~ Lesson Nine ~
The Fine Art of Integration
This final Lesson in the series is suitable only for those who have already mastered Lesson Six.
As I stated at the very beginning, the Self-Healing Archaeous follows the basic Alchemical tenet of "solve et coagula", of separation and reunification. The separation into parts purifies those parts and the reunification of the purified parts results in an overall improvement of the materia. This is evolution in action, the primordial process of Force taking on Form and then Form releasing its Force so that it may take on a new Form.
In Lesson One, the purification process began with the complete relaxation of every part of the physical body, which naturally required the focusing of awareness upon each body part in succession. Then there was the focusing of awareness upon each Elemental region, in succession. This focusing of the awareness upon an individual part is an important first aspect of purification. By bringing our conscious awareness fully into the part, we strengthen the astra-mental template upon which the part or region is founded. In other words, we increase the purity of the Force which has manifested as that particular Form.
Having thus purified each part, the next step in the Archaeous is to consciously re-unite each of the parts and re-assemble them into an awareness of the whole. The awareness of one Elemental region is added to that of another and the awareness of the two conjoined, is added to a third and so on, until all four regions are united in a single awareness. This is the rudimentary process of integration wherein each purified part is re-joined with all the other purified parts and awareness of each separate part is held simultaneously as a new, holistic awareness.
In Lesson Two, this same process was applied to the astra-mental body. It began with the focusing of awareness upon the astra-mental body, distinguishing it from the physical body, and then focusing upon each of its Elemental regions, in succession. Once this purification of parts had been accomplished, all the parts of the astra-mental body were re-assembled into a holistic astra-mental awareness. Then, the holistic awareness of the astra-mental body was integrated with the holistic awareness of the physical body, resulting in an even more comprehensive holistic awareness.
With Lesson Three, this same process was again repeated but this time, upon the mental body. The result was a holistic physio-astra-mental awareness.
The separation of parts in the first three Lessons occurred in situ, so to speak, and was solely a matter of shifting and contracting one's focus of awareness. In Lessons Four and Five however, this separation of parts was taken a step further and became a spatial separation as well, although still rooted in the focusing and contraction of one's awareness. As a consequence, the resulting purification was much more profound than that produced in situ. The actual passive separation of the three bodies allowed for a deeper, more exclusive focus within each body and for a deep, deep relaxation at the astral and mental levels that was not available in situ.
The next step in furthering the depth of purification of each part or body, came with the Lesson Six work of balancing the Elements in each of the three separated bodies. The development of the Elemental harmony exponentially increased the purification of each part and, due to the harmonizing effect upon each part, the subsequent integration of those parts was exponentially more complete.
The first six Lessons prepared one for Lessons Seven and Eight, and the next step in purification -- wandering. Astra-mental and mental wandering are educational pursuits. They expand the Self through direct experience. And while still rooted in the focusing of one's awareness, they require Self-expression as much as they do passive perception. In other words, they exercise that focused awareness in new ways which cause it to rapidly evolve.
As always, the newly purified parts must be re-integrated into a holistic physio-astra-mental awareness. But when it comes to integrating the purifications wrought through astra-mental and mental wandering, one confronts a greater labor than encountered in the earlier Lessons. One must develop new skills of integration to truly benefit from the subtle experiences one will encounter in mental and astra-mental wandering. Primarily, these new skills have to do with integrating those experiences into the mundane awareness and memory. And secondarily, they have to do with consciously integrating the lessons one learns from those experiences into each of the three bodies to such a degree that each body is further purified and transformed by those lessons learned.
Thus I have titled this final Lesson in the Self-Healing Archaeous series, "The Fine Art of Integration", for truly, this is one of the more important magical Arts.
Every bit of one's ascent must be integrated into the mundane levels of Self or it is for nothing. Separation without re-integration becomes destruction, and likewise, integration without periodic separation becomes stagnation. Hermetic initiation is rooted in building a solid foundation and then erecting one's ascension upon that footing, always making sure to securely bind the ascension to that solid foundation lest the whole structure topple over. Integration is what assures a sound and continuous ascent, thus it is an Art well worth mastering. And it is best to begin as early as possible because the further along the path of initiation you trod, your skills of integration will face greater and greater challenges.
The practical part of this final Lesson is divided into three sections: Integration of Astra-mental Wandering, Integration of Mental Wandering, and Integrated Self-Expression. This latter is what Bardon described as "magic action" in Step Six of IIH. I like to think of it as Physio-Astra-Mental Wandering. :)
So, on to the practical parts . . .
Integration of Astra-Mental Wandering:
The integration of higher perceptions and states of awareness into lower levels of consciousness is a fine art. Just like the master painter wields color and shape to express many deep layers of meaning simultaneously, so too the fine artist of integration molds the colors of thought and the shapes of emotion to capture their most sublime experiences in symbols that the lower levels of consciousness can retain and comprehend. This takes time and practice to master.
The first step of any integration into the mundane awareness is to affix the higher perceptions and thoughts into one's memory. The second step is to then actively employ the realizations that arise from those memories by making them the foundation for one's actions.
It is said that the physical brain captures everything that the eyes see and that the ears hear, but becoming consciously aware of that stored information takes something more than mere organic brain function. The ingredient that makes specific bits of that inconceivable amount of stored data consciously memorable is the emotional significance we attribute to it. If it is data that's totally innocuous, like how many cars passed by your window between noon and 3pm on Saturday, then it remains unreachable by the conscious awareness. But if it's emotionally significant, like what type of car plowed through your window at 3:15 pm Saturday, then we're certain to remember.
With astra-mental wandering, remembering is not much of an issue since these experiences are perceived through the filter of the astral body or Water region of the mental body while they are occurring. In other words, the experiences of astra-mental wandering occur within the milieu of emotional significance and all of the astra-mental perceptions are colored by the same. Perception occurs in symbolic forms -- shapes, colors, sounds, sensations, and so on, all of which express an emotional content. Within that emotional content lies essential meaning which is directly perceived with one's mental senses at the same instant of its astral perception. Thus the symbolic forms of the astral materia clearly communicate their essential meaning to the astra-mental wanderer.
Nonetheless, the astra-mental wanderer's primary focus is at the astral level of perception. Astral perception itself does not immediately reveal the entirety of the mental level, direct perception of essential meaning -it merely symbolizes the direct perception. Therefore, the astra-mental wanderer should spend some time at the end of their journey reviewing their experience to ensure that later, when the astral symbol is remembered, the entirety of the mental level direct perception is still accessible through the astral symbol.
When the business of your astra-mental wandering is complete, return to the location of your physical shell and stand next to it. Spend the next few moments -- however long it takes -- reviewing your experience. Start at the beginning and go through the whole experience chronologically, trying to recall every detail. As you remember, take note of how different segments of your experience resonate with specific regions of your astral body.
When you are through with your review, re-enter your physical shell and thoroughly re-integrate your three bodies. Immediately thereafter, once again review your experience and write down sufficient notes about your experience so that you will later be able to regain your memories of events.
In the days and weeks that follow your wandering session, meditate upon your experience. Refer to your notes to refresh your memory, if necessary, and take further notes of key points that you discover during your meditations.
The purpose of these meditations is to discover and then thoroughly understand, the lessons contained in your wandering experience. Once the lessons are understood, you must then apply them to your life in whatever way seems most appropriate. You must integrate them into your experience of your Self at whatever level the lessons demand.
Integration of Mental Wandering:
Mental wandering is, of course, the most versatile form of wandering, yet it can present many challenges in terms of remembering one's experiences and perceptions, let alone integrating and applying their lessons. But since the mental body itself is so versatile, one is also presented with the perfect tool for adapting to every challenge. All one needs is a bit of creativity and imagination.
In Lesson Eight, I defined three degrees of mental wandering, so to shape my discussion here, I will use that same structure and describe some of the options open to each degree.
1. Separation of the solitary mental body directly from the physical body
Since this sort of mental wandering involves the conjoined Air and Fire regions, perception occurs in the form of thoughts and direct perception, simultaneously. However, these perceptions lack emotional significance at the time they are occurring. With a deep degree of separation, the only density of symbolic form these perceptions have is that of thoughts. There is no astral shape, color, sound, etc., so in order to gain emotional significance and astral form, these perceptions must be processed by the astral body or Water region of the mental body.
Since this degree of mental wandering reveals the denser purple cord, which is the compressed Water and Earth regions conjoined, it is very easy to create a flow of input between the solitary mental body and the Water region.
The rate of flow between the two can be regulated at will. At first, I suggest that you experiment with opening and closing it. For example, spend a few moments in deep separation of the solitary mental body from the astra-physical shell, and then expand your awareness along the purple cord ever so slightly, a degree at a time, until you feel the intrusion of emotional significance and astral form, into your thoughts. Let your thoughts settle into this level of your awareness and then return your focus to a deep separation of the solitary mental body from the astraphysical shell.
Once you get the hang of it, it becomes very easy to rapidly shift between these states and quickly integrate your solitary mental wanderings into your astral awareness. With much practice, it is possible to continuously feed your solitary mental perception into your astral awareness, without any interruption of focus within the solitary mental body. This involves a slight splitting of awareness so that an insignificant part of your focus is concentrated upon the astral level. This creates a subtle bridge through the purple cord specifically to the Water region of the mental body.
When you are finished with your solitary mental wandering, return to your astra-physical shell and hover next to it. Before re-entering it, review your wandering. Then expand your awareness down along the purple cord until you again touch the Water region. Once again review your wandering but this time in its astral form. Then fully re-integrate into your astra-physical body. Immediately write down sufficient notes so that you will be able to recapture your memories later.
As with my comments on astra-mental wandering, you must follow your solitary mental wandering with meditations and the implementation of the lessons learned. This, and this alone, is what completes the integration process.
2. Separation of the solitary mental body from the astra-mental body
Because the complete separation of all three bodies results in a significantly deeper and more exclusive focus within the solitary mental body, it takes a greater quantity of one's awareness to integrate the solitary mental perceptions into the Water region. As before, I suggest that you experiment with opening and closing the flow of input along the violet cord between the solitary mental body and the astral shell. Since the Water region is not conjoined with the Earth region, you will need to spend a little more effort in solidifying the astral processing of your solitary mental perceptions. With great practice, it is possible to set up so rapid a sequential exchange between the two as to be almost continuous, but this does require the splitting off of more of your awareness than before.
The main issue at first is continuity. If you interrupt your solitary wandering too often to integrate the experience into your astral awareness, then you risk loosing any sense of continuity. And if you interrupt too infrequently, you risk losing your ability to remember your experience later on. But with practice, you will learn how often is appropriate and you will also become more and more proficient.
At the end of your solitary mental wandering review your experience and then re-integrate with your astral shell. Within the astra-mental context, again review your experience and firmly affix its astral form. Then re-integrate your astra-mental body with your physical shell. Immediately review and take notes. And as always, meditate upon your experiences, learn from them and apply them.
3. Separation of the solo-Fire region from the solitary mental body
The perceptions from this degree of mental wandering are perhaps the most challenging to completely integrate since they are, by their nature, direct perceptions of infinity. It is also impossible to actually control the frequency with which the integration of them into the Air and Water regions will occur since there is no thinking will existent within the solo Fire region of the mental body. In other words, once one has separated the solo Fire region from the Air region shell, there is no thought of needing to return. There is only intention which, as I stated in Lesson Eight, is how one aims the Fire region. So it is possible to enter into the separation carrying the intention of returning to the Air region periodically in order to integrate the Fire region perceptions.
However it comes about, when you do find your perceptions beginning to take form as thoughts, spend several moments in that state of transition and very carefully let the fullness of your solo Fire perceptions settle into your thinking awareness. Let them condense to a fine Airy mist.
It is wise at this point to descend still further with these thoughts and integrate them into the Water region of your awareness, giving them some degree of astral form. Then return to the solitary mental body, again separate the solo Fire region and continue with your solo Fire wandering.
Descending all the way into the Water region with your thoughts is very disruptive to the continuity of a solo Fire wandering. In some cases it is, in fact, extremely unwise to program the intention of periodic return to thinking awareness, let alone to an astral awareness. Some solo Fire journeys must be left to find their own duration and scope; and the subsequent quality of integration into memory, left to the Divine Wisdom.
Nonetheless, it is important that you experiment with this periodic integration, followed by a return to the solo Fire region. With practice, it is possible to periodically integrate just the Air region of thoughts and store up a few segments of experience until making a larger descent into the Water region. While descending into just the Air region is somewhat less disruptive to the continuity of a solo Fire wandering, the real trick is storing segments of the solo Fire perceptions in the Air region. To accomplish this storage, one must rely upon the Water that is inherent to Air.
When your solo Fire wandering is complete, you must carefully reintegrate your awareness with the Air region shell. In the solitary mental body context, review all the thoughts that coalesce in regard to your solo Fire wandering. Be very thorough and patient with this step as it may take far longer than the wandering itself.
Then re-integrate with the astral shell and solidify all your thoughts with astral form. Let the Airy thoughts condense still further until they become one fluid mass, all connected, one with the other. Note the differences and similarities between which of those ideas settle into which regions of your astral body.
When the astral integration is complete, re-integrate with your physical shell. Immediately write your notes and ground these very ephemeral experiences into your waking awareness.
The experiences of the solo Fire wandering are the most important of all the wandering experiences. Their lessons are the most relevant to your advancement and therefore, they require the most thorough integration into every aspect of your being. It can takes years to fully integrate some of the lessons brought through solo Fire wanderings, perhaps even lifetimes of effort.
This is especially true of solo Fire wanderings which entail merging with one's Greater Self or Eternal Mental Body. These experiences are infinitely profound and cathartic, and produce reverberations throughout one's entire existence. Integration of the Eternal experience into the sequential layers of consciousness requires prolonged and repeated meditation. And then integrating those aspects of the Eternal experience that one has become conscious of, into the layers of personality and physicality, requires great creativity and inventiveness. One must never relent.
While these experiences are eternal and non-sequential in nature, it takes time for them to be integrated into the sequential layers of Self. Or rather, it takes time for you to integrate them into your mundane awareness which exists within a single moment of time-space. It is literally like trying to cram as much of infinity as you can into something the size of an atom. Ultimately, it's a matter of completely giving over to the eternal aspects of Self so that they may freely express themselves through your every thought, word and deed. Only then is the infinity that exists within an atom revealed and made manifest . . .
In the mental exercises of Step Six of IIH, Bardon described a three-part magical action in which one is conscious of all three bodies simultaneously. I like to call this physio-astra-mental wandering, for in reality this is what it is. In this state, one is conscious of existing in all three bodies, simultaneously: one perceives with their physical, astral and mental senses, simultaneously, and each physical motion is simultaneously and consciously, performed with the astral and mental bodies in unison
This is presented as a mental exercise because it is completely dependant upon the ability to differentiate between the four regions of the mental body and to be consciously aware within all four regions simultaneously. The directorship is transferred wholly to the solitary mental body. As I've stated before, this is essentially the Individual or Tiphareth Self --the depth point. With its directorship firmly in hand, the Individual Self then expresses itself through the Water region or astral body and through the Earth region or physical body.
In other words, it is an integrated Self-expression in which the astral and physical bodies serve as the vehicles through which the Individual Self expresses and manifests itself within the physical realm. When the physical arm is moved through the air, the astral and mental air is disturbed as well. Bardon called it magical action because in ceremonial ritual, all of one's movements must occur on the physical, astral and mental planes, simultaneously.
For anyone who has made it to Lesson Six in the Archaeous, the exercise I propose now, will present no difficulties. Difficulty however, may arise in the sustaining and prolonging of the state this exercise leads to.
This is a slight alteration of Lesson Six and the Elemental balancing of all three bodies.
Separate all three bodies as usual. Balance the Elements in the mental body and then re-integrate the solitary mental body with the astral shell, conjoining the Fire, Air and Water regions of the mental body. Balance the Elements in the astral body. As you do so, remain consciously aware of both your astral and mental bodies, simultaneously. You must sense both bodies at the same time and to the same degree yet still be able to differentiate between the two. This is like seeing a thing from two different perspectives at the same time. As Bardon described it, let the mental hand slip into the astral glove.
Retaining this dual, astral and mental awareness, re-integrate with your physical shell and the Earth region of the mental body. Balance the Elements in the physical body while simultaneously remaining aware of your astral and mental bodies. Sense all three bodies at the same time and to the same degree. Let the astra-mental hand slip into the physical glove.
Sustain this triple awareness of your three bodies simultaneously for as long as you are able. Just stand, sit or lie down and without moving, focus upon perceiving your physical, astral and mental surroundings simultaneously. As you look through your physical eyes, it is really your mental eyes, looking through both astral and physical eyes. As you feel your physical breathing it is really your mental will to breathe manifesting through your astral and physical respiration.
When you are able to prolong this state for 5 minutes or so, introduce physical movement. Move around your meditation space and focus upon unifying the mental, astral and physical components of each movement.
When this feels comfortable for at least 5 minutes, wander further afield. Keep working at the prolongation of the triple awareness and the retention of it in a variety of circumstances. After some time, the separation and Elemental balancing of the three bodies beforehand will become unnecessary. All one will need to do is become consciously aware of each body and then consciously unite these awarenesses into the triple awareness.
When one has succeeded in projecting the solo Fire region into the Akasha and has merged with the Eternal Mental Body of their Greater Self, then one can pursue a four-part action. This involves integrating the simultaneous awareness of the Greater Self into the triple awareness. All four perspectives -- eternal mental, temporal mental, astral and physical -- are held simultaneously in one's conscious awareness, within a single present moment of time-space. It is then the Greater Self, consciously expressing and manifesting ItSelf through the Individual, astral and physical vehicles.
When this is mastered one then has the opportunity to manifest the five-part action -- the true merging with the Divine. Here, awareness as The Unity is added to the four-part awareness and one exists within the physical temporal moment fully aware of The Unity, their Greater Self and Individual, astral and physical selves, simultaneously. It is then the Divine manifesting ItSelf directly into the temporal moment through the vehicles of the Greater, Individual, astral and physical levels of Self. This, of course, is the ultimate form of integration afforded by the Archaeous process.
This ends Lesson Nine and completes the Self-Healing Archaeous audio series. I pray that these Lessons, which have been my pleasure to present, serve you well along your path to perfection.