Little by Little, One Step at a Time
If you happen to be a newbie or beginner to meditation practice, you can take baby steps or grab little snack bites of spiritual morsels and refreshment frequently throughout your day by practicing the presence of God. (We recommend a book by Joel Goldsmith titled Practicing the Presence shown at the left. It is a good study resource especially for beginners.) Our “Food for the Soul” page provides more information on this particular contemplative practice form.
These brief but frequent periods of spiritual recollection made throughout the day can be as beneficial (if not more effective and beneficial) as the 15- or 20-minute formal meditation sittings one undertakes twice or thrice a day in the manner of a regimented discipline.
After some time, depending on your state of openness and receptivity to Truth and to the inner workings of spiritual grace, you will find yourself drawn to spending longer periods (or more periods daily) of sitting in the silent contemplation of Truth. At this point, your soul sense is beginning to open to the indwelling presence of the Spirit within you. Grace, the life and activity of the Spirit, is coming alive in you. And you will find yourself thirsting for greater inner silence and hungering for more “quiet moments” of just sitting in silence and inner stillness.
Drop by our Meditation Room and try the guided contemplation we have there or the practice contemplation videos embedded in this page. You can try the practice of lectio divina, also known technically as “contemplation” in western spiritual culture, which was handed down to us through the Christian monastic tradition.
[Acknowledgment: Our appreciation and gratitude to Contemplative Outreach for posting the above video on YouTube.]
You can, also, try mindfulness or insight meditation as it is taught and practiced in the eastern spiritual culture of Buddhism, or, for that matter, any other authentic form of contemplative practice that you might be led to or which may suit your individual state of consciousness.
Here is a good, simple guided meditation by Alan Watts. Sit back or recline confortably on a chair, and listen to him,
[Acknowledgment: Our appreciation and gratitude to Indigo Bliss for posting the above video on YouTube.]
These forms of contemplation practice will normally begin their activity in the intellect mind with the pondering, cogitating or contemplating of some scripture passage, spiritual teacher’s saying, or statement from a spiritual teaching. The process then progresses naturally, moving from its initial mental activity of words, thoughts and ideas to a growing sense or feeling of peacefulness, inner stillness and interior silence.
The contemplative activity thus shifts away from the intellect mind to the intuitive mind or the deep feeling level of the soul. You stay there, in that abiding state of inner peace, stillness and silence, in the continuing deep spiritual rest of true meditation, for as long as you can. (Watch the videos of Fr. Keating above and below, and listen to him speak about “receiving God through rest” and “resting in God.”)
Practice, practice, practice.
Resting in God-Presence through Contemplation
That is the farthest we can go humanly, the farthest that our human state of consciousness can take us within. Beyond that, your true Self (Divine Self or Spirit-Self), the Christ-Spirit within you (which you truly are), awakens and stirs in consciousness to see Itself (in a manner of speaking) face to face in oneness with the cosmic God, reflected in God, as God.
[Acknowledgment: Our appreciation and gratitude to Contemplative Outreach for posting the above video on YouTube.]
But regardless of the contemplative practice form you adopt as your personal practice, in your contemplation remember always to take with you and to apply our right understanding of mystical principles and the Truth teaching. You must remain anchored in the correct understanding of the letter of Truth. On that foundation, you elevate your contemplation to the highest level of spiritual understanding you presently have, and you begin your contemplation practice there.
Eventually your practice will bring you to the experience of unio mystica, the experience of mystical union with God or the inner realization of oneness/Truth. When you reach this point of spiritual confirmation where you acquire a “conviction” of the Truth borne out of direct personal experience, you are well into your inner journey proceeding deeper and farther along the mystical path of life.
You can progress further in your contemplative practice with the help of books such as The Art of Meditation (shown in the previous segment) and Beyond Words and Thoughts (shown above), both by Joel Goldsmith, and Passage Meditation (shown at the left) by Eknath Easwaran (A number of these authors’ books are available also in eBook version). You simply cannot go wrong with the guidance and instruction provided in these books.
In the system advanced by Easwaran’s Eight-Point Program, his passage meditation is essentially the same process that we have referred to as contemplative meditation in the preceding discussions. Do not be confused by his expression “meditate on a passage.” Remember that in the eastern tradition where Easwaran’s mysticism is based, the use of the word “meditate” is synonymous to how we understand “contemplate” in the western tradition, namely: “to ponder, cogitate, ruminate without efforts of intellectualizing or rationalizing an understanding of the passage.” Hence, for him, to meditate on a passage means the same as to contemplate on that passage.
Meditation requires and entails the development of the spiritual skill to “Be still, and know that I am God.” Here is a short talk that can teach and impart that skill.
[Acknowledgment: Our appreciation and gratitude to Jackie Trottmann for posting the above video on YouTube.]
Practice, practice, practice, practice, practice.
Develop Your Awareness of God-Presence
Whether for the purpose of a contemplation sitting or at any other time, remember to acknowledge, invoke and invite the Spirit of God within you to come forth from within to fill your awareness and life with the experience of its presence. Always begin your contemplation practice by acknowledging the indwelling presence of God within you.
… close your eyes and notice that there is a black void in front of you, an emptiness. Begin to realize that right there in that black emptiness is the presence of God.
– Joel S. Goldsmith –
Realize that right there in that black emptiness, when your eyes are closed, is the presence of God.
The following video is a contemplation inviting the presence of God into your awareness. Watch the video and simply surrender yourself to the experience of what you are seeing and hearing. If at any point during its playback you feel like closing your eyes and just listening to the chant, do so freely. More importantly, become aware of and remember the feelings of quietness, interior silence, peacefulness, or stillness you may be experiencing during or after your practice. These feelings mark the beginning of true meditation — a simple resting in God’s presence, in God Itself — what the Christian tradition calls contemplative prayer. Try it.
— A Practice Contemplation —[Acknowledgment: Our appreciation and gratitude to mysticoversoul for posting the video on YouTube.com.]
Learn to acquaint yourself with the awareness that you are not a material physical being. You are a spiritual being functioning through a mind that expresses as and through a physical body. You are consciousness.
We recommend the book titled “Consciousness Is What I Am” by Joel S. Goldsmith (pictured at the left) to help you increase your knowledge and awareness of selfhood as consciousness.
You are consciousness — the very same consciousness that God is. To experience God as pure consciousness within you, is to experience your true Self — your God-Self, the Son or Sun of God. And to realize this in human awareness is to enter the state known as Christhood.
Listen to the following talk in the two-part video of Fr. Thomas Keating about “living in the presence of God.” He speaks of a very effective way of developing the awareness of God-presence in our lives.
[Acknowledgment: Our appreciation and gratitude to Contemplative Outreach (coutreach) for posting the video on YouTube.]
Practice, practice, practice, practice, practice, more practice.
Cultivate a Consciousness of Truth
As you continue with your contemplative practice, you will grow into an ever-increasing awareness and knowledge of the true Self — your God-Self within — the Christ-Self which you are. This is the heart of the spiritual journey: the realization of the Self (Self-realization or God-realization) by which Christhood is realized and attained!
Whether the mystical transformation occurs gradually or suddenly, you indelibly acquire a deeper knowingness of the One Self. You can further develop your spiritual growth with other Infinite Way books such as The Mystical I (shown above right) …
… and The Contemplative Life (shown at the left).
Those books and all the other Infinite Way titles will take you soaring to mystical heights. Remember: There is always an Infinite Way book, tape or CD, that will resonate with you or respond to your particular learning needs at any given point in your journey. Furthermore, there are a number of other similar resources from comparative other mystical systems or traditions which you can draw on reliably. They embody the consciousness of Truth, and they will transmit the seeds of Christ-consciousness contained and embedded in their spiritual message to any receptive and thirsting mind.
- There is always an Infinite Way book or a CD/tape class recording of Joel Goldsmith, to help you deepen your understanding of the mystical teachings.
A Most Important Reminder
To cultivate a consciousness of Truth and to progress on your journey along the mystical path, you must observe and undertake the following vital minimum activities diligently and faithfully as a student of the Truth teaching or The Infinite Way:
- Study and learn the letter of Truth (the mystical principles) as found in the Infinite Way or other bonafide mystical teaching, to arrive at its correct understanding.
- Contemplate and ponder the letter of Truth silently in meditation, to experience the Spirit of Truth (to acquire an inner realization of the Truth, also described as the mystical experience of union with God or oneness in God).
- Fellowship or associate with other Truth students who are also on the mystical path, for mutual encouragement and support.
Everything or anything else that is necessary for your further spiritual unfoldment will flow from those activities and come to your awareness.
The following is a guided meditation on love. Try it. Watch the meditation video and simply surrender yourself to the experience of what you are seeing and hearing.
— A Practice Contemplation —[Acknowledgment: Our appreciation and gratitude to LeeHarrisEnergy for posting the video on YouTube.com.]
Practice, practice, practice, more practice, and practice.
Put the Human Ego in Its Proper Place
Work constantly to dismantle the false self system, that personal or human sense of self you entertain erroneously, by (a) studying and learning the principles of the Truth teaching, for example, the message of The Infinite Way (its letter of Truth) or the dharma, (b) examining and eliminating areas or aspects of your awareness where you entertain a sense of separation from God and a belief in two powers contrary to the mystical Oneness of God, and (c) constantly releasing and letting go the many human beliefs held by the conditioned human mind.
Spend some time each day when you do your spiritual practice, to intentionally chisel away at erroneous human beliefs and attitudes — those closely-held personal beliefs and cherished ideas that are not consistent or harmonious with the Truth teaching — and see yourself and your life become transformed. There are many of those in your belief system. They constitute your humanhood. Without them your mind becomes transparent to your true divine nature. Question those beliefs and ideas in the light of Truth. Examine your consciousness and ferret them out without hesitation. They are lies, suggestions from the carnal mind (or mortal mind, or the collective consciousness of the human race or “race consciousness”, or what religion calls “the devil”). They only bring much unhappiness, misery and suffering to your life. As you become aware of them, neutralize and replace them immediately with the conscious remembrance of the letter of Truth you have learned from your mystical studies.
The Truth statements you take with you in contemplation will help you eliminate the erroneous beliefs lodged in the conditioned mind. This is the essence of spiritual transformation — to become unconditioned in your mind. This is what it means to “put on the mind of Christ Jesus” — to function with the Christ-Mind, and not the human mind.
Let go of your erroneous beliefs and attitudes daily, constantly.
And be not fashioned according to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, and ye may prove what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
(St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans 12:2, ASV)
Note St. Paul’s advice above regarding (1) nonconformity with the prevailing material sense of the world, and (2) undergoing a spiritual transformation by a renewing of the mind, not by improving on the mind or making mere modifications to one’s belief system. Our spiritual transformation is the means by which we become nonconformed with the world’s material sense, and it comes about by replacing the human mindset with the illumined and unconditioned mind of Christ/Buddha/Krishna. Our practice makes it so.
In the 52-part video series below titled The Habit of Heartfulness, Fr. Keating discusses the nature of our spiritual transformation and its implications.
[Acknowledgment: Our appreciation and gratitude to coutreach for publishing the video on YouTube.com.]
Be Faithful to Your Contemplation Practice
The practice of contemplative meditation is known in the Hindu mystical tradition as Rāja yoga — the “royal road” to Oneness or union with God. It is taught by Krishna to be the highest of the yogic systems because it leads directly to the realization of the Self.
This knowledge is the king of education, the most secret of all secrets. It is the purest knowledge, and because it gives direct perception of the self by realization, it is the perfection of religion. It is everlasting, and it is joyfully performed. (Krishna, Bhagavad Gita 9.2)
Your contemplation practice is the expression of your devotion to God, your faithfulness to Truth, and your commitment to complete the spiritual journey. Your practice builds up your consciousness of Truth. Your contemplation practice opens you to the mystery of Oneness — to realize Truth. Your contemplation practice opens you to the transforming mystical experience of God.
Your contemplation practice opens you to the transforming experience of mystical union with God!
Your persistence on the spiritual path means that the spirit of God has already touched you. You have not chosen God. God has chosen you, and God will not let you go until you arrive safely at home in His bosom. The constant recognition that the spirit of God has touched you and will not let you go is one of the greatest helps on the way.
— Joel S. Goldsmith —
“God will not let you go until you arrive safely at home in His bosom.”
[Acknowledgment: Our appreciation and gratitude to BBC for publishing the above video on YouTube.]
Bring me home, Lord,
home to Your bosom
So practice, practice, practice, practice, and PRACTICE.
Once the Spirit has you in its hands, you are caught hook, line, and sinker. It grabs hold of all of you, until your inner transformation is made complete. The divine romance has begun. You can only surrender to It. You can only flow downstream with It on Its way back to the vast ocean of Its oneness.— Marc —