Witnessing the Spirit-Self

For a long time I have wanted to learn how to meditate. Initially, the main reason for my wanting to do so was to slow down my mind. I wanted to free myself from the incessant flow of thought. My hope was that by doing so, I would become more present in every moment throughout the day.

Now my hope is that meditation will help me come closer to my spirit-self, and, as a result, facilitate its expression in my everyday life. These things may be referred to as enlightenment by some. I call it witnessing the spirit-self.

I was superficially aware of a number of different meditation methods and their benefits, and tried to meditate on a number of occasions in the past without success. A big part of the methods I attempted was proper sitting posture. In fact, seemingly volumes are discussed about the nuances of posture, while the actual meditation method is covered in a paragraph or two.

Trying to achieve and maintain correct posture for meditation was a problem for me as I am not at all flexible. My experience sitting in the manor required ranged from extremely uncomfortable to painful. It was a major barrier to meditation for me.

Recently, I decided to look into transcendental meditation (TM). The general description of the technique sounded remarkably easy and required only two 20 minute sessions per day.

I went to TM.org , a national organization that presides over TM training through a network of certified instructors. There is a video on the web site that gives a very good overview of TM and its health benefits. The method used for meditation is extremely simple. Anyone can do it without difficulty. For one thing it does not require a specific sitting posture. I encourage those interested in meditation to take a look at the video.

As I dug into the web site, I eventually came across the cost of instruction—on sale from $1,500 to $960! This to learn a method that is so simple and easy to do as to be almost trivial! Furthermore, this simple method puts us in touch with our natural ability to find our inner quiet. I don’t know about you, but I am not going to pay exorbitant fees to be shown how to access the God-given stillness that is already present inside me any more than I would for someone to show me where the fuse box is in my house so I can turn on the lights.

I ran across a book titled Deep Meditation by Yogani that appeared to provide instruction in TM. I got the book and indeed it did describe the TM method along with what to expect, the spiritual benefits, and various phenomena that may arise during practice and how to deal with them. The book was exactly what I had been looking for! Total cost for learning TM: $3.82 for the Kindle book. If you have been wanting to get into meditation, this book will give you a remarkably easy and effective way to do so.

After reading the book, I realize that I have already experienced, by other means, some of the personal and spiritual benefits that can arise from regular TM practice. Examples include positive changes in disposition, becoming more tolerant and accepting of others, becoming more grounded, centered, and relaxed even in stressful situations, and eventually witnessing the spirit-self.

I achieved the above benefits through many years of qigong and tai chi practice. Nevertheless, I feel I can progress much further and faster by adding meditation to my daily practices. There are health benefits from all of these practices, but for me the changes in my outlook on the world around me, and the leap forward in my spiritual awareness were the most rewarding.

Tai chi and qigong are technical practices to cultivate and increase one’s internal energy that require instruction and study to learn. Whereas, TM is not technical and easily accesses our inner stillness. Consequently, in my view, TM is the best and easiest practice for the general public to transform themselves by transcending the outer noise and confusion and cultivating the inner silence that is the spirit-self. I encourage everyone to give TM a try.

The Light Inside You

Copyright 2013 by Blair Atherton

Copyright 2013 by Blair Atherton

 

On the occasion of the first year anniversary of this blog site I am republishing a verse I wrote a long time ago and that was one of the first entries in this blog. It likens our spirituality to rays of light that we too often shut away. And having hidden our spirit-self deep inside, it continually seeks release and expression.

The Light Inside You

For only a few fleeting moments
Have I felt the warm light of you—
Of what is inside of you.

Those moments were like rays of light
Peeking through the cracks of a door
In a dark room.

I am in the darkness alone,
Longing to know
What lies on the other side of the door.
Yearning to feel the touch
Of the warm and beautiful
Light that lies there.

But the door is locked,
The key to its opening
Unknown to me.

I will wait—
Yes, wait patiently
For the next beam of light
To spill through the cracks.
Longing to know
To understand
To embrace
The wonderful light
That shines inside of you.

Copyright 1969, 2012 by Blair Atherton

It is my belief that no matter who you are, what kind of a person you are, or what kind of life you live, there have been moments when your spirit was able to squeeze through the cracks in the walls you may have built around yourself. The fortresses we build to protect ourselves are always flawed and conquerable from within and without.

Our spirit-selves, that some of us try to hold captive in the darkness of our fears, doubt, and insecurities, yearn—no demand expression. It is like trying to hold your breath until you pass out; you cannot do it. Similarly, no matter how hard you try to cling to the material world and deny your spirituality, your spirit will always seek to show you a better way.

If you accept the notion that your spirit is what gives you life and your spirit-self is the real you, then you can see that your spirit must be allowed to express itself. Otherwise, are you really alive?

I believe that we are all spiritual beings. We, and those around us, look for evidence of this in us and in themselves. They are searching for the warm and beautiful light emanating from others and hope to find within themselves. Perhaps we do not realize that all we have to do is open the door, even if only a crack at first.

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Many thanks to those of you who have consistently followed my blog over the past year.  This blog exists purely to serve its readers. I hope that those who are relative newcomers will continue to find value in what is written here, and if you have not already done so, explore articles in the archives.