Unit VI.  Creation: Birth and Beginnings, Evolution, Earth


1. Creation
2. Break from Spirit, Separation from Mother
3. Ignorance
4. The Three Poisons
5. Greed and Materialism
6. Awakening, The Call
7. The Divine Child
8. The Christ Child
9. Prayer

Materials needed: Notebook to make a scrapbook, modeling clay, Large paper and colored pens, meditation cushion (optional). 

Books needed:

Magical Child
Emergence of the Divine Child or Windows to the soul

Practices and Exercises:

Opening the heart
Survival and Security
Greed and materialism
Reflection on awakening
Divine child
Christ child

The element represented in the first chakra by a brown square is earth. So, what on earth does earth have to do with spiritual development? It refers to the sustenance and nourishment we all take from Mother earth. It also means being stable and grounded which is what is meant by the phrase "Take a seat" or "develop a good seat." Another association we might make is that of love and protection. Security. It's the place we begin, from which we are able to launch ourselves into life feeling safe and as if we belong in the universe. Every one of us has a right to stand on this ground and be who we are. Unfortunately, due to numbers of different circumstances many of us don't feel worthy to occupy our place on earth.

This unit will deal with how the earth element of Chakra I manifests in our lives.


The first section has to do with Divine Mother as the representative of all mothers, and the Divine aspects of creation, nurturance and love. Judaic, Christian and Islamic religions give very little credence to Divine Mother. Even the Catholic image of Mary is of a very young woman giving birth without experience of sexual intercourse. Hardly an image of a mature woman full of passion and bursting with creative juices. Not one who would create a universe. It is, in fact, rather remarkable that the adult capacities of women could be so thoroughly ignored in our scriptures unless it was intentional. It's no wonder that many women grow up unaware that they are enslaved by patriarchy.

When I first went to the Ashram, I found myself puzzled about the reverence for Divine Mother. People chanted to her, loved her and carried their devotion into their daily life in the form of images posted in the kitchen and offices, and statues on their altars and in the main prayer room. There is even a Divine Mother prayer dance which I learned. However, when required to write a paper on Divine Mother, I came up short and sat for a very long time perplexed. Who was Divine Mother? What did she mean to me, if anything? I seemed to have no basis for knowing. Finally I realized that, for me, Divine Mother was black because I had been nurtured as a child by a black mammy. I saw that She was a symbol for Divine Love, nurturance and protection. And I dissolved into tears.

This yearning and its accompanying emptiness is due to the lack of what Almaas (1990) calls the Merging Essence which is a state of pure surrender and the original state of fusion with Being. It is a deep need for an attachment to a good mother, one who offers unconditional love. It is unsatisfied in us because the development of ego requires separation and boundaries which are incompatible with the unity consciousness we so desire.

Native Americans view the earth as mother because she provides all the sustenance and nourishment that is needed for the people to grow and prosper. Ratna, in Buddhism, represents the fullness and abundance of a natural mother. The concept of Gaia is of a planet alive and intelligent that provides for our needs to be satisfied. The Greeks and Romans had goddesses of the earth and hearth: Ceres, Demeter and Hestia. The original trinity, according to the Tarot (Sadhu, 1978), had a father, mother and child. In the Kundalini system we are using, Shakti or Kundali is the representative of Divine Mother. In the Samkhya system, it is Prakriti. In Hinduism there is a trinity which contains a creator (Brahman who is often depicted as a child), a preserver (Vishnu) and a destroyer (Shiva). One of these was probably female originally. The Christian trinity may also have had a feminine component since the original idea of the Holy Spirit was female (Rouach in the Jewish tradition). The only currently well-known Christian mothers are Mary and Sophia who is now virtually disregarded. Sophia was the deity of wisdom.

It is probably necessary to say here that none of these images are meant to be worshiped in and of themselves. They, and all other icons, are symbols for aspects

of the Divine One that we somehow need to represent to ourselves in order to think about them. Or they are aspects that we admire and wish to emulate and develop in ourselves. Whether it is a statue of the Buddha or Christ on the cross, the function is the same. It is in the nature of the human mind to create images. The important thing to remember is that it is the meaning of these symbols which is sacred.

Exercises: Opening the Heart

1. Nature Walk. Take an hour's walk in nature. Find a place where you can be relatively undisturbed and that is natural. Clear your mind of all its agendas and just observe what nature is doing around you. Notice the smallest details of how leaves grow on a stem and the tremendous variety of forms that Divine Mother has created. See the vast range of colors, textures, temperatures and forms. Look at the vastness of sky, forest, plain or desert. From the magnificent to the minute, give yourself to the admiration of creation.

When you return home, write a reflective paper on your experience. Who is Divine Mother for you? How is she like our earth mother, nature? How does the miracle of creation support a belief in a Creator God or Goddess, if you think it does? Do you believe in God, or do you have another system of philosophy? Does the Source, for you, have maternal qualities? Do you think there is a connection between human experiences of birth and early life, and the attribution of maternal characteristics to the Divine One? If so, is this based on our personal need for mothering, do you think, or is there a real basis for such an idea? How do you account for the loss of maternal images in our culture? Do you think it is a loss that needs to be corrected? If so, how would you do that in your own life?

2. Sacred Space. Create a sacred space in your home where you can sit for meditation. If you cannot devote a whole room to it, use a corner or even a closet. Establish an altar where you can put things that remind you to be devotional or that have important symbolic meaning for you. As you use this space it will take on the vibrations of your meditations, so it should be out of the line of everyday traffic. Plan to spend a few moments every day in this space to remind yourself of your spiritual heritage and birthright.

3. Meditation. Begin a meditation practice of at least a half hour a day, preferably one hour because it takes some time for the mind to settle down and allow you to be quiet. Do this at least five days a week. Keep a meditation log in which you jot down the date, time of day, amount of time you sat, and a brief notation on what occurred. This needn't be extensive unless you just want to make more complete notes. But it will give you some continuity over time and allow you to see your progress as well as the stages of development you will go through.

We will begin with Shamatha meditation, a Buddhist practice that is very simple to describe, more difficult to carry out. However, it has staying power once you get established in it. Over time, it fades into Vipassana meditation as your mind becomes quiet and spacious.


Find a posture that will be comfortable for you over a period of time. You may be able to sit on a cushion (not too soft) with crossed legs. It is very important to keep your spine erect, so find the balance point at which you have to do the least amount of work to maintain the posture. I like to straddle a gomden (a firm rectangular cushion about six inches high, obtainable at the Ziji Books & Gifts, 2019 10th St., Boulder, CO 80302, or from Shasta Abbey Buddhist Supplies, P. O. Box 199, Mt. Shasta, CA 96067 or through mail order from various meditation supply stores). Find the two sitting bones in your derriere and use them as the foundation. Your seat resembles the posture you use in sitting a horse, leaning slightly forward to hold your balance. If you cannot abide a cross-legged position or your legs keep going to sleep, it is all right to sit on a chair. However, do not lean back but sit on the edge with your feet flat on the floor and your hands in your lap. In any case, your hands may simply lie flat on your knees or you may lay one in the palm of the other, thumbs touching. The classic position is shown in the Ashtanga Yoga Primer (Dass, 1977, p. 34, #3), but it isn't essential. The important thing is to be able to sit still for as long as possible. You have to experiment to find out what suits you. Your eyes are slightly open, gaze is downward to a spot about two or three feet in front of you on the floor. Mouth and facial muscles are relaxed.

Once settled, simply watch your breath. If your mind wanders, and it will, gently bring it back to the breath. No forcing. It takes a long time to train the mind to be quiet. If your body protests, wait and watch it for a time to see if it will relax. If not, it is all right to shift your posture. It is important to stay awake and present in the moment. A trance is not the goal. If you become unconscious, you are doing something wrong.

Expect some discomfort at first until your body gets used to sitting still and develops enough strength in the back muscles to hold you erect for long periods of time. Plan to maintain the meditation practice indefinitely. It's your entry key to the spiritual domain. It may take a year for you to notice major results, so be patient.

4. Read chapters 3 and 5 in A Path with Heart which will give you some help in getting started with meditation. You may experiment with walking meditation, but stick to the sitting form for your regular practice. I use walking meditation to give my body a break when I sit for more than an hour. I sit for an hour, then walk for 15 minutes, then return to sitting. The walking should continue your meditative frame of mind and not be an occasion for looking around or restimulating the mind, or it will cause you to lose your focus. In walking, attend to what your feet and body have to do to move you or to the breath.

Break from Spirit/Separation from Mother

We have discussed the problem of disconnection from Spirit at birth, so how does that tie in with the attachment and bonding we know occurs between mother and child very soon after birth? Does the mother take the place of Spirit? Are attachment to mother and connection to Spirit mutually exclusive? And, furthermore, if we have at least one or the other, why are we so perennially lonely? Addictions are often said to be due to a feeling of emptiness, a hole in the heart center, a sense of longing or yearning that cannot be filled by human relationships. At least it often seems that way when we try and try again to establish and maintain a satisfactory love relationship. Yet, somehow, it seems we always come up short. No one person is able to meet all our needs for love, support, safety and nurturance. Nor are we able to supply them for another. Could it be something else we need?

Attachment and Bonding. Bonding with the mother soon after birth is rather like the phenomenon of imprinting in animals in which the first moving object seen after birth is taken to be the mother and is followed and nursed. It has obvious survival value. This is also part of what Almaas calls the Merging Essence. A newborn infant has no way of knowing it is a separate entity from mother, so it acts as if it and mother were one unit. It takes a great deal of experimentation to discover the boundaries of one's own body and to develop a sense of separate self or ego.

Bonding to mother doesn't necessarily happen as it should. In fact, there is a whole generation of people in this country whose mothers were being advised by the psychologists when they were infants (the early 30's) not to pick up their children when they cried because they might spoil them. They were also told to feed babies on a regular schedule whether they were hungry or not, to establish a routine. And mothers were anesthetized during delivery, taking several days to recover. During this time infants were kept in the hospital nursery and fed by nurses, again on schedule rather than demand, so they missed the critical time to bond with their mothers. The critical time is from birth to several days after birth.

As a consequence, an entire generation of people have bonded to material objects such as blankets, possessions and money (cf Pearce, 1989) instead of to human beings. The extent of this damage has only recently become obvious in the psychopathology of our daily life as evidenced by the crime and violence everywhere apparent.

Exercises: Attachment

1. Read Chapters 1-10 in Magical Child. Then, if your mother is alive, arrange to interview her about your birth, i.e., have a list of questions ready before you begin to talk. (If she is not alive, perhaps a close relative can answer for her.) Did your mother give birth to you in the hospital, a birthing room, at home or elsewhere? Was your father present at your birth? Was the delivery difficult, and how long did it take? See if you can find out whether you had an opportunity to bond (this means she and/or your father were able to hold and caress you for an extended period of time) with her immediately after birth and whether she breast fed you. Ask her what policies she had with regard to feeding you, picking you up when you cried and weaning you. Find out when she started trying to discipline you and what methods she used. At what age were you toilet trained? What did she do when you cried for a long time or fretted? Did your father participate in any of this? Were you able to bond with him as well? Did you have any illnesses in your first two years? Colic? If so, how were you treated for them? What did your mother do about babysitters when you were an infant? Did she work? If so, was it full time or part time? Do you have older siblings? If so, how did they react to your birth? Did any of them participate in taking care of you? Also ask whatever other questions arose in your mind while you were reading Pearce's book. Make some notes to use in the next project.

2. Make yourself a scrapbook or babybook about your birth. Include pictures and other information you may have to document this important event in your life.

What themes do you see in what you have learned? Are any of them continuing today? If any were negative, what can you do to alleviate them now? Make some notes in your journal or scrapbook about your conclusions. If you are processing papers, write a paper on your birth.

Survival. Bonding plays an important role in becoming human. It establishes a basic trust and a willingness to make connections with others as opposed to fear and suspicion. It enables love. It also provides a sense of basic security that holds throughout a person's lifetime. Its absence produces a person who can never entirely relax and enjoy life and who carries a load of chronic fear and anxiety. The obsession with greed in our society as well as obesity and addiction to food is, no doubt, related to these factors because of the association between feeding and contact, The contact associated with bonding is also a basis human need. Children who are deprived of body contact have been known to die because of it. Many others fail to thrive. Societies in which there is a great deal of body contact are also less aggressive than others where mothers are encouraged not to handle their children (Prescott, 1975).

So it appears that when we are deprived of our basic needs in infancy, we experience a sense of abandonment, terror and insecurity. In fact, it has been shown that infants, when they cry for what they need and are unanswered for long periods of time, stop crying because they hyperventilate and nearly suffocate. This sets the stage for later inability to respond to others emotionally. All of this occurs before there is any kind of motor ability or stable ego to help the child control his/her environment. An infant is absolutely dependent upon its parents or parental surrogate to supply its survival needs. So we are talking here about how the self-preservation drive gets conditioned or attached to attitudes toward other people. If there is adequate attention and mothering, a child is conditioned to expect that the world will provide what s/he needs and, consequently, s/he relaxes and learns more readily. One who is neglected or abused learns to fear people as the source of hunger, pain and abandonment, and the ability to learn is impaired because the child's primary attention is directed toward survival. These are a few of the reasons why survival is an issue in the first chakra.

Exercise: Survival and Security

1. Music Collage. Go through your record and/or tape collection and select some pieces of music that reflect what you might have been feeling as an infant and/or what you are feeling now as a result of how you were treated as an infant. Arrange them on a tape in an order that makes sense to you to create a musical collage. Then play it to yourself when you are relaxed and comfortable. Allow any emotional reactions you may have to surface and cleanse you. What do you need to do now in order to mother yourself'?

If you have children of your own, consider how what you have learned applies to your current parenting. They say the sins of the parents are visited upon the children over several generations. How does this work? Why can't parents learn from their own parents' mistakes? Does overcompensation apply here?

2. Trust Walk. If you have a friend to do it with you, have a trust walk. To do this, one of you is blindfolded and guided for a walk by the other who is responsible for the welfare of the blindfolded one. The guide should try to give the trusting one varied experiences within this context of safety. For instance, changing levels while walking is challenging. When the walk is over, reciprocate with your friend, and then discuss what happened and share your feelings about it. Were you anxious, frightened, careless or overcautious? Did you trust your friend? With or without reservations? Were you glad when it was over? Did any control issues surface for you?

Ego and Self-image

The process of psychological ego development and identification of who we are begins in this same period of infancy. In fact, this period is critical for the development of adequate ego strength which depends upon experiences in testing the environment that result in feelings of competency. This also means that who I think I am is something that was learned when I was very small. Notice that the learning component is very important. We will come back to that specifically later on.

Self-image. One of the first developmental tasks of infants is to separate from the mother and declare their own existence as independent individuals. Such is not accomplished right away but takes a long period of time involving mastery of the locomotive process, so infants can move around on their own and explore the surroundings. It also requires definition of the body boundaries as discussed above. If the mothers are loving, infants feel safe and the task can be accomplished without trauma.

Safety or feelings of security are critical to learning especially at this stage when trial and error and feedback are so important. If you've watched babies, you know they put everything in their mouths using the sense of both touch and taste to learn about the objects. One has to reach out to the environment, draw it in and sample it in order to make the basic associations of learning. However, if the environment is unfriendly and exploration results in pain or punishment, children will soon learn not to reach out. It is also true that, if children are restrained too much and thus cannot explore, they will soon withdraw and the foundations are not properly laid for later learning. In neither case will children develop a sense of competency nor a self-image that feels worthy of respect from others. Unworthiness thus becomes part of the their basic identification. Notice that the ego does not discriminate the negative aspects of unworthiness later on and will insist on protecting even a painful self-image such as this. This means that your own ego may have become invested in "putting you down" or in maintaining low self-esteem.

Another important factor in identification, according to object relations theorists, is the formation of an image of the mother as good rather than bad. This image and the mother herself are gradually discriminated from the limits of self resulting in a separation between self-image and mother-image. Later on, the mother image may be projected onto others in the outside world who are perceived to be like the original mother. Then the person may respond to that projected image as s/he did in the original situation resulting in all kinds of misunderstandings and conflicts. For instance, I sometimes receive a projection of someone else's mother image during which I get treated like the person's mother whether I deserve it or not.

Next, a self-image arises which takes on the characteristics and values reflected back to the children from the others around them. If children are loved and treated with respect, they learn that they are good and valued human beings. If not, their self-images become negative, and they learn to see themselves as worthless, bad, rejected, etc. Eventually children come to identify themselves with these images while the unity consciousness out of which they originally came recedes into distance. This is loss of Being, separation from Spirit.

Exercise: Self-image

Do one or both of the following:

1. Buy some modeling or ceramic clay, or make some play dough in your kitchen, and make a statue of yourself. Try not to be judgmental about your skill, but let it come as it wants to. If it turns out to be abstract, that is all right too. Allow the figure to set up; then, if it is ceramic, try to get it fired. If you can get help, you might try glazing it.

Please carry out this part of the exercise before continuing to read, so your experience and observations are not biased by the questions which follow on the next page..

What did you learn about your self-image? Is the figure proportional or are parts of the body larger than normal, smaller than normal? Is this significant? What parts of the body did you have most trouble with? Does this reflect your in-life experience of the body? To what extent did you become judgmental about either the statue or yourself? If you were judgmental, how might you bring yourself into a more accepting mode? What needs to be changed about your self-image? Is this because it is unrealistic or because you are not accepting of it?

2. Secure a large piece of paper and draw a self-portrait. Color it. Then stand it up against a wall on top of a table or shelf, walk across the room, turn and look at it. What do you see? Did you put yourself into a context, is there an environment around you in the picture? If so, what is it like? Ask yourself the same questions asked above in # 1. What do you think about art as a projective technique? Does your picture mirror you?

What kind of person did you project into this image? Do you like yourself?

3. Write a paper on self-image drawing on your experience with the statue and/or the drawing of your self-image.


What we call repression, Yoga and Buddhism call ignorance (Maya or delusion or illusion) except that these traditions extend the concept of ignorance to include all incorrect identifications of ourselves as separate and individual. They teach that the remedy to separation is ego death which means surrender to the Divine Will, not destruction of the legitimate functions of ego as it is known in psychology. Death of ego refers to extinction of self-will, selfishness and any focus on my own wants and desires to the exclusion of others. It also means giving up expectations about outcomes or the results (and rewards) of what I do. That is why renunciation is so important in spiritual development. It is a way of training ego to surrender. If, however, ego is weak to begin with, either because it didn't develop properly or because it has been weakened by trauma, its strength must be built up before the journey can begin. If not, there is a real danger of spiritual emergency when some of the higher energies begin to come through.

The Three Poisons

In the Buddhist tradition, three ego activities are seen as particularly damaging to spiritual development. And these three are at the basis of all the negativity we experience in life. They are passion, aggression and ignorance. Each of these has a specific meaning that may not be synonymous with conventional meaning. So bear with me for a moment.

In Buddhist psychology, the Wheel of Life provides an explanation for why we keep reincarnating (coming into different bodies through a succession of lives in order to learn). It shows six realms of existence each of which represents a different kind of personality manifestation. Each realm has a beatitude and a corresponding type of pathology which needs to be worked through during life on earth. These realms are called Human, Hungry Ghost, Hell, Jealous God, Animal and GodHuman realm we are all familiar with. It is associated with passion or wanting/grasping. The Hungry GhostHell is similar to the Judaic and Christian concepts and is associated with rage and anger. The Jealous God realm is associated with pride and envy. The God realm is blissful. And the Animal realm represents that in us which is ignorant, not yet humanized or fully formed. The motive power that keeps the wheel turning is desire (Kama). Each realm has its positive and negative aspects which will be explained later. realms. The realm is that aspect of personality that is never filled, never satiated.

Passion refers to any form of clinging and grasping. It is basically addiction or attachment. In the cycle of dependent origination, which is the cycle of rebirths or reincarnation that bring us repeatedly into life on earth, grasping is seen as one of the easiest links to break. It is seen as typical of the Human and Hungry Ghost realms. To break out of it requires renunciation.

Aggression is violence against others and nature and is basically destructive. It is usually the result of frustration and anger. Aggression is typical of the Hell and the Jealous god realms. It requires self-control and transmutation of the energy into other, less destructive forms. Ahimsa is the major tenet of Yoga and it means non-violence.

In our society, we are going through a period in which many people feel containment of emotions is unhealthy, The result is a great deal of acting out and adult temper tantrums. Two things need to be said about this: 1) anger directed at another has serious and lasting consequences. It damages the energy field of the other and creates (often long-lasting) pain - a fact that is not lost on the victim. The consequences may be difficult or impossible to repair. Hence Yoga says restrain expressions of anger, i.e, ahimsa or non-violence, as a primary admonition. 2) Acting out and temper tantrums are infantile behavior and indicate loss of self-control. If there is a heavy load of chronic repressed anger and aggression, the person needs therapy. In a safe, controlled environment, intense and deeply-seated anger may be safely released without causing personal damage. In the long run, the best therapy for anger is prevention at the source which is usually the mind's interpretation of what is occurring (cf Book III for more work in this area).

Ignorance has already been discussed. It is refusal to know who and what we are. It also means inertia or inability to act. It is typical of the God and Animal realms. It means unconsciousness and requires awakening. This is the poison that is particularly relevant in the first chakra.

All of these are ego defenses against the real knowledge of who we are.

Exercises: Ignorance

1. Read Ch 7 in A Path with Heart. Why does Kornfield think it is helpful to name our demons? Try this technique in your next emotional upset? Does it seem to help? Which of the three demons, or poisons, is the biggest problem for you? Can you see a relationship between wanting and grasping and the other topics in the first chakra? What do fear, judgment, boredom and anger have in common that classifies them as aversion? Sometimes this aspect is referred to as aggression and sometimes as aversion. Do those two concepts go together in your mind? Sleepiness, restlessness and doubt are all forms of resistance and are often called ignorance or inertia. What is your experience with this? Do you agree? A shortcut way to remember these factors is that the three poisons are PAI (passion, aggression and ignorance). They appear in the very center of the wheel of life in Buddhism, the hub. Does this mean that PAI is what keeps the wheel of reincarnation rotating? Or that they are the central factors in our needing many lives to perfect ourselves? Can you envision wanting and grasping as forms of passion?

Greed and Materialism

As you discovered in reading The Magical Child, emptiness and hungers can result from inadequate bonding and touching after birth. Sometimes children bond to material objects such as their blankets or soft toys instead of to their mothers and fathers. Since this occurs so very early in life, it is extremely difficult to access the memories that would help to heal the problem. Instead what usually happens is that people develop addictions. These addictions are what the Buddhists call grasping and clinging. The Yogis call it desire or attachment. However, to just say that I can overcome my hungers by sheer will power doesn't help very much. This is another case where it is probably impossible to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps.

Greed and materialism are extreme cases that result from inadequate nurturance. The individual seeks to replace the love and contact that was not received in early life by material objects and possessions. I'm sure you've known people who could not get enough things no matter how much they acquired. Hoarding is the extreme manifestation of this problem. Advertising in this country exploits these needs for financial gain which may also reflect greed in the owners of the companies who are trying to create an artificial market for their goods. Our entire society is run on the premise that more is better - consumerism, compulsive buying and conspicuous consumption. Shoplifting is even based on the need for attention. Rich children shop lift "for fun." Credit cards are abused routinely. A news magazine, the other night, reported that the average credit card rollover debt was $1700. People don't pay their bills every month, but keep adding to their accounts and shell out the requisite interest. What are they buying? Consider the mansions built in Hollywood for millions of dollars. Consider the national debt. Our nation is the prototype of greed and materialism. No wonder both Yoga and Buddhism counsel us to overcome desire.

An interesting fact that, I think, is associated with this phenomenon is that in the early thirties a psychologist by the name of John Watson was counseling parents to not pick up their babies because they might "spoil" them. (This is the founder of behavioral psychology talking, mind you.) Babies were to be fed every four hours, whether they were hungry or not. Crying was to be ignored. Well, you can easily imagine how that generation became greedy. And it is that generation that created a national debt in the hundreds of trillions of dollars. The perpetrators of the Savings and Loan debacle weren't hungry, you know. Nor did they need any of life's essentials.

Food for thought.

Exercises: Greed and Materialism

1. Needs and Wants. Review your lists of needs and wants from the Values Clarification exercise. As coolly as you can, decide which of them are really not essential to your life. What are your criteria for "essential?" What would it take for you to renounce the non-essential ones? How does that question make you feel? Defensive? Rationalizing? What role do the gifts you give yourself play in your life? What form do they take? Do they really satisfy you? In the light of this discussion, do you think any of your addictions are related to your early mothering? Or is this not a problem? Honestly?

Can you imagine yourself living in a small house without any amenities such as electric power, water piped in, or telephone? What would it be like to only eat the essentials of a good diet? Consider how much you would have to give up.

2. Comforts. What items in your lifestyle are dedicated to your comfort? This might include such things as a television, flannel sheets, ice cream, hot water, attractive clothes, regular sex, eyeglasses, an automobile, high status job, alcohol, cigarettes, chocolate, other sugars, fatty foods, junk food, pristine lawn, computer, stereo, shop full of tools, curtains, makeup, etc. Make a list of ones important to you and consider what life would be without each one of them. Go through your house and figure out which of your electrical appliances you would miss the most if a huge catastrophe destroyed the electric power system. Go through your closet and pick out which clothes you would pack if you had to leave your house for good and could only take with you what you could comfortably carry while walking. How would you get around if the gasoline supply disappeared? Could you survive without all these amenities? Could you feed yourself?

Think about what in your relationships provides you with comfort. What would it be like to live alone? Without pets? Without friends? Without relatives? Imagine you are forced by circumstances to be a hermit. How would you entertain yourself? What would you eat? Wear? What is the role of talking and conversation [to say nothing of gossip] in your life? How would you solve your problems if you were alone? How many of your problems are due to not being alone - or to being alone, if you are? You might keep in mind that Yogis have proven it is possible to live as a hermit in a cave with nothing except food that is offered to them by others for years at a time in the cold climates of the Himalayas. True they are supported by a culture that sees they get fed. Nevertheless, it's an interesting comparison.

3. Addiction. Write a paper on your addictions, that is the things or people to which you are helplessly attached. An addiction is anything that you refuse to surrender or that which giving up causes you discomfort. There's an element of tenacity in an addiction that makes you feel out of control. If you can let go of it without feeling a sense of loss, it isn't an addiction. Consider ideas, concepts, emotional climates, habits, people, situations and places as well as things. A good way to get started is to look at what you require for your comfort. You might review your list of wants from an earlier assignment. If you like, organize your list by categories. This may be helpful if it is a long list. Do you see a gradient of harm done to you by them? Are there emotional addictions? Sexual ones? Which are more harmful, the physical, emotional or mental? Compare your list, when you are finished, with the themes you discovered in making your birth scrapbook. Do you see any connections?

Select one or two of the addictions on your list to test out. Give each up for a week, and make notes on what you experience. What did you feel? Where in the body did you feel it? Did you become irritated, frustrated, angry or depressed? Depression is often anger turned inward on oneself. Did you give up before the week was over? If so, how did this make you feel? Was your self-image damaged? Is your self-image damaged by these addictions? What will you do to change that? What will you do first?

Awakening, The Call

We have said that the first step on the path is awakening. All of us have had calls from the Divine during our lifetimes. But we usually ignore them because it doesn't suit us to change our lives and because we are afraid of loss of ego control. Something in us knows that the Divine One takes all, so we allow our egos their illusions of power and control. Usually this continues until a major upset occurs in our lives that brings us to the true realization of our ultimate helplessness. At this time, we call: "Dear Lord, help me." More often than not, this simply means help me out of this mess, so I can continue as usual. But it may be a turning point if the message from above is heeded.

Exercise: Reflection on Awakening

Pull out your lifeline and study it again. Try to remember whether and when you have received a "Call" from the Divine One. Did you answer? What happened then? Next, check to see if some of the crises in your life might have been "wake up" calls that you ignored for one reason or another. Consider how your life might have been different had you answered or responded differently than you did. What would it take to rouse you? Are you already aroused to action? If so, what made you decide that the time was right to respond? Is your age a factor? Were others involved? If so, in what way?

Now, sit for a brief meditation period or incorporate this part of the exercise into your next sitting. When your mind begins to quiet down, ask yourself to just be awake. Not doing anything. Not thinking anything. Not sleeping, etc. Just awake. Just sitting doing nothing. Of what are you aware? Can you just be aware without being aware of some thing? What does it mean to you to just be awake without taking any kind of action?

What is the relationship between consciousness, awareness and awakening? Can you make a meaningful distinction between them? Does attention have a role?

Write a self-reflection paper on Awakening.

The Divine Child

One of the primary archetypes, or divine patterns, that we collectively harbor in our unconscious is the Divine Child.

The energy of the Higher Self that comes into the body first is what I call the "Divine Child," to be distinguished from the concepts of the "Inner Child" or the "Child Within" commonly used in psychotherapy... the Divine Child is a dimension or an aspect of our Higher Self, and like other aspects of the Higher Self, the symbol enriches us with its unique hologram of possibilities and unique perspectives. This is the spirit that infuses the body with the knowing of our divinity... a vibrant awareness of wisdom...energy of pure spirit.. it is you, straightforward, so humanly divine, so simple, yet so wise... The child has come in to live life, to experience all things. It is programmed with the energy of the Higher Self and wants to expand into the infinite - it is curious to know all things. We have this impulse at the beginning of each lifetime...Unfortunately, the older we get the more it usually fades... The Divine Child is spirit integrated into the human form (Phillips, 1990, pp. 21-30).*
We could think of this part of ourselves as spirit rather than soul. It is a part that only begins to manifest when we begin the journey home, at least in most of us. There may be a few people who have managed to hold on to this aspect of their selves as they grew up.

The Divine Child has all of the attributes of both children and the Divine One. It is curious, capable of wonder and awe, yet at the same time all-knowing, compassionate and loving in a timeless, ageless sense. It serves as our guide and becomes more and more resplendent and radiant as we clear away the debris that is clouding our identity. It is what we can become, what we are striving to acknowledge in ourselves. Jesus said, "Unless you change and become like little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:3) This is the Child that is referred to, our Divine Self.

Exercise: Divine Child

Read the introduction and chapters 1-2 in Emergence of the Divine Child. Reflect on what this idea means for your life and spiritual development. Can you remember a time in your childhood when you were in touch with this aspect of yourself? If so, what were you feeling at that time? What happened to It? Are you still in touch with It or has It become lost to your awareness?

Find someone who has a newborn or very young baby. If necessary visit a hospital nursery. Hold it, if possible, and gaze into its eyes. What do you see? Do you believe babies are conscious? Does this child look as if it knows from whence it came? If you have children, can you recall when your children were infants? And remember how you felt looking at and taking care of them. It indeed does feel like a miracle. Consider how social conditioning has buried this spirit in almost all of us. It's a loss we should grieve for, perhaps.

Make notes in your journal on the highlights of this experience.

The Christ Child

In nearly every religious tradition there is a story of the birth of the founder. Jesus, Buddha and Krishna, are prime examples. There are also stories of their childhoods. Now why would people be interested in the birth of an avatar? Wouldn't you think that, if we are going to worship them, we'd like to think they are immortal? That they had an existence before they were born? It's curious, isn't it, that we tend to pattern the myths about our gods after what we know about our own lives. We make the gods in our own image instead of the other way around. A truly omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent god would not be subject to death and birth, wouldn't you think?

Well, the Christians will say, Jesus isn't a god, he is the son of God. Yet we put Him in the trinity on an equal basis with God. Buddhists don't talk about God at all. They see the Buddha as an avatar, an enlightened man. The Hindus do think of Krishna as a god, and He is also a member of a godly trinity in His role as Vishnu. Still others would classify all three as avatars, enlightened beings who existed in a human body.

Well, I would like to suggest another way of thinking about this. In Hinduism, the gods are identified by a blue color when they are perceived as being in human form. Blue is a sign for them of a human incarnation. This means the god has taken human form or is embodied as a human being. Thus Krishna is blue, and there are pictures of him as a blue infant in his mother Yasodhara's arms. We think of Jesus as a human being. Yet, as son of God, he is also an incarnation of God. The Buddha is seen as a man who enjoyed a very high level of reincarnation. So all of these beings are embodied. As infants, they are viewed as Divine children. And we are taught by Jesus that we, also, are divine children.

Let's put this together with Almaas' notion of the archetype of the Divine Child. You'll remember that an archetype is a divine pattern that we all have in our unconscious. Almaas also said the Divine Child was spirit integrated into human form. That is what we have just said about Jesus, Krishna and the Buddha. It takes only a small step to see that, according to this reasoning, we are all Divine children; partakers of Divine Beingness. Perhaps Jesus came into a body to call attention to our own divinity. You may recall that he said, "I and my Father are One."(John 10:30).

If all this is true, then we can think of the celebration of Christmas as having a new significance. It's a reminder to us of our own divine identity. "Thou are That" say the Upanishads. And "Jesus said: I am the Light that is above them all. I am the All. The All came from me, and the All has returned to me. Split wood and I am there. Raise a stone and you will find me" (The Gospel According to Thomas: 77, In Iyer [Ed.], 1983). This was spoken by a man who walked the earth.

The fact that it is a newborn child is also important, especially for those of us who are just beginning the journey. We can think of the Christ child as a symbol for our own spiritual child that is coming to life. As we begin the spiritual journey, we are just being born as a self-conscious divine being. It's the rebirth of spirit in us. Now that is something to really celebrate... and to nurture.

Exercise: The Christ Child

1. In your Bible, read the stories of the birth of Jesus (Matthew 2, Luke 1:26-49 and Luke 2:1-10). As you do, think about what they would mean if they were talking you, about the awakening consciousness of your personal identity with God. What would it mean for your life, if these things were all being said about you? Select several phrases that speak to you and make some notes to yourself about what they mean for you. Then write a paper on the similarities between Jesus' birth and your own awakening.

2. If you celebrate Christmas and decorate your house for the holiday, create an arrangement of symbols that carry the meaning of this for you. It might be a traditional manger scene, but it need not be. Think about the birth of soul, the birth of spirit and the birth of divinity, the re-emergence of the Divine One in your life and being. How might you symbolize that to yourself as a reminder of what the season represents for you?


It is possible for us to call the Divine One. And, if this is done with complete sincerity and humility, the Divine is obliged to answer. So it seems to me that it is advisable to call on this Higher Power for assistance at the beginning of the journey. We are going to need lots of help, directions, support and encouragement which we won't always be able to provide for ourselves.

We could make this distinction between prayer and meditation. Prayer calls to the Divine One for help. It is essentially a dialogue. It says, "Please, come to me, I need You" or it says, "Please take me into Your heart, I need Your Love" or "I can't do it myself." Meditation is an opening of the mind and heart, a relaxation, an unfocusing that allows us to be absorbed into unity consciousness, to become one with the Lord or with the Ground of all Being. In meditation, we don't want, we wait.

Exercise: Prayer

For the next week, before you begin to meditate, form a prayer to the Divine One. It needn't be long or complicated. But call and invite It to be present with you while you sit. See if your experience is any different.

Also, during the week, watch to see when and under what circumstances you call on the name of the Lord whether swearing, needing help or in a situation of danger or otherwise. Is this a form of prayer? What assumptions underlie this behavior? What are your expectations? Is it just a habit? What do you think the Divine reaction to this behavior in you might be?


Almaas, A. H. The pearl beyond price: Integration of personality into Being: An object relations approach. Berkeley, CA: Diamond Books, 1990.

Dass, Baba Hari. Ashtanga Yoga primer. Santa Cruz, CA: Hanuman Fellowship, 1977.

Iyer, Raghavan (Ed.). The Gospel according to Thomas. NY: Concord Grove Press, 1983.

Kornfield, Jack. A path with heart: A guide through the perils and promises of spiritual life. NY: Bantam, 1993.

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

Pearce, Joseph C. Magical child. NY: Bantam, 1989.

* Phillips, Rick. Emergence of the divine child: Healing the emotional body. Santa Fe, NM: Bear & Co., P. O. Box 2860 Santa Fe, NM 87504, Copyright 1990. Permission to quote has been granted by the publisher.

Prescott, J. W. "Body Pleasure and the Origins of Violence." The futurist, April, 1975, 64-75.

Sadhu, Mouni. The Tarot. North Hollywood, CA: Wilshire Book Co., 1978.

Now that we've launched ourselves into the material world and seen how separation from Spirit occurred, it is time to examine some other aspects that both help and get in the way of our journey Home. Unit 7. Early Veils: Mind and Senses, Learning will provide information on how the intellectual mind develops and how conditioning and learning work to foster the habitual behaviors that block out perception of Spirit. Then we will turn to the intuitive mind to see the other half of the picture - how mind can be used to promote spiritual development. You'll have an opportunity to relate the new information to your own mental development and see how the "two minds" can be brought into harmony and balance in order to provide the tools needed for the journey.

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