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David Rainoshek, M.A.
Meditation, Big Mind/Heart, Gratitude and Forgiveness
“The whole point of authentic contemplation is simply to accelerate the growth, development, or evolution from the subconscious to the self-conscious to the superconscious dimensions of your own Being. We now have abundant evidence that meditation does not alter or change the basic stages of the development of consciousness, but it does remarkably accelerate that development. Meditation speeds up evolution. It accelerates the remembering and the re-discovery of the Spirit that you eternally are. Meditation quickens the rate that acorns grow into oaks, that humans grow into God.”
– Ken Wilber, One Taste
Meditation practice accelerates growth and development to higher capacities of being and knowing.
Why? Because at its heart, meditation is a practice of watching – of bare witnessing – what is arising in your own mind. It is training of your mind to watch whatever comes up without losing focus, and with love for everything witnessed… all the beauty, ugliness, saintliness, sin, creativity, desire, love, hatred, hilariousness, good intentions, colors, sounds, feelings, thoughts… you name it. The practice of meditation is one of Witnessing all of THAT as objects.
This accomplishes an incredible thing: your life as you have been experiencing it becomes the object of your awareness… you are the witness of your life, your thoughts, feelings, desires… As your ability to witness persistently – unflinchingly – grows, you become less attached to your life as-it-is. All the thoughtforms and feelings and actions of your life become curiosities to investigate – objects to create with – instead of territory to defend.
In your daily life, meditation helps you develop the ability to act with more freedom and equanimity because your “self” is not in danger of being lost – it is impermant and ever-evolving, so you allow the continued letting go and reorganizing of your self at higher levels of being and knowing to happen more effortlessly, gracefully, and happily.
Ken Wilber writes of this process in The Eye of Spirit:
…as the self identifies with each basic level or wave of consciousness, the self is thoroughly embedded in those structures, fused with those structures, so much so that they cannot be seen or experienced as an object. The actual subjective structures of the self, at that state, are unconscious; they are the embedded-unconscious. They are part of the seer, and thus cannot themselves be seen—not at that level, anyway. At the next stage, the self will dis-embed from those structures (disidentify with them, detach, differentiate, transcend), and then identify with the next higher level, which will then constitute the embedded-self, whose structures the self cannot see as object, and thus whose structures constitute the embedded-unconscious at that stage. Development is a constant process of embedding and disembedding, identifying with and then transcending.
Growth always involves a process of differentiation, of emergence from embeddedness, thus creating out of the former subject a new object to be taken by the new subjectivity. This movement involves what Piaget calls “decentration,” the loss of an old center, and what we might call “recentration,” the recovery of a new center.
Notice the words… embedded, dis-embedded, decentration, recentration – the recovery of a new center. How does Meditation accomplish this, and make development move more swiftly? Wilber continues:
Meditation sooner or later begins to dislodge the embedded-self and the embedded-unconscious. By assuming a witnessing stance of mindfulness, one’s subjective structures start to become objective, and thus one begins to disidentify or detach from one’s present level of development (the embedded-self is loosened and dislodged from its given subjective attachment; the embedded-unconscious is de-embedded).
In other words, we move through stages of development, and moving through stages means leaving former stages behind (like going from simple math to pre-algebra to geometry and calculus). But we can get stuck – or doggedly attached to a particular stage (be it an idea, a working relationship, a way of being, a level of mental development) long after it has served its usefulness in our development. We must dis-embed from the current stage of affairs to move to a higher stage of self-expression.
Meditation – due to the state-training, mind-traning nature of witnessing – helps us be less attached, and thus loosens up, dislodges, or dis-embeds us from current stages to developmentally evolve to new higher stages, while still retaining the benefits and abilities we achieved at former stages (such as going through math class from 1st grade addition/subtraction to 12th grade Algebra… we don’t lose the knowledge of addition/subtraction… those classes are transcended and included in future classes, or mathematical developmental stages).
Now you can begin to see where Meditation serves HyperLearning capacities. Just how effective is Meditation in accelerating learning and growth? Here is Wilber in Integral Spirituality on “The Effects of States on Stages”:
There is another reason that religions, in order to act as the great conveyor belt of humanity, should incorporate meditative, contemplative, and nonordinary states (gross, subtle, causal, nondual) into their curricula, and that is not just to stop forcing kids into raves and grown adults into tent revivals, but for the profoundly beneficial effect that states have on stages. As we saw: the more you experience various states, the more quickly you develop through the stages.
Under no circumstances that we are aware of can you skip stages in any line—stages cannot be skipped—but considerable research has demonstrated that the more you experience meditative or contemplative states of consciousness, the faster you develop through the stages of consciousness. No other single practice or technique—not therapy, not breath-work, not transformative workshops, not role-taking, not hatha yoga—has been empirically demonstrated to do this. Meditation alone has done so. For example, whereas around 2% of the adult population is at second tier, after 4 years of meditation, that 2% goes to 38% in the meditation group. This is truly staggering research.
As we saw, the reason meditation does so is simple enough. When you meditate, you are in effect witnessing the mind, thus turning subject into object—which is exactly the core mechanism of development (“the subject of one stage becomes the object of the subject of the next”).
So no matter what general stage you are at when you begin (red, amber, orange, green, etc.), you can directly experience meditative or contemplative or ecstatic or nonordinary states (gross, subtle, causal, nondual), and not only do those states carry profound experiences themselves, they will accelerate your growth and development through the stages.
Now that we have covered why a HyperLearning mind and the life it generates is massively benefitted in concrete ways by Meditation, I will leave you in this section with a little more perspective on the practice and how to cultivate a daily practice with excerpts from Ken Wilber in his book Grace and Grit; and Jack Kornfield in his work, Meditation for Beginners.
Meditation: More Perspective on the Practice
There are many ways to explain meditation, what it is, what it does, how it works. Meditation, it is said, is a way to evoke the relaxation response. Meditation, others say, is a way to train and strengthen awareness; a method for centering and focusing the self; a way to halt constant verbal thinking and relax the bodymind; a technique for calming the central nervous system; a way to relieve stress, bolster self-esteem, reduce anxiety, and alleviate depression.
[David Rainoshek: here is a good article on those benefits: http://www.clear-mind-meditation-techniques.com/benefits-of-meditation.html]
All of those are true enough; meditation has been clinically demonstrated to do all of those things. But I would like to emphasize that meditation itself is, and always has been, a spiritual practice. Meditation, whether Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Taoist, or Muslim, was invented as a way for the soul to venture inward, there ultimately to find a supreme identity with Godhead. “The Kingdom of Heaven is within” – and meditation, from the very beginning, has been the royal road to that Kingdom. Whatever else it does, and it does many beneficial things, meditation is first and foremost a search for the God within.
I would say meditation is spiritual, but not religious. Spiritual has to do with actual experience, not mere beliefs; with God as the Ground of Being, not a cosmic Daddy figure; with awakening to one’s true Self, not praying for one’s little self; with the disciplining of awareness, not preachy and churchy moralisms about drinking and smoking and sexing; with Spirit found in everyone’s Heart, not anything done in this or that church.
Mahatma Gandhi is spiritual; Oral Roberts is religious. Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King, Albert Schweitzer, Emerson and Thoreau, Saint Teresa of Avila, Dame Julian of Norwich, William James – spiritual. Billy Graham, Archbishop Sheen, Robert Schuller, Pat Robertson, Cardinal O’Connor – religious.
Meditation is spiritual; prayer is religious. That is, petitionary prayer, in which I ask God to give me a new car, help with my promotion, etc., is religious; it simply wishes to bolster the little ego in its wants and desires.
Meditation, on the other hand, seeks to go beyond the ego altogether; it asks nothing from God, real or imagined, but rather offers itself up as a sacrifice toward a greater awareness.
Meditation, then, is not so much a part of this or that particular religion, but rather part of the universal spiritual culture of all humankind – an effort to bring awareness to bear on all aspects of life. It is, in other words, part of what has been called the perennial philosophy [The Great Chain of Being].
How to Cultivate a Daily Meditation Practice
ONE OF THE most important aspects of meditation is to cultivate a daily practice. If you do, the first thing you will notice is that on Monday you might be able to be with your breath very well, but on Tuesday it will be a struggle, and on Wednesday it will be even worse than that. Then on Thursday it might be better again, but on Friday it could be completely frustrating.
It is important not to judge your meditations. Your job is to sit on the cushion or the chair and to accept and relate to whatever happens, which will always be solely a reflection of whatever state your mind and body are in at that moment. Even if you are frantic at the end of the day and you can sit and watch three breaths in the twenty minutes and the rest is a lot of thinking, do it anyway. Try not to have expectations. Just commit to practicing it as an exercise, and do not get discouraged by whatever happens. Remember that meditation practice is very much like learning how to play the piano. At first it amounts to little more than getting your fingers to work a series of exercises. Later, you may be able to forget about the exercise and hear the music behind it. We have all spent probably a hundred million moments of wandering mind in our lives already, so to try to change the wandering mental habit overnight is not very likely. Meditation works, but it takes perseverance and a gentle training of yourself.
Here are some suggestions to help you establish a daily meditation routine.
- Choose a time of day that works for you, and then try to meditate around that time every day.
- Accommodate your personal style. If you are a morning person, you may want to meditate shortly after rising. Others find it easier to sit in the afternoon, or in the evening.
- Find a quiet corner where you can practice every day. It can be anywhere, as long as you can remain relatively undisturbed during your meditation session. Use a chair, a cushion, or any support that best helps you maintain your meditative posture and awareness.
- Sit for fifteen minutes, half an hour, or longer each day. Even just five minutes a day will be beneficial, as long as you make the simple commitment during that time to feel your breath and bring your awareness to your physical sensations, thoughts, and feelings.
- Depending on your inclination each day, use any of the eight meditations featured in this book, or any combination of them.
- You may find it helpful to place inspiring objects in your meditation space: an image, some incense, or possibly a book. You might want to read a short passage from a book before meditating. Many meditators light a candle to symbolize the illumination that is the gift of awareness.
- Seek out a meditation group. These can be found through churches, temples, Buddhist or Hindu groups, and various secular organizations. Joining such a group does not commit you to becoming a follower of any particular teaching; it simply surrounds your practice with the support of other meditators.
- Remember that meditation is not an accomplishment, but a lifelong practice. As you work with your breathing, bodily sensations, thoughts, and emotional energies, you will become more adept at remaining calm and curious in the midst of any life situation.
- Keep it simple. The point of vipassana meditation is not to have any particular experience, but to become aware of whatever experience you are having. An attitude of childlike openness will help you discover the truth of your life in the present moment.
When we are unhurried and wise, we perceive that only great and worthy things have any permanent and absolute existence—that petty fears and petty pleasures are but the shadow of the reality. This is always exhilirating and sublime.
Henry David Thoreau, Walden
Find a Meditation Group in your area.
This is the best “technology” to start with, providing teaching, example, and group support. There are many online resources for finding a local group. I like The Independent Meditation Center Guide:
Binaural Beat Audio Technology
At home, use binaural beat technologies for brain/mind entrainment during meditation. Three that I am fond of and use are: The Profound Meditation Program by iAwake, Holosync by Centerpointe Research, and The Awakened Mind System by Dr. Jeffrey Thompson. All are audio tracks that you listen to during meditation to entrain your brain more effectively – more efficiently – than meditation practice alone.
The Profound Meditation Program by iAwake and John Dupuy
This program is profound. Having done binaural beat technology for years, and based on the experience and data from users and developers, I can tell you that this is a next-level brainwave entrainment program.
- Enjoy uncommonly deep and transformative meditation on a daily basis.
- A seamless, multi-layered blend of innovative audio entrainment techniques, psycho-acoustic principles and exclusive biofield entrainment technology.
- Experience exceptional brainwave and subtle energetic entrainment without the unnatural, “forced” feeling of other brainwave entrainment programs.
- Runs the gamut from some of the highest brainwave states (Hyper-Gamma – 120 Hz) to the deepest (Epsilon – 0.001 Hz).
- Benefit from PMP 3.0’s advanced technology to gently and pervasively “push” your brain and nervous system toward higher levels of functioning and well-being, without the unnecessary and prolonged overwhelm incurred by other entrainment systems.
- Includes the elusive “Evolved Mind” brainwave pattern discovered by C. Maxwell Cade (i.e., simultaneous Alpha, Theta and Delta brainwave patterns).
- Scalable to 20-min meditation sessions.
- Will continue to accelerate increased meditative absorption even when used daily for months and years.
- Enjoy the “field effect,” typically only experienced at meditation retreats, in the comfort of your own home.
The Awakened Mind System 2.0 by Dr. Jeffrey Thompson
We all seek a state of higher consciousness that awakens and enlivens our whole being. Masters of meditation and yoga, great artists, inventors, and highly accomplished people in many walks of life have learned to develop and live from such a state.
British researcher and Zen master C. Maxwell Cade spent decades analyzing the brainwave patterns of these extraordinary people. He discovered that they each shared a common pattern of brainwaves, which Cade called the Awakened Mind Pattern, and which he believed held the key to tapping into one’s highest potential.
Created by Dr. Jeffrey Thompson, The Awakened Mind System 2.0 uses breakthrough audio recording processes to help you access this brainwave pattern so that you can directly experience the enormous benefits of this heightened state of consciousness.
Dr. Thompson embeds inaudible pulses of sound that mirror the Awakened Mind Pattern into an ambient musical soundtrack. As you listen, your own brainwaves begin to reflect the Awakened Mind pattern, drawing you easily into states of deep insight, clarity of mind, creative inspiration and peak performance.
Listen as soft background music while working, painting, writing, or enjoying other creative activities. Daily use trains your brain to draw on your deepest capacities and abilities wherever and whenever you need them.
– Based on over 15 years of pioneering clinical research – Use with headphones or ordinary speakers – Contains no spoken words or subliminal messages
Dr. Jeffrey Thompson’s pioneering work with thousands of patients has led to groundbreaking discoveries in how sound frequency patterns built into musical soundtracks induce brainwave entrainment. Fortune 500 companies, healthcare professionals, clinics, hospitals, meditation groups, and individuals worldwide use Dr. Thompson’s audio programs for deep relaxation, healing, inner exploration, and meditation.
www.Meditactics.com The Meditactics Course (free)
This is a complete guide to meditation in both theory and practice for everyone. From the complete beginner to the expert.
It is also an extensive library on meditation, containing material from some of the absolute best scientists and teachers in the world, all recognised experts on the complex topic of meditation. It contains:
- 10 Hours Video (29 Video Clips)
- 97 Hours Audio (28 Audio books on 91 CDs converted to mp3 files)
- 10 000 pages of eBooks
… all this on ONE single DVD (or put the files on your hard drive, usb-stick etc).
Wherever You Go, There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn
In his follow-up to Full Catastrophe Living–a book in which he presented basic meditation techniques as a way of reducing stress and healing from illness–here Jon Kabat-Zinn goes much more deeply into the practice of meditation for its own sake. To Kabat-Zinn, meditation is important because it brings about a state of “mindfulness,” a condition of “being” rather than “doing” during which you pay attention to the moment rather than the past, the future, or the multitudinous distractions of modern life. In brief, rather poetic chapters, he describes different meditative practices and what they can do for the practitioner. The idea that meditation is “spiritual” is often confusing to people, Kabat-Zinn writes; he prefers to think of it as what you might call a workout for your consciousness. This book makes learning meditation remarkably easy (although practicing it is not). But it also makes it seem infinitely appealing.
Meditation for Beginners by Jack Kornfield
For readers who have thought about trying meditation but weren’t sure how to get started, Meditation for Beginners presents a complete introduction to “Insight” meditation with bestselling author and trusted teacher Jack Kornfield. Through step-by-step instruction in everything from breathing, posture, and attention to working with difficult emotions and physical discomfort, readers from any spiritual tradition will learn the essentials for creating a daily meditation practice. CD includes five guided meditation sessions to help cultivate the inner tranquility, natural joy, and mental clarity that are just some of the fruits of meditation.
A Path With Heart by Jack Kornfield
Beloved Western Buddhist master Kornfield makes known his personal, practical wisdom, garnered from 25 years of practicing and teaching the path of awakening, as he guides self-searchers to a simplicity of perception that brings alive spiritual practice, peace, and truth in their daily lives.
In undertaking a spiritual life, we must make certain that our path is connected with our heart, according to author and Buddhist monk Jack Kornfield. Since 1974 (long before it gained popularity in the 1990s), Kornfield has been teaching westerners how to integrate Eastern teaching into their daily lives. Through generous storytelling and unmitigated warmth, Kornfield offers this excellent guidebook on living with attentiveness, meditation, and full-tilt compassion.
Part of what makes this book so accessible is Kornfield’s use of everyday metaphors to describe the elusive lessons of spiritual transformation. For example, he opens with “the one seat” lesson taught to him by his esteemed teacher. Literally it means sitting in the center of a room and not being swayed or moved by all the people and dramas happening around you. On a spiritual level it means sticking “with one practice and teacher among all of the possibilities,” writes Kornfield; “inwardly it means having the determination to stick with that practice through whatever difficulties and doubts arise until you have come to true clarity and understanding.” The same could be said for this “one book.” Among all the spiritual self-help books, this is a classic worth sticking with and returning to–a highly approachable teacher that can only lead to greater clarity and understanding. –Gail Hudson
The Miracle of Mindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation by Thich Nhat Hanh
In this beautiful and lucid guide, Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh offers gentle anecdotes and practical exercise as a means of learning the skills of mindfulness–being awake and fully aware. From washing the dishes to answering the phone to peeling an orange, he reminds us that each moment holds within it an opportunity to work toward greater self-understanding and peacefulness.
The Three Pillars of Zen by Roshi Philip Kapleau
This was one of the most significant books I have ever read on meditation, the value of consistent practice, and how to do it by a very skilled and compassionate Zen Master.
For many, this is the ”first book” on Zen practice in America. It is a modern Buddhist classic, a comprehensive, exciting overview of the history and discipline of Zen filled with formal discourses, whimsical anecdotes, and letters. It includes priceless introductory lectures by Yasutani Roshi, as well as rare transcriptions of actual face-to-face interviews conducted by Yasutani Roshi with his students. The 35th anniversary edition has been updated and revised, including new photographs and a new afterword.
Big Mind/Big Heart Practice
Big Mind Big Heart Practice is the result of more than thirty-five years of study, difficulty, and searching for a way to bring anyone the experience of living a free, fulfilling, and awakened life. I have written in a style that you don’t have to be a Buddhist practitioner or scholar to comprehend. The point of the book is to make these highly valuable, accessible, and urgently needed teachings available to the world.
It has worked for people in many walks of life – educators, doctors, therapists, CEOs, and leaders in business and government, lawyers, judges, and meditators, athletes and artists, among others – and of many different faiths – Catholic Priests and Nuns, Protestant Ministers, Mormon Bishops, Jewish Rabbis, Hindu Swamis, Buddhist Lamas and Zen Masters, skeptics, and those of no particular religion. It has proven to be compatible with all faiths and beliefs, so I am confident all people can find it useful and valuable on the Way we all share.
- Zen Master Dennis Genpo Merzel,
Preface to Big Mind, Big Heart
The “Big Mind Process” is a specific technique developed by Zen teacher Genpo Roshi that merges Western psychological techniques (specifically Voice Dialogue therapy) with Buddhist conceptions of self and mind.
Genpo Roshi took some of the central discoveries of Western psychology, and found an astonishingly effective way to integrate the best of the eastern contemplative traditions, (a path to finding one’s True Nature and Infinite Self ) with some of the best of the western psychology (namely, working with finite reality and with limited selves, helping to make them conscious and then healed and wholed). The amazing part is that he then found a way to integrate the infinite and the finite selves with unprecedented ease and effectiveness.
Big Mind Process works with your own mind, with your states of consciousness, just as they are now. What you don’t know – if you haven’t had a satori or awakening of some sort – is that right now, reading this page, is Big Mind, or God, or Spirit. And it is so close and so obvious that you can’t see it. But Genpo, in his book (which is a simple handbook of how to do Big Mind/Big Heart practice yourself), will show you that part of your own awareness, right now, which is already enlightened, already one with Spirit, already fully awakened. And once you spot that, an entirely different world opens for you.
The Big Mind Process befriends the many voices within us—the dualistic voices with which we narrowly identify at one time or another—in order to gently lead us into a recognition of our nondual self.
Because the enlightened state is ever-present, we can access it any time. And while a permanent realization of Big Mind requires growth through stages of development, this process is one of the quickest and most reliable ways to give us a taste of this “stateless state” right now.
In short, Big Mind is a special new way to discover, experience and appreciate your life. It’s also a good way of working out the kinks, the stuck places, and the unhealthy patterns that keep us down. Life is complex, and the inner self is an exquisite network of the psychological and the spiritual. Understanding it well leads to a better life.
While Genpo Roshi is out of the Zen Buddhist tradition, he has said, “It has worked for people in many walks of life – educators, doctors, therapists, CEOs, and leaders in business and government, lawyers, judges, and meditators, athletes and artists, among others – and of many different faiths – Catholic Priests and Nuns, Protestant Ministers, Mormon Bishops, Jewish Rabbis, Hindu Swamis, Buddhist Lamas and Zen Masters, skeptics, and those of no particular religion. It has proven to be compatible with all faiths and beliefs, so I am confident all people can find it useful and valuable on the Way we all share.”
Below is an excellent audio introduction to Big Mind/Big Heart: a 2-part discussion between Genpo Roshi and Ken Wilber from IntegralNaked.com:
You can also learn more on the Big Mind Website, www.BigMind.org
The wise stand out, because they see themselves as part of the Whole.
because they don’t want to impress.
They achieve great things, because they don’t look for recognition.
Their wisdom is contained in what they are, not their opinions.
They refuse to argue, so no-one argues with them.
Tao Te Ching
“Nothing here below is profane for those who know how to see. On the contrary, everything is sacred.”
– Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Remaining open is a practice that is in constant development and renewal. Openness, flexibility, and permeability are absolutely necessary for HyperLearning as a Way of Being, so it is in our best interest to cultivate them in every way possible.
Our ever-evolving expression of our Unique Self Purpose is flowering in a world that is growing faster than ever, with Integral, worldcentric perspectives at the leading edge, requiring us to creatively and compassionately embrace an increasingly vast reality that is at once beautiful and horrible, creative and destructive, promising and apocalyptic.
A deep practice of Radical Gratitude is one of openness to it all. Radical Gratitude is as big as the sky; it has room for the easy and obviously pleasant things in our midst; the difficult, annoying, suffering aspects of living; and the shitty conflicts, gray areas, and inconsistencies that will invetiably arise and persist in such a complicated and beautiful (yet dualistic and impermanent) world.
This kind of gratitude knows no bounds. It sees the inevitable perfect unfolding of all events – even those that at first blush appear negative. Radical Gratitude is a practice of discernment, but not judgmentalism. We can see things for what they appear to be in the present moment – beautiful, ugly, unfortunate, lucky, underdeveloped, evolved, pathological, unskillful, hurtful, kind, sublime… and yet we know that whatever perspective we now hold will inevitably evolve over time. The practice of Radical Gratitude arises out of a deep abiding faith and trust that the Kosmos is unfolding exactly as it is supposed to… and, it could use a little help. Zen Master Shunryu Suzuki illustrated this Way of Being perfectly in this talk with his students:
“One morning when we were all sitting zazen [meditation], Suzuki Roshi gave a brief impromptu talk in which he said, “Each of you is perfect the way you are… and you could use a little improvement.”
Can you hold seemingly conflicting perspectives or experiences of any occasion in your life in a larger container of Radical Gratitude born of an all-embracing faith and trust? This is a Life Practice which never ends, but it keeps us open, evolving, grateful, and loving of reality-as-it-is, even as we skillfully seek to change and upgrade it.
Deserving and Gratitude
When my wife, Katrina and I found each other, we realized early on that we were Soulmates – we meet at every level of being: Matter, Body, Mind, Soul, and Spirit, in ways that we are exquisitely suited to help each other evolve and express our Unique Self Purposes in this lifetime. Katrina broke down one morning crying as she felt an overwhelming sense of not being completely deserving of our relationship – not because of anything in particular – just unsure of how she could possible deserve what she so deeply appreciated.
One of the things that naturally arises in the mind when we receive something into our life that is so obviously beyond our deserving of it is that we don’t deserve it – be it a relationship, career, inheritance, sage piece of wisdom or advice; a penetrating and generous compliment; a life-changing, sublime experience or realization; a good home; a “lucky” or fortuitous event.
That morning with Katrina, when her doubt about deserving our relationship was fresh and strong, I asked her, “Can you deserve the sky? Is there anything you could possibly do to deserve the rising of the sun this morning? The existence of anything? Probe this inquiry deeply enough, and you will recognize the stark truth: there is nothing you could possibly do to deserve the fullness, the preciousness of this life and all it has to offer and teach.”
Now, there are two ways that one can go from this recognition that there is nothing you could personally do to fully deserve even the most minute quality of life.
Perspective Number 1: Lack of Pride and Trust. Since you don’t deserve anything, your life is one of undeserving and insignificance. “I’m amazed I get anything at all.” This is a position of self-pity of self-deprecation or even self-loathing. The impetus to try is greatly diminished. When something comes, your subtle felt-sense is, “I don’t deserve it. It’s dumb luck.” If it leaves or gets taken away, well, C’est la vie, life sucks, impermanence and good fortune are both cruel taskmasters, life is random, and you didn’t deserve anything anyhow.
Perspective Number 2: Divine Pride and Faith. Since you – individually speaking – could not possibly do enough to deserve anything that comes to you (if you really look deeply at everything in the Komsos that had to come together to make it possible), then you must deserve everything that comes your way. Not that you individually deserve, but the Kosmos deserves and creates its unfolding – and you are that unfolding, as is everyone and all things. Everything is on the table – but it is not dumb luck that it comes to you, it is the inevitable manifestation of Spirit.
This is not a little egocentric, give-me-everything-because-I-deserve-it kind of deserving, but a recognition that individually and collectively we are here to share in the abundance of Spirit, in the never-ending unfolding of Spirit in 3rd-person as the environment and cosmos around us, in 2nd-person as God, and in 1st-person as your very own existence, awareness, creativity, compassion, love, and evolutionary drive to know, be, and embrace more in ever-expanding circles of care and concern.
This brings in two profound understandings to integrate for Radical Gratitude: The Plenitude of Spirit, and Divine Pride.
The Plenitude of Spirit
Ken Wilber writes in Sex Ecology Spirituality, “As Arthur Lovejoy demonstrated, the various Great Chain theorists maintained… all phenomena—all things and events, people, animals, minerals, plants—are manifestations of the superabundance and plenitude of Spirit, so that Spirit is woven intrinsically into each and all, and thus even the entire material and natural world was, as Plato put it, ‘a visible, sensible God.’”
Radical Gratitude both cultivates – and flows from – a recognition of the Plenitude of Spirit, or the superabundance of Spirit as evidenced by the miraculous and ever-present unfolding of all that is in and around us. An excerpt from my journals in 2005 illustrates the felt-sense of being overwhelmed with gratitude for the Plenitude, or Superabundance, of Spirit:
August 5, 2005
This afternoon I went with Kip up to the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont—she to visit her 3 month old Morgan horse (a filly), and I to see the countryside and enjoy good company. Today felt like it was just made for a few people—the weather was good, hardly anyone up there, the temperature was just right. Idyllic. So when we got there I was introduced to the folks who work there, saw the filly briefly, and then was shown a nice wide path leading to the top of a hill. I took my time walking, feeling the grass beneath my feet and completely unconcerned with projects and deadlines, the past, the future. I just let it all go and relished the farm, the solace, the green against the endless depth of the blue sky.
At the top of the path was an open field and a house with a full garden of flowers, blooming radiantly. I walked beyond the house, one of its people in the yard working in the distance, and moved through a break in the trees to an even larger field recently cut and baled. The earth was inviting beneath my feet, and the time was so slow I felt as though I could bring it to a complete stop it if I wanted to. I thought of oneness with all things—the word Brahman passed through my mind—and I moved into some Tai Chi and Hatha yoga poses right there in that majestic field with the mountain views off to two sides. The sun warmed my arms as they moved, the breeze moved around my body in such a delicate and polite manner, and happiness filled my entire being. The whole field and I just breathed for each other and took in the sun, and I could not see another person anywhere. For a split second, I imagined the field full of peaceful people, gathered to watch a talk, and then the space was grass and light again.
Sitting down, I looked at the mountains. Through a break in the trees I could see one mountain in particular, a nice sight, and then. . . I saw a myriad of color in the bottom of my view—flowers. I began to cry tears of such deep joy. “If it wasn’t beautiful enough, You put flowers there. You did not have to do that, but yet there they are. There they are.” I was saturated with a feeling of complete gratitude, and a simultaneous longing for peace for all beings. How many, how much suffering there is, if I could just share this moment with everything. . . Looking away, and then back again at the view of the mountain through the break in the trees with the flowers below. . . the mood was almost more than I could bear. I will not forget the flowers that did not have to be there, but there they were nonetheless.
The reason I felt overwhelmed with gratitude on the hill that day is that my small self felt overwhelming gratefulness for the self-evident superabundance of Spirit – in the grass, the view, the flowers that did not have to be there, but there they were in all their vibrant color.
Something so beautiful must be embraced, honored, encouraged, and loved as a mother or father would their child. Something as devastatingly simple as the grass, and grand as a star – our sun – that feeds it among countless trillions of other stars in the cosmos, but also feeds the very mind reading this page, and the soul that will lovingly, consciously, and creatively act on it deserves a witness, one to take pride in the grandeur of it all. But if our small self can do nothing to deserve it all, where does the healthy pride and appreciation come from? This brings us to Divine Pride.
The Kosmos – including your own self – is Spirit-in-action. Ken Wilber writes in A Brief History of Everything:
“… evolution is best thought of as Spirit-in-action, God-in-the-making, where Spirit unfolds itself at every stage of development, thus manifesting more of itself, and realizing more of itself, at every unfolding. Spirit is not some particular stage, or some favorite ideology, or some specific god or goddess, but rather the entire process of unfolding itself, an infinite process that is completely present at every finite stage, but becomes more available to itself with every evolutionary opening.
And so yes, we can look at the higher stages of this evolutionary unfolding, according to the world’s great wisdom traditions—the higher or deeper stages where Spirit becomes conscious of itself, awakens to itself, begins to recognize its own true nature.
These higher stages are often pictured as mystical or “far out,” but for the most part they are very concrete, very palpable, very real stages of higher development—stages available to you and me, stages that are our own deep potentials.”
In a two-part free video series on IntegralLife.com called, “Divine Pride and the Integral Movement,” Corey deVos writes:
You are the cutting edge of evolution.
Go ahead, take a few moments to feel into that. It’s not hyperbole—billions of years of evolution are at your back, plunging you into greater consciousness, greater compassion, greater freedom, and greater fullness. You are already perfect, and always have been—and yet, there is something making you even more perfect, something shaping you in its own image, something inviting you to step more fully into your own life.
And that something is you.
There is a God living in you, which is the same God that lives in me. God is looking through both of our eyes, gazing at Her own ubiquitous splendor. There is nothing that is not God. Everything is God.
Which means, in a very real sense, that you are God.
Now take a few moments to feel into that one. It’s okay, it’s not heresy—we are by no means saying that the ego or separate self is God. The entire universe does not revolve around you. No, the entire universe evolves within you. Not within your mind, or your heart, or even your soul—but within the effortless, unchanging vista of awareness behind all of your experiences, the unseen Ground of All Things, where every possible thought, feeling, and inspiration arises, dances for awhile, and fades into the twilight.
This is what we mean by “divine pride”. It is a simple recognition of our holy heritage, and an acknowledgement of the tremendous responsibility that comes along with this recognition. This is not the braggadocio of a new age narcissist—it is a pride stripped of all arrogance, tempered by humility, and held with unwavering devotion to an intelligence infinitely greater than our own.
It’s important to make this distinction, to dislodge ourselves from the tyranny of the ever-grasping ego. Otherwise, it would be next to impossible to feel the full gravity of this next statement:
God needs you.
Here, we are talking about your ego, your separate self, your finite body/mind. There is a reason why you were born. It was no happy accident. You are being called on by God to make some contribution to this world. You hold a unique perspective, a unique piece of the puzzle, and are obligated to find a way to offer your own deepest gifts to the world. We are the process of evolution becoming self-aware, and as such are tasked to participate in our own fate. In order to do so, we must jettison our neurotic attachment to weakness, anxiety, and brokenness; and surrender ourselves to the timeless perfection that we are forever immersed in.
In other words, we have to start taking ourselves more seriously and drop this damned debilitating fear of our own greatness.
We should not be asking ourselves “what’s the meaning of life?” Instead we should be asking, “what’s the meaning of my life?”
It is no accident that we are witnessing the emergence of the Integral movement at this precise point in history, when our problems have already become too big and too complex for piecemeal solutions. Dealing with problems on such an enormous scale requires at least a comprehensive view of reality, as anything less will only make things worse. This is why we say that you are the cutting edge of evolution—the simple fact that you are interested in the material we offer here at Integral Life demonstrates that some part of you is “lighting up” or resonating with this stuff. Don’t get us wrong—we are not saying that you need to subscribe to this website or Ken Wilber’s version of integral theory in order to participate in the emerging Integral movement (though we think that Ken’s is far and away the best version available), but your interest in this or any other “theory of everything” indicates that you almost certainly have a role to play in this historic unfolding.
In Radical Gratitude and Divine Pride you are open… full… aware… and abundantly grateful… These are immensely important qualitites for a HyperLearning Mind of great depth. From this place, you can continue to learn, evolve, create, love.
The reason I have told you about the work of Ken Wilber and an Integral Perspective is to give greater shape, direction, grasp, and skillfulness to your practice of Radical Gratitude and Divine Pride in a vast, deep, complex, and superabundant Kosmos.
When you are actively noting and seeking things to be grateful for, even greater fullness flows into your life. It is here that a humble gratitude and healthy Divine Pride in your Unique Self Purpose are constantly balanced anew.
Multidimensional Gratitude Lists
It may be cliché, but do it anyway. In the quiet of the late evening or early morning – or during a pause at work, write down on paper things that you are grateful for. Usually, we tend to write down things that we are grateful for in our own experience – which is beautiful. Take a cue from the chapter “Multidmensional Goals and Ways of Being” and see about recalling elements of the Kosmos that you are grateful for that are beyond your own personal experience:
- Personal Gratitude (yourself)
- Social/Community Gratitude (others in your local area, groups, culture, religion, etc.)
- Worldwide Gratitude (the global community of people, cultures, nations, religions, etc.)
- Kosmic Gratitude (all beings, God, for life in all its depth and span, permanence and impermanence, creativity and destruction, love and hate, unity and diversity, etc.)
Develop Radical Gratitude for: the God that is the global environment and the universal cosmos in all its plenitude; the God that is the truth, goodness, and beauty in other people; the God that pervades the Kosmos from Matter to Body to Mind to Soul to Spirit; and the God that is in and through and is your very own self: your awareness, your love, even your suffering and imperfections.
My colleague in the field of Nutrition, David Wolfe, has said, “God is always talking to me.” This is not an egocentric statement, but comes from an understanding that God is always talking to – and through – the entire Kosmos. In my own life, I practice the heart of this statement as a curious, open, and persistent listener. This orientation, if you will, can be particularly helpful when things don’t seem to be going your way, and you feel there is a wrinkle in the fabric of the Kosmos. Just remind yourself, “God is always talking to me,” and contemplate, “What is it that I could be hearing now if I would just listen?” Space will open up in your whole being… and this is crucial for an open and HyperLearning Mind.
If you are an Athiest, then develop Radical Gratitude for: the unfathomable mind-blowing miracle that is the global environment and the universal cosmos in all its plenitude; the miracle that there is truth, goodness, and beauty in other people; the blessing that the Kosmos evolves from chaos to exquisite order from Matter to Body to Mind to Soul to Spirit; and the miracle that is in and through and is your very own self: your awareness, your love, even your suffering and imperfections.
It is this loving and Radical Gratitude that will keep not only your mind, but your whole being in a place of permeability, creativity, and action: all hallmarks of an awakened HyperLearner.
Forgiveness: Healthy Self-Love
“Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”
– The Buddha
“You must forgive those who hurt you, even if whatever they did to you is unforgiveable in your mind. You will forgive them not because they deserve to be forgiven, but because you don’t want to suffer and hurt yourself every time you remember what they did to you. It doesn’t matter what others did to you. You are going to forgive them because you don’t want to feel sick all the time. Forgiveness is for your own mental healing. You will forgive because you feel compassion for yourself. Forgiveness is [first] an act of self-love.”
– Don Miguel Ruiz, The Mastery of Love
The Buddha and Miguel Ruiz (and just about every teacher worth their salt) are absolutely right. Holding a grudge in non-forgiveness of another person – particularly over a long period of time – is a MAJOR drain on your physical and mental energy. You invest energy in thinking negatively about that person, creating situations to avoid – or potentially insult or harm – them.
Ultimately, you rob yourself of the energy you need to HyperLearn and to be creative with your knowledge and wisdom.
Practices for Forgiveness
But how to forgive? How does forgiveness arise? In my experience, the best way is through the cultivation of a higher, wider, deeper, more all-embracing love and compassion for all people. The human experience is fraught with difficulty, confusion, shitty choices and circumstances, lack of proper role models or elements necessary for healthy growth and development. The more introspection and inquiry you do into your own life experience and choices (seeing that you are not perfect either), the greater your compassion and love for all people who are most of the time doing their best to be a good human being. And in that ongoing experiment, people screw up – we all do – and sometimes we do so consciously.
We forgive others when we truly recognize the fullness of what it means to be a human being, and hope that others will forgive us when we do less than the best. We see that the growth and development of those around us are most often cultivated most skillfully when guilt and negativity are released, so that the energy is present in you and the other person for new ideas, new energy, new ways of being.
Practices for self-inquiry – knowing thyself – that I have found work best:
- Reflecting on your past choices and forgiving yourself
- Meditation and Prayer
- Reading Books on the Human Experience (Religion, Psychology, Philosophy)
- Big Mind/Big Heart Practice (see above)
Forgive! And get on with putting your energy into your own HyperLearning, growth, and development! This is no platitude – don’t underestimate the weight of guilt and grudge. It’s a load of bricks.
Coming up next time: Chapter 13: Bonus Inspiration
David Rainoshek, M.A.
 Wilber, Ken. The Eye of Spirit, pp 214-15.
 Ibid, pp 218.
 Wilber, Ken. Grace and Grit. Shambhala, 1992.
 To Shine One Corner of the World: Moments with Shunryu Suzuki, pg 3.
 Wilber, Ken. Sex, Ecology, Spirituality: The Spirit of Evolution, pg 16.
 For more on this line of thinking, I highly recommend the Audio CD Set, The 1-2-3 of God with Ken Wilber.
 Wilber, Ken. A Brief History of Everything, pg 9.
Meditation for HyperLearning
Big Mind Big Heart Practice
Forgivness – Heathy Self Love
==> Audio on Mobile Devices
Meditation for HyperLearning
Big Mind Big Heart Practice
Forgivness – Heathy Self Love
- HyperLearning Course Welcome
- Cover Art Commentary
- Acceleration Begins NOW:
- Benefits Preview of HyperLearning
- Chapter 1:
Introduction to HyperLearning: How to Revive Your Natural Ability/Drive to HyperLearn
- Chapter 2:
Five-Minute University: The Elements for HyperLearning
- Chapter 3:
A Magnificent Obsession
- Chapter 4:
Multidimensional Goals and Ways of Being
- Chapter 5.1:
A Map for HyperLearning Better: Integral Thinking – Part 1
- Chapter 5.2:
A Map for HyperLearning Better: Integral Thinking – Part 2
- Chapter 5.3:
- Chapter 6:
FLOW: The HyperLearning State of Optimal Experience
- Chapter 7:
Print: Read Better than Anyone with PhotoReading and SpeedReading
- Chapter 8:
Accelerate your Media Speed Like Neo in The Matrix
- Chapter 9.1:
Reduction and Organization
- Chapter 9.2:
Cultivating Transformative Relationships
- Chapter 10:
HyperOrganize Your Interests and Passions
- Chapter 11.1:
Nutrition for HyperLearning – Part 1
- Chapter 11.2:
Nutrition for HyperLearning – Part 2
- Chapter 11.3:
Nutrition for HyperLearning – Part 3
- Chapter 12.1:
Complementary Life Practices
- Chapter 12.2:
- Chapter 12.3:
Meditation and More
- Chapter 13:
Bonus Inspiration: The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris
- Chapter 14.1:
Materials to Keep You Inspired
- Chapter 14.2:
More Materials to Keep You Inspired
HyperLearning: A Mystic’s Perspective
- About the Author:
David Rainoshek, M.A.