object:1-2-3 of God object:Three Faces of Spirit
injunction class:meditation Exploring the 3 Faces of Spirit ::: The Essence of Contemplation, Communion, and Meditation
Let's dive into an actual experience of the three dimensions of the divine. The following exploration, covering Kosmic Contemplation, Integral Communion, and Awakening as Spirit, offers examples of the kinds of experiences that an
Integral spiritual practitioner might have. Of course, every particular path will interpret Spirit in its own unique terms-and certainly your individual practice will yield its own distinct insights and understandings (for example, as a Christian, you may experience 2nd-person communion specifically in relation to Jesus, or as a Buddhist, you may interpret 1st-person awakening as a realization of Buddha-mind)-but an Integral practice will attempt to deepen one's relation to at least these three universal aspects of Spirit, by whatever names.
--- 3rd-Person Contemplation of Spirit: Kosmic
In Kosmic Contemplation, we notice and feel the entirety of this utterly vast and mysterious Kosmos: interior and exterior, gross, subtle, and causal. This includes the whole sweep of contemplative practices from nature mysticism to mystical philosophy (including much Integral philosophy). The paragraphs that follow embody this process of Kosmic Contemplation, describing in turn the gross, subtle, and causal bodies of Spirit.
The Gross Physical Body of Spirit
Our whole existence-beautiful and terrible, full of logic and meaning, and utterly beyond knowing-is what human beings point to when they use words like divinity and God. Spirit, thus understood, is both transcendent and immanent-utterly beyond any experience, and simultaneously implicit and present in every shred of experience, in every particle of this amazing physical cosmos-gross, subtle, and causal.
Spirit can be found in the physical world-in the sky, the sun, the moon, the stars, the clouds. Spirit can be seen and felt in the grass, the trees, the earth, and the wind. Spirit is audible in bird and animal songs and is visible in the eyes and bodies of all our fellow creatures-as well as in all our fellow human beings and in all we do: our creativity and beautiful artistic expression, our science and industry, our stupidity and brutality, our trivial entertainment, and our most profound creations and utterances.
Contemplate the dance of this physical world across time. Across the vast epochs of evolutionary time, every living creature emerged naturally from and as the body of Spirit. The Big Bang flung forth our whole universe, spewing all space-time into being, including all the matter and energy of our cosmos, including what eventually became our sun and Earth and moon. Across billions of years of evolutionary time, our mother matter congealed as a planet with a hospitable atmosphere, a beautiful blue nest that gave birth, after a few billion years of unimaginable fire, remarkably, to liquid oceans and then to living cells. And across more billions of years of evolution, those cells evolved into more complex cells, and then tiny animals, and gradually, over hundreds of millions of years, into a vast, intricate, beautiful community of plants and animals, and then, over more millions of years into all the plants and animals we see today, including us, homo sapiens, all interacting in an immense, remarkable, unified community. This web of life reflects and displays the qualities of Spirit, the very qualities that gave birth to all of it. We can see Spirit all around us in the form of our whole natural world and everything we see.
The Subtle Energy Bodies of Spirit
Divinity is visible not just in the physicality of our world, but in the energy body of Spirit. Dynamic life-energy permeates all living things. You can see energy in every living being, rippling and flowing through their chakras and meridians and shining from their eyes. Seen in this way, even the most mundane moments of our daily life become a multidimensional dance of feeling-light. The animating energetics that bring nature to life are vast, intricate, and mysterious.
This divine light refracts itself into every form of subtle energy. This ranges across a great spectrum of subtlety. Perhaps the densest band is the etheric energy we can feel moving and buzzing in our bodies, flowing through our chakras and meridians, and radiating out into space from our skin, shining out in all directions like a great halo. Subtler than that is the realm of feelings, including all our range of good and bad feelings and emotions. Still subtler are the realms of mind, including every kind of ordinary thought and up into the sweetness of higher intuitive apprehensions. Subtlest of all are the finest transcendental intuitions of light, nectar, and bliss, more sublime even than the most elevated thoughts. And our subtle energies radiate up, out, and beyond the body, shining especially above the head, as pure radiance.
Divinity expresses itself as light. We can consciously participate in it. We can open ourselves and feel and brea the and conduct the force of life, also called the light, the subtle energy, or the Holy Spirit. We can brea the the Holy
Spirit in, down the front of the body, and we can feel this divinity descending down as fullness of life, as vitality and presence. Then we can feel it turn at the base of the body and ascend up through the spine as we exhale, rising up to and into and even above the head where we can feel lit as radiant light and blissful freedom.
The Perfectly Still and Silent Causal Body of Spirit
But there is another vast dimension to Spirit's body, not the gross physical body and not even the subtle energy body of Spirit. The causal body of Spirit is that which is unmoving, unbroken, and eternal. All the conditions of our human lives come and go, just as we are born and die, but Spirit survives, unimpaired, undiminished, unblinking, undistracted, undying, uncompromising, and absolute. Spirit is the One Who is unborn, undying,
Who does not age or change. Spirit is the Ultimate Reality, the ultimate subject behind every conditional experience, the Self behind every conditional self, the I AM behind every I, the very Self of every being and all existence.
That One is beyond description-unmoving, silent, and perfectly present.
This One is the very Space in which everything in the whole Kosmos arises and falls. Before the still and silent Heart gives birth to light and mind and feeling and embodiment, It simply is, perfect and sufficient. In that Presence, all that arises and falls is reflected for what it is, passing and secondary. This radical divinity is witnessing and, in essence, living you, all beings, and all events, alive in every desire and action, but especially and essentially as perfect Stillness. The empty spaciousness of Spirit is the clearing in which every perspective arises ... and falls.
--- A 2nd-Person Encounter with Spirit: Integral
It is a profound and paradoxical matter to turn and face the Unfathomable
Mystery of Existence. How is it possible? How can you face the Ultimate,
Unlimited, Almighty, and Omnipresent?
To practice Integral Communion is to open your whole body-gross, subtle, and causal-into communion with the Universal Mystery of Existence as one's most intimate Beloved. It involves unkinking the physical body, freeing the feeling breath, opening the emotions and turning them toward the
Even if you've never considered it before, your relationship with Spirit must be one of love. After all, Spirit or God is love. What is it to open to a personal meeting with love itself, the very Heart that expresses itself in your heart and every heart?
In Integral Communion, we open and turn to face this Spirit who is love, the animating life of everything everywhere. We turn to face the being that has powered our every step, our every thought.
Spirit is incomprehensible-more uncompromising, more fierce, more enormous than mere words can say. Let yourself become humble and sober as you behold more weight, more power, more seriousness, more gravitas than any human mind and heart and body can open to meet.
Can you bring yourself to face and open yourself to intimacy with the most unimaginably huge, perfectly still presence? What would it require, what would it feel like to stop averting your gaze from that One?
In Integral Communion, you open your breath and feeling to commune with the very power that drives the universe. It's impossible; but the practice is to do your best, to open as fully as possible and to feel whatever limits you can't open beyond. The practice is to turn toward Spirit, to open emotionally to Spirit, to relax the automatic defenses of the mind and psyche.
Do your best to feel without limitations. Do your best to let feeling extend to Infinity. Do your best to inhale and exhale the holy breath. Do your best to face the boundless and universal presence of Spirit, to open to the perfectly still and silent absolute.
Such communion ennobles, enlivens, and empowers you even while it demands profound humility. It involves the senses, the emotions, the energy centers, the mind, and the higher mental functions. In such communion the energetic channels of the whole body open and flow with the Holy Spirit.
Let your emotions open intimately in communion with the same One who shines forth from the radiant eyes of every Beloved, whether your lover, your child, your parent, your pet, or yourself looking back at you in the mirror.
That shining, Beloved God-Light-can you face Her, can you face Him, can you feel the One who has given birth to you? The One to whom you will return in your dying?
What does it take to open yourself to face your most Intimate Friend,
Mother Father, and dear Beloved, the only One who knows you by heart, the only One who has been there with you always? Here is the One with whom you have been in relationship every moment of your life, even when you have been oblivious. Every day of your life, you have only been swimming in the ocean of Spirit's Body, Love's Body, the Body of Light. So soften your heart, and open your breath and turn to face your wisest, most patient, most intimate, yet vastest, Friend. Before you is the One who gave birth to you, the
One who is living you, who has been Being you from the beginning.
Face the One Who is the Self of your very Self, the I behind your own "I."
Face the eyes that gaze back at you from a place beyond the death of all your hopes, dreams, ideals, loved ones, and identities. Dare to gaze without blinking into eyes fooled by nothing, undistractable, unsentimental, gazing right at you, into you, and through you. Can you be present with the Presence who never flinches, Who has always been perfectly silent, still, conscious, and undeceived?
The overwhelming enormity and eternity of Spirit's perspective cannot be comprehended. The Perfect Infinite Beloved can only be glimpsed amidst your wholesale awe, humility, and surrender. Let yourself feel the weight, the potency, the purity, the consciousness of the divine. Let your heart be outshined, baked, transformed by a real encounter with the absolute.
Allow the grace.
Allow the humility.
Allow the awe.
Allow the surrender.
Let your defenses soften and your whole being open into sacred communion with the divine totality, with your deepest intimate, your Beloved, right here and right now. --- 1st-Person Awakening As Spirit
We can awaken directly as Spirit through various practices of formless meditation-or the experience of 2nd-person communion can deepen so much that all boundaries between you and God dissolve. You may even dissolve into oneness through ecstatic contemplation of the totality of being. In any case, you may begin to notice something mysterious: There is no separation, no difference, no radical distinction at the level of identity between you and that Heart and that Light Who dances into every kind of manifestation. The little "I" dissolves into the limitless I AM.
However you get there, the discovery is the same: You are all of it. This vast, incredibly complex, swirling and vast energetic dynamic, infinitely bigger than your body and mind, is nowhere more fully and actually itself than when it is showing up as you, as your very body-mind. This is 1st-person awakening as Spirit.
You Are the Light itself, alive, awake, and flowing. You are the life-force itself, alive everywhere, springing forth from the prior Ground of Being in every moment, dancing life into life in every moment, and surrendering itself back into the Unmanifest in every moment-but in all its dynamism, nowhere more at its center, nowhere more fully the Light, nowhere more fully released into synchronicity as Itself than Where you stand. You are the Light. The
Light is being Light most quintessentially here and now-in the breathing of your body, the shining of your eyes, the radiance of your mind and feeling, the pulsing Life you Are.
Conscious in all her cells, Gaia is conscious nowhere more than here, as you. You are Nature. You are the web of life. In the rhythms and waves of your breaths the ancient pulse of the oceans can be heard and felt. You are not separate, not even separable.
Most deeply, let go into knowing yourself as you are, freshly being born and dying in every moment, birthed again and again as the body of Spirit.
Birthed and dying like the grasses and the trees, the ants and the antelope.
You are the body of the Mystery. This body in which you hear these words is the body of the Big Bang in one of its billions and billions and quadrillions of expressions. Not separate! The Big Bang is nowhere more itself than here, being you, enacting you, showing up as You.
You are all of it, yes. But, more fundamentally, the you behind the skinencapsulated ego, the I behind the I, is the Awareness in which it all arises.
You are the space in which the body-mind arises, the space in which the Big
Notice this page and the other objects around you. Notice your bodily sensations.
And notice: you are not these sights or sounds or sensations. They are all arising as objects of the Awareness you truly are.
Now notice your feelings ... ideas ... memories ... desires ... and sense of personal identity ...
All of these are arising as objects of the awareness you truly are. You are not your feelings. You are not your ideas. You are not your memories. You are not your desires. You are not even your sense of personal identity. All of them are arising as objects in the awareness that is You.
You are the conscious Seer who is seeing all this. You are the conscious
Feeler who is feeling all this. You are the conscious Hearer who is hearing all this. The Seer who you are is not separate or different from the One who is the Seer of all experience. Who you are is the Seer, the very Self behind the I in you and the I in me and the I in everyone. You are Empty and Free. And you always have been.
You have never moved. You have always been you. You have always been perfectly silent, utterly open, and infinitely deep. You are the ultimate depth that was before all birth and will be beyond all death.
Your mind and body and all the personality and locality of your individuality are reflected in the Consciousness, the Self Who you truly are.
All of that is real and necessary and deserves to be honored. But do not forget that it is superficial to Who You Are most deeply; most profoundly you are not merely or even primarily that. You are the I AM whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere. Really.
So do not imagine that you are seeking or finding or forgetting the One you truly are, the One you've always been... .
see also ::: Invocation, Prayer, Aspiration
subject class:Integral Theory