The Upanishads - continued



As the Yoga Sutras opened insight into the mechanism of meditation, we now need to find out where exactly to direct our thoughts, - what images, what themes to project and maintain during meditation so our awareness connects to perception beyond our current range.


    And if we want real expansion in our life - and not just play with yet another technique, - we'd also like to know exactly where we are going, once changes in our life truly start.


    Fortunately, in this regard The Upanishads are very thorough. They cover the full range of directions into which we may move during meditation, - and also what kind of effects we experience in our life as the result of our choice of direction.





Four Channels



While meditating - no matter what method - we essentially proceed into one of four directions. Each of these 'meditation-channels' generates results that are worlds apart from those of the other three channels.


    Into which one of these four directions we move we ourselves determine by the very theme we project while being immersed in the meditative state, and - even more important - by the intent and the emotional intensity we put behind these projections or 'visualizations' to energize them.


    And our choice of direction not only influences what we experience during meditation, it also shapes our life in general, - which is why we meditate in the first place.


   There exist four fundamental types of meditation: -


  • constructive meditation
    - pursuing non-egoistic, 'virtuous' objectives

  • destructive meditation
    - pursuing cruel or violent intentions

  • desire-driven meditation
    - pursuing ego-centered, selfish goals

  • irrevocable meditation
    - pursuing liberation (total perception of the Grand Self) …

Subala Upanishad - XI.1


The first three types of meditation channel our focus towards limited objectives within the framework of our current material existence. Proceeding into these directions keeps our attention - and consequently what we experience in physical life - within the limits of the desire-structure.


    Thus the first three channels are not suited for reaching liberation or for fully perceiving the Grand Self in its original, magnificent state.

    The fourth channel - irrevocable meditation - leads beyond the boundaries of the desire-structure. It shifts our focus fully onto the Grand Self, raising our awareness above our current fascination with restrictive ideas and emotions. The fourth channel is the very key to liberation.

    Since we'd be well advised to know where we are going in a new venture, let's look at the characteristics of these four channels in detail: -



Constructive Meditation


- pursuing non-egoistic, 'virtuous' intentions

To pursue constructive meditation we essentially align our awareness towards non-egoistic themes.


    These themes may be altruistic in character or simply focus on our personal expansion, e.g. on visualizations that expand our awareness.


    I put 'virtuous' intentions in quotes because different societies interpret this term in distinctly different ways. Yet irrespective of such diverse readings we enter this channel when we - during meditation and outside of it - focus onto non-egoistic themes of growth that neither obstruct nor hurt other beings.


    This does not mean to help everyone at all times, or spending our time solely in the service of others.


    It means to assist others in experiencing their particular themes of life. - And this - at times - may even require not to extend a helping hand, but rather to enable that person to master his challenges on his own, thus stimulating his or her own strength and confidence.


    Pursuing this meditation-channel does not directly trigger perception of our Grand Self, yet it prepares the ground for breaking out of the cocoon of restrictive (matter-oriented) desires and dreads that surrounds us on the physical level.


    And here is why: - Constructive meditation moves our focus beyond selfish goals, thus making us aware of the huge network of interconnectedness between us, our environment and all entities also pursuing growth within this manifested world. It awakens consideration for the needs of others, which consequently expands our cooperation and assistance, - extending as well as receiving it.


    And exactly this highly successfully neutralizes the distortion the egoistic pursuit of limited and limiting goals always creates within the flow of energies of this - our very own - material manifestation.


    Once we recognize the entire physical world as 'our own' creation, we have no more need to (over)emphasize one particular part of it. We begin to see it in its entirety. We begin to see that WE ARE ALL we perceive, - that everything surrounding us, and all we feel within us, somehow relates to what we truly are, what we truly want to experience, to explore, to learn, to understand. And this comprehensive insight effectively prepares the ground for us to break through to the huge world beyond the limits of the desire-structure.




Destructive Meditation


- pursuing cruel or violent intentions

Destructive meditation is the aligning of awareness towards hurting other beings, - or towards harming ourselves in any way.


    This means delight in throwing anger or rage onto other beings and enjoying their frightened and confused reaction; - or to feel glee at the success of any deception or manipulation, - or to enjoy taking or having taken from others what they did not freely give, - or taking pleasure in dominating others, restricting their freedom, - or in inflicting pain.


    Destructive meditation leads those who project such thoughts or emotions during meditation (and outside of it) to an environment populated by beings with similar intent and action.


    And this manifests in exactly the same way as all else we intensely focus emotions and thoughts on becomes enlivened, becomes our reality.





Desire-driven Meditation


- pursuing ego-centered, selfish goals

Desire-driven meditation is the aligning of our awareness towards attaining pleasurable objects or interacting with persons we presently feel separated from, - or towards unpleasant objects or persons we want to disconnect from, - or towards being free of any unpleasant situation we personally experience, - or being overanxious to enjoy objects we may not obtain in our present life, - or to have contact with persons currently not interested in us.


    Desire-driven meditation simply leads to further encounters within the world of (physical) manifestations. The strength of our emotions and thoughts during such projections and visualizations determines how deeply we anchor our desires - and thus our awareness - within the world we focus on, - and how intensely we then experience this world of focus as a result.





Irrevocable Meditation


- pursuing liberation (and total perception of our Grand Self)

Irrevocable meditation is the actual key to extract our awareness from the limits of this manifested, physical environment.


    This does not mean to leave our body behind (to let it die), but to shift focus to the far wider dimensions we always carry within, and which we never really lose.


    The Upanishad calls this channel 'meditation of no return' since it triggers changes within us that cannot be reversed: - Having perceived our Grand Self, our true fantastic origin in all its splendor, majesty and power, we simply are unable to diminish the scope of our awareness back to our previous 'small' self once we return focus to physical reality. After such splendid insight, the limits of our material environment prove far too confining for what we now know we really are.


    Irrevocable meditation is not something we enter spontaneously. It takes intention and preparation to make this forth channel work.


    And we build up to it not only by meditating. Our progress in this direction significantly depends on how we behave with ourselves outside of meditation.


    To prepare our awareness for breaking out of the cocoon of restrictive (material) desires and dreads, The Upanishads recommend to choose non-egoistic, expansive intentions as described in constructive meditation for the conduct of our life.


    The section 'Meditating Directly on the Grand Self'  explains in greater detail how to approach irrevocable meditation and make it work.





The Scope of Contemporary Systems



Now, if you are practicing one of the contemporary techniques employing the 'natural flow of thoughts and mantras' or any similar method, you might begin to feel concern whether negative thoughts and feelings arising within you during the exercise may not propel you into directions you do not want to experience.


    But don't worry, meditation as Upanishads and Yoga Sutras define it, is the conscious, intentional steering of thought into one deliberate, carefully selected direction. And this is worlds apart from what most modern systems are doing. What you most likely are practicing is a kind of induced drifting of your thoughts and emotions, allowing them to proceed into any which way they want to move.


    Since I practiced such techniques for extended periods, I certainly know of their relaxing effects and the greater tolerance for stress and tensions they induce.


    Yet though this might be called meditation, it really is not. They are relaxation techniques which can serve as precursors to effective meditation as the Yoga Sutras depict it, but all by itself their practice is unable to bring about sustained insight into more advanced layers of this reality, let alone perception beyond it.


    Thoughts or emotions arising during such drifting do not have the strength to deeply change our existence and perception into something entirely different, - but then you know this from your own experience.


    Many techniques of such trendy type employ mantras whose meanings are unknown or kept secret, and whose inner workings never really are explained.


    Since we are going to use one specific mantra during upanishadic meditation, here a brief - non-mystic - introduction to what these enchanted words are all about.




The Mysterious Mantras



Most people imagine mantras to be some kind of mystic word, an elite verbal sound endowed with secret, magic powers which somehow affect physical reality - if one only pronounces it correctly and - of course - knows the right word for the desired task.


    So we use mantras for meditation, recitation, chanting, ceremonies and other purposes, - all without the slightest clue what they mean, what effect they really set off behind the scene and only a vague idea how to apply them.


    So far, so good, - except that all this doesn't produce much of a result.


    Sure, we feel relaxed after a session of such hazy drifting, but that sort of effect may easily be produced by any word we'd be comfortable with.


    This being the general situation, here's how mantras really work: -



Phone Numbers


Let's take an analogy easily understood in our electronic times: - Mantras are like telephone-numbers. By dialing a number (i.e. applying a mantra in a prescribed way) we reach and activate a precisely defined inner function of the desire-structure.


    The ancient Indian sages personified these functions, associating them with subtle beings possessing delicate powers (Sanskrit: devas). So, if you want, equate them with such devas if this feels more comfortable and makes the process more easily understood.


    Personifying powers and functions is widespread even in our times and extensively used in physics, electronics, medicine, mathematics and other modern sciences. When handling Volt, Ampere, Watt, Tesla, Gauss etc. we in fact use names of actual people somewhat associated with one highly specific function.


    Exactly the same happens when we employ mantras - with the only difference that the person in charge of, or handling the particular function we call, is alive - though on a different level than the one we currently focus on.



    Now, - when we call someone on the phone, we usually have a fairly clear idea whom we call, and why we phone him or her. We know that random dialing of numbers, or calling without an actual idea why we do this, won't produce much of a tangible effect.


    Similarly, if we want to stimulate, enliven or repair particular features of our life, we need to know exactly whom to address and also what we want to accomplish. To call a plumber when we need a doctor wouldn't do the job.


    The same mechanism applies to the effective use of mantras: - we need to know what part, what function of the desire-structure we want to enliven, - and we need to know the exact 'number' - i.e. the name associated with that particular function, or - if you prefer - the being handling it. Only then do we have a real chance of experiencing a tangible effect in our physical life.





is believed to play an intricate part in the current use of mantras. Yet this is just a contemporary misconception born of our present (technical and materialistic) fascination with quantity over quality.
In fact, it's entirely sufficient to repeat a mantra only once - if done with adequate inner drive and power, - to trigger the flow of energy. It then produces the effect which no repetition will ever enhance.


    Just transfer this mechanism to our present time: - if we want a plumber to come and repair our faucet, it's of no use to phone him 108 times (considered a holy number in India). He either comes and does the job, or he doesn't. And if he doesn't want to do the job, or is unable to do it, it's also of no use to dial his number that many times.



Conference Calls


The subtle functions of the desire-structure are organized in tiered, organic hierarchies, comparable to contemporary corporate administrations, - but with nicer people.


    Thus - at first sight - phoning the boss might seem more powerful than negotiating with a low-level employee. Yet more often than not it's the very low-level employee who actually will do the job. So it's a case by case decision which level of functions we want to activate, or - if you like the deva version - whom exactly we want to contact.


    The ancient Indians developed an intricate technology around this task: - a kind of 'conference-call' to entire groups of functions (or devas). This combines effects on multiple levels without the need to address each single function in a separate, rather cumbersome way.


    Such 'conference-call-numbers' are called bija mantras. They simply use abbreviations of the functions' names - in the same way we use shorthand 'UNO' while meaning 'United Nations Organization' with all its powers.


    Which mantra would produce the best result depends first on the individual employing it, and then on the specific task to be accomplished. To explain though which mantra to use for what function etc., would need a different kind of book.



The Add-on 'Namo' or 'Namah'

Almost all mantras position the word 'namo' or 'namah' either before a mantra, or as a kind of 'coda' at its end.


    The translation - if it is then supplied - either reads 'I adore …' or 'I bow down to …' or something alike. Though this is not wrong, it doesn't address the far deeper purpose of this ever-present, seemingly superfluous 'add-on':


    'Namo' or 'namah' corresponds to the English word 'name' in sound as in meaning. When we - out of our own volition - assign a unique name to an individual or object, we basically adopt or integrate this person or object into our very life, - and this only in a positive way.


    We never willingly bestow a special, personal name to something or someone we don't like, or regard as negative, or want to get rid of, or dissociate from. For disagreeable subjects we use generic terms like 'that person' or 'that thing' or - as heard in recent movies about a young boy studying to become a magician - 'the-one-who-must-not-be-named'.


    So, when using 'namo' or 'namah', this actually means to adopt the respective mantra and function (or deva) positively into our life.


    'Namo' or 'namah' is not a mantra or even part of one, but it kind of packages our positive intention and energy together with the 'telephone-number'. This positive acceptance and spirit directed towards the subtle function (or deva) is actually the very key which ensures that what we want to accomplish by this exercise will get done, - as we would oblige any person who politely asks us for assistance that's within our power to give.


    To use 'namo' or 'namah' in a solely formal way, or without knowing what it really means, or without empowering it with the positive emotional 'push' to make work what we intend to achieve, won't do the job.


    Of course, - none of this would ever be accepted by contemporary science, - as is the case with so many other crucial features of our life which function beyond material explanation, like intuition, inspiration, love, inner drive, motivation etc. But then science doesn't know, or doesn't want to know about more subtle mechanisms of life in the first place, let alone consider the Grand Self or Brahman.



The Limited Scope of Mantras



Since mantras only address functions within the desire-structure, they also only operate and work exclusively within this framework, - none of them leads beyond its borders.


    [ Formulas like 'aham Brahmasmi' ('I am Brahman') or 'tat tvam asi' ('You are all this') are no mantras, but mahavakyas - 'great sayings' - which encapsulate in brief statements essentials of The Upanishads. ]


    Yet there's a trick. The Upanishads describe how to employ one specific mantra exactly for this 'impossible' task, - and that's the most famous of them all: - the sound 'AUM' or 'OM'.


    AUM is the lead-in for almost all sequences of mantras. It is mostly defined as 'the cosmic sound', 'the all-encompassing reality' or 'the uniting of all energies', - which is not far from its function as The Upanishads utilize it.


    And since we already are into analogies of 'telephone systems', - AUM is like a country code. It's a kind of (humming) sound the desire-structure as a whole emits, just like big cities give out a characteristic clamor of their own.


    So - if we employ AUM as The Upanishads describe it, we sort of address the structure as a whole. It is as if we'd be dialing the country code all by itself to call everyone within that number's range, to call that entire nation. And since this won't produce results in a telephone system, that particular analogy clearly reached the end of its usefulness here.


    Yet for the desire-structure this works, - making us aware of its entirety, letting us see its limited range, its boundaries. And once awareness of these limits starts to dawn within us, we can encapsulate the structure and all its features - and then move beyond.


    And this exactly is what the Maitri Upanishad describes as the first theme to visualize during meditation: -



Piercing the Desire-Structure


The body is a bow

 the arrow is AUM

 the mind is the point

 darkness is the target, -

 aim at (piercing the) darkness.


Having pierced through what is thus enveloped, one sees The Grand Self - Brahman -

who sparkles like a wheel of fire, of the color of the sun, full of vigor, beyond darkness, that which shines in yonder sun, and also in the moon, in the fire, in the lightning.


Be assured - having seen This Grand Self, one goes to immortality.

Maitri Upanishad VI.24


The body is a bow

Our body anchors our awareness to this physical reality. It's our very tool for perceiving and interacting with it. This is the base, the starting point - like a bow - from where to propel our focus out to greater dimensions.


The arrow is AUM

Anchored to this foundation now direct attention to sensing the humming sound of AUM - saturating, representing the entirety of the physical world.


    Once you begin to feel this humming sound within you, expand it outwards until it encompasses all longings (and dreads) surrounding and influencing this physical manifestation. Widen your awareness to take in the desire-structure in its entirety.


    And as you encapsulate this comprehensive perception and rally it behind you, - you thus create your very own arrow of dynamic expansion.


The mind is the point

On the tip of this arrow visualize your mind to be its point, - mind being the sharp edge of your awareness, - the essence of our 'story of man', the very specialty we came to explore within this manifestation, the focus of our current existence. So at the point of this arrow position that part of your self you call 'I', - the center of all your perception.



Darkness is the target, -
aim at (piercing the) darkness

Darkness only exists within the context of material conditions.


    Darkness exists only as long as we keep our awareness bound to longings within material existence.


    Thus aim the arrow of AUM - encompassing all the desire-structure - all your desires and dreads, - at its tip the sharp point of your mind, - aim this arrow at piercing that darkness.


    'Piercing the darkness' stands for: - be aware that outside all material longings there is light.


    Thus rise beyond your longings that bind your focus to material existence, to darkness, to smallness, - break through these boundaries.


    Expect light to be beyond these limits, - visualize, perceive this light.


    It's not with physical eyes you take in this brightness, but rather with the radiant sense of sight at the foundation of your being.


    Now pursue this light spreading before you towards its far horizons, - and - as you move deeper into this soft-bluish shine of spacious clarity - its growing subtleness becomes ever more enchanting.


Having pierced through what is thus enveloped, one sees The Grand Self - Brahman -

who sparkles like a wheel of fire, of the color of the sun, full of vigor, beyond darkness, …

Light that never goes out and is filled with exhilarating, vibrant energy, permeates all consecutive dimensions outside the desire-structure.


    What was enveloped in darkness is behind you now. Follow this ever increasing light and radiance as it guides you to ever greater inner clarity.



Be assured - having seen This Grand Self, one goes to immortality.

And this is why it is called irreversible meditation, - having gone up once, having seen this brilliant light once, one never comes back the same.





How to actually employ these images and visualizations The Upanishads offer detailed directions: -

(To meditate) select a clean place with a serene undisturbed (pure) atmosphere,

be pure yourself - (in your intention to expand, and in your dealings within this limited manifested world),

be established in (orienting towards) truth,

studying the real,

speaking what is real,

contemplating, meditating on the real,

sacrificing (the unreal) for the real - (banning illusions from your life, giving preference to what is real).

Maitri Upanishad - VI.30

    After selecting a suitable place for meditation, position your body in an upright position, resting comfortably.


    It is not necessary to maintain a special bodily posture during meditation. Such postures are counterproductive to experiencing deeper layers of awareness since they divert substantial energy just to maintaining the pose.


    Then close your eyes.


How to Visualize AUM

First meditate on AUM by focusing on its letters (by slowly repeating the word in your mind).

Then without focusing on its letters.

Finally realize what the essence of AUM stands for (encompassing, permeating the desire-structure in its entirety).

Thus rise beyond the distinction of ignorance and knowledge, beyond the world of name and form,

to become the Grand Self - Brahman.

Amritabindu Upanishad - 7


Manifest AUM during meditation first by slowly repeating the word in your mind, then focus on its single letters.


    Once this becomes familiar, manifest AUM as humming sound, combining the three letters - A - U - M - sounding in parallel, like three notes played in unison on an organ.


    Visualize this humming to extend up to the outermost and subtlest edge of the desire-structure.


    Then - as your awareness takes in the desire-structure in its entirety, - as you absorb its multicolored, kaleidoscopic contrasts of ignorance and knowledge, of form and name, of ambition and indifference, of love and fear, of boredom and excitement, -


    - rise beyond all this to become the Grand Self you really are.



Thoughts Unrelated



Now, - during the first and second phase of visualizing AUM unrelated thoughts may intrude into your meditative state, distracting and deviating your attention towards themes distant to what you want to focus on.


    And exactly in this situation the instructions of the Yoga Sutras come in handy: -

If we – during meditation - detach our self (our identity, - i.e. what we regard as  I ) more and more from memories of our physical existence,

we reach a state, in which no petty thoughts or emotions disturb the widening of our focus towards illuminating (higher) perception.

From this (initial sensation) arises a more conscious and determined exploration of our new perception, - which consequently leads us to ever deeper, subtler insight.

Yoga Sutras - Book I Sutra 43-44


    While meditating simply give preference to those thoughts and perceptions that amplify and deepen the subtleness of your focus.


    Decide against giving attention and energy to thoughts, images and emotions attached to or stemming from the material world.


    Avoid images and thoughts that feel familiar, habitual to you, - this makes your focus break from the circle of your known life.


    Once thoughts or emotions arise that dwell on themes you've seen or felt (so many times) before, take this as the signal to leave exactly such impressions behind. Follow instead the faint impulses dawning outside these narrow themes which offer to guide your awareness beyond these limits.


    These impulses - or notions - or impressions - or insights - are very faint at first.


    Hold onto their subtleness and pursue this to even subtler yet more energetic, more interesting, more invigorating levels - until you feel deep inner serenity unfold within your heart.


Here we reach the place of tranquillity for the mind. …

And - as fire without fuel becomes extinct in its own place, - in a similar way thought, as its activities cease, becomes extinct in its own source.

Maitri Upanishad - VI.34


    If we stop fueling thoughts of mundane orientation and longing with our energy, they altogether cease to rise within us after a while, because they simply run out of power to capture our attention.


    Then, - in this subtle space where no more latent thought or movement or impression appears to be, - a new kind of perception rises.

This (new perception) makes us experience a special state – ritambhara ('the impact of truth') - during which we recognize the true nature of reality (the Grand Self) and its incessant flow towards expansion.

This special experience is so obviously different from anything we ever felt before. …

Through this experience all bonds that currently connect us (our awareness) to our (limited) material existence, and also all our latent desires and fears that are not currently manifested, become dissolved.

And once even this (process of) dissolution ceases, our restrictive, intense and exclusive focus on matter-related objects and meanings ends.

This enables us to perceive that (vast universe) existing beyond all material objects.

Yoga Sutras - Book I Sutra 48-51


    This sequence of meditation-images pursues the channel of irrevocable meditation - the only channel leading towards ultimate freedom.


    Yet since in any new venture it's always better to know more than one single approach, the following presents two further ways of visualizing which also are directed towards irrevocable insight. Such alternatives may provide valuable additional orientation on what to actually do.



Breaking the Shells



This image-sequence visualizes breaking the shells, the crusts, that currently enclose and limit us, - so that perception of the Imperishable, the Grand Self becomes able to unfold all by itself.


    The chain of images guides our focus to progressively fainter, subtler mechanisms of our emotions, thoughts and intentions. Step by step it leads us to rise beyond our current exclusive focus on the world of matter.


    The sequence is more complex than the previous one. It lists mechanisms we may feel unfamiliar with at first, but which nonetheless affect us on deeper levels. Getting to know these (new) factors brings the additional benefit of making us aware of previously hidden, subtle features of our life we then become able to steer consciously.


    As visualizing begins, - allow each stage to unfold naturally out of the one preceding it, - never strain.


    Dwell on each single step until you get a vivid image, or feeling, or notion about the theme of the respective shell. Begin to sense how this particular cover of your awareness manifests within your emotions, in your thoughts, and how it consequently shapes your actions and the direction into which your life progresses.


    Take all time necessary to identify these influences in your life as they become increasingly more subtle at each single step. Never rush, never try to reach the ultimate state in a kind of race to get there first before all others. There are no others in this race - as you will come to know as you progress. So take your time to thoroughly identify the character of all that limits, all that affects you, - and then detach, rise above what is ultimately not your awareness, but just another subtle shell that covers - and confines - it.


    And if you forgot which step is next, simply stop visualizing and acquaint yourself with the new one. Then restart the sequence to get into the flow again.


    Though it might look complex at first reading, it's not that hard to realize the entire sequence.


    And if you drift away to unrelated thoughts during your meditation, gently come back to the original image you've been visualizing.


(First) break through the (five) outer cover(s) (that restrict the full scope of your awareness)

- then break through the crown of your head.

Five covers encase our awareness: -

  • our physical body, essentially built up of food

  • the function of breathing, movement and vitality

  • I-identification (equating our being with our physical body), - causing desires, pleasure, pain, beginning, end and change

  • the faculty to gain knowledge from the interaction of our senses and environment, - willpower, - and the ability to steer life.

    This shell seems sentient and intelligent, but in reality only appears to be so. It conveys this impression because it mirrors features of the Grand Self, but its range extends only up to the boundary of the desire-structure.

  • the capacity to experience happiness and pleasure within this limited world. - This shell echoes the supreme bliss that's our Grand Self's essential nature. - Yet as long as we focus exclusively on the waking state, this bliss is only partially able to manifest.

Most people identify exclusively with one or more of these limited covers. They think they only are the body they inhabit, - or the emotions they feel, - or the knowledge they command; - or they believe the I, the identity they currently perceive is all they possibly could be, - or they only feel alive when they experience some kind of ecstasy. - Yet in truth these shells only envelop, only conceal that Magnificent, Grand Person we really are inside.

    Extend your awareness beyond these outer covers. Extract your focus by recalling that your essence is far greater, far broader than these five shells. Never fight the limits of these shells, - just steer your awareness towards widening your focus.

… then break through the crown of your head.

Rise above identifying with your body, above all its adherence to limited thoughts, emotions and the exclusive focus on 'the small I'. Picture yourself leaving your body in an upward motion through the top of your head.

Having broken through the crown of your head,
- break through (your attachment to) earth.

Rise above wanting to experience earth, feeling, standing on it, smelling it, - rise above expecting it to sprout green plants, to extend towards the horizon, to always be the base on which you move and rest.

    See this longing as only a small part within the boundless scope of your awareness, - then integrate that part into this unlimited broadness.

Having broken through earth,
- break through (your attachment to) water.

Rise above wanting to feel water in form of drinking it, washing and swimming in it, - to experience it in form of rain, lakes, rivers, oceans, waves, surf and any other such manifestation residing as subtle longing in your soul.

Having broken through water,
- break through (your attachment to) fire.

Rise above the sense-perception of fire, heat and physical light. Shift focus to the perception of inner light and brilliance.

Having broken through fire,
- break through (your attachment to) air.

Rise above wanting to feel air, wind and movement.

Having broken through air,
- break through (your attachment to) space.

Rise above wanting to experience your I, your identity, your desires only in the 3D-environment of physical space.

Having broken through space,
- break through (your) mind.

Mind is what we currently explore in our 'Story of Man - narayana', - in this very desire-structure. Yet intellectual 'thinking' and analytic functions are only half the story of our mind's vast abilities.

    Intuition is the second half. Intuition opens insight into strata of knowledge intellect and analytical mind are unable to access. Intuition steers far greater parts of life than most people think.

    Merge intellect and intuition into one.

    Rise above the conviction that analytical mind can explain all, - above the pride in your intellect to provide all answers, - see beyond the indecision, disorientation and wavering that characterizes analytical mind.


    Recognize the infinitely wider range merged intellect and intuition can access.


    Once you discern this, break from your exclusive focus on this 'unified' mind.

    There's no need to 'give up' mind to achieve this, but just to rise beyond your present exclusive, 'single-minded' engagement in it; - to then experience the far vaster, majestic awareness, - in which mind as we now know it in our current material environment, plays only a minor part.

Having broken through mind,
- break through the subtle elements.

Rise above the subtle mechanisms that manifest the longings and fears residing yet unexpressed in the desire-structure.

    Rise above faint, hardly perceivable hopes and dreads focused on limited themes within this world of matter.

Having broken through the subtle elements,

- break through the root of the intention to experience this manifested physical world.

This means the initial rise of passion directed towards experiencing yourself, your desires, your fears, your intelligence in material form.

    This shell manifests within you as wanting to be in action, to move, to feel physical shapes, to touch matter, to hear sound, to take in smells, to see forms, to experience time and its passage, to interact with other beings in this manner, to learn and to intelligently comprehend.

    It's this subtlest longing that causes the total immersion of our awareness into the world of matter, - in such captivating fashion that it ex-cludes all other perception.just to rise beyond your present exclusive,

    Thus to proceed further, identify the signs of this subtlest longing within yourself - and then rise above desiring its manifestations.

Having broken through 'the root of the intention to experience this manifested physical world',

- break through the unmanifested
(go beyond the limits of the desire-structure).

Picture the (yet) unexpressed longings of the desire-structure as limited, as occupying only a small part of your awareness in its true magnitude and infinite breadth.

    Then rise above all these longings and fears that bind your focus to material existence.

Having broken through the unmanifested (the desire-structure),
- break through the imperishable.

All desire-structures - and the spheres of action they contain in their center - are finite in their scope, no matter how huge they appear to us while we are immersed in them.

    The structures cease once we have learned what we desired to learn from them, and once we sufficiently experienced their character.

    Yet all these structures are embedded in an even deeper layer called 'the imperishable', - a layer that stays on indestructibly while within it desire-structures appear and dissolve again.

    This stratum of the imperishable is not the Grand Self itself, but its immediate expression that facilitates manifestations in all their multitudes and variations.

    Rise above this precursor to perceiving the Grand Self.

Having broken through the imperishable,
- break through death.

Rise above any connection to death.

    Rise above wanting to experience change, decay and disappearance - for others and for yourself.

    Detach from the drama, the void of someone or something missing in your present world of focus, from the intense emotions that accompany the rending of deep attachment.

    Rise beyond your attachment to death, -

- then death becomes absorbed by the Supreme.

In the Supreme there neither is existence, - nor non-existence, - nor existence and non-existence.

This is the instruction relating to liberation, - as given by the Veda, as written in the Veda.

Subala Upanishad - XI.1

This sequence of images aims at freeing our awareness from restrictive covers, - not by denying these shells, but by integrating them into the infinitely wider scope of our - and their - origin.

    We are not rejecting, not negating these covers, but simply rise above their range, - as we rose beyond the rails of our playing pen once we grew out of them. We do not renounce these rails - as they served purpose in their day, - but look upon their existence as an integral part of our progress, as something that helped us try out and exercise activities while being sheltered from outside influences we weren't capable of handling yet.

    Similarly here the Great, the Magnificent we want to set free by this exercise provides all shelter, all the (manifested) tools required for realizing our inherent greatness in our own way, in our own time, and out of our own volition, - giving us abundant space to explore all avenues we carry within in form of subtle and not so subtle longings -

    - to then leave these railings, these shells behind, - to then widen our focus until we regain awareness of our real strength, our vast creative power, our deep wisdom, our infinite loving compassion. And as we reclaim these abilities we are enriched by what we explored while imposing boundaries on our awareness, - boundaries, we now notice we don't need any more.

Having broken through the spheres of the sun, the moon, the fire to the pure being (as you realize your oneness with the Grand Self),

then - being purified yourself - you now (are able to) discern the intelligence residing in the pure being - in the Grand Self, - immovable,
immortal, indestructible, enduring, … the ultimate abode, - endowed with passion for truth as well as omniscience, - independent, - that which stands in its own greatness.

Maitri Upanishad - VI.38

    It may take time to reach the highest intensity of this visualization.

    And it may be necessary to exercise the sequence until its central power truly manifests.



Master of the Cosmos



Within the Katha Upanishad (II.3.7-8) the Grand Self is called 'Purusha', which means 'the Supreme Being' as well as 'the Soul and Original Source of the Universe'.


    And this image - 'Master of the Cosmos' - is the third selected theme for meditation. The image derives from many parts of the Upanishads that set the Grand Self into a star-studded universe which radiates light from innumerable heavenly bodies.


    Picture yourself within a vast universe showing a multitude of stars and planets which are all conscious, and glittering in vibrant, brilliant light.

    Picture yourself as part of this universe, having a body made up of these wide-awake stars. Visualize the outline of your star-body in brilliant light against the dark sky.

    Position yourself - your center of perception - in any part of this 'body of stars'.

    Picture each of your body's bright pinpoint stars to be your very own cells, each of them sparkling with individual awareness - and radiating intense power.

    Realize that you are master of this brilliant body, - that you direct these multitudes of cells and that they await your orders.

    Then realize that far wider, far richer dimensions are all around you, abounding with creative energy, - and that these dimensions are yours to shape, to act in and to explore.

    And as you sense energy flowing from the Grand Self into your cosmic body, you also send energy to your cells, - lifting their being into multidimensional formation.

    Take time to visualize this image in your awareness. As simple as this picture appears to be, as powerful it is.


    And if you feel any area of your life or your physical body needs enlivening, use this image to direct energy towards this region.



Signs of Progress



I encountered two distinct experiences that mark the progress of meditation: -

  • The first is the sudden (or gradual, but powerful) rolling out of broad, majestic comprehension, - an experience of deeply satisfying insight wider than ever before, going into depths never entered previously, and accompanied by intense, electrifying sovereignty.

    The feeling is highly agreeable. It enables us to see and evaluate the components of our life outside of meditation, and also the course our life takes, from a fresh and extensive perspective, - so we may change these factors, - if we only have the courage to transfer this insight into our daily life.

  • The second experience arises only after the first one occurred, - either immediately after or at any later time. It is the appearance of an intense bluish-yellow flame in our inner vision. Within this flame other colors are also present, but to a much lesser degree.

    The flame engulfs all erroneous concepts, ideas, opinions and preconceptions we still maintain even if on a subtle, almost subconscious level, - and burns them without residue to free us from the hold they ever had on us.

    The flame radiates sheer ecstasy and the burning of our flawed ideas is accompanied by feelings of greatest relief.

    And here also we have the option of bringing these insights into our daily life to go for the real.

    These images may or may not arise within meditation. I record them here, so you are able to identify what you experience once you encounter them.



Length of Time of Meditation



We did not immerse our awareness into this physical world to only meditate. We came here chiefly to experience this world's material character, - to face and interact with our ideas, desires, dreams and fears as they take physical form.


    Thus in your visualization  aim for a balance between physical activity and meditation.


    Experience shows that meditating 15-20 minutes twice a day proves OK for many people. But there's need for careful individual evaluation.


    Visualizing any of these three images can be quite vivid, intense, and shake your life. Thus it might be entirely sufficient to project one of these themes for five minutes only, or even less, if their intensity rivets your being and leaves you with more energy than you know how to spend.


    There is no race, no additional benefit in meditating longer and more often than others.


And there's a warning sign: -

If you begin to withdraw from physical reality, if you avoid interaction with other people, or with your daily work, or with the material world in general, - if you withdraw into your home and don't want to come out again, - then its high time to substantially reduce the length of your meditation, - or leave it entirely, - for whatever time you need to stabilize again.


    Thus observe carefully, - and react to these signs before this starts to interfere with your life.


    Otherwise the experience is entirely yours to shape, - what depths to venture into, - what avenues, what dimensions to explore, - what elation you feel, - and what other beings you meet on this fantastic journey into the unknown.



Meditating Directly on the Grand Self



When I first came across irreversible meditation in the context of ancient Jain scriptures, I had no clue what this meant. Of course it wasn't called 'irreversible meditation', but 'white' or 'bright' or 'pure' meditation (Sanskrit: - shukla dhyana).


    When I then asked what 'white meditation' actually involved, I got the cryptic answer that this was 'meditation on self'. And since at that time I was aware of only my own limited self, I wondered how meditating on something that small and familiar could possibly open up higher dimension within me.


    Years later I realized that 'Self' should actually be written with a capital 'S', - and that what was truly meant here was 'meditation on the Grand Self'.


    So, how do you meditate on someone or something that's present everywhere around you, within you and anywhere else you could possibly imagine?


    And here again the ancient texts provide extensive guidance on how to visualize single qualities, aspects and characteristics of the Grand Self to gain access: -

One should meditate on this (Grand) Self which is devoid of old age, - free from death, - fearless, - sorrowless, - endless.

Subala Upanishad - V.1

    And: -

The knowers perceive the Grand Self of unfathomable (mind-boggling) appearance, - transcendent (not perceivable in its entirety as long as we focus on the material), - divine, - unattached, - pure, - of brilliant radiance, - formless, - the master of everything, - unfathomable, - not encased or limited by any body, - abiding secretly within our body, - immortal, - with bliss being its essence.

Subala Upanishad - VIII.1


    But be aware that this really is ultimate and irreversible meditation. So if you still - however faintly - long for physical, material or limited emotional experiences, satisfy these longings first before setting out on this ultimate, supreme venture; - there's no turning back from the Great we then transform into.


 Absorbed this way in the Grand Self - in the real Brahman, - he who (truly) longs for The Real, transforms.

Maitri Upanishad - VI.30


    And though The Upanishads provide no further instructions from this point onwards, ancient Jaina scriptures of equal or even greater antiquity fill in exactly this missing link, - as they also corroborate much of the directives given earlier in this book.


    The ancient Jains describe four consecutive steps in the process of becoming fully aware of our true, abundant, incredibly creative Self:


  • Absorbed in meditating on the qualities of the Grand Self, we involuntarily allow its different attributes  to replace one another.

  • Absorbed in meditating on  one single  quality of the Grand Self, we do not change that particular aspect during meditation.

  • As we become deeply absorbed in Ourselves - in the Grand Self, (already perceiving all aspects of the Self  simultaneously in Its entirety), - there still remain very fine vibratory movements within us (as last remnants of our attachment to matter).

  • Total absorption in the Grand Self.  We now are steady and undisturbably fixed in Ourselves, beyond any physical attachment. (Thus completing the process of becoming fully aware of who we really are.)
Tattvarthasutra - IX.39

    And from here onwards it's your very own story.


    The dimensions you now enter are beyond words born of our limited material environment. No image or depiction rooted in the physical world can ever capture the intensity and wideness of what is now unfolding within your very own being.



Instant Enlightenment



In ancient India three men were walking along a rural road, when they saw a saint of deep wisdom sitting beneath a wide-crowned Banyan-tree. They approached reverently and then asked him when each of them would reach enlightenment.


    The saint smiled and told the first one: "It'll be four more embodiments, then you'll become enlightened."


    The first man blanched, turned away and muttered angrily: "FOUR MORE LIVES ! - And I thought I'd reach enlightenment THIS very lifetime!"


    Then the saint addressed the second man: "For you it's ten incarnations until you'll be free of this limited world."


    Crestfallen the second man stumbled back onto the road, sadly uttering to himself: "TEN LIVES ! - How horrible. - And I thought, I'd be even more advanced than my companion."


    The third man the saint told: "For you it'll be as many lives as this birch-tree has leaves."


    And that birch-tree showed an abundance of tiny leaves.


    Yet as soon as he heard the answer the third man jumped up in intense joy and exclaimed: "Fantastic ! - Absolutely great ! - I'M GOING TO BE ENLIGHTENED ! - THERE'LL BE ENLIGHTENMENT FOR ME !!" -


    - And at that moment that man became enlightened.


    To gain actual access to that Grand Magnificent Being residing deep within us is what is truly relevant.


    It's immaterial whether we attain this state in any systematic, or 'logic', or reasonable way, - or in a certain, prescribed fashion, - or by following a specific religion, - or by believing in a particular doctrine only.


    None of this matters once that grand inner vision really unfolds, because -


    - then a new chapter begins for us, - beyond time, space and matter, - beyond any meaning, purpose and direction we pursued while our focus was fixed exclusively on physical environments, - a new chapter of total freedom, fabulous insight, strength, wisdom, love and sovereignty - our true heritage.



Next: - Time To Wake Up

Author:  Hermann Kuhn
Book-Title:  'Where NOTHING Seems To Be'

ISBN:  978-3-9811466-1-5
Copyright 2009 Crosswind Publishing, Wunstorf, Germany

Available in pdf-format at DOWNLOADS