Meditation: The Path to Self-Deification

MEDITATION: The Path to Self-Deification

Meditation leads us to the process of "self-deification," the growing awareness and acceptance of the unity between the individual and God or the Goddess. We participate in God's gift of the uncreated energies of grace, but not in God's essence. The uncreated energy of grace enables us to have I-Thou experiences. We maintain our human nature and move toward the archetype of God. The separation is maintained, but union is established. Meditation connects the conscious mind, heart and body with the transpersonal unconscious, the ground of our existence. Self-deification depends upon the faith that the mind and heart of God lie deep within our own body and soul, and that buried in the transpersonal unconscious is the image of God or Goddess which lures us and persuades us to accept our likeness to the Divine.

Easwaran's method of meditation is to focus on a spiritual passage. In his book, God Makes The Rivers To Flow: Selections from the Sacred Literature of the World, he offers many beautiful passages from which to choose. Simply focusing on a sacred passage for thirty minutes each day, early in the morning, begins to alter our thinking, feeling and behavior. The passage sinks into our unconscious, transforming the beasts and the demons of our unconscious shadow by making them stand in the light of sacred scripture. Body sensations, feeling and thoughts come uninvited into conscious awareness while we silently repeat the words of the passage. Compulsions, selfish cravings and negativity lose the power to control our lives as we gently return our attention to the sacred passage. Concentration on the sacred passage gives us the strength to overcome the pain of becoming aware of the sorry state of our internal world.

Easwaran recommends using the Prayer of Saint Francis of Assisi during meditation:

"Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.

Where there is hatred, let me sow love;

Where there is injury, pardon;

Where there is doubt, faith;

Where there is despair, hope;

Where there is darkness, light;

Where there is sadness, joy.

O divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek

To be consoled as to console,

To be understood as to understand,

To be loved as to love;

For it is in giving that we receive;

It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;

It is in dying (to self) that we are born to eternal life."

This prayer is so universal that anyone can respond to it as a focus of meditation.

To embody the spirit of the St. Francis Prayer in our lives, Easwaran has advised us to practice daily all eight steps of his Eight-point Program, about which I have written in the last seven articles.

Meditation
Repetition of the mantram
Slowing down
Giving one-pointed attention
Training the senses
Putting the welfare of others first
Spiritual companionship
Reading from the scriptures and great mystics of all religions
A person of any spiritual faith can incorporate these points into their spiritual practices without violating their tradition.

Meditation helps the spiritual devotee in all parts of the Eight-point Program. It is much easier to concentrate on a mantram after meditating and improving our concentration. Meditating on the St. Francis Prayer helps us to stay mindful and to put the welfare of others first. It helps us to realize that we are sacred children of God and that the body is the temple of God. Then it becomes easier to slow down, train our senses and avoid the use of alcohol or drugs.

The Three Stages of Meditation

Awareness proceeds with meditation through three stages of realization. The first stage is that, "I am aware that I have a body but I am not my body."

The function of meditation is to dis-identify with our body as the container of desire, pleasure, stimulation and pain. The body is to be loved and taken care of because it is the vehicle for the higher Self, the transpersonal unconscious. We must give the body good nutrition and exercise and enjoy the body. Nothing can really separate us from God, but when the body is hurt, as when it is sexually or physically abused, identification with the body brings shame. We can then feel separated from the image of God by identifying with the body. In actuality, molestation, rape and even death can never touch the inner higher Self, the image of God within that cannot be harmed nor hurt. To know I have a body, but I am not my body, brings relief from sorrow and acceptance of death.

The second stage of meditation is the realization that, "I have a mind, but I am not my mind."

Cognitive psychology has revealed the power of distortions of thinking to cause emotional pain. For example, if someone frowns we may feel that we must have upset that person, without considering that they may have their own reason for looking displeased. This is the distortion of personalization, taking ownership of and relating everything around you to yourself. Another example is filtering. If someone has said nine positive things and then one negative thing, the person who is filtering only hears the negative. Meditation heals the distorted patterns by restructuring our negative thinking and feelings through the act of focusing on the image of God as it is passed on to us through the spiritual passage.

The third stage of meditation is self-deification, that "I am made in the image of God, and I am lured through freedom of choice and transformation to become the likeness of God through the grace of God."

Focusing on a sacred passage brings about a dis-identification with the mind and an awareness that at the center of the psyche we carry the image of God. Meditation teaches concentration and self-mastery by training the mind to be guided by the inner Christ, Buddha or Goddess. A focus on the universal love force lessens identification with the mind and brings the ego into atonement with the inner image of God, which begins the self-deification of the person. Self-deification brings a sense of inter-relatedness with all life -- a unity with God and all living creatures of the universe. This amazing discovery is the goal of meditation.

Reference:

Easwaran, E. (1978), Meditation: Commonsense Directions for an Uncommon Life, Petaluma, CA: Nilgiri Press.
Sentient Press.

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By Royal E. Alsup

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Thanks for the info, I've been meaning to find new types of meditation and how different religions utilize it. I've only been meditating for about 2 years now (mainly just doing breathing exercises and cleaning chakras) and I've found it to be much easier to focus and get over things that stress me out during the day. I also noticed that I've been in better shape (physically and mentally) as well. That could also be because I meditate on a ...if you don't know what those stupid things look like).