This is Post 20 in the ‘Meditation Guidance’ series. Summaries of the other articles in this series can be found by clicking here.
Each of the four brahmavihāras is a doorway into meditation and a doorway into a key aspect of spiritual truth. Muditā, which is usually translated as Sympathetic Joy, but is perhaps better translated as Appreciative Joy, is a particularly important doorway for us however. As I have been explaining in the last two of posts, the body, because of its seeming obviousness, is easily misunderstood and overlooked, when in reality it is our entry point into the mysterious somatic dimension. Without examining this bodily-felt dimension through meditative enquiry, the universal blessing which is our experience of embodied Consciousness cannot be fully received and understood.
The Body – our Doorway to Somatic Transformation
I have talked in a previous post (here) about the importance of acknowledging and becoming deeply familiar with the seven subtle bodies (and the seven chakras) – especially the first four bodies, which correspond to the quadrants of the mandala, and which we may call the four surface bodies. The subtle bodies are important because they provide us with a way of understanding that meditation, while it takes the apparently physical body as its starting point, gives us a way of engaging directly with these ‘subtle’, or non-physical, dimensions of our experience, which are nevertheless felt in the body.
Using the map that the mandala provides, these energetic or somatic dimensions can be distinguished and discerned in meditation. When we first start to meditate we experience the way the subtle bodies have a felt quality that reflects the psychological parts that we have fallen into identification with. As we learn to rest as Consciousness however – and learn to break our identification with psychological parts, if only in brief moments of Mindfulness, or in periods of meditation – the energies of the subtle bodies can start to transform. Even if we only practice resting as Consciousness for short moments of time whenever we remember to do so, this can be very significant, because we come to recognise our choice – and our power to transform ourselves in this way. Continue reading