I teach meditation. That doesn’t mean I’m any wiser or loftier of a soul than anyone else. I study and practice meditation because my life wasn’t working when I was 18 and meditation helped it work better. Throughout my life, especially during the hardest of times, meditation has been an important tool to carry me through. Sometimes meditation is a survival tool, a “please get me through this mess” tool. Other times meditation can take me somewhere deeper and I learn more than survival… I experience how to thrive, to grow, to cultivate the best in me and to hope I can help others do the same for themselves.
My job as a teacher is to help you develop tools, then I watch as you run off through your amazing life just a bit better equipped to thrive. I always explain to students when we first meet that they don’t need me. I intend to point out a path that has been so helpful to me… then I hope teach them some basic tools they can use to launch themselves to where they wish to go.
Last night I learned something important to me. You might think, “She didn’t KNOW that?” Yeah, well, we all have holes in our knowledge that can be filled to bring deeper, clearer understanding. I learned about the Universal Unconscious.
I use the terms Universal Unconscious sometimes when teaching meditation. I use it when trying to help students understand that we differ in how we view what is higher, wiser, holier than ourselves. Some people use the word god, others find their hope and direction in life from the energy of the earth, the light of the sun, science or the love and wisdom of ancestors. Some of us are comfortable with god or God, some use goddess, holy mother, mother earth, Gaia, Shiva, Isis, Zeus and others rest in the universal unconscious.
Last night, I settled in for a lovely shamanic journey. I’m trained in shamanic practices and often enjoy a journey as part of my meditation practice. But the journey didn’t come. I stayed, stretched out on the bed, with my mind flitting here and there. I used the same tools I share with students- breathing, mantra, relaxing, grounding but still my journey didn’t start. Then, while seeking the spaces between the thoughts, somehow my mind just opened up and I saw the night sky filled with stars. And clear as the words on this page, I heard…
Beyond your busy mind, there is a higher, wiser you. This higher self is soul or spirit. While in our minds, we are all different- male and female, black or white, religious or not, liberal and conservative, Austrailian or New Zealander, older or younger, rich or poor, happy or angry… so many flavors of being. But the higher self, the spirit or soul does not know these differences. This wiser self is part of a whole of light and love, empathy and joy. This higher self is universal. This higher self is one. We’ll call this idea the Universal Spirit.
I had hoped for a journey with visions of loveliness but I got this statement. I know myself well enough to sit up, grab the ipad and write out what just happened. I know if I had slept first, this little missive might have floated away or gotten lost in the news of the next morning.
The universal spirit…
At birth, we dropped into our bodies with these differences (like male and female, black or white, religious or not, etc) to live our lives. I think we choose to come to the visible world to learn a lesson, serve a purpose, work off some karma and to help the world.
Once we inhabit the body, we forget the spirit, soul self generally. We can get sucked into busy-ness, the media and a thousand other things that seem most important. Meditation brought me back to communing with the spirit but often in the course of a day, our chaotic world and slammed schedules keep the visual “real” world at the top of our minds.
The spirit part of us isn’t part of the visible world, but part of the invisible world. The spiritual realm is just as real as the computer I’m typing on. We don’t often talk about the invisible world but last night, I walked into it in my meditation. I could see somehow that all our physical differences fall away in the invisible world. When we are soul/spirit, we are the same. As spirit, we are connected, alike, even universal.
There’s a traditional meditation called the Loving Kindness meditation. This practice calls us to find a way to love those who are not like us, not close to us, not like us. Finding a way to love those who are so different from me has been a very calming and healing practice, especially in these volatile times.
Last night, the idea that it’s much easier to find ways to love those who might frighten me or even call me to anger when I remind myself of the invisible world. In this invisible, universal, spiritual world, we are all connected. We understand, support, commune, sacrifice and never hurt one another. The animal, plant and human kingdom… all sentient beings whatever form… all present, all equal, all speaking in this universal, invisible realm.
Why am I telling you this?
I’m not sure.
I’m not even sure that there’s a clear message here.
I was just deeply comforted, calmed down to my bones, as I pondered the fleeting visible world in comparison with the vast, eternal invisible world. Both worlds exist for each of us every day. At some point, we will all transition back to the invisible world. In that transition, we are no less real… in fact in some ways, maybe we’re more real. We might still care about the day-to-day chaos that is the visible world but we also see the vast, far-reaching, stretch of safe, eternal love in the invisible world. And from that safe, calm, clear perspective, we might understand so much more than we learn from the “real” visible world.
For each of us, the visible and the invisible worlds are real. There is a visible, human, flesh and bone person which is you. There is also the invisible energetic spiritual/soul you residing within and without. Don’t forget that invisible you. Take peaceful moments to connect with that higher, wiser self. That you is part of so much more. In choosing what direction you wish to take with your visible life, consult with the universal spirit within you and you’ll likely receive some very good direction.