How to Experience the Universal Christ – Part One
Whole-Body Awakening in Six Practices
Theologian Ramone Panikkar, says that Christ is “the Christian symbol for the whole of reality.” Panikkar further points out that the “whole of reality” consists of three seamlessly connected dimensions: (1) the divine (2) the human, and (3) the material. Here is a basic set of six Whole-Body Awakening practices leading to the immediate experience of all three dimensions of the Universal Christ. This week and next we present six practices to awaken the divinity, humanity, and materiality of the Universal Christ in us. The first three this week will focus on each center of our personal, individual movements, while next week will integrate these into our outward, communal movements.
Practice One: The direct experience of
the human dimension of the Universal Christ
START WITH YOUR HEART
Start with the heart because the heart leads. It holds the power to heal our self-centeredness—to open us to all people, our sisters and brothers in humanity. The heart is our body’s most powerful source of divine/human love, and the easiest to access. Here are the steps:
1. Drop down from your head space to your heart space. Most of us begin by thinking, just like you are doing in reading this. Therefore we must consciously move our awareness from head to heart. You can place your hand on your heart to help you aim for the target. If you need more help, you can tap on your head on down to your jaw, and then to your heart. Tap there until you sense you have moved to knowing from your heart felt-sense rather than your conceptual head thinking. This is not thinking about your heart, but dropping the awareness that was previously in your head down to your heart.
2. Activate your heart’s love energy by thinking of someone you love very much. Let your love for them flow out from your heart where it resides.
3. Soak this divine-human love you are sensing and feeling into your body, into every organ and cell. The Beloved, God-Beside-Us is gazing directly at you right now. God is love, and comes to us personally in the form of the divine motherly-fatherly presence, Jesus, and other saintly guides whose loving, healing gaze is delighting in you just as you are right now. Deep in your heart also resides pure love, just waiting to be uncovered and released. Accepting Gods love awakens God’s image in us, which is already ever present, but our awareness of it is often buried under our temporary self. Eventually you will not need to think of a loved one to get this divine/human love flowing. It will begin spontaneously as soon as you place your awareness in your heart.
You can do this practice deeply in extended meditation/prayer, or you can activate your heart in this way at any moment all throughout your day. This may take many sessions, dreams, reflections, and glimpses before it starts to become your reality. Be patient with yourself. You are uncovering God’s all-inclusive love that is already there as an intrinsic dimension of your heart, but has been buried under conditioning, lack of teaching and training, and almost always just simply because we are not aware that this is possible.
The extent to which your heart can lovingly embrace your self in all of your suffering and glory, to that extent you are ready to experience the human Universal Christ.
Practice Two: The direct experience of
the divine dimension of the Universal Christ
SPREAD INTO YOUR HEAD
1. Move back to your head where the goal of awakening is vast transcendence – the direct experience of God-Beyond-Us. This time when you move your awareness back to your head, you will be carrying the felt sense of your heart energy and field with you in your consciousness. When entering your head space from your heart, you may find it unusually still. Instead of needing to laboriously attempt to think no thought, your mind is quiet because have first moved into your heart space where your mind is already calm! Now you can sit in stillness. If thoughts come, instead of thinking of a word to bring you back to stillness, which is a thought in itself, just bring your heart-sourced sense of love into your head awareness.
2. Let the still space in your head expand. Stillness is a form of consciousness without thinking. In still, empty awareness you can even become aware of being aware—not as a thought but a sense of your own being.
A still mind, empty of self, allows us to enter the awareness of the transcendent divine Self of God-Beyond-Us. “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).
When you are ready, let the stillness of your head space open up and begin to expand upward and outward. Our consciousness is a part of the Universal Christ Consciousness and therefore has no boundaries or limits. There is only One Mind and we are each a part of it. The transcendent Universal Christ Mind is not a thought, but a felt-sense of knowing with “whom we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28).
The extent to which your mind goes beyond your constructed self to become aware of the self-transcending mind of Christ, to that extent you will directly experience the divine Universal Christ.
Practice Three: The direct experience of
the material dimension of the Universal Christ
GETTING CHUMMY WITH YOUR TUMMY
Yes, I know. My English is sinking pretty low here, pardon the pun, but I’d rather be memorable than erudite. The next location in Whole-Body Awareness practice is moving further down to our abdomen, womb (literal or symbolic), tummy, or gut.
Gut meditation is centering. It intuits what we need to hear, not what we want to hear.
The gut is where we hold the embodied core of both of our selves—the important, temporary, constructed, how-to-survive-in-this-life-self and the divine True Self which is our Forever Self. The idea is to develop the healthiest small self we can to help us live in the material world, while uncovering our hidden True Self and identifying with it as the real us.
This core sense of the divine self results in gutsy courage that allows us to thrive in the material world while transcending it at the same time.
The material dimension of God is all about incarnation. God loves you so much She/He became you! And not just the spiritual you. God also became the physical, material you, just as with Jesus. “God loves things by becoming them,” as Richard Rohr so wondrously says. So while the Universal Christ is about the entire physical cosmos as divine expression, it is also just as much about your own specific, bodily, human, divine incarnation too! If this sounds too earthy, remember that a major Christian doctrine is incarnation—God with a body!
1. Let your attention drop from your heart to your tummy as you place your hands on your abdomen. Wait until your awareness rests comfortably there.
2. Relax your tummy. Let it stick out (contrary to good posture and pretending to be trim).
3. Use one hand to rub large circles around your abdomen if you wish as an attention inviting and often soothing exercise. This can also sometimes bring up buried emotions. If that happens, just sit with them and let God love them. Many of us, including me, have needed some kind of therapy to get these healed.
4. Notice any felt sense or intuitions arising from your gut. As your small self releases its hold on your identity and retires from being in charge, your divine identity will joyfully come into your awareness, not as thoughts, but as inner knowing. This is God-Being-You. As an incarnated being you are one not only with your body but also with the material cosmos.
The extent to which your gut can release your constructed self and identify with your Divine embodied, incarnated Self, to that extent you are experiencing the material Universal Christ.
The second part of this article containing the remaining three outward movement practices will be available next week. Sign up for our Mailing List to be sure to catch the next installment!