Given that I have forsaken the concept of a goal based path and have embraced the Infinite Journey, I have been forced to adopt a different view of things based on nearly 3 decades of experience in the Yogic, Sufi, Mystical Christian and Shamanic traditions. Like any intellectual pursuit in the realm of spirituality, my personal view is limited by my own human mind’s inability describe the Infinite Experience - so suffice it to say it is an evolving and limited description that I have formulated on my personal and inexplicable Infinite Journey. While it is yet another attempt create an organized spiritual view of something that is inherently inconceivable, I have found it extremely helpful and have chosen to share it here for others to benefit from.
Trapped In Linear Time and Spiritual Hierarchies
Western religions established the concept of Heaven and Hell as consequences or rewards for our actions. Heaven is achieved when one lives their linear existence within the pre-defined rules of engagement. Hell is where we are sent to suffer for our sins. This very black and white reward/punishment view describes a conscious God that judges and extracts revenge for disobedience. It becomes a tool to subjugate the masses and control their behavior through a collective sense of human inadequacy.
Eastern religions more often than not refer to a spiritual hierarchy as well. In the Yogic Tradition, chakras are described as a linear progression extending from the base to the crown. In this linear approach to the spiritual journey, the disciple must master each chakra in succession in order to obtain the wisdom and rewards of the next. Nirvana or self realization is the end goal and occurs when one opens the last and final crown chakra or some similar thing.
Master/Disciple traditions insist that spiritual humility can only be achieved when one submits to a more evolved human master. The aspirant's ego is subdued into a sense of inadequacy, reinforcing the concept that they are separate from the Creator and cannot experience the Divine directly.
Fostering human inadequacy in a disciple creates dependence on another, allegedly more evolved being in order to climb some illusory spiritual ladder to achieve some mythical spiritual goal. If we accept that by our very existence, our life itself, we have embarked on an Infinite Journey, such hierarchies, goals, spiritual levels, are merely more creations of our own mind that only serve to distract us on the Journey.
Singularities, The Soul And The Medicine Wheel
Physicists and Spiritualists alike have occasionally agreed on a common view that our universe was created from a singularity. From this primordial singularity all creation was stirred and spiraled outwards to create the universe. New singularities with their own creation story are formed, like echoes or reflections from the primordial singularity. It could be said that our very existence is also a mirror of creation. At our center is the singularity, our soul which exists as a singular point in time and space. Our spirit is the manifestation that forms around this center or singularity. Spiraling energy from our center/singularity manifests consciousness and action.
The fabric of creation, often referred to by scientists and spiritualists as Ether, is established by the existence of Space and Time which extend from the center/singularity like the cross in a shamanic Medicine Wheel.
Directions of Up/Down (SPACE) and future/past (TIME), are often referred to as directions in traditional Shamanism. An alternate view would be that these are in fact aspects of Ether where the Time and Space create the fabric for creation. These four “etheric directions” establish the cross in the medicine wheel.
Figure 1: medicine wheel
Superimposed upon this Wheel in the four corners, are the four directions which directly relate to the traditional Shamanic directions in the Medicine Wheel.
The Heart Based Medicine Wheel
The heart chakra or center in yogic tradition can be viewed as the center of a Medicine Wheel that exists within our very being. This chakra can be viewed in the shamanic sense as the center or singularity of our existence. It mirrors the singularity out of which all creation was formed. It links the infinite with our instance in time and space, it is the seat of the Soul or “Is-ness” - our essence of being. Soul is the passenger on the infinite journey. Soul is connected to and transcends the wisdom past and future. It transcends space. Soul is the point from which our co-creation emanates. It can be associated with our unconscious mind.
Some Sufi's have made reference to 9 heart based sub-chakras. Each is said to exhibit unique characteristics of the human persona. These in fact form a Medicine Wheel like structure in the heart, beginning with the center, the four points in the Time/Space cross, and four directions/elements. Figure 2. below illustrates these heart sub chakras as a Medicine Wheel.
The center/heart point is intersected by a line that connects it with two points, above and below it, located on the chest. They correspond with the thymus gland and solar plexus. Two more points are in line with the heart on the horizontal axis located on either side of the heart point. The vertical points can be associated with Space, the upper associated with the traditional medicine wheel direction of up or Sky. The lower point associates with the direction of down or Planet Earth.
We are children of both the stars and of Earth and these two points are nodes where the flow of energy from Earth and Sky intersect and reflect the heart point just above and below the heart chakra.
The horizontal flow can be associated with Time. The Right node or point can be associated with the traditional medicine wheel aspect of ancestors. It represents our connection to the wisdom of our past ancestry and genetic heritage. The left point can be associated with the future or our relationship with the wisdom of the future. This time “energy” so to speak, flows from both directions and intersects in the Heart/Singularity. The two points are nodes or reflections of the Heart Chakra as a result of this flow of time.
While references of these two points exist in some Sufi literature, their exact location seem to be guarded as a secret. Perhaps this is because they empower the individual with wisdom beyond time. When one can connect directly with wisdom beyond time, dependence on a spiritual hierarchy to experience the Journey for us is no longer necessary.
References to this wisdom beyond time exist in the Christian tradition, referred to as the "Holy Spirit". It was this very empowerment of all humanity taught by Jesus to the unwashed masses that caused such a threat to political and religious hierarchies of the day and resulted in his torture and execution.
The “cross” established in the heart with the intersection of the Space and Time establishes the fabric of ether where spirit, mind and body manifest. This can be thought of as the Medicine Wheel of the heart. Again the Christian tradition makes reference to the existence of a "Cross In the Heart". I do not find this to be a coincidence at all. Its even more interesting that when Catholics cross themselves, they utter the words "Holy Spirit" when making the horizontal portion of the cross over the heart.
The four corners of this heart centered Medicine Wheel represent the four directions, and associated four elements. This is where aspects of our Spirit manifests. Sub-Chakra’s associated with each element/direction each have their own characteristics that make up our conscious self and result in our on manifestations.
We as products of creation are mirrors of the repeating pattern of Singularity/Ether/Manifestation. The Heart Chakra, can be though of as the Center or Singularity. It is the seat of the Soul or unconscious self. It is the intersection of the fabric Time and Space with our singular existence or "Is-ness".
Meditation On The Heart Medicine Wheel
Lets discard the traditional order of the Medicine Wheel as well as the linear progression of Chakras. Instead, lets embrace the center or heart chakra as a place of balance or inactivity- like the calm center of the hurricane with the manifestation of Spirit swirling around it.
Begin by embracing the presence of the Sky Spirit, as it flows from the heavens and resonates at the upper heart point located at the location of the thymus gland. Acknowledge the flow connecting the stars and galaxies of space from above into the this upper heart point. This flow is cancelled at the heart chakra, and re-establishes itself as it flows downward into Planet Earth. We are children of the stars, formed by dust and gasses from galaxies, and forged by the fire of suns. We embrace and honor this reality as it manifests within our Core.
We then embrace the presence of our planetary energy as it flows from below and resonates in the lower heart sub-chakra located at the solar plexus. We honor this flow of planetary energy as it moves upwards, negating at the heart chakra, then re-establishing itself as it flows upwards to the heavens. The flows of Sky and Planet intermingle as we embrace our connection to Space. By honoring the intermingling of Planetary and Cosmic energies, we acknowledge that we are children of Earth just as we are children of the cosmos. Our very DNA is forged from the elements of our planet. It is part of us and we are part of it.
We become mindful of the center or Heart Chakra as the singularity. It is a place where perfect balance exists, no thought, emotion or activity - complete calmness, only Being or Is-Ness exists there.
Next we welcome the presence of the spirits of our ancestors. In doing so, we acknowledge the flow of energy from our right, entering under the right arm, just parallel to the heart, and resonating at the sub-chakra just to the right of the heart. The wisdom of our past, our ancestry, saints flow in us and through us. It exists in our very DNA. We are part of it and it is part of us.
We then welcome the presence of the spirits of the future. Our own future wisdom, the wisdom of Angels, our progeny, all flows through us and in us. Time is not linear, and we can access this wisdom at this very instance in time just as we access the wisdom of the past. We envision this energy flowing from the left entering under the left under arm parallel to the Heart Chakra, and resonating at the sub-chakra just to the left of the heart. The flows of the past and future timelines intermingle, canceling each other out at the center/Heart Chakra and resuming on the other side.
Again we are mindful of the Heart Chakra, being the place of calm balance. A conundrum exists here. We are both created from this flow of the fabric of Ether - Time and Space, yet we are creators of it. We are Creator. Creator is us!
From the center there flows a spiral that connects the lower and upper Yogic Chakras. This spiral links throat chakra with it’s corollary navel chakra, the third eye with the sex chakra, the crown with the base chakra. This system of chakras are not linear, but in fact reflections of the each other on either side of our Singularity. They are neither higher or lower, but simply the manifestation of our existence on the physical and cosmic planes.
Likewise, similar chakras exist extending horizontally on the Time plane of Ether. Like the Yogic Chakras, there are three chakras on either side of the Center. From the heart we visualize two sets of three concentric circles connecting the correlating points on each side, connecting the heart to chakras in the elbows, wrists and finger tips.
With this meditation we establish the inner Medicine Wheel, linking our Center to all chakras and sub-chakras. We establish our selves in Creation and the Creator in ourselves. By this meditation we empower our very existence as divine manifestation.
Meditations On The Four Directions and Elements
Soul recovery is something often referred to in the Shamanic tradition as a method of healing and restoring balance. The soul, however is never actually lost. It always remains our singular instance in time and space. It cannot be lost our found, but simply “IS”.
It is our many faceted spirit, that becomes fragmented as its various aspects become distracted by stimulus, distractions, attractions and what not. If we are to acknowledge any inadequacy, it might be that our manifestation of Spirit has become distracted and fragmented and needs to be re-aligned and brought into harmony. This can be done simply and consistently. It is not a spiritual practice that is mastered, but instead is an affirmation that brings our Spirt into harmony.
With the prior meditation we acknowledged our existence or our “IS-ness” by honoring our Heart Centered Medicine Wheel. With this established, we can begin to bring the various manifestations of our spirit into harmony, restore balance, and provide a coherent environment for the soul to thrive and proceed on its Infinite Journey. We do this, in the traditional Shamanic sense by welcoming the four directions and their associated elemental, animistic and human aspects. In this case however, the Medicine Wheel is not something external that we stand in. We are the Medicine Wheel!
Direction of East/Element of Air
We begin by honoring the direction of the East and its associated element of Air. It resonates at the sub chakra in the upper right from the heart. Here the spirit of light and abundance reside. We can associate an animal spirit such as the eagle to this direction. We welcome the wisdom, guidance and protection of these spirit guides and by honoring their various characteristics we are in harmony with them.
Direction of South/Element of Fire
Next we honor the direction of the South and its associated element of Fire. It resonates at the sub chakra in the upper left from the heart. Here the spirit of the divine female exists. We can associate an animal spirit such as the coyote with this direction. We welcome the wisdom, guidance and protection of these spirit guides and by honoring their various characteristics we are in harmony with them.
Direction of West/Element of Water
Next we honor the direction of the West and its associated element of Water. It resonates at the sub chakra in the lower right from the heart. Here the spirit of the the shadow or unseen world exists. We can associate an animal spirit such as the tortoise with this direction. We welcome the wisdom, guidance and protection of these spirit guides and by honoring their various characteristics we are in harmony with them.
Direction of North/Element of Earth
Next we honor the direction of the North and its associated element of Earth. It resonates at the sub chakra in the lower left from the heart. Here the spirit of the the divine male energy exists. We can associate an animal spirit such as the buffalo with this direction. We welcome the wisdom, guidance and protection of these spirit guides and by honoring their various characteristics we are in harmony with them.
Each sub point associated with the four directions and elements also mirrors their own smaller Etheric Medicine Wheel with spiraling energy from the center. With this meditation and visualization we acknowledge without doubt that our spirit is now in harmony. We envision each direction/element within us as a vibrant spinning entity of its own, guiding us on our Infinite Journey.
There are both collective and individual combinations of directions with elements, and associated spirit guides. Each individual must find the combination that resonates with their own Spirit. There is no right or wrong answer here. Directions and elements, their locations and characteristics can change or vary from person to person. What is important is to open oneself to the guidance and wisdom that Creation provides and establish harmony with it.
There is no achievement or mastery in these meditations. These meditations are merely affirmations used on our Infinite Journey. Embarking on the Journey is what is important. “Being” or better yet, “Is-Ness” is the constant companion on this Journey. One need not seek out guidance out of a sense of inadequacy, but instead open the heart to the guidance and wisdom that already exists within Creation that resonates within oneself. In this way, true humility is maintained without fostering spiritual inadequacy. There is no goal or hierarchy to feel separate from. We embrace and honor our Infinite Journey and the wisdom gained from it. We are not inferior to the the spirit guides that assist us along Journey. They are part of our own creation, and are Creation itself as are we.