Nine Steps to Enlightenment
What's the most important job of all? Right living which includes right thought, right word, and right deed. Through right living we can achieve enlightenment and break the cycle of rebirth.
To accomplish anything of significance, one must have a strategy, a business plan so to speak, and this includes having a strategy for right living. In the paragraphs below, we will discuss a nine-step business model for achieving unity with the One. There are nine steps because the number nine is the number of completion.
Before discussing the different steps, we must talk about discipline. The steps will not work unless you are disciplined with your spiritual practices. By discipline, we mean doing your practices on a consistent basis, preferably every day at the same appointed time for at least 15-30 minutes. And by practices, we mean meditation, prayer work, contemplation, and chanting -- activities which bring you into direct contact with the Higher Self.
Without spiritual discipline, people are controlled by the lower self. In other words, they are controlled by their emotional and instinctual bodies including their desires for money, sex, power, "happiness", and approval. Many people view spiritual discipline as something which binds them, something which is restrictive. But do you see that the end result of discipline is freedom? Freedom from the lower self so that the higher self can begin to be the controlling force in your life.
In the beginning, discipline takes effort, but if you remember that the end result is freedom, then it's a little easier. And over time, discipline will become a habit and eventually part of your character.
A mistake people often make is that they go gung-ho into a spiritual practice. Many of these people burn out and stop the practice. The point here is that you must take baby steps in the beginning if you are not accustomed to pursuing daily spiritual practices. Marathoners do not just start running 26.2 miles. They build up the distance they can run over time in steady intervals. In the same manner, you must gradually build up the time you spend in spiritual practice so that your body, mind, emotions, and psyche can adjust to the discipline.
Each step on the way to enlightenment is associated with a chakra. For a more detailed description of the chakras and the colors associated with them, please refer to the description of the Rainbow Bride Meditation, which is one of the subjects in the More menu button. The steps are as follows:
1. Attention. Recognition of this step will change your life for the better, and to apply it, you just need to remember the following maxim: What you pay attention to, that you energize; what you energize, that you become.
This first step is associated with the root chakra. The root chakra is the densest of the chakras, and in the Rainbow Bridge, it is associated with the color red. At this chakra, we are dealing with the physical plane.
If you want to change your life, you must take action in the physical plane, and this includes consciously choosing what you should pay attention to. For example, if you want peace in your life, should you be watching programs on television which are centered around conflict? Of course not. Your time would be better spent on more peaceful pursuits such as walking in nature, reading spiritual texts, or communing with the One through meditation and prayer.
If you want a healthy body, should you dwell on all of your aches and pains, allocating a portion of each day complaining about them? Again, the answer is no. Your attention should be on improving your well-being through such things as changes in your diet and exercise regimen. Your attention should be on all of the good things about your body.
For one week, make a list of those things which occupy most of your attention. Make a determination as to whether your attention could be better directed to other ideas and pursuits so that you can become the person you want to be. Then take action by redirecting your attention.
2. Concentration. We regard to this second step, we are now at the spleen. In the Rainbow Bridge Meditation, the spleen chakra is associated with the color orange, and it is the site of the emotional body.
What is concentration? It is focused attention. It's not surprising that step two on the Path is at the emotional body. To understand this, you must realize that the word emotion really means movement of the mind. Thus, emotional people tend to have a scattered mind because they are controlled by their emotions, which drag them to and fro throughout the course of a day. These individuals might be paying attention to something, but in the context of that attention, their mind is still wandering. For example, let's say these people are watching the Super Bowl on television. Although they are paying attention to the game, their mind is likely flitting from one subject to another: "Boy, the stadium's loud", "I wonder how that coach got his job", and so on.
Concentration would allow them to focus on one aspect of the game. It is one-pointedness. Let's take another example. We have a stone and a bucket of water. Let's say the bucket of water is attention, and you pour the entire bucket over the stone. The stone obviously becomes wet. But what if you focus that attention? Instead of pouring the entire bucket, you let it slowly drip onto the stone. If you continue to do that, eventually you'll create a hole in the stone. That is the power of concentration.
Remember the law of physical manifestation? This law is: Spirit into mind, mind into matter. Before anything can manifest from Spirit, the mind must acknowledge it, and there must be a clear, focused vision for it to appear in physical form. If your mind is scattered, what happens to the form? It does not come in as you intended or how you would have liked. However, with concentration, there is clear creation.
Spend one week practicing concentration as much as possible. When you eat, eat. When you drive, drive. When you play, play. By doing this, you'll see how much your mind wanders while you're doing a particular activity, and you'll start improving on your ability to manifest clearly what you intend to create in your life.
3. Observation. We are now at the naval chakra, which is associated with the color yellow in the Rainbow Bridge Meditation. This is the site of the thinking mind.
What is observation and why is it so important for your spiritual advancement? Observation is a witness state. It is not active, but rather, passive. To truly observe something, there must be no judgment, no preconceived ideas, no assumptions, and no conclusions. In other words, there must be detachment.
Detachment is difficult to understand conceptually and harder to put into practice. Attachment is bondage, and spiritual advancement cannot take place when you are attached to ideas, people, places, and things. Take for example, the attachment to an idea. Back in ancient times, people thought the world was flat, and that you would fall off the face of the earth if you sailed your boat to the edge of the horizon. Over time, this concept of a flat earth was questioned by people who were not attached to the prevailing doctrine. And the idea of a flat earth was conclusively disproven after Magellan's circumnavigation of our planet.
How many people are attached to ideas about themselves? "I'm fat; I'm not smart; I lose my temper too easily; I haven't done much in my life…." Because they are attached to these ideas, they create what effectively becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Why don't a lot of diets work? Because the dieter is bound by a certain concept of themselves, and frankly, it does not really matter what the dieter eats. Spiritual law is involved here, and until the dieter changes his thought process and breaks his attachment to the idea that he/she is an overweight person, the diet will fail.
As noted above, we are not just attached to ideas. We are attached to things (house, car, clothes, jewelry), places (where we live, where we vacation), and perhaps most importantly, people including our families, friends, and loved ones. What is one of the hardest things to do in this lifetime? To love without attachment.
Do you realize that when you are attached to something, you literally create a line of light that connects you to that person, place, thing, or idea. If you are attached to a great many things, than you are caught in a web of light, like the fly in the spider's web. And you cannot move, progress, and evolve while being stuck in such a web.
Remember the admonition "Don't be fooled by appearances"? People are generally fooled by the outer world because they have not mastered observation. They are bound by their own ideas, conclusions, and judgments. Take for example the following: You see a very famous person. If you are a master of observation, that person's fame would have no impact on you irrespective of why the person is famous (renowned spiritual leader, great artist, well-known politician). Their fame would simply be a fact, like a lemon is yellow and the sun rises in the East. However, what if you are not a master of observation in this example? There would be a greater likelihood that the person's fame would distract you from seeing who and what they truly are, and there would be a greater likelihood that you would overlook their faults as well as their good qualities.
You are a co-creator with God. Everything around you is the result of your own doing. Thus, if you want to know yourself, what should you do? Observe what is around you. The outer world is a perfect reflection of our inner selves, and in this respect, it is analogous to a mirror. Who are your friends and why? What do you like to do, and what don't you like to do? Where do you live? Where do you work?, etc. When you make these observations, it must be done without attachment. In other words, don't cloud the mirror.
Observation is one of the most important parts of our meditative practices. When we meditate, we must not attach to thoughts. When we do the Rainbow Bridge Meditation, we must observe the colors of the Bridge without judgment or conclusions, accepting them as they are. Observation is being. The world is moving around you, but you are unmoved by it. You are the witness.
4. Meditation. Here we are at the heart chakra, which is associated with the color green in the Rainbow Bridge Meditation. This is the site of the environmental mind.
Although all of the steps on the Path to Enlightenment are important, this one is particularly important. Meditation has application to both your inner and your outer environments. Why? Because these two environments are inter-connected. In fact, as noted above, the outer world is a reflection of your inner being. Thus, if you want to change your outer environment, you must change your inner environment. This is analogous to the in-breath of creation which is discussed in many religious texts. Take your energy within, purify it, and then send it out with the out-breath of creation.
The concept of strengthening yourself within before venturing out is not new or novel. Jesus the Christ was well aware of this concept. He didn't just go out into the world doing public service. Rather, for most of his life, he studied and disciplined himself so that he could fulfill prophecy during the few years that he was in the public eye. And even during those few years of public service, the Bible is replete with references to how the Christ went off by himself to pray and meditate, to strengthen himself within. Keep in mind that this was being done by someone who was already Self-realized, which is a testament to the importance of going within.
Mediation has many positive attributes. First, it fosters discipline. We encourage you to meditate every day at the same time. This creates consistency, which is turn creates positive cycles of discipline and consistency in your life. Remember it takes 21 days to create a habit and 3-5 years to create character.
Second, meditation quiets the mind and emotions so that you are functioning in a state of calm, in a state of peace. Thus, when difficulties or obstacles arise in your life, you can address them in a calm and peaceful manner. This will then be your level of response (as opposed to reacting from a level of anger, fear, jealousy, etc.).
Third, meditation is a merging. When you meditate you want to merge with the highest, the One Without a Second, so that you become the highest. As noted above, we are at the heart chakra on this Step to the Path to Enlightenment. The heart is the seat of the soul. When you meditate, you are creating a connection between the heart and the center of the crown chakra. The center of the crown chakra is associated with the Cave of Brahma, which is located in the space of the brain behind the third eye. One of the goals of meditation is to raise the soul from the heart to this higher level of consciousness at the crown.
Fourth, with meditation, since you are merging with the One, you are not attached to the past, present or future. Instead, you are in the here and now, the present.
Remember the 5th Commandment: honor thy Father and thy Mother? We are all composed of male (assertive) and female (passive) energy, and this Commandment is telling us to balance these energies. In order to balance these energies, we must meditate. By taking the action to meditate (assertive) and combining it with the actual meditation (passive), we create balance, both within ourselves and in the world around us.
5. Contemplation. Contemplation is at the throat chakra, which is associated with the blue ray in the Rainbow Bridge Meditation. Blue is the first ray out of the Godhead. It is the power and might of God. It is truth. Contemplation is thus a very powerful spiritual state.
As we move along the path to Enlightenment, it is important to remember that each successive level has every previous level in it. Thus, when you contemplate, you are paying attention to something, i.e., the object of your contemplation (step 1). You are also focusing on it, so there is concentration (step 2). You are detached from the object of your contemplation, which means you are observing it (step 3). And there is a merging with it -- a meditation upon it (step 4).
To truly know something , you must know its cycles. As the Bible says at Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, there is a time and a season for everything. A time to be born, and a time to die. A time to kill, and a time to heal. A time to break down, and a time to build up. A time to weep, and a time to laugh. A time to mourn, and a time to dance. A time to get, and a time to lose. A time to keep, and a time to cast away. A time to keep silent, and a time to speak. A time for love, and a time for hate. A time of war, and a time of peace. Everything can be identified by its cycles, and contemplation gives you knowledge of cycles.
Have you noticed that when you first start something, there is a struggle? Take learning a new instrument, like the cello. You have to learn how to hold it, how to place the fingers of your left hand, how to bow with your right arm, how to read music, and how to interpret music to make it your own. If you are diligent, playing the cello will begin to flow over time because you are beginning to understand its cycles. The same is true for anything else you apply yourself to…math, science, religion, etc.
Now why are some people "better" at certain things than others? Two cellists will not be of equal quality. There are many reasons for this, but some of the more important ones include: 1. karma; and 2. love. With regard to love, you cannot truly understand something without love for it. When there is love, there is a merging, and consequently, understanding of its cycles will come naturally.
Since Contemplation is at the throat chakra, mastering this level of consciousness will make you a Master of truth. Therefore, the truth about whatever you are contemplating will be revealed. Appearances will not fool you. Having truth and knowledge about cycles gives you what? Power over the object of your contemplation.
6. Super Conscious. The sixth step up the mountain is Super Conscious. The number six is significant. Why? Because it is the number of the Christ, and it is symbolic of the higher flowing into the lower -- light coming into darkness.
We are now at the brow chakra, which is associated with the color indigo in the Rainbow Bridge Meditation. Indigo is the three-fold flame composed of red (love), blue (truth), and gold (wisdom). Indigo is the trinity; the three creating one; the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; and the Mother, Daughter, and Holy Wisdom.
What does it mean to be Super Conscious? It's a state where your conscious mind and your subconscious mind are working in perfect unity. Remember that your subconscious mind is like a computer. Everything that happens in a given day is recorded -- every thought, every word, and every deed. Also note that the subconscious mind takes things at face value. In other words, it doesn't distinguish between reality, non-reality, truth, or non-truth. Rather, everything is just recorded as is.
Let's take an example. If you say you're going to do something, like make a call at 3 p.m., your subconscious mind records that as a fact. If you subsequently don't perform the action, your subconscious mind records that as well. What does this all mean? If you don't follow through with your word or a plan of action, you create limitation in your life. Why? Because your subconscious mind recorded that you were going to do it, but you failed to follow through. The subconscious mind recorded the failure as well, and therefore, as far as your subconscious mind is concerned, you're words do not have power. In short, your non-action effectively destroyed the power of your spoken word.
The failure to follow through with your spoken word or a plan of action also creates limitation because it breaks down self-confidence. Not completing what you say, or what you set your mind to, creates a pattern. This pattern then leads to a cycle of non-accomplishment.
So how do we address a situation where we have not followed through with our word? The solution is not to beat yourself up. Instead, you must address the situation with your subconscious mind. Tell your subconscious mind that you cannot complete the task at the appointed time, but that you will accomplish it at a set time in the future. When you then proceed with the task at the future time, your subconscious mind will record its accomplishment, giving your words power.
As noted above, being Super Conscious means your conscious and subconscious minds are unified. When you are in this state, you live totally in the present. In reality, there is no linear time continuum from A to B. Rather, everything is here and now. If you live in the now, you will be able to see the past, present, and future. Thus, when you are Super Conscious, you can recall exactly what was said or done, in full detail, at any moment in time.
To live in the now, you must be detached. Attachment to people, places, things, and outcomes will bind you, and most people are bound by emotional attachment. For instance, a certain person might be associated with anger, jealousy, envy, or love. The same can be true for a certain event in your life. However, things in the past must be viewed as they are by the subconscious mind -- this is what happened, and this is what didn't happen. See it in this black and white fashion freed from emotion, judgment, or conclusion. In this sense, you are simply seeing what is, and this allows you to live in the present.
7. Cosmic Conscious. Here we are at the crown chakra, and this chakra is associated with two colors in the Rainbow Bridge Meditation. The majority of the chakra is violet, which is the transmutation power -- the ability to turn darkness into light. Violet is the color to keep in mind when dealing with the seventh step on the path to Enlightenment. In addition to the violet, the crown chakra has gold at its center. The color gold is associated with the eighth step on the Path, Master Conscious, which we will address below.
If you are Cosmic Conscious, there is true realization that you are Spirit. You are not bound by physical limitations or physical reality. Negativity and darkness have no power over you. Instead, they are burned away, so that you are free and a pure channel for the One. You are Universal and fully aware of your connection to all. There is appreciation of how every thought, every word, and every deed impacts the greater whole. Your language is one of "we, us, and our" instead of "I, me, and my".
8. Master Conscious. Here we are at the center of the crown chakra which is associated with the color gold in the Rainbow Bridge Meditation. The color gold is the Buddhic light, and it symbolizes mastery over all levels of consciousness. Thus, you are the Master of the physical, mental, emotional, psychic, and spiritual planes.
Most of you are probably familiar with the biblical story in the Book of Exodus where Moses is speaking to God, who at the time is manifested as a burning bush. At one point during this interaction (Exodus 3:14), Moses asks God for His name, and God responds "Om tat sat om", which is Sanskrit for "I am that I am".
Om tat sat om is one of the chants we use at the Spirit of the Lotus. Your language at the eighth step on the Path to Enlightenment derives from this chant and the phrase "I am", which is the Law of Identity. Whatever words follow this phrase, that you are. Jesus the Christ, a Master direct from the Godhead, frequently spoke in this manner with statements like "I am Love; I am the Lamb of God; and I am the Light".
You are either the victim of fate or the Master of your destiny. When you make choices wisely in the golden light and live in harmony with your true nature (the Law), you are the Master.
9. Christ Conscious. The final step on your journey to Enlightenment is Christ Consciousness. In the Rainbow Bridge Meditation, we are now at the chakra which is located six inches above the crown, and this chakra is associated with the color white.
White is symbolic of the purity of the Christ. All colors in the optical spectrum come from white. This is demonstrated when you disperse white light through a prism, which then produces the colors of the rainbow. Thus, white light has every other color in it. At this step on the path, you are One with all as all. You have achieved Enlightenment. You are attention, concentration, observation, meditation, contemplation, super conscious, cosmic conscious, and master conscious. You are the alpha and omega, the beginning and the end. You are the love that binds all creation together.