Viewing your Face in the Mirror of the Universe
Based on the first pillar of the Reintegration System
“Knock, And He'll open the door
Vanish, And He'll make you shine like the sun
Fall, And He'll raise you to the heavens
Become nothing, And He'll turn you into everything.”
Moving from belief to awareness
This passage by the poet Rumi, is both inspiring and profound, yet it is more than that. Rumi was describing the essential aspect from which all of existence arises from. It is this aspect of which humanity has been aware of since the dawn of its existence. For the most of this span of time, this aspect has been referred to as being a deity or the universe. Both of these terms have been widely used for as long as there have been discussions on creation or the nature of existence, though no person has ever seen a “god” or a “universe”. It is like the discovery that the world is round or that the Earth is not the center of the solar system. Unless you are a former astronaut, who has actually witnessed these things first hand, the best we can do is to accept it through faith and the credibility that we give our science community.
The evolution of human consciousness is approaching a level where we are coming closer to answering all of its existential questions as never before. It is not that this level of consciousness was not there before; it is our awareness of it that is creating a seismic shift in our understanding of what it is to be human or the nature of existence.
How do you know anything?
How do you know of god, or the lack of existence of one? How do you know if the universe is just a concept or if it actually exists? How do you know if the Earth is round or flat? How do you know of the solar system, this blog, or even of your own existence? The answer to all of these questions is awareness. Nothing can exist if there is a lack of awareness of it.
Taking it a step further, you are not aware of god, the universe, the Earth, the solar system, this blog, or yourself, you are aware of the thought of it. When we go into deep sleep, we have no experience of it, which is why you have no memory of experiencing deep sleep, when you wake-up the next morning. Though you have no memory of your experience in deep sleep, there is a lingering awareness that you did spend time there.
There is a reason why you lose all sense of self or sense of experience during deep sleep. The essence of who you are is awareness, not a mind and body. Further, your sense of personhood or “I,” is perceived by awareness as well. The truth of who you are is awareness or consciousness; everything else is just a thought. This is why you lose all sense of identity or experience in deep sleep, the awareness that is you is free from thought; all it knows is of itself. This is why you have appeared as a mind and body.
In order to expand itself, consciousness needs to experience contrast, which can only happen if it creates separation by manifesting itself as phenomena. As humans, we have been gifted with both thought and self-awareness. Thought allows us to experience contrast: We can learn the difference between light and dark, pain and pleasure, transcendence and suffering, or connection and isolation. It is through that which we focus on that informs pure or universal consciousness of itself. In response to this understanding, pure consciousness manifests the people, circumstances, and situations that are consistent with that which we are focusing on. It is this dynamic that is the heart of the Law of Attraction.
Uncovering the truth of your being
Everything is an aspect of consciousness. Since you are aware of yourself, the only thing that you can be is consciousness. You are the localization of universal consciousness experiencing itself as you, the “person.” With this understanding also comes the understanding that you are not in the universe; rather, the universe is within you. Everything that exists is appearing in your awareness, which is the most essential aspect of your being.
A useful metaphor for your relationship with consciousness is the ocean. The ocean is vast and mysterious, yet a drop from the ocean may seem insignificant. However, the drop is inseparable from the ocean, containing the exact same composition and ingredients as the ocean itself. All the rivers of the world drain into the ocean, and traces of all rivers can be found in the drop. The ocean is universal or pure consciousness, and you are the drop, the localized expression of it. But even this analogy is inaccurate as you cannot discriminate the drop of water from the ocean when the drop merges back into the ocean. Similarly, the belief that you are separate from consciousness is just that, a belief.
Here is a simple self-inquiry exercise to assist you in coming to this realization.
Returning to the last line of Rumi’s poem:
“Become nothing, And He'll turn you into everything,” the “He” is you as consciousness.
Best Ways to Forgive Your Guilt
Guilt is but a self-indicted punishment that oftentimes, does not end.
Are you haunted by the ghost of your past?
Re-integration therapy advocates that guilt is, but a shadow from your past that gnaws at your present to create a painstaking future!
Four DIY Ways to Forgive yourself of the Guilt
· Visualizing a Re-do of your Regrets
The first lesson to forgiving yourself is by realizing exactly what you have done sans any bias. After you’re done imagining the depth of your crime, imagine how could you practically avoid the crime of hurting someone else. Your goal is to invent a new climax to the incident to avoid hurting the other and feeling guilty after.
The essence is to prepare your mind for an anti-guilt climax the next time things turn topsy-turvy like in the past. If you have trouble visualizing the incident that led you to guilt, write the incident as a story, with you as the narrator.
· Respect the Balance of Positive and Negative in Life
Life is a careful balance of good and evil. As every incident is a stepping-stone to experiencing a newer light to life, you must realize that the incident was necessary to discover yourself through guilt and subsequent, forgiveness. Simply put, the crime had to happen for the better good. So, stop comparing your worth of good, and begin to challenge yourself to do the good that you think you cannot!
Think of all the ways the incident has influenced or changed your perspective. Analyze ways on how you did your best at the time by identifying the influences that led to your guilty actions.
· Get a grip on your moralities
We feel guilt when our actions don’t pursue our moralities. The biggest danger of guilt is how it makes us feel as though we deserve all the punishments, forever. This tends to create a vibe where we attract punishments.
You must first analyze what your prior moralities were before the incident and how they have changed up until now. What are your new moralities? Are they positive? Your next step is to discipline your guilty feelings to align with your positive feelings of the new moralities.
· Key To Moving On
In the due course of time, there comes a moment where each of us sees the searing light of our erratum. The power of acceptance takes shape in you only when you confess and clarify your actions to none, but yourself.
Dangers of denial are worse than guilt and you must conduct responsibility-taking exercises to prevent the guilt from hurting you anymore. One such way to forgive yourself is using the Best Friend Test, where you imagine that it was your best friend who committed the blunders rather than you. Your duty is to think of ways to counsel your best friend (yourself) to emotional healing and freedom. En route, you will find forgiveness!
Before you go …
How do you know if your efforts were a success or that you’ve successfully forgiven yourself?
The golden rule to remember is that when the burden of guilt vanishes, you will be greeted with drastic transformations in relationships, around you as well as inside you!
Yoga Nidra or Psychic Sleep
Our senses control our emotions and therefore our lives. We cannot escape from the perceptions created by the senses and our conscious life is ruled by them. As a result our mind is always in a flux, and happiness eludes us. To achieve lasting joy and happiness we must access our subconscious. When we are awake our mind is busy reacting to the feelings created by the senses and therefore it becomes impossible to listen to our inner voice or subconscious. Yoga Nidra or Psychic Sleep is a practice where the senses are subdued and our conscious mind can directly access the subconscious.
Yoga Nidra is derived from two words - Yoga means single pointed awareness and Nidra is sleep. During the practice of Yoga Nidra, you seem to be sleeping, but your mind functions at a deeper level of awareness. Wolfgang von Goethe used the inspirations and intuitions from this state to solve problems arising in his work. In dreams occurring in this state, discoverer of benzene ring realized the circular structure from the image of a serpent eating its own tail. Bohr saw the structure of the atom in his dreams, and Einstein propounded the theory of relativity.
Practicing Yoga Nidra
Yoga Nidra is a guided practice which generally lasts for twenty to forty minutes, depending on whether you are a beginner or an advanced practitioner. You have to listen to instructions and follow them mechanically without thinking about the logic and rationale behind the instructions. You must suspend critical thinking. You can listen to a recording of guided Yoga Nidra.
During the first stage of Yoga Nidra the mind is focused on external sounds. If all sensory impressions are forcibly excluded, the mind becomes restless and disturbed. Therefore, the mind is directed towards external sounds. You have to listen to the external sounds and move from one source to another. Your attitude should be that of a witness. After some time the mind slowly withdraws from the outside stimuli and automatically becomes quiet.
Resolve or sankalpa
During this stage you must think of a resolve or sankalpa. Your resolve should be precise and clear, otherwise it will not penetrate the subconscious mind. The resolve can be anything as long as it’s not frivolous. Once you have chosen a sankalpa you must not change to another. Don’t expect results overnight. Time is required depending on the nature of the resolve and the degree to which it is planted in the mind. The result depends on your sincerity and deep felt need to attain the goal of your sankalpa.
Rotation of consciousness
The next stage is rapid rotation of consciousness through the different parts of the body. The rotation of consciousness in Yoga Nidra proceeds in a definite sequence, beginning with the right thumb and ending with the little toe of the right foot; rotation from the left thumb to the little toe of the left foot. Subsequent rotations proceed from the heel to the back of the head, and from the head and individual facial features back to the legs.
Awareness of the breath
After these rotations of consciousness have been completed, physical relaxation is continued and completed by drawing attention to the breath. In this practice one simply maintains awareness of the breath; there should be no attempt to force or change it. One may watch the breath in the nostrils, in the chest, or in the passage between the navel and the throat.
Ending the practice
The practice of Yoga Nidra ends by repeating your resolve. This direct order from the conscious mind to the unconscious enables you to radically change your attitude, behavior and destiny. It is very important that the resolve be stated clearly and positively. This will give the mind strength and a positive outlook. You should have sincere faith in the resolve. This faith strengthens the effect of the resolve on the unconscious mind, so that the resolve will become a reality in your life.
The practice of Yoga Nidra is concluded by gradually bringing the mind from the condition of psychic sleep to the waking state.
If you ever tried meditation, chances are that you struggled to keep your mind quiet. Even if you are an experienced meditator, you know what I'm talking about. The moment you close your eyes, your mind becomes flooded with thoughts. You start thinking about the past, make plans for the future, become annoyed by the impossible task of calming down the stream of thoughts. You discover that your mind is crowded like the Times Square… The thoughts come running, one after another. Even if you try do disengage and maintain the attitude of the mere observer, you get carried away in a train of thoughts.
Although the ancient Yogis spent hours of their time meditating, they knew well the problem of calming down the thoughts. Essentially, Yoga is an ancient technology of gaining control over the mind – not an easy task to accomplish! A great Indian sage, Swami Vivekananda compared the mind to a relentless monkey, jumping from one tree to another from dawn till dusk. Its nature is to remain in constant motion.
Luckily, there is an excellent tool for slowing down the thoughts – the pranayama.
Anchor your breath
Simply put, pranayamas are the Yogic breathing techniques. They have multiple health benefits, such as increasing the lung capacity and reducing the heart rate, but their main goal is to influence the mind. The pace of your thoughts and the rhythm of your breath are inseparably connected. You can easily experience it on your own. When you are active and agitated, you breathe faster and think faster. On the contrary, when you deeply relax or even become drowsy your breath slows down greatly.
Scientifically speaking, the mechanism of the influence of your breath on the thinking is also mediated by the cardiac system. There is a mechanism of natural arrhythmia: during your every exhalation, your heart beats a little bit slower than during the inhalation. In fact, you can control your heart rate and slow it down by making your exhalations longer. That’s why there is a great emphasis of slowing down the breath cycle in pranayama.
Concentrating on your breath and slowing it down, you automatically become more focused. The slower you breathe, the less thoughts come to your mind. You become less distracted. Your mind calms down, and slowly, slowly... you reach a state of meditation.
Your first Pranayama practice
How to begin with pranayamas? You can start with a basic, simple exercise.
Sit with your back straight in a meditative position. You can put a folded blanket or a cushion under your pelvic bones, to make keeping your spine straight easier.
Bring your concentration to the breath.
Try to be deeply aware of what does it feel like to breathe...
Feel the movement of the air in your nostrils. Notice that the air you exhale is a little bit warmer.
Feel the movement of your chest and your abdomen. Feel, how your shoulders move a little bit upwards with every inhalation and downwards with every exhalation.
Once you become focused, start slowing down your breath: make every exhalation twice longer than the exhalation. Although the sensation may be a little strange in the beginning, you will get accustomed to it. After a short training, exhaling twice longer will become effortless. If you feel short of breath or dizzy, it means that you are pushing yourself too far. Be gentle with yourself and patient – the progress will come with time.
Enjoy the calming effect the pranayama has on your mind. Notice, that with the control of the breath there are much fewer annoying thoughts coming to your mind and it’s much easier to mediate.
You can use your breath not only for meditation. It can be of great benefit in your everyday life as well. Every time I want to get focused, or when I do something demanding high precision, I switch on my breath awareness. It immediately gets me in the zone.
You can train your breath awareness even while performing your household chores. When doing the dishes or cleaning up your apartment, try shifting your attention to your breath. Notice that it does not make the work more difficult – on the contrary, you become much more focused and relaxed at the same time. You can coordinate the movements of your hands and body with inhalations and exhalations, turning your weekly cleanup into a Tai Chi practice…
Use your breath. It can be a tremendous tool, if taken care of properly.
J. L. McGalliard
You make decisions all the time. Usually, they come naturally to you and without even really thinking. Yet, you're probably plagued by big decisions that seem to have big consequences.
Why do some decisions seem to be a bigger deal than others? You tell yourself that it's the impact of those choices that really creates a dividing line between big ones and small ones. When you really examine this, is it true? What if I told you that it isn't the impact, but rather YOUR judgments?
Let's look at an example of what appears to be a small decision and a big decision.
A "small" decision
When you wake up in the morning and turn on the coffee maker, you've decided that you will drink coffee. What are the consequences of making this decision? You might feel a sense of comfort when you drink your coffee. You may also feel energized and ready to tackle your day. You will also have a dirty dish you'll have to clean later. What about the coffee grinds? You'll have to throw those out too. Then there's the effort and work of preparing the filter and waiting for the coffee to brew.
A "big" decision
Your boss just demoted you and now you're doing a job that you don't like, for less money and more time. You could quit. You could start looking for other jobs. You could talk to your boss and see if you can get promoted. There are consequences for each choice. Yet, this feels much "bigger" than the coffee scenario above, doesn't it?
It's all about the judgments
Let’s look at that coffee example from a different perspective. If every time you emptied the coffee grinds into the trashcan, you told yourself, "I HATE coffee grinds. I hate the way they smell and the way they look. I hate coffee grinds so much." It would not take very long for you to probably decide to never make coffee again. You'd probably just go buy coffee every morning instead of worrying about how "gross" coffee grinds are. This would definitely have an impact on your finances. If you added it up, you'd spend nearly $70 a month on coffee alone if you didn't make it at your house. That may not be a lot of money to you, depending on your financial situation, but it is certainly an impact.
Take a minute to follow the logic. In the first scenario, making the decision to make coffee was easy and didn't really have a broad impact. In the replay of the scenario, where negative self-talk was added, the impact became broader and deeper. Nothing else changed! The scenario was exactly the same except YOUR perspective and how YOU communicated to yourself.
By understanding this logic, you can start to change your self-talk and make decisions much easier to make. When you realize that YOU are responsible for the judgments you place on things, you are then in control of those judgments. Maintaining awareness and control over your judgments leads to easy decision making.
A meditation for decision-making
Next time you're faced with a decision that seems really "big," try this meditation. It may help to record yourself reading this meditation out loud so that you can follow it with your eyes closed.
Sit in a comfortable position with your eyes closed. You can lie down, but make sure you're not going to fall asleep. Then, focus on your breath. Just feel the rhythm of yourself breathing in and out. Once you become familiar with the rhythm, try to slow it down. Follow your natural rhythm, but try to control and maintain it.
Once you feel comfortable with your breath, shift your focus to your heart. Listen and see if you can hear the beats. Where do you feel your pulse? Take a moment to find the beat of your heart and just listen to it.
Now that you've become familiar with your breath and your heart, it’s time to focus on your muscles. Are you holding tension anywhere in your body? Scan your body from head to toe and see if you notice any tension spots. Take a breath in and then breathe out the tension. Let it melt away.
The next step is to listen to what your body is telling you. Think of the big decision you have to make. Break it down into two choices. Take one of the choices and focus on it. Really think about all the potential consequences. As your mind spins with potentials, listen to your body. Is your heart beating faster? Are your muscles tensing up at certain consequences? Make a mental note of what you're feeling as the thoughts pass by.
Do this again with the other choice. Pay attention to your body and how it responds to different thoughts.
Now, when you're ready, scan your muscles and release tension. Feel your heart and listen to it for a moment. Feel the rhythm of your breath and slow it. Then open your eyes.
Immediately record your observations. Write them down. What thoughts created reactions? What were those reactions? When you see that certain thoughts created reactions, these are the places where you have placed judgment. These are the aspects of your life that you have deemed to be very important. You have judged them to be so.
Finally, evaluate these judgments. Why do you feel like these things are so important? Are they as dire as you think they are? Really take the time to step back and attempt to be objective. You may just find that your judgments are coming from a place of fear and not a place of love. What if you approached these subjects with compassion and love for yourself and others? Would it change the judgment? Would it make it less intense?
Journal your thoughts and see what happens. You'll likely find that your decisions are much easier to make once you're aware of the judgments you've placed on them.
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