“People are constantly crossing over the threshold of Eternity. The door is open if you can stay Awake.” 
What does Rumi mean by “Awake”?
Surely not the first and most familiar dictionary definition; “to cease to sleep; to come out of sleep.”
No, it’s too obvious. There’s another; “to be roused from a state of inaction; to become active.”
If the “rouser” is us, it seems feasible that this inaction could mean sleep or lethargy. That’s normal. We also know what it is like to “awaken” from these states and, by comparison we become active. However, since Rumi wasn’t talking about our normal awake state, could this definition hint at something deeper? If so, who could this rouser be? And what is this state of inaction from which we are to be roused? And into what activity are we to be roused? Maybe we should look deeper.
Actually, there is a further definition;“to be invigorated with new life; as, the mind awakes from its stupidity; he Awoke to life’s higher significance.”
Ah, with this deeper definition, could the implication be that the active wakefulness, of which we are normally aware, is merely an idiotic stupor from which it is not only possible to be roused, but to be invigorated into new life? In the Greek language, the word for “Truth” is alethia, meaning “out of lethargy” suggesting there is no Truth to the stupor at all. If so, it certainly suggests that this new life has nothing to do with our normal “awake” state whatsoever.
It turns out that simply by Recognizing the stupor, We Awaken from it, because We, the Eternal Awakened Self, Is the only One who can Recognize it.
The door to Eternity is open, if you can stay Awake!
The use of mantras has become a widely accepted tool in meditation. But, are they a help or a hindrance?
The purpose of meditation is to develop Receptivity to Our Soul’s “Voice”, to become Aware of Our Spiritual Self beyond the mental realm. Mere repetition of a word actually keeps us bound to mentality unless there is a clear intention to rise above it. Sadly, that is not usually the case. More often than not, we just want to make our life happier, healthier or wealthier. And, repeating a word over and over, of itself, will not do that. It will only serve to put us into an hypnotic stupor.
It’s only as a particular word or phrase is contemplated for it’s deeper meaning, a meaning that we don’t know yet, that we rise above our normal thoughts and words into a state of Receptive Silence. This is the place where something Spiritual can enter our Consciousness.
So, if you are going to use a mantra,
Choose the word wisely. It’s no use contemplating a word that you already know the meaning of; that you are not drawn to; or, that is nonsensical. For instance; you would only use the word “om” if you were curious to understand it’s meaning. And, in that case, why repeat it numbingly? If “om” doesn’t do anything for you, it might be better to contemplate the word “Love”, “Wisdom” or “I”.
Don’t repeat the word mindlessly. On its own, it has no meaning whatsoever. It’s just a word. Instead, adopt a curious attitude as if you are waiting for an answer to “What is Love?”, “What is Wisdom?” or “Who am I?” Then wait. To continually repeat a word for repetitions sake would not only numb the mind, it would prevent you Hearing the Response. Moreover, you would find that you couldn’t maintain the repetition for long before you were distracted with other, more “meaningful” thoughts, like “what’s for dinner?”
Do it privately. Our Soul speaks to Us through Our Individual Mind, never as a group. You can be in a group, but the group will not rise together. Beware of so-called spiritual activities like chanting. They can actually hinder your Spiritual progress by bolstering the ego. This was the reason why Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount…”But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.” Matthew 6:7
Therefore, mantras can be useful, not for the words we repeat, but for the Spiritual inner meaning of which we become Aware.
I was pondering the promised strategies for effective meditation, and realized there needs to be some further Consciousness around the “ego”. Because without that foundation, the ego will thwart your meditation efforts. So, haha, i guess this is the first strategy for effective meditation….
The definition of “ego” varies enormously throughout philosophical and psychological literature. To add to the confusion, there is an Ego with a capital “E” which seems to pop its head up in Spiritual texts.
So, what is the difference? The one with which we normally identify is the ego, but the Truth is, You, We are the Ego. Let’s examine some differences:
There is only One Ego, I. Infinite, Eternal and Immortal. On the other hand, There are around 7 billion egos, all competing for their share of what they believe to be a finite, time-poor, dying universe.
When we start the sentence with “I”, in thought or speech, we are referring to the ego. i says, “i want this food”, “i need that car”, “i want this success”, “i need this holiday”. It’s motivation is to “get” because it believes it doesn’t have enough. Wanting and needing are the mother of envy and jealousy, maturing into corruption and greed. By contrast, I Is the Source of Thought and can only be Heard or Discerned. When the ego generates thought, that isn’t Truth. So when “you” think or speak, be aware that you limit yourself.
i has endless opinions about everything, derived from a sense of lack. i says,”i hate that politician”, “i despise that celebrity”. i is always right and the other ego over there is wrong. Bigotry, prejudice, xenophobia, injustice and inequity follow. On the other hand, I Is neutral.
i is afraid of not getting what it wants and needs, or losing what it has. Ultimately it is afraid of death. “i fear that illness”, “i’m afraid of snakes” “i’m anxious about that exam”, “i fear old age”. I cannot fear if I am already All.
i blames others for its flaws, failures and vices, but claims credit for any talents, successes or virtues, a recipe for failure. I cannot succeed or fail. I just Is.
i’s motto is “it’s all about me”. it craves attention and praise. Fame is its goal. Humiliation is its fear. I Is Oneness, so there’s no need to pump Its Self up or put others down.
i’s modus operandi is self-preservation. It will manipulate, cheat, steal or even kill to save its self, its ideology or its nation. i gets away with murder whereas I can’t kill or be killed because there Is only One Ego.
The Ego transcends the ego and is in fact our True Self, diametrically opposed to the limited and lacking ego with a small “e”. The Ego Is the One Universal Consciousness individualized as each one of Us. Its nature is Love. You know it as the Still, Small Voice, Your inner Voice. But we can only Hear it, if we are quiet enough. Remember, don’t speak or think because you just encourage the ego.
If we are silent and patient we can discern the Love of our Ego. It reassures us that we will be alright. Can you imagine Love needing or wanting for anything? Can Love be hateful or afraid? Does Love draw attention to its Self? Or leave others out? Does Love kill or die? If we answered “No” to these questions, we begin to realize the ego is not us. Love Is All there Is and We are that! Only that!
ego verses Ego. There’s really no competition. With which one do you identify?
I started meditating in 1974 when i was in my teens, but then i had a break of 35 years! That first experience was extraordinary. (See the full story here) but as life intervened, i got busy and i lost the knack. i tried many times over those 35 years to reestablish the connection but, for some reason, the technique i had been taught didn’t work for me anymore.
One of those times i went to a meditation class which taught visualisation techniques. We would follow the facilitator down an imaginary garden path, into a “safe place” in which we were encouraged to “rest”. This was all very well as a calming technique but it didn’t seem to get to the root cause of the unrestful mind.
About 4 years ago, i had an intense inner – what i would call a push – to take up meditation again. It was overwhelming. It dropped books in my lap. It poked my thoughts. It even woke me up in the middle of the night almost yelling “Be Still”. In bed i thought i was being still, but no, apparently i had to be still-er! Of course, it meant “stop thinking” but how? My life was so busy doing… being a mother, wife, shopper, cleaner, cook and business woman that i didn’t have time to think, let alone stop thinking!
Anyway, eventually i stopped and read the books “The Art of Meditation” and “Practicing the Presence” by Joel Goldsmith and these books changed everything. i would thoroughly recommend them to everyone wanting to meditate. They are gentle and profound. Through my own practice, i worked out some reasons why my efforts to meditate had failed.
My top 5 reasons why mediation can be difficult are:
Too many rules. Every meditation teacher has their own set of rules. Setting aside 2 hours a day, at a specific time; setting up a sacred space; buying the right cloths etc. If these rules don’t fit into your lifestyle, there’s no hope that you’ll stick to them. Instead they turn into excuses.
Not frequent enough. Meditation trains the mind to do something new. Would you only allocate 20 minutes a week to your exercise program? If you wanted to stay unfit – yes. If you hope to benefit, you need to allocate time every day. Make it part of your life, like brushing your teeth. (more about this in my next post).
Trying to visualize. Visualization is very good for calming the thinking human mind but it is NOT a meditation to develop Consciousness.
Trying to make your mind a blank. This seems to contradict the previous point, but it is just as unhelpful to force anything, whether it’s visualizing something or trying to stop thinking. Meditation is a letting go of your agenda, let go of “trying”, totally.
The intent isn’t Spiritual. This is the single most important reason why meditation fails. Most meditation is trying to turn a bad outer situation into a good one. Ask yourself, are you wanting something from your meditation? Are you trying to change your life to be more peaceful, well or abundant? All good reasons, but they are not Spiritual! They are still your agenda. i know, what else is there? The ego is a wolf in sheep’s clothing!
In my next post I will give you My top strategies for successful meditation.
This is where I’ll share the Thoughts that are coming through on the subjects of Consciousness, Meditation and other Spiritual stuff.
Why do i say they are coming “through”? Well, i doesn’t know anything about these subjects, but I do.
You may notice an unconventional use of upper and lower case letters in certain words. This is intentional and meaningful in that they point to two different states of consciousness, the theme I will develop fully in future posts in this blog.