UNIT V.  THE BELOVED ONE

CONTENTS

1.  The guru within
2.  Who is the Beloved?
3.  You are the One
4.  Personal essence

Materials needed: Journal, paper and pen, drawing materials

Books needed:

* Eternal echoes
* The path to love
* Like a  thousand suns
Holy Bible
* A path with heart

Exercises and practices:

Presence
God’s love for us
The eternal Godhead
Meeting the Beloved
Oneness
You are the One
Who am I?

* You will already have these books.


I am That I AM (Exodus 3:14)

This is only one of the translations of this passage.  The quote above comes from the King James version of the Holy Bible.  The Lamsa (1968a)  translation is “I am AHIAH ASHAR HIGH (that is, THE LIVING GOD)” (p. 68).  The Revised Standard Version of the Holy Bible (1953) presents it as “I AM WHO I AM.”  The statement is God’s answer to Moses’ question about who sent him.  He is having a conversation with God on Mt. Horeb.  You will remember the burning bush episode.   This is the Judeo-Christian idea of who God is.

On the other side of the world we find that Tat Tvam Asi in Sanskrit means “That Thou Art” often translated as “I am That.”  There is a strange resonance between these phrases.  They speak to Presence: “I am Beingness,” The original One.  The Absolute.  The Ultimate Reality.  The Creator.  Spirit.  The Beloved.  By whatever name used, the concept is the same.  There is a Being who is There and who has the characteristics of omnipresence, omnipotence and omniscience.  There must be some creative presence because we cannot view the nighttime heavens without believing that some Being of great intelligence and beauty created us and the universe.

 Before the world was created, the Self
 Alone existed; nothing whatever stirred.
 Then the Self thought: “Let me create the world.”
 He brought forth all the worlds out of himself.
 (Aitareya Upanishad I: 1-2)
Order and complexity does not come willy nilly out of chaos nor out of randomness.  Furthermore, patterns of creation repeat themselves in every part of nature.  For example, the spiral is found in the patterning of leaves on many trees  as well as in human psychological development.  If we look at the history of evolution, we must marvel at the perfection of the plan of development.

Now take a second look at the phrase “I am That.”  What does it mean to you?  In the Chandogya Upanishad, a father is teaching his son and, as he points out various things, he says each time, “You are that.”

 In the beginning was only Being,
 One without a second.
 Out of himself he brought forth the cosmos
 And entered into everything in it.
 There is nothing that does not come from him.
 Of everything he is the inmost Self.
 He is the truth; he is the Self supreme.
 You are that, Shvetaketu; you are that.
 (Chandogya Upanishad VI: 2, 2-3)
What does it mean?  “You are That.”  It means what it says, you are the Divine One.  You are not the entire Divine One, but rather one of Its parts.  At the same time, you are a unique individual.  This paradox can only exist if the relationship is a nesting one.  We are part of God in the same way that our little toe is part of us.  It partakes of the whole and can know the whole, but it retains its own identity.  Swami Radha used to say, “We are cells in the body of God.”  So, whether I see myself as God or as Barbara, then, depends upon where I focus my attention.  However, this is not to get a swell head or get carried away by delusions of grandeur.  Everyone has the same identity, so we are nothing special in this regard.  But thinking of it this way could change the way we view each other.  Most of us do not intentionally hurt ourselves, and, when we do, it is considered to be pathological.  “Would you cut off your nose to spite your face?” is an old saw that reminds us we are all members of one Self.

The Guru Within

When you love you should not say, “God is in my heart,” but rather, “I am in the heart of God.
Kahlil Gibran

Almost all religious teachings refer to the God within.  This would be the teacher or guru within to whom our worldly teachers are directing us.  It is the still, small voice that is often called conscience though it is far more than that as we shall soon see.  Invariably this Being is seated in the heart, and we are told that It loves us and wishes to be loved in return.

Now, I have a little problem with having God located within me as that implies that I am larger than God if I can contain It.  If, you say, it is only a God-spark within, that is somewhat better, but then I would prefer to see my whole bodymindspirit as a God-spark.  And even then that picture still does not fit because it makes me separate from God.  Furthermore, a spark quickly leaves its source and soon dies.

Gibran (1977, p. 13) in The prophet says we are in the heart of God.  If that is true, we must see it the other way around.  Now I can visualize myself nestled in God’s heart, and, thereby, feel loved and protected.  But how might we bring all these ideas together?  I think the dot (bindu) in the trikona of our chakra may provide an answer.  Remember Woodroffe, (1973, p. 34) saying, “. .the ‘I’ or illuminating aspect of Consciousness identifies itself with the total ‘This.’  It subjectifies the ‘This,’ thereby becoming a point (Bindu) of consciousness with it.” An example of this is that when the universe collapses it does so into an infinitesimal point without any magnitude. (p. 34-5).  This bottomless point is bindu.  This sounds to me like an entry point into another vaster space.

So suppose I go into my heart and in its deepest, most private recesses find a small door that opens into the heart of God.  I might then imagine myself as part of God, a cell perhaps, that has a secret door to God’s heart - a sort of backstairs to the inner sanctum, so to speak.  This would provide a connection point that would satisfy all the other models of the God within.

I am  reminded of Bentov’s (1988) torus which is a model for black holes in the universe.  His idea is that the universe issues out of the white hole on the right side of the drawing in the “big bang” with which we are familiar.   Then as the mass loses its momentum, it is drawn back around the center and into the black hole on the left side of the drawing.  This explanation is a gross oversimpli- fication, but you get the general idea.  In this picture, I could see the bindu as an entrance to other realms of Divine Beingness which also could be accessed from within my heart as in this torus.

So, when we need to find the Beloved, we go into our own hearts to seek the One who is always loving, forgiving and kind.

Satkona

God is love; and he who dwells in love abides in God” (1 John 4: 16)

The satkona in the chakra diagram is a six-pointed star composed of two triangles, one pointing up and the other pointing down.  This is a critical symbol.  In the Yogic context, the upward pointing triangle represents human souls reaching up for the Divine One while the one pointing down is the Divine One reaching down for us.  Aside from human longing, this has a very poignant meaning:  God needs and wants us.  Think about “I am That” for a moment.  If the One is everything in the world and created it out of Its own essence, then there is nothing outside of God.  See if you can conjure up an image of God alone in the cosmos.  There is no one else to talk to or to love.  Everything is Self as the Upanishad says.  Would such a God be lonely?  This is true existential aloneness.  Think about the loneli-ness of God.  Try to feel into the longing that is implied on such a grand scale.

The Sufi answer to this dilemma is that the Beloved created us so that It could be known, to have someone to love.  This idea is echoed in the fourth chakra symbol.  God reaches down for us in love, to love us, as we reach up in supplication for the same thing.  The Zohar (I: 164)  says, “The impulse from below calls forth that from above.”  The Bible concurs, “God is love; and he who dwells in love abides in God” (1 John 4: 16); and “We love God because he first loved us” (1 John 4: 19); or this: “He who does not love does not know God; for God is love” (1 John 4: 8).  And this: “. . God is light and in him is no darkness at all. . . if we live in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another” (1 John 1: 5, 7).    “. . whoever keeps his word, in him, verily is the love of God perfected;  hereby we know that we are in him” (1 John 2: 5).  And this: “Thou  hast created us for Thy self O Lord and our hearts are restless until they rest in thee” (St Augustine, quoted in O’Donohue, 1999, p. 80).  Chopra (1997) says that “the greatest sign of God’s love is that He wants to be known” (italics his, p. 249).  So we have testimony of God’s love for us from all the different religions.

Who is God?  There is powerful agreement among the mystical traditions that God is Love.  The One who loves us is Love itself.  The original vibration.  Essence with a capital “E.”

Lord, make me according to Thy heart. – Brother Lawrence

Exercise: Presence

1.  Read chapter 2 in Eternal echoes.  Just what is presence?  See if you can put into your own words what it means to you.  How do you account for the variety of presences he describes?  What would you call these differences?  What is their function?  What is the relationship between presence and belonging?  What is the ache of longing?  What is it the heart wants?  What is it that violates presence?  What does this statement mean: “Consumerism leaves us marooned in a cul-de-sac of demented longing”?  What is worse than not receiving love?  Why do we take life?  Why must we learn how to inhabit our aloneness?  How is our longing an echo of the Divine longing?

You may want to copy O’Donohue’s blessing at the end of the chapter and keep it on your altar for a while.

2.  Have a look at the Presence Story .  This came directly from Spirit and speaks to the longing we are discussing.
 

Trikona

Let us look more closely at the symbol within the Satkona (Fig. 4-1).  This is a triangle that encloses a lingam with a half moon and a dot on its head.  Below it is a flame.  You will remember from Book I that the triangle with a lingam within it is a symbol for creativity.  The triangle is a symbol for the feminine and the lingam for the masculine aspects of creation.  Recall from the Samkhya diagram  that the Ultimate Reality when It prepared to create divided Itself into Consciousness (Purusa, Shiva) the unmanifest, dynamic force and Matter (Prakrti, Shakti) the manifest static creation.  In the first chakra, this joining was the creative process as manifested on the physical level in sex and birth.  Now, here in the fourth chakra, we have a reunion of the dynamic and static.  Let us see what it means at this level of development. Here we have a sacred marriage of the person and the God: the manifest (us) and the unmanifest (God).  But the Yogis remind us that the marriage is no less real for the invisibility of one of the partners.

What is being united?  We have mentioned the joining of the human soul with the Beloved within.  Along with this comes a transformation of consciousness, for who could not be affected by meeting the Beloved in person . . .or in presence?  Such a meeting changes all of our perceptions, so that the world glows with radiant love.  Everything seems full of love.  We are in love swimming like that proverbial fish.  (Note that the fish was a symbol for Christ.)  Love seeps in through our pores and radiates from our faces as sheer light.  People remark on our beauty.  We are whole in a completely new way that is unmistakable.  We can do nothing wrong.  Chopra (1997) says, “Shiva [another name for consciousness or the unmanifest] brings pure consciousness to a sacred marriage.  It invisibly makes every action an action of God” (italics his, p.244).

We can also think of the joining as a reunion of the ego and the soul or of the personality and the Higher Self.  The point is that separation is being overcome.  We are becoming whole, healed of our isolation and alienation.  The so-called “lower” aspect is being transformed by the “higher.”  I put these words in quotation marks because there is no higher or lower, in fact.  Those are comparison terminologies that denote our degree of duality.  What is really being transformed here is our perception of reality.  We are learning to see ourselves as whole and as divine, an integral part of the One.

Exercise: God’s love for us

Read pages 236-250 in The path to love.  You may want to review the first part of that chapter to get your bearings.  For what do we need passion?  What is it good for besides pleasure?  What contribution does it make to raising the level of conscious awareness?  We are talking about Eros here in its larger dimensions.

Who is the Beloved?

Out of the womb of the human heart the Divine is born.  – Atum O’Kane

For years I tried to love Spirit without much success.  I felt awe, wonder, respect, gratitude, humility and other forms of reverence for Spirit, but love would not come forth.  Spirit was. . .well. . . just too unmanifest.  I could not apprehend It in a touching sense  though I knew It was there.  I experienced  Its presence, but I needed to connect with It through one of my physical senses.  So, thinking my problem was a closed heart, I sought out the Sufis.  They are renowned for their expertise in heartwork, so I figured they might be able to minister to me.  I had already met Atum O’Kane, a well-known Sufi teacher, at several workshops I had taken in Colorado, so was delighted when a friend let me know that he was going to conduct a training in The Art of Spiritual Guidance in Burlington, VT.  Since this training was going to take two years, in seven meetings a year, I thought it would give me just the opportunity I needed.

One of the first things I learned was that the name “Spirit” was not conducive to love because it did not provide a concrete image of the Presence.  It is also impersonal.  As well, the word means something wispy, inattainable, ungraspable.  Because we are in bodies and our major source of information about others comes from our five senses, we find it difficult if not impossible to grasp the unmanifest.  That makes devotion difficult.  How do I love something I cannot apprehend?  And, if I can imagine it, then am I not loving only something I made up in my mind?  How would I know?  I was reminded that the path of Raja Yoga is most difficult for just that very reason.  In that path there is no image of God.  So, one of my first lessons was to visualize people who had loved me in my life and to tune in to the feelings around those  memories.  Then I was invited to rename my unmanifested lover.  The word “Beloved” has many happy connotations for me and is immensely warmer and inviting.  So I have adopted that name for Spirit when I approach It for worship or devotional practices, or when I need help or nurturance.

Consider some of the other names we give to the object of our worship: Logos, Christos, Light, Jesus, Krishna, Divine Mother, Holy Ghost, God, Buddha, Kwan Yin, Tara, Goddess, Divine Light, Divine One, the Absolute, the Ultimate Reality, the Void, to name a few.  Which of these would attract you?  Perhaps the main reason we invite avatars into our lives is to help bridge the gap between the manifest and the unmanifest.  We can call up an image of Jesus or Krishna or Buddha and feel something in our hearts.  We can imagine them in a body walking the earth and modeling love and compassion.  We need a form into which we can project our love.  However, ultimately, we will need to recall that the form is not the reality.  Meanwhile, the form is a crutch for us while we are in the learning stages.

Exercise: The Eternal Godhead

Read chapter 8 in Like a thousand suns.  What does Easwaran say Tat tvam asi means?  What is the role of maya?  What determines the context for your next life?  Why does our mind need to be made onepointed?  How should we prepare for death?  Describe the dying process and explain how to use the mantram. You might want to outline this in your journal so you can find it later.  What does Rumi say about evolution?  How does reincarnation work,  and what must be learned in order to graduate?  How can we reconcile science and mysticism around the creation of the universe?  What does this statement mean to you: “Love grows by practice; there is no other way” (p. 125)?  What is the path of light?  How does one follow it?  Why is self-will such a big issue?
 

Individuation

Growing into one’s Higher Self is called individuation.  According to Jung (Laszlo, 1959), individuation means integration of the unconscious components of the personality.  In this process a higher order emerges called the Self or Higher Self which subsumes the ego, but in which both components retain their identities.  In this sense, individuation is a process of differentiation from the general collective norm that leads to a higher stage of development with its attendent wholeness.  This is called self-realization and is a transcendent function.  Although this process differentiates the individual from the social norms, it does not result in immorality.  “The more completely a man’s life is molded and shaped by the collective norm, the greater is his individual immorality” (Laszlo, 1959, p. 261, italics hers, bold mine).

So how does all this relate to our issues?  The development we have been describing is a differentiation, then reintegration, and joining of two aspects of the person in the personality.  That is like a metaphor for the reunion of the soul with the Divine One.  As Wilber (1983, p. 102) has shown pretty convincingly, the steps of differentiation,  subsumption, re-integration and re-identification are found everywhere in the psyche as a natural mode of growth.  He says this is the way that consciousness transcends itself and becomes able to operate on all of the lower structures.  So it is not surprising that we would discover it in the spiritual realm as well.  You may recall that the stage of formal operations provides the inner structures for this process to become self-conscious.  And so what we have now is an explanation for the same development in our spiritual journey as well as the tools for us to take charge of it to some extent.

Meeting the inner teacher

If the main function of a teacher is to take us to the guru within, then how is that accomplished?  And what would we expect to find?  Those questions have many answers as each teacher has his/her own particular style that comes out of different contexts and lineages.  But the one thing they all seem to have in common is meditation.  We have already seen that when the mind becomes purified and quiet  over a long enough period of time we can make a connection with the Divine One.  It is also possible  to engineer a dialogue with the Higher Self or inner guide using the twilight imagery visualization designed by Progoff (1975, chapter 6). It is called twilight imagery because it makes use of that stage of consciousness between sleeping and waking like that just before we fall asleep at night or when we first wake up before we are fully present to the day.  You may want to get Progoff’s book and study this process or, if you are in the neighborhood, take one of his workshops.  He used to have a center in New York city and has a website at www.intensivejournal.org.  We will use another induction for this exercise, but one that is based on his theory.

Exercise: Meeting the Beloved

You may want to tape this with long pauses or have someone you trust read it to you slowly enough that you can experience each different step.  Allow about a half hour to an hour for the full process.  The dots in the directions are places to pause so you can experience it.

Directions: Get your journal, a pen or pencil and your drawing materials if you like to draw.  Lie down on the floor and cover yourself so you do not take a chill or sit in a comfortable chair that provides a head rest so you can completely relax. . . Bring your attention into your body and see if there are areas of tension or pain.  If so, breathe into each of them and on the exhalation release the holding. . . With each breath allow yourself to sink more deeply into relaxation. . .  Now, begin with your feet and, with a deep breath, tell your feet to relax [allow about two breaths of the person for each of these]. . . now tell your calves to relax. . . tell your knees to relax. . . tell your thighs to relax   . . . now tell your hips to relax. . . tell your abdomen to relax. . . Now tell your chest to relax. . . let all your weight sink into the floor [cushions if you are in a chair]. . . Now tell your hands to relax. . . let go hands. . . let your forearms relax. . . now let your upper arms relax. . .and let your shoulders relax. . . let go of all your responsibilities. . . Now let your neck relax, allow your head to sink into the floor [cushion] . . . and let go of all the little muscles in the back of your head . . . then coming up over the back of your head, let go of all the tension in your scalp and hair. . . now coming to your face, allow your chin to let go. . . relax the cheeks. . . tell your nose to relax. . . and your mouth . . . now let go of all the little muscles around your eyes. . . let your eyes sink back into your head. . . relax your eyebrows. . . let go of all the tension in your forehead. . . now the whole face is relaxed. . . the whole body is relaxed and warm. . . so relaxed. . . everything let go. . .

Now see yourself walking quietly along a country road in the springtime.  There is no one around and there are no vehicles. . . you are completely alone and feel very safe. . . the birds are singing and building their nests. . . Trees are getting their new leaves and flowers are beginning to bloom along the side of the road. . . you hear the gurgle of a brook and soon you see it in the rushes beside the road   . . . it is happily going its way full of good cheer. . . when you see a huge tree up ahead you think about sitting down under it for a little rest. . . but when you reach the tree, you see that it is hollow inside. . . when you move closer to it you discover that it has beautiful, spiral stairs leading down inside it. . . there are also lovely lamps brightly alight on the inner walls, so you decide to see what is down there. . . taking hold of a delicately wrought handrail, you enter the tree and begin to go down the stairs. . . down and down and around until you come to the bottom. . . at the bottom of the stairs is a small red door like you might find in a children’s storybook.  It has brass hinges and a shiny brass latch. . . having come this far, you decide to open the door to see what is on the other side, so  you lift the latch and the door swings open easily. . . peering through the opening you see a magnificent garden with a pool and fountain in its center. . . so you step through the door and enter the garden.  Near the pool is a rock ledge. . . you move toward the ledge and sit down to enjoy the garden. . . after a few minutes you hear footsteps, and a figure in a white robe who has very gentle features comes around a shrub and approaches you. . .  you know that this is your Beloved One. . . so you smile and say “hello.”  The Beloved smiles back at you and sits down beside you.  “Hello,” It says, my name is. . . what do you need from Me?” . . . [allow enough time for a conversation to take place] . . . Now it is time to return, so finish your conversation and say goodbye . . . you can always return here another time. . .[allow another minute or two].

Now feel the sensations coming back into your body. . . wiggle your toes and fingers. . . take a few deep breaths. . . feel the floor [cushions] under your back and the gentle movements of your breath. . . hear the sounds in the room and your own breathing. . . now roll over on your side and draw your knees up to your chest. . . gently open your eyes and rest a few moments. . . Review in your mind what has just happened, so you can remember it. . . now sit up gradually supporting yourself with your arms. . . wrap the blanket around you and wait a few more moments. . . now take your journal and write down as much as you can remember of what just occurred.   If you wish, you could draw a picture of the experience. . . Whenever you are ready,  you may get up and return to your daily life.  However, if you can keep silence for a while, it will enable you to receive the full value of your experience.
 

Yogis say that the seat of the mind and consciousness is in the heart.  Reflect on what that would mean in your life if you could remember that.

Practice: Oneness

This is a Sufi practice you may want to try.  It is called the zhikr of love.  We are going to use the phrase : Iskh Allah Mahbud Lillah.  Iskh (pronounced ishk) is an expression of longing: I long for You. Allah is the name of God in the Sufi tradition. Iskh Allah means I realize I am in the ocean of Love.  Mahbud (pronounced mah-bood) is the ocean of love within the depths of your heart, to dissolve in the ocean of love.  Lillah (pronounced lee-lah with the accent on lah) means to emerge out of that ocean like a wave, you are love.  This releases the God within to love through you.  So you are longing for the Beloved, you dip into the ocean of love in your heart melting into the arms of the Beloved, then you rise up in joy to bring God’s love into the world.  Taken as a whole phrase, Iskh Allah Mahbud Lillah means Love, Lover and Beloved are One.

The action that is taken with this is as follows: On Iskh Allah, turn your head to the left and circle it down and to the right then up again.  Get in touch with your longing for the Beloved.  Then, on mahbud, dip your head to your chest allowing your chin to settle into the hollow at the base of your throat.  Feel yourself diving into the ocean of love in your heart.  Take a few moments to savor that.  Then, as you raise your head, say Lillah.  You are coming up out of all this love to bring it into the world.  Do this slowly enough that you can feel each of the steps.  And remember this is a sacred practice.  Bring respect, awe, consideration and gratitude  to it.  You should always end a practice with an expression of gratitude for it and the thousands of others who have kept it alive through centuries of devotional service.

You are the One

I am the true Self in the heart of every creature (Bhagavad Gita, 10: 20)

I think it is fair to say that western religions see God as separate from us as individuals.  Most of the teachings in Judaism, Christianity and Sufism focus on creating a relationship with God.  To have a relationship, there must be two distinct entities that are going to be related.  Therefore, western religions are dualistic.  Eastern religions, on the other hand, see the goal of spiritual practice as a merging into or an identity with the Godhead.  This means that, ultimately, there is only a Oneness of which we are a part.  Although my bias is undoubtedly obvious by now, I do think that either path is legitimate.

The dualistic path is one of relationship.  The Jews speak of having a covenant with God.  In Christianity, we have the concept of spiritual marriage in which the soul is reunited with God while yet maintaining its individuality.  The image of heaven is as a place where God is enthroned and surrounded by loved ones.  We have a hierarchy of power and rulership.   The church, in Christianity, is seen as the spouse of God or as the body of God which is separate from His mind and  essence.  There are exceptions, already duly noted, in some of Jesus’ teachings as reported, but they were not enough to change the basic orientation of dualism.  Jesus said, “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30) in the King James and Revised editions of the Holy Bible.  However in the Lamsa (1968b) translation of the same verse from the Aramaic, Jesus says, “I and my Father are one in accord” which does not mean the same thing.

On the other hand, the logical extension of the identity position is the void,  sunyata, emptiness, samadhi or satori, which involves lack of individual identity because we would be merged with the Divine One.  Buddhism takes the position that the end result is voidness while Hinduism sees the ultimate goal as identification with the Ultimate One: a presence or beingness.  This is not a person in an individualistic sense but the Creator of all that is and within whom we live and move and have our being.

It is possible to blend the two perspectives if we can accept the paradox that we can be One and, at the same time, many within the One.  With some experience in meditation, we can move from an experience of oneness to the experience of being separate, unique individuals and then back again.  In fact, at higher levels of turiya, or satori or sunyata, we do lose our self-awareness and become the One or the void.  In all cases, whether we are on the path of relationship or the path of identity, we must subjugate our self-will and self-images to that of a more transcendent reality.

I do think it is important to select the approach that feels most congenial and stick to it in order to avoid confusion in the early stages of spiritual work.  Each step of the Way should be based on personal experience.  So search within for the path that is most compatible.  The reason we have so many choices is that we do not all dance to the same music though the drummer may be the same.

Exercises and Practice: You are the One

1.  Read chapter 10 in Like a thousand suns.  Why can we not see the Lord with the mind?  Why does self-will cause so much trouble?   What can we do about it?  What is purnata and how is it achieved?  Would you want it?  How is the spiritual journey like mountain climbing?  How do we see or hear God if S/he is formless?  How do we realize the Lord?  What does “realize” mean in this context?  Why is the mind not conscious in Yoga?  What part of us is conscious?  What is the role of suffering on the path?  What are some of the ways mantra can help us?  What does muni mean?  Could the term be applied to you?  What is true power and where does it come from?  Why is sex so important and irresistable?  What is the significance of Krishna’s statement, “I am time”?  Is there intelligent life on earth?  What is the eternal now and how is it achieved?  Why are feminine qualities needed in both men and women?  How does Krishna embody the double identity of God and humans?  Who else does that?

2.  The Gayatri mantra.  This mantra comes from the Rig-Veda (III: 62, 10) which is one of the oldest written records in the world.  The phrases were used as a sacred formula for initiation of the Sacred Thread (Tyberg, 1970, p. 24).  Since Krishna refers to the Gayatri in this chapter, I thought you might like to practice it.  It goes as follows:

  D      D       C     D      C   Bb     D    D  D  D      C   D  C  Bb
Om  Bhur    Bhu-vah     sva-ah    Tat   Sa-vi-tur    Va-ren-y-am

   D    D    D    D   C      D     C   Bb        D       D      C  D     C     D   D   Bb      Bb
Bhar-go   De-vas-ya      Dhee-ma-hi     Dhiyo   Yó    Na-ah    Pra-cho-da-yat     Om

This is the translation:

Earth, Midworld, Heaven!
Let us meditate on that most
Excellent light of the divine sun,
That it may illumine our minds (Tyberg, 1970, p. 24).

Bhur means earth, likely the physical being; Bhuvah means mid-world or vital world, probably the etheric body,  and Svahmeans heaven-world or world of the mind.  The light of the sun represents the Divine One as creator of all that is.  You could use this mantra also to seek the Beloved within.

3.  In your Bible, read the “Song of Solomon.”  In the light of what we have been discussing, see if you can come up with your own meanings and interpretations for the names and things described in this beautiful poem.  You might, for example, think of it as a description of the love affair between the soul and the Beloved.

Personal Essence

We met the concept of personal essence at the end of Book I.  Now we will return to it to see if it has more meaning.  You will remember that Almaas (1982) defines personal essence as that within us that is directly aware of its own existence or presence (p. 11).   It is the conscious experience of  “ ‘I exist’. . . awareness of [self as] a living presence” (p. 10).  He goes on to say that when we are what we experience that is a direct perception of identity.  There is no duality or separation between the one who is experiencing and the one who is experienced.  This is, obviously, a form of introspection or self-awareness.  The experience of “I am.”  The way Almaas describes it is reminiscent of what we have been saying about the One.  It has an ontological existence, an inherent unity and presence.  It is not, however, the soul as we commonly think of it.  The soul is the “. . consciousness that experiences. . . It is the you that is always you whether you’re experiencing essence or personality. .” (Smoley, 1992, p. 44).  When the soul receives input about itself through other structures or representations such as concepts or images or ideas, we are dealing with personality.  However, when the soul experiences itself directly without any other intermediary and recognizes itself as an is-ness or presence, then that is essence.  Almaas (1982) goes on to examine all the various aspects of essence and has written a book on the subject.  You may want to have a look at it if you are interested in the finer points of essence and how it may be manifested.

Next we discover that the heart chakra functions as an entrance to the realm of essence, (cf. bindu).  This is important information because in most of us essence is repressed.  We do not have direct access to it.  So when we say “I am” that is usually the voice of ego speaking.  Essence is something much more potent: the basic, underlying beingness-identity.  I believe that what Almaas is calling “essence” here might be the union of soul and the Beloved or, in other words, the Beloved-as-me.  It is and has always been there but has not been realized.  It is only at higher levels of consciousness that we can become fully Self-aware or Self-realized.  Note that Self with a capital “S” refers to the Beloved or God while self with a small “s” refers to the individual.

Exercise: Who am I?

In A path with heart, page 213, do the “Meditation: Who am I?”  You can do this either with a partner or by yourself.  You may want to tape the exercise if you do it with a partner or write down your answers if you are alone.  When you have finished hold silence for a time to let what you have experienced sink in.  What did you learn about yourself?  Put the recording away for six months and then come back to it to see if your ideas about it have changed.
                                                                                                                                        Meanwhile, you can keep looking for new ways to access this presence within your heart.

 The soul declares its own condition thus: . . .
 “I, like the boundless ether, permeate
 The universe within, without, abiding
 Always, forever similar in all,
 Perfect, immovable, without affection,
 Existence, knowledge, undivided bliss,
 Without a second, One, Supreme am I.”
                                           – Shankara

References

Almaas, A.H. (1986).  Essence: The diamond approach to inner realization.  York Beach, ME: Samuel Weiser.

Bentov, I. (1988).  Stalking the wild pendulum: On the mechanics of   consciousness.  Rochester, VT: Destiny Books.

Chopra, D. (1997).  The path to love: Renewing the power of spirit in your life. New York: Harmony Books.

De Laszlo, V. S. (Ed.)(1959).  The basic writings of C. G. Jung.  New York: The Modern Library.

Easwaran, E. (1979).  Like a thousand suns: The Bhagavad Gita for daily living, Volume 2.  Petaluma, CA: Nilgiri Press.

Easwaran, E. (transl.) (1987).  The Upanishads.  Petaluma, CA: Nilgiri Press.

Gibran, K. (1977).  The prophet.  New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

The Holy Bible (King James or Revised Standard Edition).

Kornfield, J. (1993).  A path with heart: A guide through the perils and promises of spiritual life.  New York: Bantam Books.

Lamsa, G. M. (1968a).  Holy Bible from the ancient eastern text.  San Francisco:     HarperSanFrancisco.

Lamsa, G. M. (1968b).  The new testament according to the eastern text. Philadelphia: A. J. Holman Co.

O’Donohue, J.  (1999).  Eternal echoes: Exploring our yearning to belong.  New York: HarperCollins.

Progoff, I. (1975).  At a journal workshop: The basic text and guide for using the   Intensive Journal process.  New York: Dialogue House.

Smoley, R.  (1992, Fall).  The diamond approach: A. H. Almaas discusses his unique synthesis of psychology and spirituality.  Gnosis Magazine,  42-48.

Tyberg, J. M. (1970).  The language of the Gods: Sanskrit keys to India’s wisdom.  Los Angeles: East-West Cultural Centre.

Wilber, K. 1983).  Eye to eye: The Quest for the new paradigm.  New York: Anchor Books.


In this Unit V. The Beloved One, we have met the Beloved within and explored our relationship to It.  In Unit VI. Attunement, we will see how many different ways the Beloved can be accessed, how we can tune in to the Divine within.


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