In Raja Yoga meditation, not only do I journey inward to experience my essential self; I also journey upward into higher consciousness, going beyond the awareness of the physical body and the physical world. With practice I am able to perceive and experience the dimension of pure soul consciousness, beyond sound, activity and thought. In this place or state of awareness I experience complete freedom, peace, rest and comfort, as if I’ve come home to a place where I truly belong and where I can simply be.
Self–awareness and self–understanding are cultivated in order to realise one’s true spiritual identity. In the meditative state, the self is experienced as conscious energy taking the form of a point of light. This spiritual energy, the soul, is experienced as both different and separate from the energy of the material body. The roles and interplay between mind, intellect and personality are understood through a process of self–observation. The meditator learns to quiet and control the mind, allowing the conscience to be clearly heard. Understanding the relationship between acquired values and innate values and between values and virtues is emphasised, along with the importance of reviewing and renewing one’s values at the deepest level of one’s life. Conscious awareness of the soul is thus developed, allowing full understanding of the self.
Consciousness is ‘meta’ physical. As such, it cannot be destroyed by anything physical. Thus, the soul is immortal. It cannot die. The realisation of the self as an immortal being brings an understanding of birth, life, death and rebirth as the cyclical stages of an eternal existence.
Once I have begun to base my sense of ‘who I am’ on perceiving myself as a soul rather than on perceiving only my temporary costume, the body, I deeply realize that, as a being of spiritual energy giving life to the body, I am immortal. I begin to understand that I change bodily costumes just as a snake sheds its skin, but I – the eternal soul – can never die.
Beyond the physical world of planets and galaxies there is a non–physical realm of subtle spiritual energy. Beyond that is a luminous world of pure silence, where souls abide in an incorporeal state–beyond acting or thinking–still, silent, aware, and in total peace. That world ‘beyond sound’ (Nirvana, Paramdham, Santidham, Brahmlok) are the original home of all souls, from whence all souls have come onto the earth.
The world in which we are now living is known as the physical or corporeal world, because all living beings here have a gross, corporeal or manifest form. The physical earth can be thought of as a vast stage where we ‘play our parts’ in the drama of life, in different bodily ‘costumes’.
Beyond the limits of the vast expanse of our solar system and distant galaxies there are regions of non-material light, unreachable by physical means and inaccessible to the physical senses. These realms can only be experienced through deep meditation and divine insight. The subtle world is an intermediate dimension of pure, positive luminous energy in which there is the experience of one’s subtle body of light and communication with other souls through pure spiritual thoughts and vibrations.
Beyond the physical realm of action and the subtle realm of pure thought lies an infinite, timeless dimension of complete stillness, silence and peace. Suffused with golden-red luminosity, this is the realm of God, the Supreme Being, Parent of all souls. It is the original home of all souls.
Who has been remembered as the Ocean of Love, the Intellect of the Wise, the Almighty Authority, the Comforter of Hearts, the Truth, The Living Being and the Blissful One? God Means the Supreme Soul. The term ‘Supreme Soul’ means He is supreme among all souls. It implies that, He is also ‘a soul’, though He is the Highest of all. He is above birth and death. God is the Supreme Father-Mother, Supreme teacher and Supreme Preceptor to all the human beings and He himself has no father-mother, teacher and preceptor. God is a subtle, infinitesimal point of Light. He is not visible to the naked eye but it is very much possible to experience His presence and proximity in meditation. He is incorporeal in the sense that he does not have a body of his own. He is not a human being nor does He have a human form. He is immune to pleasure and pain unlike human beings. God is based on His qualities and actions. His self-revealed name is ‘Shiva’. ‘Shiva’ means doer of good or benefactor. God does good to all and therefore He is called Shiva. All souls ask for salvation and beatitude i.e. peace and happiness from Him.
God lives, not everywhere but somewhere. A thought of God almost always takes the eyes upwards, as though one is perhaps expecting a face to miraculously appear from behind the clouds or to beam down from the moon.
Karma is a natural spiritual law or principle which governs all our interactions. It starts with the seed of thought which develops and grows over time through our feelings, attitude, words, actions, and relations. It finally settles into our souls as personality traits, only to emerge again in the form of another thought.
The Law of Karma can be understood as the spiritual equivalent of Newton’s Third Law of Motion, which states that for every action [on the physical plane] there is an equal and opposite reaction. In physics, the understanding of the absoluteness of Newton’s law shed so much light on a world that had previously been shrouded in mystery, that today it lies at the foundation of many advances in science and technology.
Time is perceived as moving in cycles and life as a whole is presented as an unlimited drama on the stage of the world. This perspective of time and constantly changing scenes (history and geography) restores the ability to find meaning and significance in local and global events.
It is difficult for the mind to comprehend eternity – no beginning, no end. Reasons ‘why’ are moot and mute when there’s no starting place. If I look at a circle, at a wheel, it is impossible to find the beginning or the end. Can such an image help me understand eternity? As I look at the natural world around me, I see never – ending cycles everywhere – in the waxing and waning of the moon; in the gradual changing of the seasons; in the measure of time on the face of a clock. Nothing in nature is a straight line. Why should human nature be an exception?
The World Drama is a story of human souls, their rise and fall, victory and defeat, happiness and suffering, wisdom and ignorance, freedom and bondage. It is the story of the play of good and evil forces, and of the different stages through which human souls pass in five different epochs (acts). It is the story of humanity on its dramatic journey through the cycle of eternity. It is the greatest story ever told… And we all love a good story!
The lesson on the Tree of Life offers insights into evolution and creation, illustrating why the world is so fragmented today, and explaining the value, the roles and the relationships between diverse human interest groups and disciplines such as religion, science, politics and business.
The lifecycle of a tree in nature – its origin, growth in size, decline and rejuvenation – offers a good analogy for the lifecycle of the Human Family Tree. All parts of a tree are interconnected. Something that happens to one part of a tree affects the whole tree. To look at the almost fully – grown tree of humanity’s life on earth today is to observe and understand its journey through time.
The seed of humanity, of the human family, is God, the Supreme Being, the essence from which the whole tree of humanity grows. The trunk of the tree symbolises the era of paradise which emerges from that perfect Seed – that golden era before recorded history when there is unity of belief, culture, language and governance; that period of perfected civilization when there is no difference between the theory and practice of righteous living. People in such a time lack nothing, are totally fulfilled, and share a harmonious way of life. The closeness of the trunk to the seed symbolizes how souls at that time embody God’s qualities, living lives based on the principles of truth. Such souls are memorialized in stories and legends as ‘gods’ and ‘goddesses’, but few any longer understand that such divine beings actually once walked upon our earth.
As a tree grows, its trunk naturally expands in size. Similarly, the human population expands. More ‘leaves’ (individual human souls) appear on the tree. Just as leaves naturally leave their bud-like state and begin to unfold, so the deities open themselves to greater involvement with the physical world and concern with the physical body – the temple of the soul. Completely unaware that they are losing awareness of their true identity – the soul itself – in the process, they also lose touch with their original nature of purity, peace and truth.
But before old life dies, new life is given by the Seed, the Creator of the tree. God, the Seed of the Human Family Tree, reveals how that which was can be again. Awakened by the advent of this Seed, and deriving strength and sustenance by forming a renewed relationship with this One, individual human souls become foundational roots from which a new young sapling can emerge. The regeneration of the Human Family begins.
Meditate deeply, visualizing yourself as a root soul sitting close to God, the Seed of our Human Family. Draw from that Seed the eternal essence of all that can be attained in life. Remain beneath the canopy of the knowledge of our Human Family Tree and all of your pure desires will be fulfilled.
Regular daily meditation is the way to build and strengthen your spiritual awareness, experience the natural positive qualities of the soul and achieve freedom from fear. This process is greatly enhanced when your outer lifestyle complements and assists in your spiritual growth. Regular observance of four spiritual pillars, a vegetarian diet, and a balanced routine that incorporates physical and mental relaxation are the elements that comprise a spiritual lifestyle.
A spiritually fulfilling life is based on a foundation of four pillars: