Table of content
- 1 The Manifesting River of Life: Your Way to Creative Power, Effectiveness and Manifestation
- 2 Integral Meditation and Life Practice
- 3 When we use Integral Meditation during a Personal Crisis
- 4 Group Meditation During a Full Moon
- 5 Conclusion
The Manifesting River of Life: Your Way to Creative Power, Effectiveness and Manifestation
The seventh river of life brings to the creative culmination of the other six rivers. It expresses our conscious or unconscious yearning for heaven on earth and is what drove the great kings and builders throughout history. Cathedrals, palaces, the pyramids and other great monuments are embodiments of humankind’s powerful creative urge. Inspired masons gave form to Spirit in the soaring arches of the Gothic cathedrals; places like Chartres and Notre Dame de Paris still move us profoundly even now. The soaring arches of the cathedrals are a direct reflection of the vast inner sacred space revealed to the mystics. The greatness churchgoers experience in the cathedrals resembles the mystics’ experience in their encounters with God. Bridges that cross our rivers and skyscrapers that tower above us are informed by the same energy.
From this perspective only what is manifested is real, yet this does not mean it is materialistic. This river represents the universal will to manifest its purpose through law and order. If love, beauty and truth are expressions of the universal will, we must allow them to inform the values and principles that guide our lives. The United Nations is an example of this. It expresses the ideal of a diverse humanity working together to address common challenges. Clearly, we are far from reaching this ideal, but we have taken steps in the right direction.
The purpose of the seventh river is difficult to realise. If we want to manifest Spirit-in-Action, we must integrate all the energies inherent in our nature and embody them. Our mental, emotional and physical energies must surrender to the central directing will of the Soul. Achieving this gives us Soul Power and love-wisdom. The seventh river aims to synthesise all aspects of the personality; it is, in a way, Psychosynthesis itself.
It is only the Royal Self which gives us the power and dignity to pursue such an ambitious goal. To embody our royal selves we must act impeccably and feel our connection to something greater than ourselves. As representatives of the One Life, we know that talk is cheap and that actions speak louder than words.
The manifesting river is composed by the dynamic, sensitive and intelligent rivers, so it carries the ability to manifest whatever is set in motion by the three primary rivers of life. The seven rivers can also be perceived through a sevenfold creative sequence, where each river plays an intrinsic role in the unfoldment of divine purpose. This process of manifestation follows certain natural steps, of which the following is an example.
Following the earthquake in 2010 which devastated much of Haiti, we can imagine that a wealthy benefactor decided to build a hospital for the poor in the country. He had the money and made the initial decisions. He represented the initiating dynamic river – the will that chooses to set something in motion. He contacted a developer with the understanding and skills needed to achieve this purpose. The developer’s vision embodied the values that gave this project a special quality. The vision was attractive; it met an important need and there was love behind it. The developer represented the sensitive river.
When the vision was fully developed the developer contacted an architect. The architect represented the intelligent river. He drew a detailed outline of the hospital and arrived at a strategy for completing the project. The architect’s task was to make concrete – literally – the ideas shaping the purpose and vision of the philanthropist and the developer.
So far this has mostly been an internal process, creating plans and sketches. This is the work of the first three rivers, preparing the ideal which the other rivers will put into practice. The architect now worked closely with the designer, selecting the right location for the hospital and the right materials for its construction. The task of the creative river is to ensure the harmony and beauty of the building, and to negotiate the practical decisions that must be made. This was part of the designer’s role.
Next the builders and specialised craftsmen got to work. They had the knowledge and equipment needed for the job. This is the task of the fifth river. A marketing and communication strategy would ensure that everyone involved knew what they were working with and why. These ideals motivated the entire team during the hospital’s construction. The Public Relations consultant fulfilled the function of the sixth river.
Next it was time for the project manager, who makes sure everything gets done in the right way and on time, to step in. She made sure that everyone worked together in a carefully orchestrated way. This required a systematic, well-organised approach involving targets, timing, and flexibility. This is the task of the manifesting river. Here we can see a natural sequential order, from the philanthropist’s initial purpose to its fulfilment. The seventh river helps us to understand this process; with it we encounter a powerful creative force, one that helps us to be focused and practical.
Not all creative processes proceed in this order. We may have a vision or a plan before we start the meditation and, depending on what we want to manifest, certain stages may be more important than others. Nevertheless, we should know the stages because they can help and inspire us when we want to manifest something in our lives.
Integral meditation seeks to manifest Soul and Spirit; it is not content with only being present as a contented observer of life. We must be creators, in the way that the Universal Self is the ultimate Creator. It is not enough to acknowledge unity with the All; we must in some way demonstrate this. This puts demands on us greater than those required by past spiritual traditions. The ideal is to combine passive and active meditation, inner and outer work. I, We and the World constitute a whole that is involved in everything we do. This work arises from the manifesting river, motivating us to pursue greatness and make our mark on the world.
We have an opportunity to create a life that truly expresses who we are and what we are here to do. We will not achieve this through meditation alone. A systematic approach to spiritual development requires other practices too. Directing our resources toward actualising our highest possibilities brings happiness to ourselves and others. Integral meditation’s practical, holistic approach to spirituality makes this synergy possible. Ken Wilber, who has written much around this idea, calls this the integral life practice. Meditation must not be isolated from our lives, but interconnected with it.
Integral Meditation and Life Practice
Let me give an example of how the manifesting river unfolds through the practice of meditation. According to esoteric sources our present time is increasingly dominated by the manifesting river, which is also known as the seventh ray. If this is so, then this type of meditation is relevant to us all. For the past 2,000 years, the sixth ray had dominated an era characterised by religious idealism. Over the last few centuries we have gradually moved into a time where we must put these ideals into practice through a creative union of science and spirituality. This is also what has been called the Age of Aquarius, but exploring this in more detail is beyond the scope of this book.
For years I have tried to follow an integral life practice, inspired by the work of Ken Wilber, Alice Bailey, Aurobindo and Lucille Cedercrans. In my own life I can identify five essential, interconnected areas of spiritual practice, and I have centred my meditations around them. In this section I will discuss these five areas in connection with the qualities of the manifesting river, which helps unite the disparate elements of our lives into an overall purpose. Let’s look at these five essential life practices and see how the seven ray qualities are involved in the process of creation. The five life practices are:
Body work: The art of keeping healthy.
Mind work: Widening our perspectives and increasing our understanding.
Service work: Benefiting ourselves, others and the world.
Spirit work: Bringing the Soul and the personality together in meditation through the creation of the bridge of consciousness.
You will notice that each of the five life practices focuses on one of the five elements of the personality and soul (ie body, emotions, mind, personality and Soul). Their interaction will bring in different types of energies and affect our meditation. Each life practice is also a type of meditation because each involves having an awareness of our whole life, including an examination of our dreams. Ideally, we should aim to reach the highest possible point of awareness in our morning meditation and then work to maintain this awareness throughout the day.
The manifesting river is linked to the dynamic river, specifically through the use of the will and practical creative force to develop our integral life.
The main purpose of my life is to promote energy psychology, either through my own living example, my teaching or other creative pursuits. Energy psychology enters into all areas of my life and this must be reflected in the way I live. In this way the purpose of my life is to manifest my Soul and Spirit as fully as I can.
My body must be healthy so I have enough energy and vitality to carry out my purpose. The body’s overall health is crucial if we want our meditation to bear fruit. The body is the temple of the Soul; we must take this metaphor literally and ensure our body is in shape. This means eating well and exercising regularly: such is the secret of body work.
The etheric body is linked to the nervous system. We can imagine the nervous system as the conductor of consciousness, bringing the Soul’s messages to the brain. If our body vibrates at a low frequency, we cannot hear these messages. A healthy diet, good hygiene, fresh air and exercise all help to raise the body’s vibrations. My daily health routines create new energy and increase my endurance. If I skip them I immediately notice a lack of energy and focus during meditation. Low vitality clearly affects meditation, making it harder to remain quiet and aware. During the initial process of meditation, we will quickly notice the condition of our body and what it needs. It is a daily reminder to maintain our energy levels at the physical level. I strive to live as healthily as possible, eating nutritious organic foods. A special diet or a fast may be needed on occasion to detox. Massage and body therapy can be helpful too.
Emotional blockages and inhibitions prevent us from living the life of the Soul. Meditation can make us aware of our emotional reactions and help us to consciously choose our thoughts and feelings. Integral meditation will definitely raise our level of consciousness and how we respond to life. Ideally we should be able to respond wisely to all influences, but most of us have a way to go with this. Shadow work can help refine and cultivate our emotional life. Our emotions affect our thoughts, often unconsciously. We need to purify our emotional life, and meditation alone cannot do the job. Repressions and defense mechanisms can obscure the true cause of our emotional difficulties and may require the help of a psychotherapist to release them. The Soul ultimately wants to open us up to universal love and wisdom. Integral meditation requires more than peak experiences. We must manifest the energies we have contacted and the consent of our emotions is needed for this. As mentioned, I utilise my method of Soul Therapy for this, but many other approaches are equally valid.
An emotional life aligned with our life purpose will make us enthusiastic and Soul-driven. Shadow work helps us to stabilise our emotions, a necessary step in Self-realisation. An emotional life opposed to our life purpose creates resistance and depression. The inner resistance reduces our ability to attract the right people and, in general, what we need in life. Emotions are the power factor of life. Our emotional life needs to be healthy if we are to manifest our life purpose, otherwise our life can become one long uphill struggle.
A deep understanding of who we are and where we want to make our mark in the world is necessary. Our outlook determines how we interpret our experience and define our reality. What I have arrived at in this book is based on experiences that have been of great help and inspiration in my life. Our outlook on the world helps us to understand what we encounter in meditation and in our lives; it gives meaning and direction to our experiences. Our values enable us to confront challenges cheerfully because we know how to give meaning even to them.
To understand our lives and have clarify of purpose, Mind Work is necessary. We constantly observe and analyse our lives, and it is necessary to study the thought of others also. We live in a collective world with a shared reality in which we develop a common language and fruitful co-operative relationships. The many spiritual dialogues I have had with friends and colleagues have greatly aided my personal growth. From the perspective of integral meditation the mind is a bright light of discriminative understanding. With it we consciously choose our thoughts and feelings, which have an effect on the overall health of our body.
Service Work is our focused engagement with life. We take what we have received in meditation and use it to help our community. A focused vision of life helps to integrate the personality by giving its disparate parts a unified aim. Making a difference in the world opens the heart centre and makes its healing powers available. We are each a part of a network that extends to all humanity. The Soul knows this and its primary motivation is to illuminate this connection. In some spiritual traditions service is seen as the first stage of meditation and precedes more advanced practice. In this way the energy that we develop during meditation is correctly channelled into life. We also avoid overstimulation and the psychic constipation that can block inspiration and lead to psychosomatic illnesses. Realisations not acted upon are a significant cause of illness and hamper growth. If we ignore what we know to be true, we create a dissonance between what we believe to be true and how we act. Establishing a strong focus and vision for our lives informs our meditation, and this leads to notable effects. Our service work shows us where we need to develop new skills and qualities in order to realise our vision and meditation helps us to do this. Our studies, shadow and body work do this also. Our life becomes a creative process, full of joy. To find a purpose to which we can dedicate our lives is perhaps the noblest form of self-expression.
Spirit Work means meditation, which is the focus of this book. Indeed, integral meditation is precisely concerned with getting our five life practices to work together, like cogs in a well-oiled machine. Through this we get a sense of coherence and creative power because all our resources are aimed at the same objective: fulfilling our Soul’s purpose.
When we use Integral Meditation during a Personal Crisis
Crisis can test our integral life practice to the limit. Crisis can be a barrier to growth, but it can also be an opportunity for growth. We can recoil from crisis, regressing to some earlier state until it passes, or we can use the crisis to shake things up so we can move forward. For example, a personal crisis in 2012 became a turning point for me. It was a challenge to free myself from old ideas and completely transform my life.
Analysis had revealed that I had certain problems with self-esteem that were preventing me from living my life freely. I needed to feel a greater respect for myself and feel more dignified in my masculinity. I began to meditate on the themes of power and grace. My Soul, I knew, had everything in its secret storehouse that I was looking for in the outside world. Soul Power became an important idea for me. For the first time in my life I deliberately sought greater power, aligning myself more consciously with the dynamic river, which is the river that be drawn upon to actualise the Soul’s values. This was the power aspect of my meditation.
Equally important was my relationship with a certain type of beauty that had always fascinated me, namely an aspect of the divine feminine that can be found in dancers and other expressive artists. It is a lightness, a poise, a kind of elegant feminine dignity that lifts everything it touches. Great actresses have it. I call this grace. I desired this beauty which I perceived to be a kind of elixir, a single drop of which could lead to my surrender. I knew such attraction was dangerous if projected onto a woman. I had to assimilate this quality within myself, to integrate it as part of my personal power. If I could do so, I knew this would help to resolve my tendency towards overwork and isolation – both character traits of my type – so I would lighten up, my relationships would improve, and I would be less self-conscious. My isolation weakened me and formed a barrier in my social life and in the pursuit of my life purpose. The Soul realises itself through relationships so it is vital to improve our relationships if we are to develop our talents and make a difference in the world.
Working with power and grace guided me through 2012 and the following years, and this gave birth to many initiatives. One was to strengthen my work with the five integral life practices so I could bring more energy and consciousness into my life. I intensified my meditation; over a couple of years I spent three hours every day focused on the theme of power and grace. Character is created from the inside out, so as I brought power and grace into my inner work, they began to show in my outer life also. I used different methods of meditation, but always for the same purpose.
Shortly after beginning this work, I noticed that I mostly only observed subpersonalities who felt weak. I knew something was happening in my basic unconscious, so I began to ask “who suffers” every time I could feel pain inside. I discovered several subpersonalities who were lonely and isolated. I used the same approach with each one; I would observe them, speak with them, and accommodate their needs. When they were clearly realised in my mind, I did Soul therapy with them and had good results. We can call these Healing Meditations.
I also use the Creative Meditation method to explore power and grace. My aim was to satisfy my need for affirmation – which is located in our solar plexus – not externally, but from within. I meditated on the image of the sun god Apollo and observed a channel of light connecting my Soul to the solar plexus. I imagined this light radiating out from my own centre to the world. Sometimes I felt I was in the presence of the sun and could sense the Soul softening my emotional life. I did nothing besides holding the alignment; I knew the Soul would do its work if I was able to surrender.
My solar plexus was imbalanced, which made relationships difficult and weakened my personal power. It also prevented me from using my talents to the full. There were layers of fear, hypersensitivity and insecurity. Yet behind all of this lay the bright, ecstatic joy of a young Apollo who longed to be free.
When I meditated on grace a wonderful white light would appear. It felt divine and feminine, and it could see into the deepest recesses of my unconscious. Its effect on me was the same as certain women. It revealed what was hidden, and I had to surrender in devotion to it. I recognised landscapes in my subconscious and a deep longing for this type of inner beauty. I called this type of meditation “light work”. Different qualities of light gradually coloured my emotions, softening their dark hues, and allowing power and grace to flow into me. I could now radiate these qualities more freely, and this was reflected in my life and work.
Meanwhile, I did more physical exercise, which helped to counteract the pain I felt. I knew it was important to keep in shape, and for me yoga was a graceful way. This generated a feeling of health and vitality that increased my confidence. I started wearing beautiful clothes and demonstrated a greater ease and gracefulness. I also decided to beautify my surroundings; I painted my apartment and brought fresh flowers daily. A painting by the esoteric illustrator Francis Donald invoking the full moon in Aries seemed to capture my theme of power and grace, and I put a print of it in my meditation space. My meditation and exercise seem to go hand in hand – knowing that my daily run helped create more power and grace was inspiring.
I now turned to shadow work, part of the Soul Therapy I had been pursuing for some time, and looked more closely at the subpersonalities that were preventing me from fully actualising power and grace. At one point I undertook weekly sessions with a guide. One session in particular was particularly powerful and presented me with a model for how to work with the solar plexus. During this session, I entered into a subconscious domain that had an atmosphere heavy with a kind of patriarchal energy. An old man (subpersonality) stepped forward into my mind’s eye. He was isolated, living in a basement, and said he could not exist without beauty. He was petrified and held onto beauty as his only link with life. We told him he was a previous incarnation. We understood that he was stuck in a time warp, but knew there was a light within him that could free him. He saw he was in a prison but, with our encouragement, he became hopeful.
We performed the healing triangle and something astonishing happened. It was as if the sun had entered me as a powerful light swept through my body. I had never felt so vital and masculine. I laughed as the old man became a golden god. My solar plexus exploded into a sun of light and vitality. The golden man now told me he was Apollo, and I watched as his perfect body rose from the solar plexus and into my heart, then into my head and Soul. The body then returned to the solar plexus, and I understood what this meant. A channel had been made between my Soul’s royal aspect and my solar plexus.
After this, Apollo became a focus in my meditations, and I strove to feel his presence. In the end I realised I had witnessed the birth of a Soul archetype that could serve as an ideal model for the development of my solar plexus centre.
In relation to women, my shadow work has given me greater authority, masculine power and ease. I feel more “manly” than ever before. This seems to affect my surroundings positive. Subsequent reading about Apollo had led me to marvel at the Soul’s genius: Apollo led the nine Muses, the goddesses of inspiration, and is also connected to three Graces, the goddesses of beauty and creativity. When Apollo plays his lyre the Graces dance. We can see here a link between power and grace. Myths tell stories, but they also tell us something about the psyche. Understanding them can be a means to great power.
Something else manifested during this time: this book. I knew it had to be different to my previous books. It needed to be a personal, candid account of meditation as I understood it. I had to expose myself, to say how I saw the world without worrying about the consequences. I wanted it to be something I could be proud of, the very best I could do. It needed to be a practical manual for meditation and integral life practice that could inspire all those who choose to die daily. In this way, it would be a work of service.
Writing developed my mental skills. I discovered I knew things I didn’t realise I knew. My thoughts became clearer as I explored the knowledge I had, which in turn led to new insights. I didn’t refer to books; I felt that if I did not know something already, it wasn’t important. This unlocked my writing – I felt I had whatever answers I needed. I vowed that my writing would only draw upon my own experiences; all I needed to do was depth and simplicity in how I presented this material.
In the process I have described above, all the rivers of life met in one creative work. A single purpose drove the process. Power was here, which is the influence of the dynamic river. My desire to expand my capacity for love and to end my isolation represented the sensitive river. My perspectives were broadened due to the influence of the intelligent river. Grace represented the presence of the creative river. Analysing and assessing my reactions brought in the scientific river. My work was based on ideal models inspired by power and grace, which drew upon the idealising river. Finally, I have been in charge of the whole process; I have directed and focused the creative expression, which is the work of the manifesting river.
With this in mind we can say that integral meditation is a creative synthesis of different types of meditations that draw upon the seven rivers, seven levels of consciousness, seven meditation roads and seven spiritual types to work through the three areas of life using five life practices, the ultimate aim of which is to manifest Soul consciousness. We can formulate this as an equation: 7 x 4 x 3 x 5.
Group Meditation During a Full Moon
Lastly in this chapter, I want to describe the full moon group meditation. Working with a group is one of the most powerful forms of meditation we can experience. United by a common purpose, a group mind can generate a force far greater than any individual. In integral meditation, the focus is always on I, We and the World. By bringing these foci together the group can transmit energy to the world, something we can also do on our own if we try to telepathically link to other people in the world who are also meditating.
Group meditation is an expression of the manifesting river. It brings people together, aligning them with a common purpose. An example of this is globalisation, which is a response to the seventh ray/river. Group meditation is, of course, a part of many spiritual traditions. The groups I am speaking about, however, are not hierarchical, unlike with the church. In full moon meditation, participants meet as equals. The participants themselves create a bridge to spiritual energy and do not rely on the intermediary of a guru or priest. This allows for differences in individual development, and places much greater responsibility on each participant. We cannot leave the responsibility for our development to a spiritual teacher, from whom we can, of course, learn much, but we must also take on this challenge individually and communally. This makes full moon meditation more in keeping with the tone of our era, which is more individualistic than in the past. As we think for ourselves, religious dogmas lose their importance, allowing each of us to achieve an understanding that suits our unique spiritual path.
The aims of group meditation are twofold. One aim is to create a channel through which spiritual forces can become manifest in the world, anchoring the good, the true and the beautiful. This can be achieved through group spirituality wherein an equal partnership helps us to align our energies. The group forms a kind of psychic grail that can collect the spiritual energies we want to manifest. The process of channelling follows stages we have discussed: centring, ascending, receiving and anchoring.
The second aim is to forge a vertical link between the spiritual forces that inspire humanity and the telepathic sensitives in the world. Some see these spiritual forces as the collective consciousness, the group self or the Universal Authentic Self. Others speak of Buddha, Mahatmas or enlightened masters. In these matters we must discover our own language. In my experience, it is equally valid whether we understand these spiritual forces as impersonal energies or personal beings.
Before the full moon meditation begins, participants must ensure that their motivation and purpose is not self-centred. We meditate on behalf of all humanity and nothing less than that. The Soul works in terms of the worldcentric perspective and so must we. If carried forward successfully, the meditation will gradually awaken us to the World Soul, the one consciousness and our sense of ourselves as separate egos dwindles.
At the beginning of the full moon meditation, the group leader unites the group around a common purpose. The role of the leader is vital. If leader fails in offering direction the group can fracture or the group leader himself or herself can become the centre of attention. The leader then takes the group through a series of stages integrating their physical, emotional, mental and spiritual energies, creating a unified meditative consciousness. A group energy field can then become available enabling spiritual inspirations to come through. This meditation follows the same stages as the individual work (see Appendix).
The leader can encourage the group to meditate on anything that will generate inspiration. It is often helpful to begin with a simple exercise in being present, which can create the calm necessary to receive inspiration. This is a challenge because without a specific focus for our meditation we can sink into personal thoughts and daydreams. But if we stay present and open to the group self, a quiet clarity can arise. Moving forward, a common focus for the meditation is the seven rivers or rays.
At the time of a full moon our openness to inspiration is considered to be at its fullest. Indeed, the manifesting river teaches us to be in step with the natural cycles involved in creative work such as this. Timing is important in any creative process, and paying attention to the cycles of the moon is what is of significance here.
As the new moon begins a new cycle, it is a time for seeding new initiatives and harvesting those which are ripe. The energies at this time seem to me more earthy and material, something I feel in my meditation. If we want to start a new cycle of meditation with a new theme, now is the time. The new moon is also the time where we harvest the fruits from the former cycles.
Towards the end of the cycle, as the full moon approaches, the energies lighten allowing us to enter our meditation more deeply. This makes the days surrounding a full moon especially important. It is as if a door to planetary consciousness opens, connecting the spiritual and physical worlds. Two days before the full moon we make ourselves open and receptive; at full moon itself we receive. In the following two days we distribute the energies we have received to others. Then, in the period between a full moon and a new moon, we anchor the insights we received.
Having tuned into these planetary rhythms we can monitor the earth’s ebb and flow, and working with these natural rhythms can strengthen our own personal creative force. So it can be very helpful to participate in a full moon festival. But if we don’t have such an opportunity, while meditating alone we can still reach out to others who are also tuning into the earth’s rhythms.
Full moon meditations are an important part of my practice which have led to many breakthroughs. I like to arrange spiritual courses and attend retreats during a full moon. Depending on the astrological sign at the time, different energies are available.
Meditation influenced by the seventh river is a very potent meditation. It aligns us with the dynamic creative force which synthesises all available resources around a common purpose. The aim of this river is manifestation through organisation. Strengthening our ability to manifest our visions is important if we are to be effective in life. It also helps us to better understand the stages of the creative process and how to balance these with the different rivers. Life is a process – integral meditation helps to experience it dynamically. Body work, shadow work, mind work, service work and spirit work form the backbone of the spiritual life.
Everyone can benefit from manifesting meditation, but some types may make more use of it than others. It offers grounding to sensitive, creative and dedicated types. The practical type is drawn to this form of meditation because of the opportunities it provides, particularly in the present day which is an age informed by this river. Recognition of the qualities of this river is increasing and more awareness of it can only benefit us. Manifesting meditation is particularly beneficial to those drawn to the asceticism of the idealising river because it will help them to reconnect with the universal life stream.
We have now reached the last chapter of this book, which offers a natural continuation of the present chapter in offering an exploration of the unfolding integral holistic perspective.