"First meditate and feel the divine Presence; then do your work saturated with the consciousness of God"
- Paramahansa Yogananda
God, Goddess, Divine, Creator, Great Spirit; these are just some of the many names for a higher power. You can choose any one of them, or non at all. What you call it is not important, but rather how you feel it. According to many spiritual teachers, ancient rishis, sage yogis, and the like, claim this higher power resides within us. It is us. We are it. There is no separation, only the separation created by the ego, body, and mind.
Feel into this truth for just a moment...
To delve deeper into this concept, we can look to a great teacher who brought these teachings to the West. Paramahansa Yogananda came to America in 1920 and spread his spiritual campaigns all across the country. Yogananda studied Kriya Yoga, a practice that unites body, mind, and soul, awakening to the divine within. His residency lead to opening an institute called 'The Self-Realization Fellowship' and it was the practice of just that; self-realization.
One of the inquires recited during his meditations was "reveal thyself", as one would sit in meditation, focused inwardly on the third eye. The third eye is said to contain true and clear vision, it pierces beyond the veil of illusion. It is in this moment of self-inquiry you can begin to sense beyond the body and leave the cyclical thoughts of the mind behind. It is beyond the five senses of the body and restrictions of the mind that open up the feeling of spirit.
To know spirit, we must be able to feel it. Not think it, or act it, or create sensations. Neurologically our brains are wired to think and to feel. Over time, these two connections have become unlinked and we often get to do one or the other. In our busy world, we're more apt to think too much and only feel when our senses are experiencing pleasure. This is what many eastern philosophies would call the 'lower self' and it is in this state we drive further and further away from our true nature as spirit.
Though this link to feel and think is not permanently disconnected. Through meditation, researchers have observed new neurological pathways in those who meditate regularly and deeply. This ability to think and feel at the same time is our keystone to living a life in our 'higher Self'. The higher Self being the spirit, and through meditation we can finally assemble this bond back to life. Reuniting the body and the mind is where our deep self-realization begins.
The cultivation of an equanimous and non-reactionary mind
A wise meditation teacher named Linda defined meditation as "the cultivation of an equanimous and non-reactionary mind, as a method of self-transformation through self-observation and self-inquiry." Working with this definition of meditation will allow one to observe thought patterns, develop non-judgment, witness life as you're living it, and cultivate unconditional love and compassion. Linda's meditation style was known as Vipassana which in translation essentially means to see things as they truly are.
To witness truth, to observe truth, to know truth is the fundamental purpose of meditation. And what is this truth? That we are infinite spirits, that we have a deeper capacity for love and compassion than we may have ever been taught in this world. That we are all One, people, planets, animals, plants, and beyond. We are Spirit, we are Source, we are the Divine. When we cultivate a meditation practice that looks inward and see's truth, we finally get to start living our lives the way we've always been meant to: Spiritually Awakened.