My Camino Way Series Article #6
Meditation Under A Blue Spanish Sky:
ASCENDING TO A HIGHER CONSCIOUSNESS
Day 2 of El Camino
It was just before noon when I set out from Espinal headed for Pamplona. The path was much gentler than the previous day, during the great descent into Roncesvalles. It took me along open roads and onto shady trails through a beech wood forest. With the exception of the odd dog barking off in the distance, it was serene.
Since leaving Phoenix, it had been a whirlwind of activity, catching planes and trains, finding my way around St. Jean, then into Spain, making new friends, being with people – figuring things out, basically.
This was the first time I was truly alone while walking the Camino, free to contemplate whatever came up without having to consider other things or people. The weather was perfect – the sky was blue, the sun was shining but it was cool. Being a sun worshipper, it was the ideal day for me to be out in nature, meditating.
With just three and a half kilometres to go, before I arrived in Pamplona, I decided to take a break and lay down on the grass to put on sunscreen.
While lying there under the blue Spanish sky, I was amazed at how lucid my mind was and how everything appeared so much clearer than in previous days, like looking through a polished lens.
I’ve been meditating in some form or another since the 1970s. As you evolve spiritually, a simple hike can become a walking meditation.
It starts with a humming of the consciousness, like an ancient song reverberating throughout your body. As you get in synch with that rhythm, the music builds to a crescendo and your soul expands along with it.
The Camino for me was about ascending the spiritual ladder to raise my consciousness, to reach what Paramahansa Yogananda calls “Christ Consciousness”.
Christ Consciousness has been associated with various states of enlightenment within different traditions and belief systems.
For some, it is akin to the level of enlightenment attainable in Dharma religions known as samadhi - when the kundalini, or spiritual energy, reaches the seventh (crown) chakra and the spiritual heart (hridayam) opens and then closes. Others associate Christ Consciousness with a more permanent state of enlightenment, sahaja, when the spiritual heart opens and stays open.
Yogananda sometimes employed the term Christ Consciousness to mean “the [spiritually] perfect man or woman.” In order to make a point that he saw no distinction between the Hindu “Kristna” and the Christian “Christ” he spelled Christ “Christna”.
My belief system is eclectic. I draw from many different sources in diverse cultures and fields - ranging from metaphysical studies to new age spiritualism, Buddhist to Indigenous teachings. For me, it is the striving toward a higher consciousness that matters - to never give up connecting with one’s soul.
Hence other terms such as “soul / higher / universal consciousness” are often used in place of Christ Consciousness, “Christ” signifying the light or soul within us all.
As the 19th century Romantic poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote, “If our reach does not exceed our grasp, then what’s a heaven for?” It is an excellent question, beautifully expressed.
Since the beginning of my sabbatical, I’ve made it a habit to read one lesson each day from Yogananda’s Spiritual Diary. Yogananda’s teachings refer to the seven centers of energy and spiritual intelligence, also known as chakras. Different religions have different symbols for this light energy (the number of chakras vary as well). In the Christian tradition, The Book of Revelations refers to “seven stars”. In Buddhism (and other Eastern religions) the lotus flower represents spiritual growth. You will often see a seven-petal lotus associated with the sacral chakra. It is where creative and sexual energy is stored, which is why healers frequently refer to it as the “relationship” chakra.
When I want to connect to that healing light energy I meditate, focusing upon the point between my brows – the third-eye chakra.
The Buddha’s eyes are the color of sapphire, like the sky above me. Here in the stillness, I can see the perfection of the Creator reflected around me everywhere. I close my eyes, say a prayer of thanks for the beautiful day and chant quietly:
om mani padme hum om mani padme hum om mani padme hum
This simple chant, which is believed to contain all the teachings of Buddhism, is extremely powerful. Every syllable has a unique sound vibration and meaning that gathers energy with repetition. It invokes the divine spirit, the bud of the lotus – the essence of compassion. In this state, we don’t just manifest love. We are Love.
I rise up from the grass, feeling refreshed and ready to continue on the Way.
In that moment when we connect with the “Light” of our soul I believe we are the embodiment of Christ Consciousness. The only task we have, then, on the path to being enlightened, is to sustain that connection. In a sense it is incredibly simple - and yet it continues to elude the vast majority of people, even those who practice meditation and other spiritual practices daily.
I like to say that I am perfect just the way that I am, and the way that I am growing.
We are on a spiritual journey, every single one of us, whether we see ourselves that way or not, and in this there are no mistakes. So wouldn’t it be better to live that journey consciously?
The essence of our being, our soul, is perfection. All we need in this life can be attained, if we only make the sincere effort every day to meet our souls.
Stay tuned next week when I’ll be writing about more Meditations on El Camino. Meanwhile, feel free to contact me if you’re considering El Camino as a relationship sabbatical or simply for your own spiritual growth. There’s plenty of information on El Camino and many ways to walk it. So, if anything has resonated with you while reading this, it may be a special sign, divinely arranged just for you.
Buen Camino, Pilgrim
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