Continuous Conscious Connection

You and I are always connected to the Source of all living energy in the universe. The thing is we forget that connection is always with us. Humans have given it many names to remind themselves throughout the course of their existence on Earth (God, Goddess, Divinity, etc.), but then they become distracted by the details of daily life, and conscious memory slips away. This amnesia makes everything more difficult because on some level we feel untethered and lost. We think we are alone in the cosmos, without purpose or support. This is not true, but how do we find our way back to the deep-seated knowing that lives within? How do we recognize divine Presence in every moment, in everything we experience?

Traditionally, religion played that role. People regularly attended temples or churches to pray and feel connected to something greater. Today, a more free-flowing, eclectic spirituality seems to be arising. People are seeking experiences beyond the parameters of what has defined human-divine connection in the past. Still, the essence of what is being sought is a profound ongoing awareness of something sacred in our lives. In our hearts, we know it exists; we are just trying to access that elusive memory.

Currently, we are living through a time of Remembering, of coming into continuous conscious awareness of the sacred within, which spiritual teachers throughout the ages have pointed to with such certainty and unwavering vision. It is humanity’s time to fully awaken to this inner/outer experience that will individually and collectively guide us through life. But how does this occur? How do we access connection intentionally?

Meditation, prayer, or immersion in ancient teachings can spark connection to God/dess, when this becomes an ongoing practice. Consistency is key; some call it devotion. There are many other conduits to that connection to universal consciousness. One of the most powerful and direct is Nature. Walking daily in natural surroundings, such as a local park or a nature sanctuary, can keep the door to the Divine wide open. Birdsong, flowers blooming, tree branches dancing in the wind, or the drama of the sky and clouds are Nature’s way of keeping us awake and connected to something beyond the daily distractions that occupy our minds. The natural world fills the heart and soul with joy, love, and Presence. Over time, this feeling becomes continuous, a conscious part of who you are.

Personally, I find that I rely on all of these reminders. It is so easy to forget in our busy world full of conflicting personal and global dramas. Eventually I make my way to the deeper truth that only love is real. It is the living thread beneath everything in the multiverse, and it holds humanity together with a powerful vibration living at the core of our being. You yourself hold the reminder within you. You can’t lose it because it is what gives you life. The light within you can become clouded over or temporarily forgotten through the years, but it is never lost.

At this moment in time, the cloudiness is clearing. Each of us is gradually awakening to ongoing awareness of the dynamic tapestry of connection that we are one with. Every time you look up at the blue sky or into the eyes of a loved one, you wake up more fully. With every conscious breath you take, connection is present. It is a process that can’t be stopped because it is our divine destiny as humans on this Earth. We came here to awaken and fully remember who we are and where we came from. Continuous awareness of connection is on the horizon. With each sunrise, we see more clearly and love more deeply. And we step more fully into consciously living as our souls.

I Am That

The Ham-sa (or So-ham) mantra has been used by yogis and meditators for centuries to align with the breath—inhalation and exhalation—and experience divine connection, or Presence. One translation of the Sanskrit syllables is “I Am That,” meaning: all that is, or the universe. The repetition of these sacred sounds centers meditators in the stillness within and connects them to universal consciousness. With consistent daily practice (sitting or walking), an individual can increase awareness of both inner and outer Presence, ultimately discovering that they are one and the same.

At least that has been my experience in recent years, particularly in the past few months. As I moved through treatment for breast cancer, my spiritual practice deepened, and I felt a dropping away of personal identity into expansive soul awareness beyond the physical form. “I Am That,” or just “I Am,” expresses this as closely as language can. Infinite spaciousness in which there is only being without boundaries of any kind. As the weeks of post-treatment passed, I felt even more space opening up, extending out beyond me and this planet to endless galaxies with no fixed point or place within time/space. I look at the sun and the sky that surrounds it and know that I am all that I see or perceive. And more. 

I believe this is the life journey for each of us. At birth, we individuate in human form on Earth and then over the course of a lifetime we move gradually to a less defined identity which then disappears entirely at death. We return to the formless universal consciousness from which we came. If we are fortunate, we may experience some of this vast awareness before we die—through spiritual exploration or unexpected life events. Whatever our individual life course, we eventually reunite in collective beingness as we transition from this world to the next. The sharp edges of fear about death can soften as the years pass and we are prepared for that transition, which is not an end but a doorway to expansion beyond the physical body.

“I Am That” awareness comes to me most vividly in Nature. When I gaze up into the branches of a giant oak tree stretching to the sky, I sense the living wisdom of an ancient being. When a great blue heron spreads its wings and takes flight, I feel awe, watching it seamlessly navigate both Heaven and Earth. When, on a cold March day, I hear a cardinal’s spring song, I experience the joyful vibration of new beginnings. With each breath, I inhale Source energy, and everywhere I look, I see a loving Intelligence reflected in the world. Some call it the Divine Mother’s love, taking physical form around and within us.

We all are part of that love. In fact, another way of saying “I Am That” is “I Am Love.” Everything in the universe embodies shining loving Presence, more and more visibly when we let go of our identities and rest in the peace and stillness of the natural world. However you come to discover the vastness of the cosmos and the spirit within you, your heart will open so fully that you will recognize Love in all you see. Truly, there is nothing but That.
 

Divine Infusions

I have straddled the worlds of western medicine and holistic health most of my life. As a child, I saw an Illinois allergist for many years who helped me with desensitization shots for my chronic multiple allergies. When I was 18, doctors in Venice, Italy, saved my life when my appendix burst on a trip with a student group. As an adult, I began to gravitate to alternative remedies like herbs, as well as acupuncture, chiropractic, homeopathy, massage, and meditation. I became an organic vegetarian. I continued to see my very supportive primary care physician for yearly checkups and prescriptions for migraines, but I was aware of the shifts in prevailing consciousness (and funding) that influence what is available at any given time. Every decision I made arose from my own intuition about which path served me best.

My recent diagnosis of early-stage breast cancer catapulted me into an unexpected journey that actually allowed me to learn so much more about western medicine, particularly as it relates to treating breast cancer. I found myself in the hands of three knowledgeable and compassionate doctors who worked as a team to customize my care and were able to explain it clearly and understandably to me. I absolutely knew I was on the right path. Once again, all my decisions are grounded in my own inner guidance, and I have felt profoundly guided from the beginning. Never more so than last week, when I received my first chemotherapy infusion, the treatment I had feared the most.

All I can say is that it was a divinely orchestrated day, every bit of it. The staff at the chemo Infusion Center were wonderful, human angels every one of them. Thorough and careful about all they did. I sat peacefully in my own little room with heated blankets, looking out at trees and sunshine during my treatment. I had been saying for a week or so that I was going to receive a sacred elixir from medical alchemists, and I truly felt that. The words came to me from deep inside, my own spiritual perspective on what was happening. Throughout history, alchemists in many countries, some well-known scientists, have worked with energy and matter to find ways to cure diseases or transmute matter. Modern medicine and science probably do not see a connection between that work and theirs, but within my own experience, I felt myself once again bridging worlds, even dimensions.

As the nursing staff explained what the chemotherapy does and answered my questions, I felt my spiritual vision expand and deepen. What moved it along even further was an iPod that I had brought along, filled with Panache Desai’s meditations. I was drawn to one program in particular: “Align, Attune, Ascend,” which I had loved but hadn’t listened to for years. When I looked at the listings, I found that the word infusion was included in several titles, and Panache referred to all of the meditations as “vibrational infusions.” The synchronicity was unmistakable!

The first one I chose to listen to during my treatment was “Body Ascension Infusion,” and it was perfect. The words themselves were powerfully infused with energy and light (Panache spoke of releasing the density in the cells and allowing homeostasis and balance to occur), and the Solfeggio Frequency music that accompanied the meditations amplified everything. I felt myself carried along on the combined energy of the chemotherapy infusion and the vibrational infusion, both divine. I was receiving a sacred elixir of medical and spiritual alchemy. My words, my experience. “It’s all in how you frame it,” a friend once said to me. I returned home to rest quietly, and gratefully. Every moment of the day pure grace.

Stillness of the Heart and Soul

The nonstop noise of the external world often keeps us from experiencing the quiet at the core of our being. There, a timeless eternal presence without sound or language awaits us, a connection to something greater than our individual, seemingly short lives. Outer distractions, both audio and visual, continuously surround us from our TVs, laptops, and cell phones and prevent a deeper relationship to all of life. Traffic sounds, machinery, and loud voices in nonstop conversation interrupt our peace of mind, even if we don’t consciously recognize the dissonance. Yet, something within each of us does know something is amiss and longs for an absence of sound within which we can feel calmer, more centered. How do we get there?

Many people have turned to meditation and yoga or quiet solitary walks in Nature for just this reason. It connects them to that inner space of quiet within. Once accessed, you may realize it is never absent, even in the noisiest surroundings. At least, that is what I have discovered over the years. There is silence beneath every sound, even the loudest, because sound arises from silence and falls back into it. There is silence between every note of music, every spoken word, and every birdcall. There is silence in my heart. If I pause, that silence rises to the surface, and I become silence itself, just peaceful presence. My soul holds the stillness of the universe and divine connection, and it is always available to me as I awaken more fully and deepen my awareness.

You and I are on this path together, this opening to the eternal stillness of all being. Every human is. It is the collective destiny of humanity, and the individual journey of each soul. The return Home after life on Earth…and a realization that Home is within us now. In silence we find it, and gradually it becomes so compelling that we choose to live the rest of our lives in conscious awareness of that divine stillness within. Sometimes world events, like a global pandemic that shuts everything down, become the catalyst for awakening to this deeper awareness. What appears on the surface to be crisis may open the doors of perception to untold universes within. In the absence of activity and noise, we find peace.

I grew up in the Midwestern countryside, an only child who spent most of my time outdoors. Nature’s quiet is part of me, and I reach out for it in my daily life. Even a small park with trees and flowers in an urban setting is enough to call me back to that inner silence of the heart and soul. I believe we all need this connection, especially now. If you feel distant from stillness in your life, it is not as far away as you may think. Don’t wait until life overwhelms you and crisis stops you to rediscover the essence of your being. Every day, take a few minutes alone to access that place of internal peace and quiet. Pause, close your eyes, breathe deeply—and there you are. As simple as that…

Practice…and Beyond

Photograph © 2019 Peggy Kornegger
Remember the old joke about the tourist asking directions in New York? “How do I get to Carnegie Hall?” “Practice, practice, practice.” That answer could also be given to the spiritual question “How do I get to the enlightened state?” Practice—a lifelong commitment to finding peace of mind and God. Your practice becomes your life, and vice versa. And yet it is not until the practice softens and becomes a relaxed inner flowering rather than a rigid outer striving that everything shifts. The virtuoso pianist and the devoted meditator discover the sound and light within them, not on an external stage or altar. Carnegie Hall and enlightenment are not destinations; they are experiences.

Only when we let go of the need to arrive somewhere do we find that what we were looking for existed already, right in front of us. Dorothy traveled over the rainbow to Oz only to realize that “Home” was in the faces of those she loved…and in her own heart. The enlightened state, too, appears to be over some distant rainbow, yet what if it exists inside us? We only have to deepen our awareness to feel its expansive presence. This deepening is the softer sense of practice, the spiritual sense.

Growing up, we are taught that if we practice enough, we will achieve whatever we focus on with intent and purpose. Practice is seen as a repetitive routine that leads to a specific goal, like playing a musical instrument well. This meaning has a certain truth; if we practice anything diligently enough, we can achieve proficiency. But there is a step beyond proficiency that can only be reached by an almost indescribable surrender wherein we become the music (or the meditation) itself. In spirituality, diligent meditating does not necessarily lead to enlightenment. Ultimately we have to let go of trying and open to something greater than ourselves. In this opening, practice falls away, and there is only spirit. The experience and the experiencer are one.

When you come to realize that you are, as Adyashanti put it, “seeking God with [God’s] eyes,” then awareness literally opens your eyes to the truth of who you are. Beyond practice is grace, in music or in spirituality. You become one with the flow of life, and you begin to flow yourself, whatever you are doing. You see the divine light within you that is reflected in the world around you. In every person and in every thing. This is enlightenment. A state of being, not a state of practicing.

Master musicians and spiritual masters share one attribute: connection. They are connected to something greater than themselves, and that is what lifts them into a state of pure being—oneness with music or oneness with God. This is the future of all of us who were born on the planet at this time. Our destiny is to softly step beyond the edges of practice into a life of awakened presence: spirit embodied in form, fully aware of both our humanity and our divinity. In any given moment, we can shift our awareness into this peaceful space of expansive perception. It’s not as difficult as it may seem. It just takes practice…and then letting go of practice.