5. Meditation and Talking to God
When younger I tried many meditations. They all offered something but never changed me deeply. Eastern meditations relax the body and mind so the energies can raise themselves from lower more basic concerns to more elevated ones. Through concentration and discipline this can be achieved. Kundalini directs life energy from the lower Chakras (primal, sexual, survival concerns) to higher energies (mind, spiritual, third eye). In time through effort and discipline one can gain control over these energies. In Hindu meditation one gains control through chanting and meditative music. To some extent the senses are soothed and the chant or music lifts the body upwards and into a rhythm that is beyond thought and preoccupation. Both meditations along with others still require effort and concentration. One is still trying to achieve a certain state. While they were a sophisticated spiritual technology, they never fully worked for me or answered my needs.
What did work for me was a meditation that was similar in nature to the Kabbalah meditation but arrived at independently. In concept meditating in this fashion emphasizes emptying oneself to allow
the light to come in. You are nothing, the light is everything. I observed when I was “in the light” I did not feel any emotional pain. From that moment on I knew it was important to keep a connection. Over time this energy would fill my body and I would almost rock back and forth. It was as if this light was expressing itself within my body. The principle difference is that in the Kabbalah one comes to it offering nothing but being able to receive where in the Eastern meditations one tried to raise oneself to a higher spiritual state through effort and concentration.
This did work for me as opposed to what I previously tried. However, the distinctions might not be so clear. I still gave effort by providing a conducive atmosphere, sitting a certain way, placing my fingers together and at first concentrating on each finger's individual energy. In Eastern meditations one also initially provides effort but eventually lets go of it. It can be said the kabbalah type meditation is having the light reach you and the Eastern meditation is reaching for the light. However, this is not written in stone. Eastern meditations ideally empties the mind. While I did practice them at times, they did not penetrate my insides the way the Kabbalah meditation did.
Meditation itself is quiet and wordless. One can feel a silent presence within. It does not answer many things however. Certain levels are not addressed. Whether these levels are 'higher' or not is a mystery. For a time I observed I was having excellent meditations while my life was becoming worse. At some point the pain from this forced me to seek another realm, such as talking to God. I needed comfort, guidance, friendship, companionship, and closeness. Some of this could of course be illusion. We are good at fooling ourselves. Some of it could be real. I was at the end of my rope and this resonated with my insides. Relief from pain is hard to fake. When I communicated with the above I felt a sigh of relief afterwards and took a deep breath. This I felt was my body confirming the experience. Perhaps the genesis of this “talking to God” began the night I was distraught and challenged God directly to speak to me. Perhaps I inched towards this point in a trial by error way. These things are hard to remember. It is good it happened.
5. A. The vehicle
When one meditates in this fashion where one empties oneself and returns to this state at some point one sees a speck of light that seems to expand. I remember observing that when I was centered on this light and later in this light I did not feel any emotional pain. From that moment on I knew it was important to keep a connection. With time this manifested into a feeling of my entire body infilling with a swelling energy. It was as if this is how the light expressed itself physically in my being and how I felt it. Eastern meditations often relax the body and mind so the energies can raise themselves to high levels. Through concentration and discipline this can be achieved. With Kundalini one wills the energy through the Chakras up the spine. In Hindu meditations one soothes the spirit through sitar music and meditative voices. One is soothing the senses so the mind becomes free of them. It is like a psychic massage. In Eastern meditations one is still providing the effort to raise the spirit to higher frequencies. With the meditation I was practicing the first goal was to do nothing and to not try.
However, this is not written in stone. I still sat in a certain way, provided a certain atmosphere and assumed a certain position such as holding my fingers together. So some effort to be in a silent and a quiet environment was sought. With eastern meditations, at some point, one can become mindless from one's own efforts, the efforts being mere cultural styles to quiet the mind. It is hard to have the answers to how they differ. For me after trying many Eastern meditations the Kabbalah meditation worked even if it's hard to pinpoint why. Perhaps it's the emphasis.
Meditation itself is quiet, silent and wordless. One can feel a silent presence within. It does not answer many things however. Certain levels are not addressed. Whether these levels are 'higher' or not is a mystery. For a time I observed I was having excellent meditations while my life was becoming worse. At some point the pain forced me to seek another realm. This was talking to God. I needed comfort, guidance, friendship, companionship, and closeness. Some of this could of course be illusion. We are good at fooling ourselves. Some of it could be real. There was no other road and my insides don't lie. When I felt a sigh of relief and a deep breath my insides became peaceful. This I felt was my body confirming the experience. Perhaps the genesis of this 'talking to God' began the night I was distraught and challenged God directly to speak to me. Perhaps I inched towards this point in a trial by error way. These things are hard to remember. It is good it happened.
5. B. Different ways to talk to God
The first inclination to talk to God is to silently feeling his presence (which seems like a contradiction.). When younger we might all feel this from a view of nature or a painting or the light on a tree can lead to this feeling. Later, when consciously seeking the maker, at times unexpectedly we feel his presence at unpredictable times almost in the atmosphere around us. We just sense a wider presence from a larger dimension.
Early one morning when I had my confrontation with God and went to him directly, not through any intermediary, I cursed at him and said let me know if you exist or get rid of me. I heard something although I forget what, but they were words.
I would recall in the Torah the words “a still silent voice” and at times would hear a silent whisper near the back on the sides of my head. They weren't fully words but seemed to be a gentle force which were translated into words so I could understand them. They usually were short statements such as “stay calm Steve” or “it's okay.”
Sometimes when feeling overwhelmed and almost paralyzed I would hear instructions as from a drill sergeant, gentle but firm. “Steve, make yourself a cup of tea,” or “brush your teeth and straighten out the bed Steve.” They were baby steps to ease me out of some paralysis. It put a whole twist upon 'waiting upon the word of God.” There was a parallel purpose here. It again confirmed there was a God. Second,in a sense I was testing God. I was not saving myself through my own efforts. Rather he would help me or nothing. It sounds a little bratty but I needed proof over an over there really was a God.
Other expressions eventual manifested. I tried to befriend God as a childhood playmate, where we ran around in a field and just acted silly together. At other times I gave comfort to God, for he seemed to suffer when he saw me suffer. It was as if I was a friend comforting a friend which forced me to be bigger than myself and be the comforter. Other times I vented on God, saying how disappointed I was and whined at him saying he did not really care and accused him of misleading me and even lying to me. Like a child I would ask him “why” in many different ways.
Eventually I would have conversations with God. I would present a problem and I would hear in a calm fresh voice an explanation that would clarify the problem and why it is so and what can be done about it. It definitely was like my inner wise man was talking to me, but there was an extra element of calmness. A couple of things I observed. The answer and explanations were never really more than I knew, and confirmed what I did suspect was true. They did not overturn my world with new knowledge or any predictions. They just worked within the parameters of my scope. They also seemed always to point a light towards a positive lighted direction. I am not always a positive person to say the least. I doubt and worry and often am high strung despite efforts not to be. These answers just gave a bigger perspective and I viewed the problems as if from an airplane. This was helpful. Sometimes I would be balanced in my questioning. Other times out of fear I would ask rapid fire questions, saying “but what about this”' and “what about that.” He was always there to answer when approached in this way. One however did have to be somewhat calm.
For some reason I haven't done this as often as one might think. It is exhausting to muster up the effort because it is precise, like a chess game. It is not something to be done lightly. Particularly God's answers require energy to understand and think about. Somehow you are also formulating the answers along with the maker. Maybe its the ego or weariness or some other reason or that the answers are already known by you and you really want to hear an easier way out.
Occasionally at times it's as if God is in the background but my head, the top of it, is moving up and out towards a light. All the senses are there at the same time. It is partly related to meditation but also partly to words. It is as if you are lifted briefly to this higher dimension and experience it for a time. You feel one with it and you can feel your face relax into it. One hears words but the words merge with one another and part of the background. I haven't often sought this out because I'm cautious not to have my feet off the ground too often. I've learned you don't want to veer to far from negotiating this life. On the other hand, when this life is too much, your spirit is desperate to find relief and answers so you forge on. Lately, after a stressful period, I haven't experienced this.
5. C. God is always present
Okay, the presence at times can be felt but this can't be forced. When it happens a peace overcomes you but as said it can't be forced.
If an issue is pressing to you, or you are stressed or some crisis has happened and you are upset, God often won't be heard to you. If you have circular thinking going on inside your head, if your mind is racing neurotically for solutions, if you are angry or resentful, or if you are having conversations with yourself or telling people off like the mentally ill do, it is unlikely during doing one of these episodes that God will reach out to you. Or, rather, it is doubtful you could hear him in that state even if he were. Of course this is not a rule but just what I've observed.
On the other hand, if you fervently want a solution or answer to something and pray, ask, solicit or make appeals for the answer, seldom is the answer given right away or when you expect it. It's often slipped in the side door. Trying to get the answer often doesn't work. Waiting and letting God reach you in his time does.
Life has its contradictions we have to live with. On some other plane God is always with us. I'm not referring to an ether or molecular or invisible presence. It's not an angelic presence or a feeling or vibration. This is more practical and obvious. Once I was sitting with a friend and we were talking I felt he wasn't fully being honest. I said don't make this esoteric. God was somewhere “out there” and we had to go to him there. Truth is we don't have to go to a place of worship. God is sitting here right now. Hi God. He's a friend with us at the table. Now go on telling me what you were telling me, and tell God also. At some point it's not a spiritual journey. He's right here with us..
For different reasons we can't maintain his presence. We have a need to evolve on our own. This is our need. Something in us has to realize and prove things to ourselves. Maybe at a certain point we can just follow, but for most of our lives we've made choices and learn from them and adjust our course. We are no longer the tribe that moves as one without questioning. There might be a time when that applies, but not now, at least not in an overwhelmingly way. We are individuals realizing things for ourselves and not trusting authorities so we have this need to learn and prove things to ourselves, even the presence of God. Sometimes our behaviors are private and embarrassing. Most of the time we are not aware of him. At times in need, or of thankfulness, we are. Most of life that we go through appears as if it's all up to us. Some of it is, some of it isn't. God, though, no matter what stage collectively or individually, is here right at whatever moment you want him, almost in the form of a simple person. He can even be quiet and just around. You might reject this because you doubt still there is a God. Understood. That is what we do on earth. We go through life, experience it, and at some point recognize there is a maker and then prove it to ourselves endless times. It's hard earned this way but hopefully durable.
5. D. Metaphysics and belief
Many of these thoughts are arrived at as discussed earlier, through personal discovery. These discoveries might not be original, but they were independently realized. A person rarely has a truly original idea. Maybe they have one or two in their lives. I know it seems as if each individual has a theme for their life. Often it is their unique approach to this idea that is theirs alone, not the idea itself.
It is also good to recognize an explanation or a certain observation that appears truthful when we hear it. We're not meant to have to learn everything independently although today it seems as if we have to question everything. Much of Judaism is rooted in knowing what various sages wrote and their various arguments for and against. The following is a teaching I heard that made sense and stuck with me so I'm sharing it.
It's simply this. We live in time and in the time dimension where everything ends, nothing lasts forever. So how do we solve this problem as temporary beings. We have to develop what is timeless with us. Since the next dimension is still and endless, we have to cultivate our core upon this, This way when the body passes the core, which is timeless, remains. I think this is simple and has beauty.
There are other reasons to believe in God. It is natural to want to know who made us and how it happened. Even if there is no reward for believing, or if there is a reward but as in Solomon's Ecclesiastes there seems to be no difference in the effect believing has on one's life, it still is good to know who made us. Otherwise we never would have been. Even though life can be tough and cruel, it still is a miracle of sorts and is humbling to have experienced. Some appreciation is in order. If it happens there is a problem to solve and we can affect the outcome, the practice of stillness and timelessness in our insides has merit.