This is Post 24 in the ‘Meditation Guidance’ series. Summaries of the other articles in this series can be found by clicking here.
In order to understand meditation fully, an understanding of the way our psychology manifests somatically, or energetically in the field of the body, is essential. We especially need to understand the way in which female and male spiritual character manifests somatically. These are things that are extremely poorly understood, given their great importance as key factors that govern the level of harmony and fulfilment that we experience in sexual relationships. They appear to be difficult to consciously acknowledge and talk about, even though we are all very keenly aware of them.
This is perhaps partly because these phenomena are so difficult to conceptualise. The great Carl Jung, who developed a very sophisticated understanding of the way archetypal, or transpersonal, psychic forces shape male and female psychological character, also understood that the archetypal psychology of sexual difference manifests somatically – in the subtle energies of the body. He theorised that there was an energetic patterning of the body, or somatic unconscious, that shapes our psychology in a similar way to the archetypes of the collective psychic unconscious. Whereas the archetypes of the collective unconscious show themselves in our myths, stories, dreams, and movies, the energies of the somatic unconscious can be felt in the body as energetic dynamics and states.
Our ability to know ourselves, and to function with psychological freedom and integrity, is closely related to our capacity to fully acknowledge this bodily-felt dimension of the inner world. Our engagement with the somatic dimension takes us to the core of the human mystery – and to the core of how human beings embody Consciousness, or fail to do so.
The Qualia of Embodiment
In connection with the yellow Southern Quadrant of the mandala and the brahmavihāra of muditā, or Appreciative Joy, it is helpful to acknowledge the experience of ‘Embodiment’ that we have been addressing is a ‘qualia’. The qualia are the difficult-to-define subjectively experienced phenomena that occur in connection with Consciousness. As a way of finding alignment at the beginning of a meditation session, try just taking a few moments to notice your experience of ‘Embodiment’. You are likely to find that when you look in your experience for ‘Embodiment’, you will find yourself being pointed to the experience of Consciousness. You will have a similar experience when you look for the experience of ‘Being’, which names another key qualia. Continue reading