Center Of Stillness
The Audio Recording
There is, in the nature of human consciousness, the need to take apart, particularize, define and limit a thing in order to come to an understanding of it. In the name of science, we dissect the frog of experience in the hopes of learning how it works, ignoring the fact that we have killed it in the process and are examining a dead thing. The error we fall into is that we neglect to re-integrate our nascent understanding back into the organic whole from which we have plucked it.
Instead of removing the frog to our laboratory, we also have the option of taking our laboratory to the frog, and observing our subject in its natural environment, with its livelihood still intact.
Our natural environment is the Infinite Universe, within which we humans exist across a broad spectrum of vibration. We experience one end of this continuum through our most sublime thoughts; and the other end, through the physical reality of our bodies. The realm between these two poles, that which personalizes and binds our thoughts to our physical bodies, is our emotional field of experience. In Hermetics, these three primary levels of human vibration have been defined as "spirit", our mental body and the realm of thought; as "soul", our astral body and the realm of emotion; and as "material", our physical body and the realm of sensation.
Our experience at the physical level is basically one of aloneness. We live as separate beings, within a Universe filled with other separate beings. Yet lying behind these levels of vibration, is That which vibrates -the One Self of which we are all an expression. It is this base fabric which calls to us in our experience of physical aloneness and reminds us of the core truth that we are all somehow connected.
The whole of human existence is a dance between our experience of separateness and our primal need for connectedness. One of the great paradoxes of the Universe, is that it's our physical existence with its experience of separation, that blinds us to the level at which we are connected. The physical world so captivates our conscious awareness that we are seldom cognizant of what lies beyond it. Yet it is only by casting our awareness beyond it, only by tearing our attention away from it and turning within, that we come to experience the deeper levels of Self and touch upon our primal Unity.
The main barrier then, to a conscious experience of our shared inner Self, is that our bodily senses gobble up the majority of our attention. This is a natural consequence of a physical existence, and cannot really be judged in terms of good or bad. It simply is.
We each have an inherent ability to negate the senses. While you have been listening to my voice, have not your senses of sight, smell, taste, and touch been diminished as your attention turned to hearing, emotionally feeling, and rationally thinking about these words? This is but one example of how we sub-consciously select one or two sensory inputs over the others. The active ingredient here is attention, or conscious awareness, and it is this key which the Center of Stillness Meditation technique employs in its training of the conscious negation of the senses. By building upon what we each do a million times a day un-consciously, the CSM brings it to the level of a conscious faculty.
The CSM defines seven senses. In addition to the traditional five physical senses, the CSM takes into account those of the astral and mental bodies. The reason for this is because these subtle senses impact our physical experience and, even if we aren't cognizant of it, their input affects our lives and our experience just as significantly as do sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch.
The basic technique is really very simple. We begin by focusing our whole attention upon the input from one sense. Having isolated this particular bit of sensory information, we willfully move our attention away from that sense and turn it toward the input from the next sense. In other words, we ignore one sense at a time until we've reached a point when all of the input from the senses is being ignored.
In the CSM, the senses are addressed in a sequence designed to accommodate the average person's sensory preferences. We begin with the sense of taste, which for most is the sense we pay least attention to while listening and thinking. Then we move on to smelling, touch, sight and hearing.
Each sense is visualized as a sphere of specifically colored light which you are instructed to willfully separate from yourself. These spheres are arranged around you in a specific sequence, based upon their relative importance and overall ability to distract you.
Once the traditional five senses have been separated and ignored, attention turns to the sensory input of the astral and mental senses.
The senses of the astral body manifest in the physical matrix through our emotional tone or mood. The important impact that one's emotional state has upon one's thought process and upon one's physical perceptions is well known. But while the impact that the five traditional senses have upon one's ability to reach deep levels of meditation is generally dealt with in meditational techniques, the impact of one's emotional state is rarely even mentioned, let alone addressed effectively. With the CSM however, emotional tone is treated in the same manner as the five physical senses are. We observe the present state of our emotions within and then willfully separate our awareness from the input of this astral sense.
Similarly, the senses of the mental body manifest in the physical matrix through the mind's chatter. Mental chatter is the result of the physical brain's processing of the input from the subtle senses resident in one's mental body. This chatter takes up a significant amount of the brain's attention, therefore dulling the depth and quality of our perceptual ability and obscuring the deeper levels of Mind and thought that are available to us. When the brain's chatter is quieted, the deeper Mind is revealed and the CSM takes direct advantage of this fact as you are directed to willfully separate from the input of this mental sense.
The ability to negate the senses at will, takes effort and persistence to attain; especially with any consistency. But even with the first brief moment of separation from the senses, comes a re-acquaintance with the Center of Stillness, that Primal Quiet we all know in our bones. Once this Stillness has been experienced, the question of effort becomes irrelevant in light of the exciting possibilities perceived within. The further refining of one's control over the senses passes quickly thereafter, and the inner realms unfold.
In the audio rendition of the CSM, we will briefly explore a few of the options open to us.
The first realm to open is that of the personality. In the CSM, this is visualized as a web of light-fibers, which we each spin within the stream of time-space. This is the level at which we place our Selves within the context of where and when we are, and bind ourselves to a physical expression. The personality is our creation -- one which we usually create un-consciously and feel little power with.
As with our power to negate the senses, we also have an inherent ability to craft our personality. Remember back to your adolescence, when "peer-pressure" was the weather-vane of who you chose to be; a time of trying on several different masks and choosing ones that felt "safe", or hopefully, "right" for you. As you grew into your adulthood, did you not discard certain masks for new ones? We each have experiences of changing "bad habits", or annoying little idiosyncrasies, to better fit into our lives. The muscles we use in our un-conscious, selective negation of the senses, are the same ones we use in the un-conscious crafting of our personalities. The CSM exercises these muscles upon the personality, and you learn to consciously craft it, weaving it anew into a clearer expression of who you are and want to be.
As we let go of our focus upon the personality, we are invariably led to the awareness that there is a Self who is experiencing -- a core which is the Doer, the Crafter. This is the next level to unfold, the level of Individual Self, the Self-Who-Acts. This is your Individuality; your Self perceiving itself as an autonomous, unique Individual. It is the Individuality which projects and crafts the web of the personality, and consequently manifests physically in a body; or to put it another way, the personality and the physical body are the vehicles of the Individual Self.
In the CSM, the level of Individual Self is visualized as a Sun with the aspects of the personality and physical body orbiting as its solar system. This Sun exists in an Infinite Universe, filled with other Individual Selves, other solar systems, other stars populating the night sky.
We expand our Individual Self awareness until we touch the metaphorical edges of the infinite universe and then we let go of Individuality and universe and simply exist as a still center of BEing.
Then we consciously re-integrate our awareness of the universe, of the Individual and personal selves, and then of the seven senses which bind us to physical life.
While the audio rendition of the CSM lasts for only about 20 minutes, the Center of Stillness itself is a far richer territory, deserving of lengthy investigation. My hope is that this brief recording will serve as an introduction to this inner universe of possibilities and will inspire you to deeper and more extensive self-directed exploration.
So, let's move on to the practice itself.
The Center of Stillness Meditation, begins with the comfort and relaxation of your physical body. I suggest that you either sit in a comfortable chair, lie down or assume your favorite asana.
Once you are settled comfortably, close your eyes and observe your breathing. Focus entirely upon your breathing and relax. Let go of all other concerns for this short span of time.
Shift your awareness to your feet and gently relax all the muscles in your feet. Now begin moving up your body, relaxing each set of muscles as you go. Relax your calves; your thighs; your hips and buttocks; relax your abdomen and lower back; relax your chest and upper back; relax your shoulders; relax your upper-arms, forearms and hands; relax your neck, mouth, cheeks, eyes, forehead and scalp. Let every bit of tension drain from your body and pass downward, into the earth.
Focus again on your breathing. Let it flow naturally.
Now shift your attention to the taste in your mouth. Explore the input of this sense. What does it taste like? What does it make you think of? Delve deeply into all that this sense has to tell you in this moment.
Now separate the sense of taste itself, from the thoughts and emotions that arise with it. Isolate taste and taste alone. Recognize it as simply a sensation without any special significance.
Now let go of this sense’s input just as you let go of all the tension in your body. Separate the sense of taste from yourself and shape it into a sphere, giving it a dull green color. Willfully separate this sphere of taste from yourself and place it behind you, to the left.
With your mind’s eye, look back at it. See it floating there. It is separate from you and no longer registers as a sensation.
Now reach out mentally and bring it back into yourself. Reconnect with your sense of taste. This is all you have to do to again receive its input.
Now separate taste from yourself once more and return it to its status as a separate, dull green sphere, behind you, to the left.
Now willfully turn your attention away from the sphere of taste and focus upon your sense of smell. Delve deeply into whatever you smell at this moment. As before, isolate just smell and smell alone. Separate your smelling from your thinking and your feeling. Recognize it as simply a sensation without any special significance.
Now abruptly and willfully, separate yourself from your sense of smell. Shape it into a sphere of dull yellow and place it behind you, to the right. Clearly see it floating next to your green sphere of taste. You are separate from its input.
Now willfully turn your attention away from the spheres of taste and smell and focus upon your sense of touch. Clearly feel everything that your nerves relay to you in this moment. Delve into each sensation and isolate the sense of touch. Separate it from your thinking and from your emotional feelings. Recognize it as simply a sensation without any special significance.
Now abruptly and willfully, separate yourself from your sense of touch. Shape it into a sphere of pale violet and place it directly to your left, next to the green sphere of taste. You are separate from its input.
Now willfully turn your attention away from the sphere of touch and focus upon your sense of sight. Clearly see everything that your eyes relay to you in this moment. Delve into each visual sensation and isolate the sense of sight. Separate it from your thinking and from your emotional feelings. Recognize it as simply a sensation without any special significance.
Now abruptly and willfully, separate yourself from your sense of sight. Shape it into a sphere of soft red and place it directly to your right, next to the yellow sphere of smell. You are separate from its input.
Now willfully turn your attention away from the sphere of sight and focus upon your sense of hearing. Clearly hear everything that your ears relay to you in this moment. Delve into each sensation and isolate the sense of hearing. Separate it from your thinking and from your emotional feelings. Recognize it as simply a sensation without any special significance.
Ordinarily, you will let everything you hear go, just as you have with your other senses, but since you are listening to my guiding voice, this will not be possible. So this time, you must let go of every auditory sensation EXCEPT my voice.
Now abruptly and willfully, separate yourself from your sense of hearing. Shape it into a sphere of pale blue and place it in front of you, slightly to the left, next to the violet sphere of touch. You are separate from its input.
With the five physical senses separate and surrounding you, look within and experience your emotional tone. Take very careful note of the emotions you are feeling in this moment. Isolate your ambient emotions from your mind’s chatter and all other sensory input. Recognize that this too is simply a sensation without any special significance.
Now abruptly and willfully, separate yourself from your emotional tone. Shape it into a sphere of pure silver and place it in front of you, slightly to the right, next to the red sphere of sight. You are separate from its input.
Now willfully turn your attention away from the sphere of your emotional tone and focus upon your mind’s chatter. As with the other senses, delve into your mind’s chatter, experiencing it as fully as possible. Isolate it and let it flow of its own accord, without your involvement or attachment to certain threads of its progression. Recognize it as simply a sensation without any special significance.
Now abruptly and willfully, separate yourself from your mind’s chatter. Shape it into a beautiful sphere of radiant gold and place it directly in front of you. You are separate from its input.
Each time any of these seven senses reaches out and grabs your attention, note it and then return it to its separateness.
Visualize yourself sitting in the center of infinite space with the spheres of the senses surrounding you -- separate yet at your beck and call. All about you is a quiet darkness. Drink heartily from this cup of silent stillness.
> Pause <
And now, gently focus your attention on my voice once again. I will be your guide on a journey of exploration. Let’s see what lies beyond this Center of Stillness.
Look below you. The senses are separate and surround you, but below you is the web of your personality; the tapestry you weave of your life. Each light-fiber of its structure is made from some aspect of who you are in the world. It perfectly reflects your good points as well as your bad points.
The web is a thing of rare beauty. It is totally unique to each individual: a one-of-a-kind work of Art. Examine this tapestry of your personality. How well does it reflect your Central Stillness?
> Pause <
With your mind, reshape your web. Remake it into a clear expression of your true Self. Let it be an image of unique and great beauty, clearly expressive of your core nature.
> Pause <
Now, let it go. Separate it from your Self just as you did with the Seven Senses. It lies below you, separate from you.
In this state of separateness from the senses and the web, spend a moment meditating upon the Self-Who-Acts. Strive to identify with that part of you which crafted the web so carefully. This is your Individuality, the aspect of Self expressed through the web of your personality.
> Pause <
Now look down at the web and senses, as you would look down at your feet. They are still an integral part of you, a part required for physical existence and expression; yet, they are somehow separate in a totally new way.
Now visualize your Self as an Individual Sun, with the web of your personality and the spheres of the seven senses orbiting about you. Stand as the center of gravity in the solar system of your life.
Now look upward to the rest of the universe, outward, beyond your senses and beneath the web of your life --there lies the infinite universe, filled with other Suns just like you. You are at its exact Center. The Still Center of yourself is the Still Center of the infinite universe.
The Still Center of this infinity exists every where, every when and every why. Time and space are no longer barriers to you. You are free, free to explore the infinite universe.
Briefly brush your awareness against the very edges of the infinite universe.
> Pause <
Now let the universe go as well. Turn your attention inward once again to the Center of Self.
Simply BE... Quiet... Still...
> Pause <
Now gently become aware of the universe surrounding you. Reconnect with it. Fill it with your Central Stillness and let it fill you.
And now turn to the web of your life below you. Reconnect with it as well and fill it with your Central Stillness.
And now become aware of the seven spheres of the senses surrounding you. Reach out with your awareness directly in front of you and touch the golden sphere of Mind Chatter. Reconnect with it. Bring it back into yourself.
In front of you, slightly to the right, is the silver sphere of your Emotions. Draw it back into yourself.
In front of you, slightly to the left, is the blue sphere of Hearing. Draw it back into yourself.
Directly to your right is the red sphere of Sight. Draw it back into yourself.
Directly to your left is the violet sphere of Tactile Sensations. Draw it back into yourself.
Behind you, slightly to the right, is the yellow sphere of Smell. Draw it back into yourself.
And finally, behind you, slightly to the left, is the green sphere of Taste. Draw it back into yourself.
You are now reunited with your full array of physical senses. Fill them with your Central Stillness.
Now sense your physical body. Notice your breath and breathe consciously. Fill your entire body with your Central Stillness.
Now begin moving your hands gently over your body. Move your hands up along your thighs and up your abdomen and chest, up to your face and back down again, awakening your body to normal sensation. Ground your awareness firmly in your body!
Now gently open your eyes. Just sit quietly for a moment and reorient yourself. Bring your Central Stillness into this moment. Into this place. Here. Now.
Now get up and go about your business. Carry your Central Stillness within you and express it through every thought, every word and every deed.