inner life







Though meditation is often associated with a particular religious practice, I would like to present what I hope is a culture-free and theology-free approach to divine guidance.  While I obviously have my own faith and beliefs, it has been my tenet since childhood to respect the beliefs of others, especially in times of life crisis. If you cannot trust this commitment or it does not feel right to you, let me suggest you go to your own faith for guidance. . . please!  Having said this, I will try to give myself as much freedom as possible to say what I hope are fair and honest suggestions.

Meditation is a method for making contact with a source of transpersonal and oftentimes transcendental information and inspiration.  In the West, there are very few methods presented that would allow an individual to approach his or her own soul using the religious foundations of their synagogues, churches, and mosques.  In the Native American tradition, the East, and in many other cultures, spiritual practice is encouraged as a rite or even necessity.  For instance, a person going through any of the major transition passages, as from childhood to adulthood or perhaps child-bearing and rearing years and the mid-life crisis to mature adult, may find a vision quest or similar venture a suitable way to prepare for the future.

There may be as many approaches to the illusive part of our own psyche as there are paths or people on the Planet, but I think all of the efforts fall into two broad categories.  These might be called receptive and active.  I will try to develop this thought in order to make it more accessible to those who are interested.


The receptive approach depends on the ability of the meditator to find a place within of intense stillness in which there are no disturbances such as preconceived ideas, to do lists, and worry.  Personally, I believe this place to be safe so I encourage people to regard the process as something they might wisely have done much earlier in life.  There is nothing whatsoever to fear because ignorance is far more dangerous than whatever might be revealed in a moment of perfect sincerity and openness to guidance.

Personally, I do not believe that people who meditate have a need to know who or what is providing the insights; the important point is that there is endless wisdom available to those who seek it.

To prepare for this type of meditation, I usually suggest to people that they dedicate a space in their homes for the sole purpose of meditation.  Put symbols of your intent and, if you like, your faith, in this place.  You may put something as simple as a bowl of water or candle or flowers to as elegant as your favorite painting or sculpture.  If it is possible to maintain the sanctity of this place by prohibiting others from desecrating it, whether intentionally or accidentally, fine.  Otherwise, you may need to perform a little clearance ritual at the beginning of your meditation to remove all the clutter in the energy field.  If you are careful in how you prepare this space, it will become a very powerful place in which it takes less and less time to center yourself and enter into the transpersonal world.

If you cannot create such a place in your home, go to a place that is peaceful, beautiful, or already built for such purposes.  For instance, you may find a lovely garden or historic temple that is magical for you.  The important part of meditating is willingness to be shown whatever it is you need to see in order to understand yourself and your life better.  Surely, some people in history have had dramatic mystical experiences. Probably, the founders of all faiths had their wilderness or whirling or awakening or enlightenment experiences.  For these people, the events were transformative and they went on to build religions based on their insights.  Others found their personal missions and these may have involved career changes or insights that transformed their careers.  The point of meditation is not to be changed from who you are now into someone larger than life with an intense sense of personal purpose.  The purpose is to allow yourself an opportunity to see something that might otherwise be obscured from your field of vision.  For instance, you may see an important relationship in a new light.  One thing that is certain is that genuine spiritual experiences are always harmonizing, not divisive.  You truly cannot make your life worse by meditating!

For some people, meditating is a little challenging.  I think it then helps to prepare by creating a reflective inner space.  By this, I mean, one can imagine one's heart or mind or soul as a perfect mirror, one without any scratches or fog, absolutely immaculate and without images: free of preconceived ideas or input.  If you prefer, you can imagine a bowl of water or an entire lake, but then the water should be still.  You give yourself permission to see whatever arises by way of images.

Some people do not see anything the first time they try this, but I suspect a lot of people dismiss what they see as imagination.  The gauntlet I would throw to you is to ask yourself where imagination originates?  Some people really feel that nothing is happening, but my advice is not to give up.  If you really are drawing a blank, then perhaps you could take a seminar in which you learn to recognize your own extended being.

Just as a young person preparing for his adulthood would traditionally make some concrete preparations, it helps to enter the meditative state with some intent.  The most important is probably openness or willingness to see whatever is shown.  I may be crossing a line for some people, but I believe we each have souls and that our souls are aspects of our true selves that society has not quite recognized.  In times past, I think our soul experiences were celebrated, but there is practically nothing in our public lives today that says we can act as if our souls are the real self and everything else is just acting a role.  Obviously, this situation is not very healthy because it was the soul that incarnated and built the physical reality; but then, it seems, for a lot of people, the soul got pushed aside.  Many of us twisted and contorted ourselves so as to fit into families, schools, relationships, jobs, and society in which there was no scope at all for the soul to express itself.  So, meditation provides us an opportunity to reunite with the designer of this incarnation, and there can be nothing more important than this.

I believe we are here for a purpose, but most of us forgot what that purpose is so occasionally we need a reminder so as to stay on track.  To succeed in creating the opportunity for this realignment with the soul, we have to be willing to see or hear our own truth.  For this reason, it is far better to do your own seeking than to ask a psychic or channel for insights.  Obviously, one can do both, but most people tend to believe what they see with their own eyes so creating the time and space for this is important.

I might make a few more suggestions.  First, only the personality is linear and verbal.  Therefore, the unconscious modes of communication might not resemble the usual ways of recognizing and perceiving experience.  Second, most people have one sense that is more developed than the others so meditation sometimes involves an extension of a normal sense.  For instance, vision may become clairvoyance, hearing may become clairaudience, and touch may become clairsentience.  It is not for you to decide how the impressions will be shown to you:  your task is to have an unfettered mind and open approach.  This is what innocence and purity mean.  They are not ages or states of hygiene but rather attitudes.

I might make one other statement that will surely help a lot of people.  If you are willing to be shown what you need to see but you do not trust your mind to stay still enough, try looking at messages that come to you.  For instance, let's say you decide you are going to permit impressions to come to you that are important for your alignment or impressions that will help you to understand your life issues and processes, but you don't feel that sitting still is the right way for you.  Then, I would say, watch closely everything that happens in the next 48 hours.  Who phones you?  What do you see when you turn on the TV?  What do you notice when you look out the window?  Take a few extra seconds to notice and then let the impressions sink in more.  I believe so strongly that the subtle world is anxious to make itself known that it will avail itself of every opportunity presented.

Active Meditation

I mentioned there are two types of meditation, but I haven't yet described the second because it is considerably more difficult for most people.  However, some people are actually going to find it easier.  In general, these would be people with a highly developed ability to focus and concentrate.  Sometimes, they are problem solvers, people who can look at a situation and not only see many pieces of the situation but find the best way for the whole to work properly.  For such people, it is a step further to seek beyond the rational mind and invoke a transcendent information base.

The preparation for this type of meditation is essentially the same as with receptive meditation, but once entering the sacred space, one projects the mind with a sort of directive: find the missing pieces of information or answer to a question.  Because meditation is not personal but spiritual, the sought after information must be something impersonal.  For instance, one cannot generally ask whether or not to have surgery or whether to trust a certain doctor or practitioner.  One must ask a slightly less personal question.  This could be a variation on the topic of interest, such as, show me the ramifications of different approaches to dealing with the physical body.  In brief, while this type of meditation can elicit very specific insights, the energy that launches the mind into space must not be too personal or the energy will tend to come back without reaching its goal.  In general, people who might succeed with this type of meditation would not need any encouragement or suggestions from me so I will not elaborate further.


Finally, I would say that if you cannot meditate, either because you don't feel it's right for you or that you would not succeed, try asking for guidance in your dreams.  Once more, however, I would suggest at least some ritualistic preparation.  The best preparation is sincerity, followed by willingness to learn what you need to understand.  As you are turning out the lights and covering yourself with blankets, replay in your mind that you would like some input from the unconscious parts of yourself.  In most cases, the early part of sleep involves emotional issues that require some sorting out so this part of the night can be a bit turbulent and restless.  For instance, let's say there was an injustice during the day and it was just "swallowed."  The unconscious is seldom on the same page as the personality about such matters so it may try to correct the injustice during the hours when the conscious mind is suspended.  Sorting out problems is rough exercise for some people.

As the night goes on and the sleep is deeper, there is more opportunity for wisdom to percolate through so I would suggest training yourself to awaken slowly, preferably naturally, meaning without an alarm clock.  Do not jump out of bed; rather, take a moment to reflect on what you might have felt during the night, and there is a good chance you will learn to remember your dreams.  One last piece of advice for those who sleep with partners:  if you are not dreaming or think you are not dreaming, try sleeping so that your left side is facing away from your partner.  The left side is receptive so depending on the energetic connections with your partner, you may be pulling in your partner's unconscious rather than your own.  This is usually easily corrected by changing sleep positions.



Ingrid Naiman
11 April 2006




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