Reaching for the Stars – How Does it work?

Previous posts in this series:

Reaching for the Stars

Reaching for the Stars – Going back to Move Forward

Reaching for the Stars – My Experience of the Oneself

How Does it work?

Connecting with our higher self is underpinned by creating the right internal conditions to do so. In the opening posts for this tool, we looked at other internal tools and principles that can help you cultivate this environment.

Having the right environment is the fist step, learning to connect with your higher self is the second step. It is a skill – the more you practice, the better you get at it.

Remember; enlightenment is not a binary state. You first experience a single moment, then over time you experience these moments with increasing frequency and for longer durations.

Every small step forward counts on your journey of growth.

Now we are going to explore some specific practices that will help you to do just this…

Rungs on the Ladder

In this section we are going to explore tools and techniques grouped in the following areas:

  • Cultivating: Ways to connect with our higher self.
  • Maintaining: How to keep that connection open and deepen it.
  • Accommodating: How to integrate our higher-self in to our definition of me (solidifying our learning)
  • Monitoring: How to know if any of this is working!

In reality, you will practice all areas at the same time, so when you internalise these teachings, you will be able to effectively switch between them as is appropriate for you on your journey.

First, before we look at the tools, we need to explore one key question though…

How will you know you are connected?

This is a very hard thing to describe as I can only speak from my personal experience. It is not possible to look inside another person’s body and evaluate this, and the reality is that sensations individual humans feel will differ. They can range from a psychological feeling of calm and connection to a physical neuromuscular tingling sensation – it could also be a combination of both and/or everything in between.

From my own experience during meditation, the first sensations I would feel are a stillness in the mind, almost like my mind had become a glassy surface of a lake where emotions and clouds were floating above it. I would then begin to be attentive to my deep belly breathing and notice a growing tingling in my lower abdomen (this is the development of Prana/Qi/Vitality at the root chakra/ lower dantian).

Once this feeling manifests, I would then become attentive to the energy growing and spinning as I inhale, then flowing up my spine and over the crown of my head as I exhale. You can actually progressively feel this sensation expanding all over your body.

Moving my attention to the base of my throat (middle dantian) I would then notice how as I inhale; the energy would build here as well as at my lower dantian; and as I exhale tingling would shoot up the back of my head and feel like it was radiating way out above my head, then circulating back to the sides of my head and around my brain (upper dantian).

With the glassy calm lake still present in my mind the radiating energy would make the lake glisten like the sun on a radiant day.

That is the vitality of the oneself radiating though me.

For me, it is that physical energetic connection between my dantian and the energy flowing from there and encompassing my head that indicated my connection to the oneself.

With practice, I have been able to make these feelings manifest within a few breaths of closing my eyes. When I remember (the hard part to learn for me), I use this to manifest my connection and guide my decision making in life.

Cultivating this Skill

Cultivation is tantamount to the clouds in the sky clearing so you can engage with the sun, the moon and the stars.

These are methods you can use to experience both you first spark of connection with your higher self as well as to then deepen your connection with your higher self.

Mindful Meditation

This for me had been one of the most effective ways of creating calm stillness in my mind which enabled me to develop both an awareness of my ego and to experience the first and then a deepening connection with my higher self.

There is lots on the internet about approaches to meditation so I will not proceed to give a detailed explanation of how to set about your practices. I will however offer some useful insights and things to consider.

I have found meditation most effective when keeping it simple by focusing on my breath and the sensations in my body. I always make sure I am in a comfortable position to meditate which means all of my joints open and relaxed with no muscles being tense or strained (you don’t need to sit in the lotus position!).

Meditation in a sitting position can be really effective, but walking practice is also enlightening too. Again, you can find more about this by searching online, but for me I like to select a particular muscle on my body and then focus on the sensations in the muscle while it is contracting and relaxing as I take each step. Combine this with being attentive to your breathing and you will feel a calmness envelop where you can then become attentive to other sensations manifesting.

A little lot of the time, is much better than a lot a little of the time. Practice daily for 2-5 minutes and you will soon experience different sensations as you attentively observe your inner world.

To get started you could either try finding some guided meditation videos online or download an app with a free trial. Once you have experienced a few different flavours you should be able to give it a go on your own.

Yoga / Qi gong

Equally as effective as meditation, I have had some enlightening experience practicing both Yoga and Qi Gong.

Serious practitioners may disagree with this, but for me these are simply just different forms of moving meditation. Yes, there are subtleties to each practice, and they carry much more health benefits than static meditation but fundamentally, just like meditation, are built around developing a connection between the breath, the body, the mind and flowing energy (Prana (Yoga), Qi (Qi Gong), Vitality (The Mountain Pathway).

Again, like meditation there is much to be found online around these practices. What I would say though is that finding a teacher to give you lessons first hand will massively aid you in these practices. Not only do you get the face-to-face help from the teacher guiding you to attempt the postures correctly, you also get to feel the energy of the teacher first hand.

Not all teachers are made the same though. It is important for you to feel comfortable and relaxed with your teacher so you need to find the right one for you. Don’t be afraid to give a class a go a few times, then move on if you don’t find it is working for you.

Yoga classes most often include a guided meditation at the end of the practice, so this can be a great introduction to mindful meditation too. Be aware, there are lots of variations when it comes to yoga so pick the type that you think will work best for you. Have a look here to find out more.

Writing Letters / Journaling

Also helping you to maintain this skill, writing or journaling can allow you to develop your connection. It might sound a little strange, but sitting down with a note book and just allowing your thoughts to flow on to the page can be an extremely enlightening exercise.

I am not talking about simply writing an account of what has happened in your day, I am talking about writing down your reflections on how you have felt about that has happened during the day and why you think you feel that way.

Try writing this account of your feelings then spending a short period of time in meditation. While meditating, let go of any thoughts concerning what you have written – just let them drift away. Once you meditation is complete, return to the page and with a clear mind and no intention, just write. Allow the word to flow from your hand and on to the page. Do not concern yourself with what you are writing or why, just write. When your flow runs out, read what you have written.

The art in this is learning to not be concerned and to just allow the word to flow. Learning to be non-judgemental of yourself or your thoughts. Learning to practice self-empathy and self-kindness.

Combined with the other practices this can be a great way to develop new insights and perspectives.

Hell, I have enjoyed this so much I wrote a whole blog!

Time Check

This is the seventh tool in the introspection tool kit. Think of it like instant access mindfulness.

Here is a little excerpt from this tool:

All you simply need is two questions and one deep breath…

  • What time is it?
  • Where am I?
  • And breathe…

To read the full post and find out more about this tool, click here.

Practice Gratitude

Gratitude is your way of saying thank you to the universe for the life that you have. For me, the practice of gratitude is liberating.

Regardless of if you have worked hard for what you have got or if it has been given. The universe has created the events which have unfolded to bring you to where you are today.

Sincere gratitude is a pure expression that flows from your higher self.

While gratitude practice alone may not create the initial spark of a connection, I have found that once you have had your first experience, a daily gratitude practice can help rekindle and deepen your connection.

This could be as simple as just before bed each day, writing down or saying three things that you are grateful for.

These could be a material position, an act of kindness a person has done for you, the roof over your head, the food in your belly, or quite simply the fact that you are alive and have the opportunity to have these thoughts.

Even if you are in a tough spot in life, the fact you have taken time to practice gratitude it a positive thing and you can be grateful for that.

In time, the more you practice, the more sincere and authentic your words will be. Combining this with a short mindful meditation as you lay in bed will both help you cap off your day with positivity as well as setting you up for a great night of sleep.

Connecting with Nature

I remember studying geography at school and exploring the impact that humans have had on the environment. There was a clear distinction made between natural forces of change and anthropogenic (human caused) forces of change.

While this categorisation makes sense if we want to specifically evaluate human behaviours, it exposes a mindset shift in the collective consciousness of humanity where the societal view is one where humans are separate to nature. There is nature, then there is us.

This is a dangerous perspective that has polluted our collective consciousness and has created a dualistic void. This separation between us and them has enabled the ego of our collective consciousness to expand and fill the gap – it has now started to take over our psyche by default.

We must remember:

Human beings are natural,

we are nature.

Consider a forest, and the animals that inhabit it; if you have ever visited one you will notice how nothing seems to be trying.

Rabbits are being rabbits and trees are being trees.

Both of these organisms have their own source of vitality; without an evolved egoic mind they simply act authentically in alignment with their instincts and the vitality flowing through them. Nature and the natural environment is a pure embodiment of the oneself.

When you spend time meditating, walking, sitting and reflecting, or mindfully breathing in a natural environment, you can begin to feel this pure flowing resonance. You can sense the clear and crisp vibration of the environment around you. This is like a boost to the practice.

Now this is not a conscious phenomenon, in that I mean you don’t think it. You feel it.

The more time you fine to spend with nature, the more you will awaken you innate ability to connect with your higher self – our oneself.

Enjoy, for now.

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