In later processing of the feelings that came up for me a few days ago, one thing kept presenting itself. And that was the difference between any off the agitated states – agony, anger, dismay, etc. – and normalcy.
The agitated states carry me out to the peripheries of emotion, but always, when I re-attain the feeling of normalcy, I find myself back in the center of my being.
The first thing I conclude from that is that the agitated states are not normal and normal does not include the agitated states.
They occupy a different experiential space or territory. We leave the space called “normal” when we become agitated and we re-enter it when we leave the territory of agitation.
But above and beyond that, what is the territory called “normal”?
Well, one clue is presented by the fact that, when we leave the peripheries of emotion, we come back to the centre. What lies in the centre?
The hridayam lies in the centre, according to Sri Ramana Maharshi, two digits to the right of the breastbone. The hridayam is a pinprick aperture on the other side of which lies the heart or soul. It remains closed until enlightenment. Upon enlightenment, it opens and we experience the heart or soul.
We heard Archangel the other day confirm that the heart and the soul are the same thing, a divine spark of light that is God.
“It is counting angels on the head of a pin to say, well, this is the soul and this is the heart. They are to all intents and purposes virtually inseparable.
“But when they go to that place of pure consciousness, of light, of the spark of divinity, then, yes, that is when they are in their true heart.” (1)
When we’re brought back to the centre, to the middle, to the place of balance, where the emotions are not raging, then we’re brought back as close to the heart as the closed aperture of the hridayam will allow us.
So I’d like then to characterize “normal” as being the first stage of heart consciousness.
“Normal” for me is neutral, an absence of strong emotion, a place of rest.
When it becomes a fixed stage – that is, when we feel ourselves to be equanimous, not desiring this or that, not leaning to the left or right – then I’d consider that a second stage of heart consciousness.
I notice that immediately moving from stage one of normalcy to stage two of equanimity, I feel an increase of love.
Further stages of approaching the heart or soul seem to involve going deeper and deeper into this most rewarding place of the centre. It is as if ours is an overall journey to the center of our being. If I were to draw a treasure map of enlightenment, “x” would mark the spot of the heart.
One possible outcome is described by Eckhart Tolle, who fell into a vortex or energy and emerged enlightened.
“I felt drawn into what seemed like a vortex of energy. It was a slow movement at first and then accelerated. I was gripped by an interns fear, and my body started to shake. I heard the words ‘resist nothing’ as if spoken inside my chest. I could feel myself being sucked into a void. It felt as if the void was inside myself rather than outside. Suddenly there was no more fear and I let myself fall into that void.” (2)
I’m not saying this’d be the universal experience of everyone. Others may see light or the form of their chosen ideal. But it nevertheless does demonstrate, I think, the significance of moving deeper and deeper into the center.
So if I were to say what my concentration would be in terms of spiritual practice, I would say that it’s exploring more and more deeply what is meant by the centre, going deeper and deeper into that, so as to fall into the heart or soul.
So feeling “normal” to me, or at rest, which leaves me in the centre, is the first step for me of falling into the heart.
(1)”What is the Heart?” at http://goldenageofgaia.com/2014/03/30/what-is-the-heart/.
(2) Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now. A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment. Vancouver: Namaste, 1997.