and unharnessed, it can be very dangerous. When polluted, the middle energy level  houses the inner demons of terrifying, repressed memories. It is the storehouse of our socially unacceptable worst fears and imaginings.

This leads to a fateful fear of self-awareness. For there are times when one shouldn’t believe or follow one’s inner voices. Disciplined, discriminating thinkers (in the pristine meaning of the word) know that not all of them emanate from the Source of truth and light:

. . . the Positive Paradigm also accounts for the actions of destructive and evil people throughout history which give Page pause. Despite claims to the contrary, such actions are not the result listening to the inner voice of conscience. Evil actions are the mark of unbalanced extremists who have been misled into following the seductive voices lodged within the middle, sub-rational level of the Wheel.

Destructive leaders are heeding not the innermost voice of Conscience, but the clamor of the Seven Deadly Sin-Demons — starting with Pride, followed by (and often in combination with) Anger, Avarice, Gluttony, Lust, Envy and Sloth. Modern day demon off-spring include Separatism, Exclusiveness, Arrogance, and Self-Serving Competition.

What’s dangerously missing from the prevailing, exclusively materialistic paradigm of empirical science — a glaring gap which the Positive Paradigm of Change fills — is a universally acceptable reality map which includes the sub-rational middle level with all its dangers, but in its complete and correct context: contained by the super-rational level of intuition on one side and by the rational level of practical experience on the other.

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An important reason why the middle level has gotten such a bad rep and is rejected by religionists is that, taken out of context, it becomes the stuff of nature worship, paganism and worse. As guest of an extended family of Frank Lloyd Wright apprentices in Spring Green, I heard their stories of how romanticizing nature while rejecting its Source can end in murder, mayhem and untold miseries.

This is why in The Handbook, Axiom One emphasizes the importance of living according to a complete and accurate paradigm. The shadow side, the caveat, warns of the risks which follow from distorting that paradigm:

AXIOM ONE

A complete and correct paradigm is the key to personal well-being and success.

The empirical, measurable physical world of tangible objects and daily experience has its origin and end at the creative center of the Life Wheel. The unseen drives the seen. The invisible precedes the visible. Inspiration precedes actions which in turn produce results.

Therefore, the quality of daily life depends on the quality of belief systems. If the paradigm held is complete and accurate, it leads to consistent action that yields successful, beneficial results. When paradigms are incomplete and inaccurate, however, they generate inconsistent actions which lead to failure, pain and suffering.

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ADDENDUM

The Life Wheel model formulated as the Positive Paradigm of Change is NOT an arbitrary mental confabulation, as are the highly toxic, relatively modern ideological -isms: Marxism, Communism, Socialism and the like. The consequences of fractured, dissociated ideologies begin with personal fragmentation but have the potential to escalate into genocide. The fractured Life Wheel looks something like this:

World gone mad

Significantly, the root of the word “sin” comes from an archery term meaning “to miss the mark.” If the center of the Life Wheel represents the ultimate goal of enlightenment, than any belief system which rules out that center, or attempts to subordinate its power to personal agendas, misses the mark indeed.

The complete and accurate paradigm (belief system) embodied in the target-like concentric circles of the Life Wheel is simply a fact of life, known and taught by the ancients for thousands of years. (Violate it at your own risk.)

It’s no coincidence that yogis describe inner experience in images that evoke the Life Wheel. They speak of increasingly deeper layers as “sheathes” and the process of getting to the core as “peeling away the layers of an onion.” Nor is it coincidental that the word “yoga,” which means union, refers to linking and prioritizing the levels of the Life Wheel so that all are present, balanced and operate harmoniously.

But, of course, arrogant academics will ask, “Where is the proof?”

The yogi’s answer: “In direct experience!”

This is the accomplished meditator’s answer to the skeptical agnostic and antagonistic atheist’s challenge: “The bad news is, it’s like trying to explain what colors look like to a blind person, or how chocolate tastes to someone who’s never had any.

The good news, however, is that inner truth can be known by direct experience. And there are means and methods for getting from here to there.”

Were you to ask a Zen master how to achieve enlightenment, the simple answer you’d probably get is: “SHUT UP!”

In gentler form, the Yoga Sutras of Patajani offers the same solution.

The yogic process involves going step-by-systematic-step deeper into the Life Wheel. The preliminary stage is to heal and strengthen the physical body which correlates with the material surface of the Wheel. This is called Hatha Yoga. Here, the object of physical exercise is not to make oneself attractive to potential mates, but rather to stabilize the physical body so that distractions of pain and disease are eliminated and the body is sufficiently stable to sit somewhat comfortably for prolonged durations of time in meditation.

The next two steps, called the five yamas and five niyamas, (sometimes compared to the Ten Commandments) are disciplines of social behavior. The point is that one’s character must be sufficiently developed in relationship to others to assure that the knowledge and subtle powers which accrue in advanced states of development will be used constructively, in harmony with the greater good.

Significantly, Pranayama, exercises for regulating the breath (prana) are then introduced to link the surface with the middle energy level of the Life Wheel. Breath control practices relax the body, calm the emotions and quiet the mind. [Building on this tradition, mindfulness therapists instruct stressed clients to take a deep breath.]

Only then are the next steps of contemplation and introspection prescribed. (It is at this point of inner development that querying the I Ching for the purpose of increasing self-awareness becomes an especially helpful discipline.) Finally, meditation is prescribed.

It is important to note that the deeper one delves into the Life Wheel experience, the quieter the mind becomes. Thoughts become less fragmented and noisy. Brain waves become harmonized and increasingly slower until the mind achieves the rest of complete stillness. Hence, by the disciplined practice of intentional, systematic methods, one achieves the inward state of grace which scriptures prescribe: “Be still and know that I AM God.”

So western sciences serve to confirm what yogis have taught from direct experience. The following illustration shows how the science of brain waves experienced by meditators (and musicians!!) can be plugged into the Life Wheel. The increasingly deeper states of awareness which sutras describe are the waking and dream states which then slow and relax into the REM state of dreamless sleep. These correlate with bio-feedback measurements of increasingly slower vibrational patterns: the beta, alpha, theta and delta states.

 

brain waves

As an aside – here’s a topic that bears investigation by Western psychologists, particularly those with a Jungian bent. This geometrical construct is consistent with, and may even explain, the fact that careful observers of human experience, especially who aspire to self-knowledge and self-actualization, are persuaded of the significance (sometimes helpfulness) of dreams.

Freud, for example, held that daily events are nested within an encompassing dream state – a field rich in information beyond ordinary access. Small wonder. For, as shown here, the dream state is foundational to the material world. Located within the middle Gate Keeper layer of the Life Wheel, it resides at a deeper level, therefore closer to the experience of light and illumination than the waking state which is invested in primarily tangible, measurable experience.

Be that as it may, the accomplished yogi, one who experiences what is described as “Christ consciousness,” links the levels into a single continuum of awareness called “turyia,” living both here and there. Awareness of the silent core is consciously present while fully awake. One’s daily reality is clear and consistent with one’s dreams as well as with deepest knowing.

Now, although a few come into this world already blessed in a state of Christ consciousness, most of us achieve it through choice and determined, dedicated, disciplined work — the product of consistent positive attitudes, right choices and good deeds. Surely faith and trust enter in. Also in the mix, however, knowledge makes a difference. As stated at the start, it is important to have a clear, correct and complete paradigm – an accurate road map – to steer by. “Every little bit helps.”

 

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On a personal note, as someone who grew up saturated in classical music, I experienced an easier time than most in relating to yoga sciences. String music served as my particular bridge to inner realms of experience.

The following is a description (my emphasis added) of a book that speaks to how this might be so, another example of applying western brain sciences to confirm ancient wisdom: Don Campbell’s The Mozart Effect: Tapping the Power of Music to Heal the Body, Strengthen the Mind, and Unlock the Creative Spirit:

Anyone who has ever seen a two-year-old start bouncing to a beat knows that music speaks to us on a very deep level. But it took celebrated teacher and music visionary Don Campbell to show us just how deep, with his landmark book The Mozart Effect.

. . . The Mozart Effect has a simple but life-changing message: music is medicine for the body, the mind, and the soul. Campbell shows how modern science has begun to confirm this ancient wisdom, finding evidence that listening to certain types of music can improve the quality of life in almost every respect. Here are dramatic accounts of how music is used to deal with everything from anxiety to cancer, high blood pressure, chronic pain, dyslexia, and even mental illness.

. . . Campbell asserts that the kind of noise to which one is exposed can have important effects on mental and bodily health. As a trial, try protecting your hearing for a few days from the continuous barrage of noise in a typical urban environment; it really does seem to improve one’s attitude and fatigue levels.

Where Campbell’s ideas become more provocative is in the realm of music. Supported by much anecdotal evidence, he proposes that Classical music with a big “C” (the music of Mozart’s period) can reach out to those who are mentally isolated from their fellows, like the autistic, and can help infants react and think better. In addition, the music of Mozart contributes to the improved functioning of the higher cerebellar functions, including the ability to deal with logical and mathematical concepts, while contemporary rock actually decreases mental acuity.

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