Although meditation is an ancient practice, its psychological, spiritual and physical benefits have become increasingly evident as time unfolds. Studies have shown that meditation can reduce stress, improve concentration, increase self-awareness and one’s acceptance of life’s ups and downs. All these psychological benefits can then flow through into our bodies as the destructive physiological effects of stress on our bodies is reduced.
There are a number of different approaches to meditation, some of which simply focus on awareness and others which draw upon rich spiritual traditions but much can be gained by taking an archetypal approach to meditation.
An archetypal approach
Archetypes include patterns which are shared across nature. Take water for instance, life evolved in water but it did not leave us. When our mothers bore us they carried us in the waters of their womb, which are almost the same as the sea. The sweat of our labour and the tears of our joy and sadness spill the same water. When we approach the divine we bath, are baptized or ritually wash in this same water to bring us close to the sacred. Archetypal meditation reconnects us to all these elements.
Archetypal meditation works with the patterns of nature around us and the patterns of life within us – the Archetypes. It involves firstly forming an awareness or mindfulness of archetypal patterns: from air and earth to trickster and mystic these patterns are both beyond us and within us and we notice this flow from outside to inside and back. Secondly, it involves constellating the patterns within our soul or psyche and feeling the shift in our energies. Thirdly, archetypal meditation involves dissolving the constellated archetype; this is the process most often taught in Eastern forms of meditation where the desire is to move beyond the archetype of “self”. While we can try to stay in this archetypally dissolved state for a while, enjoying the benefits of the sense of boundary-less oneness it gives the soul will eventually constellate another archetype. In that sense archetypal meditation is a bit like breathing. We hold a pattern and then let is go: we constellate an archetype such as the mystic and then we release it but we are changed a little bit each time and may find the mystic comes to us a little easier when we look for peace and surrender next time in our turmoil.
Archetypal meditation works because the archetypes, such as the healer, are emotionally and spiritually energetic (numinous) for us. When we are faced with suffering the healer is activated within and brings forth feelings of compassion and catalyzes us into to action. The archetype takes over and transforms us and makes the work of healing holy for us.
Archetypal meditation is interspiritual in its nature and draws upon the traditions present in the work of Jesus and the archetypal patterns of the divine he introduced, Plato and his meditation on the forms and Lao Tzu and his meditation on the Tao.
If you are any where around Byron Bay, NSW, Australia, I would like to invite you to come and experience this form of meditation for yourself at St. Paul’s Spirituality Centre.