Journey to the Universe: A Guided Meditation
This meditation has the aim of taking the meditator out of the mundane, everyday experience of the finite Earthly life, and helping the student of meditation to enter the infinite—at least, in our imagination.
We each spend so much of our daily life engaged only in affairs which are right in front of us: work, home life, family and associations with those in our immediate scope of contact.
But beyond that, we often forget that there's another world out there unless we watch the news which is often far from uplifting. So, having seen on the news what is out there in the world, we recoil once more and re-enter our little world of immediate contact, and thus limit our consciousness and personal experience of reality.
The Earth World
It is so often very easy to forget that we are living on a globe that is spinning on its axis in space at around 1,000 miles per hour and travelling around the sun at over 60,000 miles per hour. Quite astonishing when you really think about that concept!
But here we are, all going about our daily business totally oblivious to this remarkable and perhaps miraculous reality. If we take things even further, we sit on this ball of earth, rock and water rotating around the sun with other planets too, such as Mars and Venus and even the giant planet Jupiter.
Let's go further out and we see that the sun is just one star at the centre of its own little solar system, amongst so many other, similar suns with their accompanying planets. Keep going out, and our little system is just like the atom with its central nucleus (the sun) and all the electrons rotating and pulsating around it in orbit (the planets) until we see that this system is just one tiny part of the vast Milky Way. The atom is a solar system in miniature, and indeed, a little universe within itself. "As above, so below," the ancient Greeks said. The macrocosm is reflected in the microcosm.
But if we go out further, the Milky Way is nothing but sea-froth amongst billions of stars floating in a cosmic ocean. Our world, planet Earth, is not even a spec of dust. We as individuals are even smaller.
In order to know ourselves, we need to contemplate the realities that surround us. In ancient Greek temples, a sign carved in stone would be found above the temple door which all could read as they entered; it said, Know Thyself.
That may be just about the most important statement ever made. Because, to know oneself, we become truly human, and no longer subject to all the limitations and whims of the little 'i' that thinks it is the real Self.
When we contemplate the mysteries of the Universe we can become equipped to stand back from the little self and see Life in its fundamental reality. This meditation is one method that can show you the way towards that end. It trains the mind to lift itself above the simple Earthly experience and gain insight into the vastness of a much greater truth, and a much greater life.
The Point Within the Circle
Many years ago, in my early twenties, I first experienced the mystic Yogic experience of Samadhi. It is that the state of Nirvana often mentioned by yogis and mystics all down the ages. It often lasts only seconds, yet those seconds cover an infinity of time, and yet they are nothing but a floating bubble quick to burst and disappear. But the feeling stays with you forever. That part, at least, is eternal. There is nothing on Earth like it, and it goes beyond real description.
For me, apart from the sheer bliss engendered by the experience of Samadhi, I received in my mind the symbol of a point within a circle. Literally, I saw a tiny dot at the epicentre of a much larger circle encompassing the dot. I felt that I was all at once, both the tiny dot, the microcosm, and the larger circle, the macrocosm. I was both, simultaneously.
Like the Chinese yin and yang, I knew that I was both of these concepts and that each one complemented the other. There could be no other if the one did not exist. All was One.
Meditation: 7 Steps to the Universe
We are going to step outside of ourselves; we are going to go beyond what we think we are. We are going to realise the infinite amongst the finite. Like the Point within the Circle we are going to experience the infinitesimally small (the microcosm) and the infinitely large, (the macrocosm) and know that both are One.
Breathing: Our first step on this meditation journey is to use the breath as a source of strength and power. My favourite breathing technique is the one that I have coined The Energy Breath. I have outlined this breathing technique in my other meditations, but I repeat it here if you are unfamiliar with it.
The Energy Breath: To begin with, start by seating yourself appropriately, in whatever manner you are used to, either in a straight-backed chair or on the floor. If you can perform the Lotus posture or the Half-Lotus posture, then by all means do that, seated on the floor. Give yourself about 30 minutes for this meditation.
With a straight spine and the head resting comfortably in a straight line with the spinal column, bring your attention to your breathing. The breathing is all done via the nostrils only, breathing in through the nostrils and breathing out through the nostrils. You are taking long, deep and slow breaths, in and out, and feeling that the breath itself is a fluidic energy that ascends and descends along the spinal canal.
Perform this breathing technique for a few breaths until you feel quite relaxed. On the next in-breath, imagine a thread of golden light ascending upwards along the spine and entering the top of the head where resides the fabled Crown Chakra of Eastern mysticism. See and feel the golden light transfigure here into a golden-white sun with rays shining out in all directions. On each in-breath, allow this inner sun to scintillate and radiate outwards.
Continue using the Energy Breath for several breaths until you feel that you are mastering it well. Keep the mental image of the golden light flowing up the spine and into the Crown Chakra. Be aware of a sense of the 'energy' contained in the Energy Breath.
Keep the mind centred at the top of the head for about five minutes.
We are now going to imagine that we are withdrawing our essential consciousness from the Earthly body. See your body sitting in meditation, as an outsider would. Try to recall what clothing you are wearing, and what colours they may be. Become aware of the room where you are meditating. Notice any details without straining to remember them.
Now feel that your true essence, the being that you really are, is stepping out of the body, rather like putting off an old, heavy coat. Feel the sense of freedom and lightness that this brings. You are quite safe. Nothing can happen to you or to your body, left sitting in repose.
Now feel that you are outside your own front door. Really see and feel the door. See its colour.
In your imagination, walk into the street or whatever your outside space is like. See it clearly, or as clearly as you can recall. Allow any other things to appear, should any anomalous images occur. Dismiss them if they're unpleasant, and do not pay attention to them but stay focussed on the technique outlined.
Now feel that you are as light as the air itself, as light as helium perhaps, and your feet leave the ground beneath them. (If you feel that you are 'safer' in your mind by imagining being in a hot-air ballon or some other flying or floating device, then please use the imagery that you are most comfortable with.) Now ascend upwards, into the air. If you wish, place a protective bubble around yourself, as if travelling in an orb of light.
Now go above the roof of your home. See the street or area below you. Notice the weather conditions. Feeling quite safe, and possibly exhilarated, rise up higher, way above the world. See and feel the clouds that you are now passing through, yet you do not feel cold. Observe the landscape far beneath you. Be aware of all the billions of other people on Earth, all the trillions of animals and other forms of life, on land and in the sea. Be aware of the mountains, the forests, the rivers, and everything.
Can you see, as you ascend, the gradual 'rounding' of the Earth's shape? Go higher. Go beyond the clouds, now far above them. You can now see the stars.
Now see the entire sphere of the Earth itself. Notice the continents, the oceans and the cloud formations. You keep on ascending, and the Earth grows smaller. You see the moon and then pass beyond it. You gradually become aware of the other planets in the Solar System with the Sun at the centre and all the planets revolving around the Sun, including Earth.
Gradually, you leave the Solar System and see myriads of other galaxies, all revolving in space, each with their own central sun. Relax and enjoy the experience of seeing other worlds far from the Earthly plane. Feel that your consciousness has expanded into the entire Universe itself.
Stay with this sense of being present in the vastness of the Universe for as long as you feel comfortable. Just take it all in. It is one mighty machine, impregnated by One all-pervading Consciousness.
Now, it is time to return to the Earth world; slowly reverse the entire process, feeling and seeing yourself returning back from outer space, back to the Solar System to which the earth belongs. You see the Sun and the other planets all revolving around the bright light of the Sun. You locate the Earth, with its moon, and slowly descend towards it.
You can see the globe, and feel it rotating on its axis beneath you. You re-enter Earth's atmosphere, in whichever way works best for you (perhaps in a spacecraft if you like) and descend down through the cloud-streams beneath you.
Your country is outlined clearly on Earth, like an enormous map. You locate your home position, and descend downwards towards it. The familiar streets and landscape are all coming into focus, like the slow descent of an aeroplane coming in to land.
You come down right over the place where you live. You descend, and land softly and safely outside your front door. It feels so easy to slip through the door and re-enter your abode. There is your physical self in meditation. With a gentle motion, you glide back into the body effortlessly and merge with it once more.
Take time to truly feel that you have come back into the physical body. Although this is an imaginary exercise, and you will be quite safe, some people may feel that they are 'out of sorts' after this meditation.
Sit calmly, and bring your attention to your breathing, with a few easy in and out breaths. Rub your fingers together, and if you wish, rub the palms of your hands briskly together and feel fully present. Wriggle your toes. Feel truly back inside.
Open your eyes and take note of where you are. Turn the head and slowly look around. Become truly aware of being back in the physical body on Earth. Return to everyday awareness, and if you wish, give thanks to whatever Deity you believe in, or offer up a simple thanks to the great Universe itself, in which you live, move and have your being.
Try and feel that there has been a definite expansion of consciousness within you, and carry that feeling into your everyday life.
All is well.