Inner  Frontier
Cultivating Spiritual Presence

 

A Meditation: Climbing Jacob's Ladder

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In this meditation, as far as we are able, we climb up Jacob’s Ladder, the ladder to the higher spiritual worlds. We might work at this meditation when in a particularly good state. Or when in difficulty. Or when we feel an especially strong need to delve into the depths of being. We do not expect to climb all the way up. Indeed, this meditation can be a measure of our progress, of the quality of our being and the purity of our will, of how thoroughly we can release the grip of self-centeredness and all the rest that keeps us mired in unfulfilling modes of living. The attempt itself to climb this ladder, to operate in progressively higher energies, gradually strengthens our being and purifies our will.

To fully enter this practice may require an extended block of time: an hour or more. Give each of the stages its due. They cannot be rushed or pushed. Let each phase take as much time as it needs to ripen into fullness. You will know when that happens.

We begin with a thorough relaxation, letting go the tensions, large and small, in every corner of our body, in our thoughts, and in our emotions.

Next, we open to the energy of sensation in the whole body. Energy breathing can help build the sensation. We sit in the midst of this remarkable body of ours, in full awareness of the whole of it through sensation. We continuously direct our intention, our will to support, strengthen, and inhabit our full-body sensation, which grows more and more and more substantial. Our will-to-be manifests through this whole body of sensation.

We become aware of ourselves, of who we are. We become ourselves. We experience ourselves as wholly and firmly present, as I Am. "Here I am, sitting in this body of sensation, in robust presence. I am here. Unique. Wholly myself. I fill the whole field of awareness with my intention to be. I am making an act of being, of being here, of being whole in the fullness of my current experience. I sit. I am. I am complete. I continuously renew this act of being." These sayings are not intended as affirmations to repeat to yourself; rather they describe what you do, what you create and experience in this stage.

After some time, we notice the growing spaciousness around and in our awareness. We naturally shift into that fundamental, spacious awareness, that cognizant stillness behind and beneath all sensation, thought, and emotion. While maintaining the full-body sensation and the experience of I Am, we rest in consciousness. No longer entangled with random sensations and sensory perceptions, we let them be. We let all the sensory input be embraced in the context of our consciousness, our pure awareness, the field and background within which sensory perceptions flare up and fade out. This transparent awareness forms an empty vessel, through which all the sensory perceptions, thoughts, and emotions pass freely, unhindered, appearing and disappearing. Behind it all, we rest in conscious awareness, as I Am. We may notice a new relationship with time: we are partially released from its dominion. Our perception of space also changes at this level, where the categories of inner and outer no longer apply.

Gradually, consciousness itself grows porous. Then, with the whole of our being, we simultaneously reach out toward and open to a greater world beyond ourselves, beyond consciousness, and begin to perceive the world of sacred light, trickling into our darkness. Inwardly calling out to the Divine, we repeatedly open toward that ultimate, creative light until only it remains. On the outskirts of that world, we feel its warmth, we sense its glow, we soak in its energy. In its fullness, all separateness, all the ten thousand things merge into that Primordial Sacred Sun. That light is part of our nature, the source of wisdom. We become the light, basking in unimaginable joy.

Next — and remarkably there is a next — we become aware of the other side of I Am, of the source from which it arises, within a stillness of surpassing quality. We see our I as a knot that blocks off the depths, a knot that makes itself the source of our will, intentions, choices, and decisions, including the intention to meditate in this moment. Gradually we loosen the knot until it gives way, until I let go entirely of being myself, of being my own source.

Until this point, our ascent has been into the depths within us. But always we have remained at the core of the experience, with the experience outside of us, of our core. Now we must empty that very core and open to what is deeper than our innermost center. We ourselves become the outside to the Sacred Will of the World, Who is our Source, and let that Will come through us, as us.

We inwardly prostrate ourselves, begging for reconnection, begging to become a part of that Greatness. Silently and wholeheartedly calling out to the Ultimate, completely and utterly opening the very kernel of who we are, we reach beyond the world of sacred light, into the unbounded emptiness, which is also an overflowing fullness, an intimacy with all, with the All.

    This is the Sacred Will of the World,
    Of Whom I am now a particle,
    Who lends me the will to be myself,
    Who lends me my I,
    Who is my very Self,
    Whom I hope to become able to serve by emptying myself unconditionally,
    In Whom we are all united,
    And Who continuously creates and sustains this universe in love.

This ultimate stage of the meditation comes only as an act of grace from Above. It lies well beyond our ability to make happen, although our emptiness, our surrender, and our love are necessary. Attempting to enter here, prayer may help. If you are so inclined, silently repeat one of Godís names, one close to your heart, one that both expresses your yearning and brings you peace.

In closing the meditation, we climb back down Jacobís Ladder to return to our daily life, though somewhat changed inwardly. We come, in turn, back to the sacred light, back to the cognizant stillness of consciousness and the presence of I Am, back to sensation and relaxation, and thus back to the base of the ladder. We rest in awareness as the meditation settles in us.


        

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