"How" of Spiritual Recovery
by Roland Trujillo
(This is the second of a two part series on meditation to implement spiritual recovery. Part 1 can be found in Archives.)
Proper meditation is the antidote to becoming upset and coming unglued and the equally harmful habit of becoming upset and then suppressing the upset.
A response can also be hardly noticeable, but can cause a lot of problems. We have all had someone say something critical or cruel to us that we resented and remembered. It haunted us and eventually might even have dominated us.
Kids often hear or see something that they misinterpret. Reacting to it leaves an indelible scar. For example, I heard on the radio about a boy who saw his dad and mom wrestling and who thought his dad was trying to harm his mom. He developed a hatred for his dad and became a lifelong criminal. Twenty years later he found from them that they had just been playing, but by this time his misinterpretation and hatred of his dad went on to ruin his life.
Another thing: the moment of response can be very subtle. It may not seem like much at the time. For the person who develops an allergy, there is a first reaction. That first reaction to the pollen may be very small, perhaps minute and unnoticeable. But it sets the stage for a growing full blown allergy.
Fears, phobias and fetishes all begin with an initial reaction that may be small in its inception.
I’m sure you’ve heard that first impressions are lasting. And there is a first time for everything. This applies to hatreds and hang-ups just as much as it does to allergies. Every problem you have generally traces back to an initial emotional reaction. It became the basis of a lifetime of reactions, symptoms, and compensations.
Therefore, it becomes obvious that it is the moment of response that is the key to life. Respond rightly and you are free. Respond wrongly and you set up a chain reaction of error and symptoms.
Learn how not to react and your problems will be on the mend.
And this is the beauty of the meditation. It teaches you how to stand back from things, so that you are pre-armed with a slightly distant attitude. When the external stimulus occurs, you remain unmoved. By remaining unmoved in the moment of stress, there is no emotional reaction, and the external tease does not get in.
The moment passes and the meditator is safe.
At the present time, most people are caught up in thinking, emotions, reactions, and with external people and circumstances to which they keep reacting and being involved in.
Even if you tell then to try to be calmer, they can’t do it. Here’s why.
1. They are so used to reacting that external things keep sneaking up on them. They react before they have a chance to catch themselves.
They then spend the rest of their time dealing with the symptoms of the reaction—trying to get rid of the upset, headache, hurt feelings, mistakes, and guilt that follow on the heels of the emotional reaction.
2. If they do manage to remind themselves to be more calm, then old emotions and the residue of past reactions keep bubbling to the surface in the form of guilts, bitter memories, resentments, and physical symptoms. They spend all their time trying to deal with these, usually dealing with the symptoms and not the cause.
Again, the beauty of the meditation technique is that it begins the day and leads our responses.
By practicing the meditation first thing in the morning, we are prepared by re-establishing the slightly distant attitude in advance. We are pre-armed with patience and pre-armed with reasonableness so that we can go out in the world and go about our business without reacting in the first place.
Now the next thing that is needed is for the person to know how to deal with the thoughts and emotions that arise from previous reactions.
A nice aspect of the meditation is that the same slightly distant attitude that protects us from external tease and trauma also protects us from being overwhelmed and drowning in the soup of thoughts and emotions.
In some ways, discovering how to passively observe thought is even more important to recovery than mental distance from external things. The imagination, for example, can be quite troubling and even frightful. People who have suicidal thoughts, who hurt themselves, who get depressed, or who go insane are struggling with the imagination which has them under its spell.
They react emotionally and become immersed in thoughts just as readily as they get immersed in outside things. .
The meditation provides protection because it teaches the person how to remain distant to thoughts. The idea is to observe thought rather than being immersed in thought.
Inheriting faith and trust in the inner Light, the meditator can observe thoughts—as troubling as they may be—without getting involved with them or struggling with them. In the same way as a person can watch a bad movie and not take it seriously, so he or she can learn to observe thoughts as if they were a bad movie without taking them seriously.
Another important aspect of the meditation is that it also includes a teaching aspect. It imparts understanding. When the meditator desires to know the truth, then he or she stands back and observes in the Light of Truth. This Light is the objective Standard by which all things are searched out and revealed for what they are. In this Light, the meditator begins to understand the reason for his problems, and insight is sufficient to result in a natural alteration of one’s approach to things.
This Light is from God, and so it contains love. It permits the person to observe things, without being disturbed, just as a little child can see something scary without being scared if her father is with her holding her hand. The Light from God is sensed as intuition, a gut feeling, or quiet knowing. When you know that the Light is there and trust in that Light, this quiet secret knowing provides an indescribable comfort. The peace and reassurance is from true faith in the real Presence of God’s Light, and it sustains the soul in the times of trouble that are sure to come.
When you were a little child, you were very close to it. At other times and places, you may have become aware of it as a strong force restraining you from something. In these cases, it was protecting you from danger. At other times, you may have been aware of a door opening to some opportunity. Something wordlessly did not restrain you, and ever so gently may have nudged you in the right direction.
You did not know that your intuition was from God. And for the most part, you dismissed it or discounted it. The words and the personality of others, especially the authorities and experts of the world, were stronger and more convincing. And the desire to be liked, to be popular, to be accepted was stronger.
And a false “conscience” which also came from the world was always there whispering taunts and challenges, egging you on with its permissive promise of party time or glory. It spoke to you with words. You thought it was you, but it was a malevolent spirit that always told you what you wanted to hear, but which led you into error.
Your real conscience is wordless. Your real conscience is more like a light shining on things. The proper meditation will permit you to distinguish between the quiet wordless Presence of Understanding, and the voices and emotions that come from the world. You will see the wrong in the Light of the Right. It is simply a matter of observing what is not right in the Light of what is right. You do not have to be the right, nor need you struggle with what is false. Simple observation is sufficient.
And of course, the temptation to judge and to hate others—when they were cruel, unfair, or when they did not give us the homage we expected—found our weakness. We hated and judged and resented—and this put us in conflict with the inner Light, because God does not solace the hate of others. Frankly, we also resented God when we did not get what we wanted in life.
Because our resentments and our ambitions put us in conflict with God’s will and way, our awareness in the inner Light began to grow dim as the Light receded due to our growing closer to the things of the world.
Our involvement with the world became a hypnosis. It becomes a total involvement of thought, imagination, emotions, and eventually even our soul.
People can become totally involved in just about anything—even a hobby, a novel, or the proverbial romantic crush. Try to get between them and their love, which they call upon unceasingly and which they fondle in their mind constantly, and they will hate and denounce you as a cruel spoilsport. If someone can be involved with some trivial pursuit, then it is a small stretch to see that a person could be involved similarly with an externally based worldly life. And that this total involvement would preclude the inner life.
There is such a thing as Divine hypnosis, a total involvement with our Creator and the inner life he inspires. This is, I believe, what the scriptures mean by “you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, strength and soul.” The way to do this is through the practice of the meditation.
Meditate unceasingly by passive observation in the Light. Preserve your calm being by being patient with others. You will then be able to be patient with yourself.
The meditation will keep alive the rapport with the inner Light, and it will somehow make you aware when you fall into excessive involvement with the imagination and become lost in thought. You will snap out in that moment that you become aware.
In the past we did not know how to accomplish this. We may have been caught up with religious study, nice words, images or music, mistaking this emotional imaginative involvement for the real thing. It may have helped us get out of negativity and buoyed our spirits for a while. But because it was just another type of worldly hypnosis, it eventually left us worse off than before and even more guilty. We may have been so afraid of admitting that it was not true that we kept on making affirmations and muttering nice words out of fear of stopping.
Bear in mind that there is a big difference between knowing God and knowing about God.
Most people know about God but do have not experienced the real God.
What most people know is actually a hypnotic relationship with people, words, and images. Though the images, words and concepts may be nice, nevertheless they are image based, emotional and hypnotic. Just as some people cling to their teddy bear, so some cling to religious images, religious memories, or nice words or music.
What you need is the real thing—which begins when you begin to pay attention to the still small voiceless voice that quietly says that the other way is not the way. The way is the quiet intuition from God. It is the Light itself that bears witness to truth. When you believe in that Light and trust in that Light, you will have found the way.
Remember words of truth are merely words. If something is true, what is important is the inner testimony of the Light of Truth. It is the Light that is Truth. And if something on the outside is true (factual) then the Light of Truth quietly testifies that it is true. The inner testimony is the important thing, not the external fact. When you find and heed intuition, you will know something is true because the inner Light quietly says that it is.
And if something does not sit right with you, it is because the inner Light is quietly saying no to it.
Now you are too involved with thinking.
The proper practice of the meditation permits you to stand back from thought, so that you can see the emptiness and vanity of thinking. Once you begin to meditate and move intuitively, you will discover that life can be simple.
The person on the path does think. But it is thinking that flows from intuition. Wholesome thoughts and quietly exciting insights fill the mind as a result of living intuitively and patiently in God’s Light.
You will still be assailed by worries, doubts and sordid thoughts—but they cannot harm you, and you will be able to observe them out of existence.
Find a rapport with God’s inner Light of intuition and you will have found the Source of a world of positive values and insights that will lead to character building experiences.
You will be a friend of God. The good that will happen will not be of your doing, but as a result of your daily commitment to wanting to know what is right.