Many of Rupert's meetings begin with a guided meditation, followed by a dialogue; others consist only of a dialogue. The guided meditations fall into two categories: one, general meditations that explore various aspects of the nature of experience; and two, more specific meditations that explore the experience of the body and the world in relation to the non-dual understanding. These latter meditations are referred to as Yoga Meditations, and you can find a brief introduction to this approach below.
Introduction to Yoga Meditations
The imaginary separate self is made of the belief that our essential nature of pure Awareness shares the destiny and the limits of the mind and body, and this belief has its counterpart in the body, where it is substantiated as 'me' feelings.
In fact, the feeling of being a separate self is by far the larger part of the sense of separation. Many of us may have a clear intellectual understanding of the non-dual perspective: that is, we may know from genuine experience that what we are essentially is the open, empty, unlimited space of Awareness, and yet still feel that we walked into a room and are sitting on a chair.
While it is perfectly obvious to us that Awareness didn't walk into a room and is not sitting on a chair, nevertheless, we still feel that we are located in and as a temporary, limited body. In other words, there is a discrepancy between what we understand and what we feel.
These feelings of separation are deeper and last much longer than our beliefs. For instance, a conflict may arise in a relationship, which, although subsequently resolved, may leave a residue of tensions in the body, which take some time to dissipate.
During our lives a network of tensions and contractions have been laid down in the body in this way, arising from our interactions with people, situations and circumstances. Long after their apparent cause has been resolved and forgotten, this network remains alive as a sort of memory or echo in the body, laid down, layer upon layer, mimicking the presence of a separate self that supposedly lives there.
In this approach to the true nature of experience, we make a deep exploration of the body, during which these residues of separation are explored and exposed. In time and as a natural and inevitable consequence of this exploration, these residues of separation in the body gradually and effortlessly dissolve. In other words, we learn to feel the body in a way that is consistent with our understanding.
The understanding that our essential nature of pure Awareness is ever-present and unlimited is just the first stage. If this understanding is not taken into the way we feel, act, perceive and relate, it cannot really be called true understanding.
One of the most common complaints on the spiritual path is that in spite of our clear understanding, we continue to feel, act and relate in ways that betray the presence of a separate self. The reason for this, in most cases, is that our understanding has not been taken deeply into the body, and remains only at the level of thought.
So, in this approach we do not just explore the way we think, but the way we feel; and indeed not just the way we feel, but the way we perceive, act and relate. In other words, the body and the world – not just the mind – are gradually colonized by our understanding.
This last phase of the spiritual path is an endless process that is described variously in the spiritual traditions as the establishment process, the Great Rebirth, the transfiguration, transformation etc. It is a process in which the body and the world are progressively permeated by and saturated with the open, empty transparency of our true nature. It is the 'outshining' of the mind, body and world by the light of pure Knowing.
From the conventional point of view, we believe that our essential nature of pure Awareness is made out of the body, and the apparently separate self is created with that belief. In understanding we realize that the body is made out of the open, empty, luminous presence of Awareness.
This is not an extraordinary new experience that happens to a few people; it is actually what we are experiencing all the time. However, the intimacy of our experience has been so distorted by thought that we have come to believe and, more importantly, feel that what we are essentially is made out of something solid, dense and located. In fact, the body is made out of a substance that is transparent, weightless, empty and knowing or aware.
This feeling of density, solidity and locality substantiates and validates the belief in being a separate self. Thus, this belief and feeling mutually support one another and, in doing so, are responsible for the complexity and tenacity of the apparently temporary, limited self around whom most of our lives revolve.
In these yoga meditations, we explore the body as it is really experienced, and in doing so, liberate it from the tyranny of a non-existent, separate self. We allow the body to gradually return to its natural, organic state of openness, transparency and sensitivity. We learn to feel and move the body in a way that is consistent with our understanding.
The well-defined borders or contours that seem to separate the body from others and the environment are seen and experienced to be non-existent. To begin with, we feel that the body is made of permeable space, in direct contact with everyone and everything, no longer sealed up in a clearly defined, impervious container. The borders between our self and the object, other or world dissolve, until we can no longer locate ourselves as someone, somewhere.
In time, we drop the space-like aspect as our Self: we are no longer the open, empty space of Awareness, but rather the dimensionless presence of pure Knowing. We know and feel our Self as the light of pure, dimensionless Knowing, which not only intimately pervades the entirety of our experience, but is its only substance and reality.
Whatever appears in the field of experience appears in our Self; we are that dimensionless, knowing field. We know our Self as the dimensionless field of pure sensitivity and receptivity – it knows itself as such – tasting intimately every appearance as a modulation of our own aware Being.