How do you live for God and something greater than yourself? How can you move past the small, selfish purposeless sense of self? How do you move from an intellectual understanding of wholeness to an experience of it? All these are important questions to ask.
The feeling of separateness and isolation that prompts these questions is common among most people but tends to become amplified in those interested in meditation. This makes sense, because those interested in meditation are also interested in Yoga. Yoga is an experience of unified awareness. You practice Yoga to realize that your awareness is whole. Yet, in the beginning the pain of seeming separation can be almost unbearable.
If you have begun meditating, then you are on your way to realizing that you already are living as something greater than your limited personality. It starts with meditation, because meditation increases our Self-awareness. According to the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, “Absence of Self-awareness is a root cause of pain.” By developing Self-awareness, we begin to dissolve that root cause of pain that makes one feel separate and isolated from the wholeness of life. Developing Self-awareness also takes us beyond our small, selfish, purposeless sense of self.
Write down the following question on a slip of paper. Then keep it in your meditation space. At the end of each meditation session, spend an additional 5-10 minutes really wondering, as if you are curious about the answer, what the answer to this question is. “Am I separate from the wholeness of life? How can that be?”
At the outset this can be difficult. It is like when you decide to clean out your attic. You may have been completely unconscious of how cluttered and moldy and dusty your attic has become. When you first look around, you realize how much work is ahead of you. Then you become disheartened. The weak willed may then decide to forget about it, and let their children take care of it once they inherit the house. The appropriate response is to take care of it now. Take a deep breath and then start removing one item at a time. You may even get half way into the project and feel like not much has been accomplished, but you keep working.
When we begin on our spiritual path towards realizing wholeness, the growing Self-awareness can be painful. You become more and more aware of how your behavior needs to change, or a sense of trust and faith need to be cultivated. For some, this hurts, because the years of memory living as an angry distrusting human being creates a habit that is hard to break. The same method applied to cleaning out the attic is applicable here.
Every day you meditate, on time, as duty. You begin to pray before or after your meditation for the strength to grow strong, so you can admit what inner work needs to be done to grow a sense of faith and trust in life. You begin to organize your life such that you minimize problems. Problems will still arise, as that is the nature of things, but you are cutting out the one’s you have some control over. As your ability to meditate grows, and your life becomes more organized, you are then in an excellent position to experience wholeness. How so?
When you have learned to calm your nervous system through meditation, it is easier to invite a sense of peace into your life. When you have taken the time to organize your life, avoiding unnecessary problems, you have less to worry about. When worry is minimal and peace is even vaguely accessible, then you can cultivate wholeness and purpose. How is this done?
After you meditate, take 10 minutes every day to contemplate. Contemplate what you want to know. If you feel isolated and alone and separate from God, ask, “What is my true relationship with God?” Ask it with feeling. Ask it as though you are asking a friend who you know is ready to give you the answer. Ask the question, then sit quietly, with your eyes closed and wait. Do this for 10 minutes every day after each meditation. EXPECT THE ANSWER TO COME TO YOU. Don’t force it, but find a way to imagine that the universe is setting up the proper situation for you to have this question answered. You can use any question you like. Consistency, trust and patience is necessary.
It may take days or weeks or even months for the realization to come to you. But what is a little time compared to actually having a deep sense that you are NOT separate from the whole? Imagine a life where you know that and feel that? Isn’t that worth 10 minutes a day?
Of course, if you are expecting this realization to magically change your mission in life or radically alter your daily routine, you may be disappointed. This is possible, but in my experience with this work, these contemplations generally lead to a sense that every seemingly mundane thing shines with wholeness. Then every mundane thing shines as if it was made perfectly for and by God.
Your meditation practice will reveal the underlying wholeness that you long for. It will show you that it has always been there in EVERY circumstance. This will change your psyche subtly over time. Then your purpose will radiate in every action you take, and it will not matter how yours or any other human mind judges it. By meditative contemplation you rise above the mind that makes you think you are separate or can exist a part from the whole. Then the whole world shines as it is.
So meditate. Ask the questions that are dear to your heart after meditation. Trust the responses. Live from those realizations. Remain fluid and continue growing into your spiritual maturity. Your questions and realizations will change as you grow. Keep your path alive in this way.