Table of content
This is the preface and chapter six of Integral Meditation – The Seven Ways to Self-Realization, By Kenneth Sørensen
Preface to Integral Meditation
This book has been in the making my entire life. For me, life started when I was twenty-four and discovered astrology. Two years later, I started seeing a psychotherapist and had begun a daily meditation practice that I’ve maintained ever since. It has been an incredible journey, and now, some thirty years later, I can hardly grasp how I have managed to pull my head out of that foggy, unhappy state of mind in which I was engulfed.
In hindsight, I can see two primary motivations behind my journey. One was the deep emotional pain and unhappiness I felt in relation to my life, and my sense of myself as an extremely limited person. I could not recognise myself, and this frustration around my identity troubled me until I was ready to ask the question, “Who am I?” On an unconscious or semi-conscious level, there was always a part of me who sensed I was far greater than my outer appearance. Today I call this part of me The King. It is a part of our personality that is connected to the Royal Self, the Soul in our heart. The King is in touch with our inner greatness, and this can cause great pain because of the sharp contrast it presents between our present self and what we can become. I am surely not from a royal background – my ancestors are predominantly farmers and manual workers – so this has only strengthened the contrast between my inner and outer reality.
But this pain has also been a blessing. It created a crack in my psychological defences and has shown a way out of the spiritual poverty in which I was living, opening me to the Soul’s calling. This pain has motivated me to widen my inner world through meditation, philosophy and psychotherapy. This type of pain will either break us or save us; for me it became a great healing agent.
The second major motivation behind my spiritual journey was a will to growth, which became more serious in 1986, when, as mentioned, at the age of twenty-four I began my real life. Today I call this drive a will to freedom; it is an uncompromising longing for free expression on all levels. There is a voice in me that is unwilling to accept personal limitations and makes great effort to work through these limitations. This will is an expression of The King but in a more pure and direct form; it is the Royal Self fighting to manifest its kingdom.
My awakening led to a sense of vivid, immediate life and an almost unbear- able feeling of ecstatic joy, a powerful, almost frightening sense of my own freedom. As with all visions or moments of ecstasy, it was temporary, but its effects stayed with me. These effects are not always pleasant. The will to be free can create a strong sense of being mediocre because the vision of what we can be always transcends our immediate experience. This is a challenge–a crisis of duality–we all must face when we open up to Spirit and its demand that we become who we truly are.
I wish to write a book for all Souls who feel the call to greatness, for those whose hearts long for unconditional love and compassion, and who desire to awaken from the dream within which most of the world is imprisoned. This book is for those who dare to develop all their resources and put them into the service of the One Life.
My message is quite simple: meditate, love, and choose freedom every day.
This is the essence of my book.
Meditation is an effective means for speeding up our evolution because through it we shift our focus from the world of effects to the world of causes. Through meditating we have a means to help us awaken to the content of our consciousness and the stream of thoughts, images, emotions and sensations we project onto the world. Through meditation we realise that what we call reality is coloured by interpretations based on our habitual reactions, and that these reactions are illusions from the past. Meditation makes it possible to consciously choose our thoughts and emotions, enabling us to master our minds. This is the foundation of inner peace.
Meditation has two fundamental effects. It expands our awareness from the individual to the universal, a widening of consciousness through which our separate ego gradually opens into a more universal presence. We discover that our true identity is something immaterial and subtle, a state of oneness connecting us with all living beings and the whole manifested universe.
Meditation can also alter the qualities of the personality. Through the more spiritual states of mind it can induce, meditation can refine the personality, leading to visible changes in behaviour. Where before we reacted with fear, selfishness and ignorance, we can now respond with courage, kindness and wisdom. There’s no limit to how far we can develop this capacity, as mystics and saints throughout history have shown. These two effects – expansion and alteration of the personality are the result of what we can call passive and active meditation. The first develops freedom of being, the second develops freedom of action.
These insights will be developed throughout this book. The fundamental message is that meditation changes the world because, through it, you change. The root motivation for all meditation must be for the sake of the whole because our true identity is never separate from the world.
I have called my approach integral meditation – integral both in the sense of something that is essential and involves all parts of us – because we must apply the whole spectrum of meditation in order to work effectively with the different frequencies of energy. A holistic attitude to meditation is vital. Our practice should suit our spiritual type. For example, not everyone benefits from the use of mindfulness, so we must adjust our meditation to the needs driving our practice. Our spiritual practice must be unique and not a standardised prescription. We should be familiar with different types of meditation so we can adopt the form of meditation most appropriate to our current life situation, our spiritual type and our immediate needs.
Meditation should also be integrated skilfully into our lives, within our par- ticular individual, cultural and social spheres. This can be done through five integral life practices, which I discuss in this book. This approach involves understanding seven essential energies, (called the seven rays), seven levels of consciousness, seven ways of meditation and seven spiritual types, all of which can be drawn upon to establish a life of greater freedom.
Yet meditation alone is not enough. Even though meditation is an act of love, some psychic content lies so deeply in the unconscious that it is inaccessible to meditation. We have to burrow into the unconscious to uncover the repressed material that limits and inhibits our free expressions as living Souls. We must enter into a radical process of transformation that corresponds to the level of freedom we wish to achieve. This can be pretty ugly business, but we are not alone: millions of people worldwide participate in the same divine spring cleaning.
We must develop the same ideal of sustainability for our inner world as we do for our outer one, and, so to speak, cleanse the collective atmosphere of psychological smog. Many psychotherapeutic techniques can help with this process, and I will be offering meditation techniques that can supplement the necessary work we do in psychotherapy to explore our “shadow”. The most effective approach to meditation is to love whatever arises in consciousness because love is the key agent when we want to transform the parts of our- selves that suffer. This means an impersonal love, an empathetic acceptance that flows from an open heart centre. When we can participate in this flow we become strong enough to embrace whatever comes up, we can rest in peace amid the deepest pain.
In each moment we can make a choice that will define our destiny. This choice determines the type of energy we choose to think, to feel and let our life be governed by. When we say yes to thoughts that enter our awareness, these thoughts become part of who we are. This is quite simple: in each moment we can learn to consciously choose what thoughts will define our state of mind. Accordingly, we can avoid what is harmful and choose what is helpful. It is crucial to choose thoughts from our highest values and not allow ourselves to be governed by habitual negative reactions. With this in mind, it is clear that we must choose freedom each day. Simple enough to say, but quite a challenge to accomplish.
I have written this book from my heart and have consulted very few external sources. You will find a few references to outer authorities, but the only authority I really want to appeal to is the intuition of your heart.
I write from my own experience, but I recognise my debt to prominent writers and teachers such as Alice Bailey, Lucille Cedercrans, Roberto Assagioli, Ken Wilber and Sri Aurobindo. All in some way have been my teachers because they have inspired my being. In one respect I can say that the esoteric heritage is my spiritual tradition. Helena P. Blavatsky, Annie Besant, Alice Bailey and Lucille Cedercrans have had an important, if unacknowledged, influence on Western civilization. They concerned themselves with spiritual evolution well ahead of its current popularity, and are in many ways responsible for the dissemination of Eastern wisdom in the West.
I have also decided to share my beliefs in reincarnation, God, and whatever else I have found to be true and helpful in this work. I don´t believe in a personal God, but in a divine being with a creative spiritual force. In its transcendent nature, this being can be experienced as a limitless, boundless awareness, which is the view of Buddhism. The Buddha did not believe in a God or a Self, even though he never directly opposed them. Equally, this divine being can also be experienced as a creator, a loving and intelligent deity who triggered the Big Bang and got the universe going – this is how more theistic religions see the divine. I believe that both perspectives can be true on different levels of consciousness.
This book is also an introduction to energy psychology, which looks at life and existence in terms of different energies. Meditation is our primary tool in getting to know and master these energies. The esoteric tradition speaks of seven rays and seven rivers of life, and it would take a life-time to understand these energies and their origin. Here I have made a start.
Finally, I must thank the people who directly contributed to my journey – you know who you are. There is no higher inspiration than the example of those who strive, love and suffer through life in order to liberate a compassionate and free heart.
Kenneth Sørensen, Copenhagen, 2017
The Sensitive River of Life:
Your Way to Love, Wisdom and Unity
This chapter will look at the sensitive river of life, which is the river of love and wisdom. Love is an essential part of our lives, but do we really understand it? We’ve all had some difficulties with love; I am no exception. I have loved wholeheartedly and unreservedly and I write these words with pride because my life has proven a difficult terrain for love to thrive in. Alongside love, the sensitive river of life also concerns the wisdom we develop as we go through life’s many experiences. The sensitive energy of this river is available to help us develop relationships within the spheres of I, We and the World. The I-zone concerns our relationship to ourselves; the We-zone concerns our relationships with others; and the World-zone concerns our capacity to bring love to the world at large. These three zones are an important part of integral meditation and form an important area to master.
Through the growth of sensitivity and our feeling function, our ability to love develops. But what we think of as love is often just a faint reflection of love’s true nature, which is unity consciousness, or love without object. Without the lover or the beloved, love is like an ocean: we no longer give or receive love, but are in love. We breathe love – together. This omnipresent love can hold and be with everything just because it is; it understands the other so deeply that we become him or her through empathetic love. At the level of personality, this love makes us aware of the differences between self and other, yet we also see that because of this difference we are more complete while in relationship. We can learn to let go of barriers and be fully present with the other. This is a self-sacrificing love. Such a love has acquired negative connotations because of its association with hidden agendas, which are self-serving, calculating and conditional. But by accessing the energy of the sensitive river such covert motives can be converted into their opposite. In this way we are able to experience love in its highest expression, which is an example of non-dual consciousness, a union between ourselves and the object of our awareness.
To really understand love we must distinguish between its different expressions. What is the difference between paternal love, maternal love, erotic love, possessive love, altruistic love, love of God, or the love of nature, culture or beauty?
There are also unhealthy expression of love – if our self-love is egocentric and narcissistic we cannot truly love anyone else. When love is sealed off and isolated it can turn to hatred, which is really protective self-love. By contrast, healthy self-love is based on a deep appreciation of our basic identity and gives us a sense of dignity, self-esteem and responsibility.
Whereas the dynamic river of life insists on greatness, the sensitive river of love-wisdom helps us to accept our many imperfections. When we achieve a balance between love and will we can reach beyond our habitual selves and integrate those parts of us that shy away from greatness. A love of the perfect only is an impoverished love, whereas love that can reach into the darkness and embrace hatred, jealousy, greed and aggression – without succumbing to these states – is great. This is the love I focus on in many meditations. It asks us to love everything that is!
I recall that during an experience of meditation in which I was focusing on loving everything that is, I had an insight that proved central to my understanding of the meaning of life. As will be familiar to many of those who meditate, I was feeling frustrated by banal thoughts and images that filled my mind. I visualised a stream of acceptance flowing through my heart, but this made no difference because I realised I had a hidden agenda. Pure acceptance is about not trying to change anything. I had a choice: I could stop meditating or accept the banality and frustration. I abandoned my expectations and gradually embraced the content of my consciousness, including my identification with mediocrity.
This surrendering to my situation altered my consciousness, as if an inner cell had been illuminated by my Soul, completely changing my perspective. This was not about me! What was happening was far greater than my ego’s need for convenience. Two phrases came to me: “All is teaching” and “All is service” (for some reason my most powerful insights during meditation come to me in English). I realised that these difficult conditions were teaching me something; they were direct reflections of my false identifications. I understood that as long as I believed these thoughts were a part of my identity, they would imprison me. Once more I could see that “my” thoughts were merely one frequency of a collective consciousness; anyone who had tuned into that frequency would feel them as well. Trivialities occupied my consciousness because I had insisted they had something to do with me. Seeing them impersonally revealed that they were only a frequency creating a kind of psychological smog – which I needed to love!
The message I received was that I was not meditating for my own sake. Rather, I was an “energy renovation worker” contracted to purify an area of the collective consciousness using the transformative power of love. Seeing this, I could release my victim consciousness and egocentrism. In a flash I shot from the basement to the rooftop, and then I received the next transmission: “Agony or Ecstasy – No difference!” I realised that whether I felt I was in contact with a cosmic love or whether I felt like a victim, it made no difference because neither feeling was about me. Everything was about service and teaching. The lesson was to love everything that is. With this came a sense of overwhelming freedom. I could have been surrounded by the walls of a prison, nevertheless I was completely free, as I am always. I can always choose to love, to be a brilliant light of consciousness in a dark place.
We can love our way through a brick wall or use willpower to knock it down.
Love dissolves, the will breaks through. Let me explain: the brick wall is my sense of being imprisoned by feelings and thoughts that stop me from engaging with life and freely expressing the creativity I feel inside.
Freedom and love are perfect partners. All of existence yearns for love, belonging and unity. Within every thing there is this longing, and when we touch it through love a process of liberation is initiated. This sounds abstract, but in reality it is a kind of alchemy: we can transform lead into gold through love. Each of the elements represents a state of consciousness associated with survival, safety and primary relationships, and gold represents the divine essence. As Aurobindo said, this divine essence is the One Life that lives in the heart of all states. Lust and fear trap us in addictions; we cannot be free until we liberate their essence. This is what “kissing the frog” means in fairy tales: at the magic touch, something lowly becomes a prince or princess. Let us explore this transforming power of love.
Through love we can increase the frequency of any state of consciousness. Through it negativity dissolves like ice in the sun. If we direct love to our feelings of hatred, they will gradually be released in love. This is a scientific fact anyone can verify. Love dissolves hatred into its component parts, releasing the light and life it has captured. Quantum physics tells us that, in a sense, everything is light. That’s why meditation is about enlightenment. By becoming enlightened, we raise the frequency of everything around us. Meditation, aided by psychotherapy, can, in a short time, change consciousness significantly. Life itself provides opportunities to transform consciousness. But this journey can take a long time because we tend to repeat certain patterns, which meditation and psychotherapy can help us to avoid.
Feeling pain is unavoidable when working with love to create transformation. If we cannot contain the pain, we block our access to its source, which means we cannot increase its frequency. Pain activates defence mechanisms which protect us from our vulnerabilities through the instinctual responses of fight, flight or freezing on the spot. Most of us have felt the painful loss of intimacy with a partner, a friend or some significant other. Like the rest of us, I have experienced this several times and when it happens, love is tested. It is difficult to love when a paralysing pain emerges. Our solar plexus becomes a black hole, our heart screams out, and old coping strategies resurface. In these situations we may need solitude, or contact with the other, even if at first you thought otherwise. Anger, aggression and irritation invade us. After one break up, thanks to my daily meditation and psychotherapy, I avoided most of the flight, fight or freeze responses through focusing on the vulnerable parts of my psyche that cried out for love. This is what is known as withdrawing our projections. Let me explain. Needs we cannot meet in ourselves, we project onto others in an attempt to make them our “love suppliers”. When this umbilical cord is cut we feel intense pain; there is no longer a projected love to surround and protect our vulnerable parts, such as our inner child, our inner teenager or other fragile subpersonalities. When we withdraw our projections, we consciously abandon trying to have our needs met by the other. We take responsibility for our own needs and become our own love supplier. Parts of us that had tried to steal energy from others begin to mature and become self-sufficient. This is not to say that we now meet all our needs alone, which is impossible – in our essence we are whole but as physical beings we are dependent on each other, which is something we need to understand if we are not to end up like North Korea, isolated and undeveloped. If we are to be mature adults we must learn to be able to stand alone and meet our basic needs for security ourselves.
After a break-up, we may obsess over our ex-partner as a way to restore our love supply. Meditation gradually stops this as we turn our attention to what is suffering in us. We focus on our own pain rather than thinking about the other. Of course, often we lose focus and let our coping strategies take over. We try to escape the pain through entertainment, sex or food (flight); or we can attack the pain with hateful thoughts and fantasies of revenge (fight); or we can do nothing, going about our daily life feeling dead inside (freeze). These strategies change nothing; through them we do not heal, we merely repeat old routines. Our friends may support us, and our work may give our life perspective and direction, but if we want to turn the crisis into a radical process of growth that makes us stronger, meditation is indispensable.
During one break up I meditated three times a day, just observing the pain. I sank into it and identified with the parts of me that were suffering. This can be challenging. Initially the pain is almost unbearable, like stepping into a very hot bath – only gradually do you get used to the heat. But staying with the pain can also be a beautiful experience if we understand there is a void within that yearns to be filled with love. This offers an opportunity to allow what is fragile and vulnerable to mature. When I had located my inner wounds, I visualised a stream of loving acceptance and empathy radiating from the sun in my heart chakra to heal the pain. The relief was immediate, as if I had applied some kind of ointment. In this way, we can gradually work with our vulnerable parts, layer by layer, healing each wounded psychological state. As we do so, initially we will notice a vague pain somewhere inside, but through observation we can discover the source of the pain. We can then go deeper into the pain, seeing what it needs, which is perhaps affection, beauty, security and care. The quality we need to heal the pain that has been exposed is typically the quality we had been receiving in the partner we separated from. From this position we can let the needed quality flow from the heart, where the universal Soul qualities reside, to the suffering part.
This work shows us how to initiate new frequencies and qualities by replacing black holes of pain with love. In the beginning there is nothing but pain, but gradually we learn how to contain it. The pain does not disappear but the pain takes up less space as sensitivity penetrates our suffering, and love and acceptance flows into the place that pain used to be. This practice heals on several levels. We disidentify from our vulnerability and identify instead with the strong, loving observer who remains centred and contains the pain. We avoid becoming the victims of our suffering. Instead, we take responsibility and know that it is our own vulnerabilities that are causing the pain. Being the observer empowers us, and we can choose to act on the situation. Love’s power unifies what is isolated and separate and makes it whole. Our vulnerable parts are met by a new inner source of love and compassion, and as projections are withdrawn and replaced by self-love, the pain diminishes. Selfcare gives us the strength and courage to love again because we know there is a safe place within to which we can always return.
Whatever dark and self-destructive forces we find in ourselves, they always contain hidden possibilities that can be triggered by the transforming power of impersonal and unconditional love. This love is love beyond likes and dislikes, an empathic love that can contain everything simply because it exists, flowing like a quiet stream in every human heart. We can encourage this flow with practices such as the heart sun meditation. When we are closed off and identified with our vulnerable, egocentric tendencies, we can try to open our hearts to this healing river. Love transforms our vulnerabilities in the way that sunlight melts ice. It activates a process in the heart of the suffering part that lowers our defences. We become more stable, self-regulating and less dependent on others for love.
The purpose of Healing Meditation is to send positive energies to the parts of ourselves that are suffering. In the Appendix you can find a version of this meditation that I work with myself. I begin with an integration exercise, connecting my heart, head and Soul, before moving into the meditation itself. It is important to work with the vertical axis between self and Soul as doing so aligns and strengthens the connections between the different levels of our being. The Soul and the superconscious must be connected before beginning the meditation so we can draw on the universal healing energies of the collective unconscious. Spirit-in-Action and the World Soul want us to release old painful conditions. It doesn’t matter who is suffering because all suffering is collective. What matters is that the suffering is redeemed. All is teaching – All is service.
I continue this meditation by invoking the Soul’s wisdom and love through prayer in order to show my commitment to co-operate with the Soul’s energies. This prayer also encourages our inner helpers (angelic beings and souls on the inner planes who work according to our free will) to intervene.
When we understand that transforming our individual pain is part of a larger global process of transformation we are released from our limited personal perspective. The pain then becomes impersonal and universal, as we see ourselves sharing in the suffering of others. We are all in the same boat. When we freely share our experiences, other people can bring compassion and positive energies into our work, expanding our consciousness and making it more dynamic. We simply have more energy to draw upon. Obviously we should only involve the helpful people in the process, otherwise we risk getting a supply of unwanted negative energies.
Connecting our personal healing to that of humanity is an important part of the Healing Meditation. We do this by letting healing energy flow from the Soul, through our hearts, and out to everyone suffering from the same problems. Channelling this energy on behalf of all humankind creates a strong flow. There is a risk that we could become overstimulated, but connecting our own energy to the collective will prevent this from happening. The energy we channel flows through us and flushes out our entire system. Impersonality is key when working with the collective – we don’t focus on any person or people in particular. Instead, our only intention is to heal ourselves and our surroundings. The atmosphere we create is available to everyone, but we impose it on no one.
How we connect to the collective field is up to us. Sometimes our focus must be on our own individual pain. In these cases we can send healing to all of humanity before closing the meditation. I recommend this: it protects against overstimulation, maintains our impersonal perspective, and helps the environment.
A variation on this meditation is to directly involve others subjectively in the work. If I am angry with someone, I can benefit by involving him or her in the inner healing. If we feel betrayed or offended, we have opportunity for inner healing by absorbing the hurt this person has caused us. This is not a substitute for whatever outer actions we must take, but it’s easier to establish healthy boundaries if we are not overwhelmed by negative emotions.
Anger and vindictiveness create a highly toxic psychological atmosphere (ie aggression). When we identify with anger unconstructively we allow collective anger to enter our system, exacerbating the problem. Angry energy also induces other negative states, making it hard to think clearly. The anger helps neither those who feel it, nor those at whom it is directed. It creates imbalance and discord. If we are directed by spiritual values, we do not want to cause destruction in ourselves or in others. We must find another way to deal with anger.
Anger is natural and valuable, and if we are able to contain it we can trans- mute it into our standing power. When fully accepted with an intention not to harm, anger can be a powerful force aiding constructive action. Healthy ag- gression is non-violent; it helps us to set boundaries and assert our interests. As in many things, our motivation is key.
The aim is to bring the aggression within the control of the Soul’s love and wisdom. First, we accept that we are angry. Next, we accept that the target of our anger acted out of ignorance. We neither approve of nor excuse their action; we merely accept that, like ourselves, they are fallible. This is the message of Nelson Mandela, Gandhi and the Dalai Lama: meet your “enemies” with loving kindness, but do not compromise your own values.
From the Soul’s perspective, at some level we attract everything that comes into our lives. We can call this karma, the law of cause and effect. But no matter how we choose to interpret an action, we can always learn something from it. All is teaching.
During the first stage of a Healing Meditation we can send a stream of loving acceptance to the people we are angry with, and to anyone whose behaviour upsets us. This empathy and acceptance helps us understand whatever lies behind people’s bad behaviour, and can make us wise.
Accepting our own aggression helps us to see that it protects something vulnerable in us, a pain we cannot contain. Anger is a technique we use to protect ourselves by trying to give our pain to someone else – we try to pass on our pain like a hot potato. But this technique doesn’t work; the pain will returns to us repeatedly until we learn that our pain is not healed by attacking someone else. We must mature beyond our vulnerabilities; doing so will help us to withstand future slights. Accepting anger transforms the feeling into inner strength.
To direct loving acceptance at someone who has hurt you is a radical act. Love widens our perspectives until we can understand the other’s motivation. We see that we might have done the same thing ourselves. The Dalai Lama was once asked what his greatest concern was about the Chinese takeover of his country. He replied: “Losing compassion for the Chinese.” Forgiving such terrible violations puts our own suffering into perspective. With loves comes humility. We no longer judge others as harshly as we might have. This does not mean that we become a pushover – we must still maintain our boundaries – but it can become easier for us to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes.
The dynamic river of life leads to our inner core, while the sensitive river of life insists that we find ourselves in our encounters with others. Love is expansive. When we love others, we love ourselves through them. This interpenetrating consciousness is central to Unity Meditation, something I have practiced for a long time and that I call The Great Silent Heart.
Unity Meditation: The Great Silent Heart
During the great silent heart visualisation we visualise a deep blue, indigo ocean of love in our heart centre or in the centre of our brain. With the help of the imagination, visualisation opens the door to the energies we visualise.
We begin by focusing on the heart, visualising a deep blue ocean of love. Imagine this deep blue love energy expanding through you, and then to your family, and then out through wider and wider connections until it surrounds all of humankind. Extend the love further, to all living beings. This deep compassionate love can penetrate the essence of all existence and melt all barriers.
Over several days during a retreat, I had the opportunity to study the effect of this meditation. Meditating on cosmic love, I felt that after a few hours my personal boundaries had dissolved into a soft field of impersonal embracing love. Over the next few days the silence intensified; I felt connected with all living beings. I sank into a great silent heart that held all of existence in its compassionate embrace, as if I was at the bottom of a deep warm ocean of benign awareness. I realised that here was the bass note of all other states of consciousness, and I began to explore these states.
By somehow undoing the contractions and spasms in consciousness triggered by our defence mechanisms, this indigo-coloured cosmic love dissolves the pain of separation. We may soon return to “normal”, but nothing is quite the same again. The memory of what happened reminds us that there is a way out of the prison. By consciously working on ourselves, and changing our lives, we can map an escape route.
While meditating on the great silent heart I felt completely identified with humanity. I was humanity, not a part of it, but its living Soul. I’ve read much about the World Soul, but had never before had such an immediate sense of being humanity itself. Christ’s teaching to “Love your neighbour as yourself” suddenly had new meaning. My neighbour is myself, yet, as I’ve discussed previously, we still maintain our uniqueness.
Practising the great silent heart develops our empathy. We must be sensitive so we can understand the true nature of everything we encounter, even what we fear or hate. We begin by reaching those emotionally blocked areas in ourselves and embrace them with love and sensitivity. This can hurt, but feeling nothing is worse. Empathy and compassion aid our ability to register the multiple worlds of consciousness around us. Our sensitivity to different states of consciousness increases and we begin to distinguish their qualities. Our psychological taste buds become discriminating, and we can detect psychological qualities just as a master chef can identify the ingredients of a dish. We assess different people through identifying with their multifaceted nature. Barriers and conflicts indicate where our sensitivity could be extended, even to ourselves. The world around us serves as a giant mirror, showing us who we are through our reactions to what we see in it. These may or may not be a valid expression of what we identify with at any given moment. To become aware of our reactions without getting lost in the mirror is an art. In reality, we do not see other people as they are, but as we are. What we know is our subjective interpretation of them. A true meeting with the other can only take place when we become aware of our own reactions and appreciative of the other’s qualities.
The sensitive river of life and an empathic understanding of ourselves and the world can guide us into our own and others’ psychological DNA. It helps us to distinguish our unique energy types. We can then start to work with ourselves and others according to our unique typology on five levels, which is the goal of integral meditation.
Wisdom is Knowledge, Love and Purpose
The sensitive river of life develops the intelligence of the heart. In the personality, this energy unfolds through our feelings. Yet the love and wisdom we seek transcends likes and dislikes of the emotional body – true love is impersonal, universal and unconditional. It is only when our emotions are stable and free of egocentric desires that the love energy can reflect itself through the emotional field as intuition.
Intuition is an awareness of the whole. It helps us to understand reality by seeing into the heart of everything through the eyes of the divine. Intuitions are of- ten beyond the intellect’s comprehension and are difficult to describe with words. Most intuitions are brief glimpses into our inner connection with the world. For lack of better terms to describe this sense of unity, we speak of intuition and universal love. Ultimately, intuition and universal love are one, but they can be expressed in different ways: as love in the heart chakra and as wisdom in the brow chakra.
What is wisdom? It is difficult to define, but it seems connected to our em- pathic understanding of the underlying causes of what is happening around us. Wisdom seems to be a blend of experiential knowledge, love and purpose. Lacking one of these, one falls short of wisdom.
Much of our knowledge concerns how to do something, but not why we should do something. For this reason we must seek the deeper reason behind someone’s actions if we want to truly understand them. This requires love, empathy and purpose.
Wisdom is always practical. It refers not so much to metaphysics as to a practical knowledge that is rooted in metaphysics. Buddha was a practical man whose aim was to develop an effective solution to the problem of suffering, to develop a knowledge concerned with concrete reality and actual experience. Basic practical knowledge can be very effective, but it is also partial – hence the saying that one can know a lot, yet understand little. For this reason, Buddha and others understood that it is important to go beyond practical knowledge to wisdom.
A loving, empathic consciousness is also an important aspect of wisdom – and has been crucial to healing my own wounds because it offers an inner con- tainer into which the pain can be released. However, empathic love without knowledge can be confusing. For example, we might love blindly if we lack the psychological knowledge to discern the deeper patterns involved in a relation- ship. Love can make us naïve, so we also need a cool and rational approach to understanding how love works.
The third aspect of wisdom is an awareness of the Soul’s purpose. Purpose offers a “bird’s eye view” of our situation and helps us to approach a problem with true wisdom. Purpose reveals the meaning behind a problem or crisis so we can understand the reasons why we suffer. We can then see our suffering as part of an evolutionary journey and recognise the next steps we must take.
Awareness of purpose relates to the vertical dimension of our being, to what gives us perspective and direction, offering glimpses of underlying meaning. The purpose behind my personal struggle with isolation was to show me (and the world) a way out. I learned how I had created my own isolation by identifying with idealised love, which is not an uncommon experience. Many people are isolated because they hold onto an idealised vision of perfect love and become stuck at this level, or frequency, of consciousness.
As mentioned, only loving the perfect is an impoverished form of love, whereas a love that can accept conflicts and limitations is great. Realising this was a major break though for me; it allowed my journey out of isolation to begin. This insight gave me a purpose. I learned I would rather be free than comfortable. I learned that I could aid the liberation of humanity through my own example.
Insight Meditation, my own preferred approach, is orientated toward love and wisdom. All true meditation should lead to wisdom because through it we come into contact with the Soul. This practice focuses on the energies in the head, specifically in the brow chakra or the Cave, where the third eye is located. There are three key aspects to this meditation: observation, love and exploration. We choose a problem we want to find a solution for, and position ourselves as the observer. Detached observation is essential in order to work with the energies that arise during this meditation. This is stage one. We need to accept and empathise with all aspects of the challenge facing us; that is, we need to love it. This provides a deeper understanding of things, and greater patience with what we cannot understand. This is stage two.
In the third stage we investigate, asking what, why, how? We draw back to see the larger pattern, the meaning within the problem, making it a friend who can guide us, rather than an enemy we must overcome. We creatively explore all aspects of the problem. If we see that we lack some basic knowledge, we must supplement our meditation with concrete study. Insights can come in bursts or the illumination can be more gradual.
Here is an example of an Insight Meditation that focuses on a concern of my own: I am frustrated that my teachings are not reaching a wider audience. I would like my work to have more notice, since my primary vo- cation is to teach energy psychology. First, I formulate a question: “What stands in the way of a greater flow?” As my outer life is a reflection of my consciousness, I understand that some inner block must be standing in the way of abundance.
I centre myself (see “Outline for Insight Meditation” in the Appendix), then observe who or what is frustrated. It can’t be me. I am the detached observer, pure consciousness, so it must be something else that is acting up. I explore the frustration, ask what is motivating it. I sense restlessness and pain in my solar plexus. Other “voices” join in: a hunger for popularity and economic security, the joy of working with something I love, my meditation group, and the desire to make a difference in the world doing something I am passionate about. I can hear these different voices and I accept them all. They do not surprise me, and I continue my exploration.
There is meaning and purpose here, a reason why my teaching is not as popular as some part of me would like. There’s a lesson for me to learn. All is teaching, all is service, I remind myself. This helps with the frustration. I am now willing to learn something new that can benefit others struggling with the same problem. I focus with empathy in my brow chakra and examine what inner assumption is blocking my progress. It takes as much energy to manifest loss as it does profit, this much I know; somewhere some unconscious conviction that I am lacking something must be jamming the works. I move from thinking about a problem to seeking wisdom about myself. I know I am more than capable of teaching, so the problem must lie somewhere else. Where is the resistance? There is something in my solar plexus. It is a desire not to get involved, to be left alone, to be safe. It is a desire to avoid conflicts and, paradoxically, a fear of rejection and isolation.
So it is that old thought form again: a defence mechanism to avoid situations associated with pain. This kind of ignorance can be illuminated by shining wisdom into the darkness. I am wise. I know my purpose. I acknowledge my growth and development, and all that I know about the transformation of the unconscious. Now wisdom must reach that part of my unconscious where the refusal to engage with people is blocking my abundance.
Inner resistance and “voices” present situations that must be met in a new way, and it is through this that our wisdom develops. Meditation reveals something in my unconscious contrary to my evolutionary purpose, which is to introduce energy psychology to large numbers of people. The Soul’s wisdom makes this collaboration possible, with the inner flow allowing an outer flow of teaching. One can work with different types of visualisations in order to make the unconscious conscious, and a skilled psychotherapist can help with navigating through the defence mechanisms associated with this specific area.
I’ve given an example of a meditation working with the basic unconscious. There are other meditations that focus on the Soul’s transpersonal qualities. What is universal love, power, beauty? Regarding such a question, we would proceed in the same manner: observe, love and investigate, relating what we find to our evolutionary purpose. This is an important part of integral meditation, seeing that the intention behind it is to serve. The Soul’s primary aim is to make a difference in the world; the intention to serve evokes the strongest co-operation from the essence of our being.
Insight Meditation is a creative process. It offers new perspectives on the object of our meditation, and is another example of how integral meditation combines different disciplines and techniques: observation, reflection, visualisation, radiating love, empathy and determination. Insight Meditation works by activating our ability to recognise inner realities, something that is said of the third eye.
Meditating on the sensitive river of life facilitates healing, understanding and enlightenment. The self is revealed and subpersonalities are brought to light. The sensitive river of life is essential to integral meditation. Love and wisdom are prerequisites for our very existence. Healing Meditation also supports shadow work in psychotherapy.
Sensitive types will naturally feel at home with this practice, but dynamic, analytical and practical types need it even more. These latter types have a tendency to isolate themselves from others and can adopt a dry approach to life which the sensitive river can moisten. That said, it should also be noted that indulging too much in this meditation can make one too introverted and oversensitive.
Now let’s move away from these warm waters into the cooler stream of the intelligent river of life.
Here you can find more inspiration
Here you can buy Integral Meditation – The Seven Ways to Self-Realization, By Kenneth Sørensen
Read the intro article about Integral Meditation
Read the intro article about Psychosynthesis
Read the intro article about The Seven Types
Here you will find a biography about Roberto Assagioli