Meditation is a mental activity. What is not generally understood, however, is that the mind connects with the body in many different places and is not confined to the brain. Scientists who say that the mind is a product of the brain have it exactly backwards. Mind and consciousness, in a spiritual sense, are all that exist; the physical world and everything in it is but the reflection of the Mind of God. As that mind thinks, the world moves. This is basic metaphysical knowledge.
When we sit in meditation, we are endeavoring to make ourselves available to that Great Mind – to know It even as It knows us. But if we think that the brain is the only part that connects with that mind, our spirit tends to get intellectualized, and the energies in our life get out of balance. We start to imagine many things that have no basis in reality and that have no practical use in the world. We become opinionated and thereby lose our ability to adapt to the ever-changing environment in which we live. And our physical body starts to reflect that: we begin to grow old.
When I was a kid, I grew up close to the mountains that surround Lake Tahoe. Skiing was a big part of my life, and I will always be grateful for having had that experience. One thing that I learned through skiing was how to think with my hands and my feet. Most people call that kind of perception “feel,” as in he has a feel for it. But in reality, it is the mind working through the body and not just through the brain. Other sports and activities offer this same kind of perceptual enhancement. Dancing, martial arts, painting, singing, acting – almost anything you can think of offers us the opportunity to “get out of our head” and into the feel. I use the word feel instead of feelings in order to distinguish the experience from emotion. Though moving across the dance floor can make your heart swell with passion and exuberance, the feel of moving your body without having to think through the motions has an ecstasy all its own. In our best moments, we become the conduit through which the Great Mind touches the earth; we are not merely dancing – we are being danced.
Meditation gives us the opportunity to let the Mind of God enter into us and make Its adjustments to the vehicle It has made for Its own expression. That vehicle is our body. Normally driven by a deeper software built into it for the purpose of our immediate physical survival, the software we call instinct, it is also set up as a platform for higher realization – the ability to connect with the energies of nature and of the cosmos. This potential for “Cosmic Consciousness” is what we are working to develop when we practice meditation. Paradoxically, we are going deep within ourselves in order to expand outward into the universe, to become one with all that is.
As the greater consciousness enters into our awareness, we experience it as light. A great Hindu swami once said that energy, awareness, and will are all the same thing. Light is energy. As we focus our awareness through developing our will, and as we open up to the consciousness in which we have our being, light will flood in, and we will see it just as surely as we see the sun in the sky. Only it won’t be out there somewhere, but rather it will be emanating from within our own body. This is called the initiation of Illumination. It is the point of no return on the spiritual path. Once you have experienced this, you will never be able to see the world as strictly physical again.
So, just as an experiment, as you sit in meditation, pretend that you are a lightbulb – not just your head, but your whole body. The filament is close to your center of gravity in the vicinity of your solar (!) plexus, though not specifically in it. As you visualize this, feel the radiation of it, the light moving out in all directions lighting up the space around you. Once you have mastered the exercise, let go of it. Completely turn your attention to something else. Get up and do something physical, something that requires your full attention. By doing this, you allow the experience to sink in. Otherwise, you will think the energy right out of it! And then, at some point in the future, the light will occur on its own, unbidden, and when you least expect it. Then you will know that it has begun. The process of your spiritual rebirth has been initiated, and your life will never be the same again.