Meditation: integrate it

What is your general experience in meditation? Is your day composed of the same? How successful have you been in integrating the qualities experienced in meditation such as excellence or tranquility or clarity or spaciousness or emptiness or joy, etc. into how you live your life?

True meditation is designed to bring one increasingly to truth, truths that are self-discovered but universal, truths that are obvious once experienced but dismissed conceptually throughout one’s day. Example, impermanence is/change is. If this is so, why are we taken by surprise when things change like health or looks or relationships or the Earth? Why is it common for aging to be considered a health issue or problem, when the truth is that all things run their course. In the case of the human body, it ages, gets diseases, it dies. What if the clarity or tranquility or bliss that we experience in meditation could be brought to bear to our sense of existence? What would that adjust for you? Would that be beneficial?

The same truth of impermanence and change is the fulcrum of beings being able to learn, to evolve, to grow, to invent, to create, to dream possibilities and determine ways to accomplish their goals. So, this truth is not a downer, but is simply a truth and can be used in any way one wants – beneficially or not.

The last series of meditations (buddhi series) gave support and instruction in maturing one’s shamatha practice though that was never said. Shamatha is every level of tranquility, peace or stability, clarity or alert, acute awareness; it is every type of equanimity, spacious, expansive, openness; it is nirvana, it is rest and the mind at rest in its own nature; and, it is more. So, to mature one’s shamatha practice is vital and supreme.

This series brings the complement of vipashyana – direct perception, pure perception, penetrating insight, perceiving correctly – into one’s practice. But, because vipashyana (vipassana) has to do with perception of any kind about anything, then the majority of those perceptions happens off the cushion and in one’s life. Our effort, then, is to integrate that which occurs during meditation into as many moments and situations as possible with consistency.

Enjoy the absorption of this meditation. (We ran a little long because of that.)

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Pt. 3: Astrology: comments to questions re: 12th house

From an energetic and spiritual point of view, all experience – inner and outer – is for our development. That’s not always easy to live, however, to be sure. My heart goes out to all whose Way is fraught with difficulty.  Abuse or neglect has not been my lot; that which has opened me and helps me transform the old patterns of consciousness and behavior is Multiple Sclerosis and the ongoing physical disabling that comes with that. So, again, my heart goes out to all and their processes of life and transformative evolution.

Before getting to Jamie and Kostandin, Dana DeFore on Facebook was prescient and brought forward the next important point and tool for us to use regarding the factors of our birth chart. It is to understand all considerations as within a spectrum, or range, or a function of polarity rather locked in opposition and duality. She put it this way “duality is a D3, illusionary constraint. And, since we are talking about spirituality, focusing on polarity – which is universal law – is more accurate and thus helpful. Few astrologers really understand the difference between duality and polarity and it’s an area of astrology that I think really needs to be improved on.”

The understanding of polarity plus spectrum or range is also how everyone can access more of the set of qualities, skills, and attributes within each planet. And, since the planets are the keyhole to accessing the energetics and qualities of a sign, then the application of this understanding – in whatever way and in whatever capacity  – will bring someone out of “suffering, confusion, and seemingly unattainable energy” that Jamie wrote of in her comment on the original 12th House post.

Think of a rainbow. Its spectrum of colors are all part of one rainbow. The rainbow is all of its colors, not merely one or two. Similarly, every planet has a spectrum or range of qualities that it can express or demonstrate. The challenge is not the planet’s, which is a divine being compared to a human being even if the planet is not considered sacred in esoteric astrology. The challenge that we all have is our self, and that we don’t know what we don’t know, and we don’t know a lot! Regarding the planets’ range, esoteric astrology offers the information of three levels of rulership: traditional, esoteric, and hierarchical. There is also the exaltation of the planets; that information is traditional and used in esoteric astrology, as well. That can seem like a lot of data to study, learn, and contemplate. But, if one is a student of astrology then following such primary lines of information will serve one well. Personally, I have chosen not to study the fixed stars or asteroids overall; Chiron being an exception. For me, they tend to distract from or complicate the simplicity of the thematic nature of a chart and its primary themes. I have also found – due to a childhood interest in mythology – these items are reinforcing the primary features/themes of the chart. Stick with the big guys is my motto with a chart.

The dynamic range of a planet’s character can be seen through the rulerships and exaltations. For example, Mars rules Aries traditionally, rules Scorpio esoterically, Sagittarius hierarchically, and is exalted in Capricorn. It could be said that in Aries, Mars pushes its to get its way; in Scorpio, Mars pushes to the depths of the psyche and karmic patterns of consciousness in order to break the chain of bondange; in Sagittarius, Mars pushes its way up from the hold of lesser desires and ungrounded or impractical considerations into the sky of mind, the flight of contemplation, and the non-duality of meditative absorption; in Capricorn, Mars pushes past all personality patterns to reach the top of the mountain of visionary spiritual Reality and Truth.

In order to live each of these, one must be able to. The idea of capacity applies again; but that is not a defeatist statement nor one of aggrandizement. It is a simple honest statement. Yet, the range of Mars, for example, is available to everyone without exception. If one notices that one pushes to get one’s way, then one can change that; the combative or conflict-oriented or intense situations in one’s life will decrease as a result. But, like the person who feeds on drama, one has to be willing to engage a new quality in one’s life.

Noticing that one pushes will start one on the road of the psyche (Scorpio) and the observer. As one engages that ever more truly, with a willingness to see what needs to be seen within one’s self, then that is the beginning of the upward push, away from lesser desires and tendencies and into wider considerations (Sagittarius). Now, one is willing and increasingly ready to vision anew, to embark on the Path of Truth as much as possible; not my truth or so and so’s truth but True Truths, ones that are so now, were so thousands of years ago, and will be true as time marches on. These Truths are visionary, in that they are beyond the conceptual mind. Now, Mars has pushed even the ability to cognize and BE beyond the flights of contemplation. One has conquered one’s self, vanquished delusion, and abides supreme in Truth of Being (highest Capricorn). And, this is only Mars and tracking only one quality: push, exertion.

If a planet is in the 12th house, it is power hidden in plain sight. If one is living that planet as if it is veiled or submerged or constrained, it is likely because the person doesn’t know there are options. Of course, there are! and they are within one’s self and within each moment and situation. But, as said, one has to be willing to change patterns. The zodiac dissolves into Pisces – all patterns are up for change in Pisces and the 12th house. One has to be willing to let go – of what? – you say, but do so considering yourself, your life, your pain and your pleasure. Why? Because in the universal ocean of Pisces and the completion of the Mutable Cross which Pisces is, all is ultimately let go. Same for the 12th house. The hidden power requires this, like a drop of rain falling into the ocean or a lake. It is no longer a distinct drop of rain. It is now ocean or lake.

Replies to Jamie and Kostandin

Jamie wrote: “Jupiter 24 and Juno 29 Virgo,  Saturn 1 and Sun 7 Libra all in 12th House.  Pluto 21 and Black Moon Lilith 19 in Libra as well. Ascendant 12*51. So much suffering. So much confusion. So much seemingly unattainable energy.”

Jamie, you’ve offered that the planets Jupiter and Saturn are in the 12th house. If the ASC is at almost 13 degrees Libra, then Pluto and Lilith are in the 1st house. That means that the rest of the planets are not in the 12th. So, turn to them or to the one you resonate with and cultivate such within yourself. For example, if Mars is accessible, then call forward its strengths within you. Those include: focused activity, working with the Earth/earth, supporting a cause that you care about, or any beneficial way that uses Mars energy and physicality in a positive way for yourself and others. If the Moon is readily accessible, then access the care for others that the Moon offers. If we use/live the Moon focused on our self, it implodes, gets too self-absorbed and can be self-destructive. But, helping others in any way available to you, shifts the focus from difficulty that “I feel” to the human struggle that unfortunately is. As we help others, we help our selves through planting seeds of good karma and kindness.

The 12th house is not prison or hell, rather one has to work as already described to access the higher qualities and skills of the planets in that house. To access the potential powers within the 12th house, we have to spiral up to our amperage. For example, Jupiter is the heart, benevolence, beneficence; it is a big-picture view of life and circumstances, thus is optimism. Well, no one can live Jupiter’s gifts if one is miserly, or judgmental, or critical, or such – no reference to you intended at all. The good of the planets in the 12th is in us and available to us. Believe that and access the good and helpful in your chart.

Kostandin wrote, “I have a stellium in Leo in the 12th. My Sun, Venus, Mercury and Saturn, Ceres, Fortune are all in the 12th. My ASC is also in Leo. The person I knew least was myself, I have had to research and rebuild myself up from scratch. Only recently, at 43, I have real desires, needs and aspirations. if you have any further insight into how to better understand and work with the energy of the stellium, I’d appreciate it.
thanks.”

There a many times that the blessing of our higher self is apparent. A lot of Leo can produce a self-focus or sense of self-importance that is not helpful to anyone. The 12th house might be a mechanism to mitigate this.

When a luminary (Sun or Moon) is the same sign as the Ascendant or the person is a new moon baby (Sun and Moon in the same sign), I interpret that as instruction to the native to turn the spiral on that one sign. In your case, you came into this incarnation with Leo skills (Sun) as well as Leo unconscious defaults (12th house), but you chose to birth yourself with Leo rising; and the rising sign is that which is being cultivated from the point of view of the Soul.

You wrote that it took a while to get to know yourself. Good! That means that you are no longer the person you were coming into the incarnation. Hopefully, you grew and developed some of the soul-oriented heart-mind oriented qualities of Leo. My guess is that – like others who have asked for comment on the original post – in your higher wisdom, you knew to make yourself work a bit in life so that the you that would grow and develop would be a more conscious, less self-focused or self-absorbed you.

The last thing to be offered is that when the Sun and Saturn are in relation (conjunct for you?), the work (Saturn) is the self. That might mean establishing discipline and follow-through, being honest and forthright with one’s self, being a mentor to others who are navigating some of the life processes that you have, and so forth. Saturn is also a playpen and we are in it until we learn how to be with the things and people in the playpen. You might have experienced that too.

I hope that the explanation above using Mars through its levels of meaning and application helps everyone access more of every bit of their horoscope. Astrology is such a worthwhile tool; but its gifts are worthless unless we apply and integrate the wisdom.

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Meditation: the obvious and the subtle

One of the by-products of a meditation practice is that both the inner and the outer, the subtle and the obvious, become more apparent, and of course that would be so. If one is focusing on breathing, then the obvious physical sensations and demonstrations of breathing would be increasingly experienced, such that the normally not noticed becomes noticed. Equally, the sensations of breathing and of the breath bring one inside and support tranquility of emotions-mind and ease in the body. The same sensations elicit response from the subtle mind, too. Flow of the breath will induce a decrease of thought and mental processes. The uninterrupted flow of awareness – always present but usually not noticed due to distractions and interruptions – can be experienced. Then, should one choose, one can support that “manju” (smooth) quality. With practice, the smoothness of breath can lead to a deep absorption.

But, unless someone just wants meditation jollies which won’t work for long, a meditator must bring meditation into the world and one’s particular worldly life. As said before, doing so is good for all while also fostering the causes and support of ongoing meditation maturing.

We spent weeks with a five-step easy method. Each of the five steps is its own specific technique which is wise to cultivate individually and apply to life. Smile, breathe, notice awareness as it is, then notice that awareness is pervaded by attributes normally considered to be of the heart, finally – lift awareness slightly. Each of these steps will elicit qualities of buddhi/bodhi. But, germane to today’s meditation, each of them is how to live more fully.

Samantabhadra/dri have been previously written about on this blog from a meditative point of view. Their union represents Awareness in its seat, among other meanings. Awareness in its seat refers to smooth, “manju”, uninterrupted whether one is feeding the cat, tending a chore, or doing business. Is Awareness in its seat?

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* If you search this blog for Samantabhadra, some cool posts will come up.

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Pt. 2: Astrology: comments to questions re: 12th house

Before getting to the other two people’s 12th house questions, we – human beings – live a curious conundrum. We have such potential but are challenged by our capacity to access, actualize, and live from our potential. The potential is esoteric: it is unknown, unrecognized, unfathomed, or simply out of reach. I can read all kinds of esoteric thoughts on Venus or the Sun or the Ascendant (ASC) or any other component of my birth chart but if I, personally, can’t integrate what I read or have been told, then that information is useless. The potential remains inaccessible. For example, someone with anger issues has Mars front and center (and probably not in the 12th house). Mars would qualify relationships: could be direct or blunt or coarse, could be reactive, volatile, quick to erupt even if violence is not how a person’s strong Mars acts. You or I could talk to that person about highest Mars and its qualities until the sun goes down (hierarchical ruler of Sagittarius and exalted in Capricorn). But if this person doesn’t know him or herself or want to observe how he or she is with others, then Mars reactiveness, Mars force, Mars harshness and even meanness will remain recognized within this person and by this person. However, recognition, then being willing to own these defaults, then taking on the processes of transformation would give access to the higher qualities of Mars and the fuller potential of oneself.

Another example, if someone tells me that Venus is about comfort and comfort zones, then I can – with non-judgment – observe how I live my Venus in that regard. Observing, I will no longer be oblivious to how the causes that I put in motion create conditions that keep those causes in motion and produce predictable results. The same is so for any component of a person’s chart or any other evaluation and itemization of the habitual self.

Esoterically, the 12th house is about hidden power. (Of course, any factor of the chart is a hidden power if one only lives that factor in a common and unchallenging way.) Features in the 12th house are “hidden” due to the Pisces’ character of the 12th. But, that’s because Pisces is generally not lived for its potential of universal awareness, universal compassion, universal empathetic response and sensitivity, plus true intuitive interaction with the world and reality. As the last sign of the zodiac, all factors esoterically resolve (and dissolve) in Pisces. Similarly, the 12th house is the last house. Planets in the 12th are there to be resolved and to have the personality tendencies of them dissolved so that the attributes, skills, and potency of those factors can be released (Pisces again) from the habitual and re-emerge in the next life fresh, new, even raw.

If a person is living their 12th house planets in this transformational, esoteric, energetic way, then their life will have a Plutonian/Piscean quality to it regarding the psychological, conscious, and progressive nature of the planets in question. In other words, if the person is living these planets as the hidden power of the soul/higher nature, then ongoing resolution of karma will be a theme in the life. This is so that characteristics of the planets in question can be dissolved through circumstances and events. This offers repeated opportunities to transform these factors. All this is according to the wisdom and compassion of one’s higher nature which is trying to free the attributes, skills, and potency of that higher nature into the livingness and service of one’s life. Therefore, raw, vulnerable, awkward, or hesitant might be part of a person’s experience vis a vis the planets in the 12th. Those planets are sequestered because we did not use them well or wisely in the recent past. In the example above of Mars: a wanton Mars lived in this life will likely produce a contained or sequestered Mars in the next.

Karma is a law in common reality, like gravity is. One could suggest that they are of the same energetic. Ultimate reality? Well, none of the factors written about would apply, but neither would there be a personal identification as a self, or of a higher nature, or of distinctions of any kind. But as long as these identifications are being lived, then karma is too.

Due to incarnational amnesia, most people don’t remember their past lives, nor the good or detrimental that was done by us. The birth chart, however, gives suggestions of both. The key for us is to do everything possible to live our astrological energies in positive, beneficial ways. That’s Path, that produces the causes of happiness for others and self, generates beneficial conditions and circumstances, and resolves old karmic debt while seeding positive karma. If one is living hardship or suffering, my heart goes out to you. Please understand that you are trying to do a brave thing: transform and redeem mistakes of the past that are not in your conscious awareness. Be kind to yourself and kind to others. Seed the good for all your lives to come.

 

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Astrology: comments to questions re: 12th house – pt. 1

Astrology is a complex subject, yet its purpose is simple truths. Like learning the alphabet in order to be literate throughout a  lifetime, the glyphs and layers of meaning of astrology take time – probably life times – to learn and have at one’s disposal. Only with some of the breadth or scope of the components in one’s mind can intuition come forward. Then the simplicity of underlying meaning and stark truths illustrated by the chart becomes obvious (positive/encouraging plus honesty about one’s self and one’s patterns of lifetimes).

Astrology is constantly illumining and fresh. If it is not for you, then you have more to learn about astrology and about yourself. What fun! All esoteric sciences should be revelatory and never stop being so. Each factor is its own deep contemplation and can be used as a threshold to the vast and profound nature that a person potentially is. Contemplation can then lead to the self-less-ness that underlies all habits of consciousness, karmic patterns, and things working out through the energetics described and objectified by a birth chart.

Three people have put questions in the comments section of the 12th House: Hidden Power post. My apologies for delayed response. This post will be long and contain much that goes beyond their questions. In this way, anyone with an interest in astrology might find the information of value and useful.

Daphne wrote that she has Mercury and Mars in Gemini, plus Sun, Saturn, Jupiter, and Venus in Taurus all in the 12th house. North node is in Cancer, and rising sign is Gemini.

First, let’s rearrange the order so that it is true to the Wheel. Taurus comes first. Then Gemini, then Cancer. If Gemini is rising, then the Cancer North Node is in the first house. The spread of planets/signs in the 12th makes me wonder if your chart is intercepted, Daphne. Is that so? If yes, then, the interception is restating the theme of multiple personal planets in the 12 house.

Let’s unpack that statement (for all readers). A birth chart/horoscope has two or three primary themes that play and restate multiple times in the chart. As the chart is more fully and deeply understood, anyone’s chart will boil down to two or three themes; and this is regardless of point on the Path. Here the Buddha’s teaching of “the poison is the Wisdom” comes to bear. On the common/personality-centered level of interpreting and understanding a chart, we have karma, karmic patterns, emotional preferences and fears, we have pride or lack of self-esteem, confusion, the ways that we distract our self and limit our self, plus all the skills of the self. Each of these is a threshold to wisdom, to being clear with one’s self, each of these is a gateway to a fuller expression of Presence, understanding, empathy, and Being. “The poison is the Wisdom.”

So, on the common turn of the spiral, multiple personal planets in the 12 house can create the dynamic of not easily knowing one’s self. The 12th house is like the ocean; planets there (on the common/personality-based level of interpretation and living) are as if submerged. Their qualities are underwater. The native experiences that these planets are mitigated, their strengths not easily accessed or sustained once accessed, thus there is second-guessing of one’s self which can become self-criticism which can become hesitation to begin things or engage in projects or relationships, and so forth. An intercepted chart gives a similar dynamic. The planets that are intercepted as well as the two signs that are intercepted are, likewise, not readily accessible. Often, the native with an interception experiences an awkwardness with the planets and signs that are intercepted. So, we see a theme developing that is stated in multiple planets inclusive of a luminary in the 12th plus (by hypothesis) an intercepted chart.

Turn the spiral of interpretation and one’s point on the spiritual Path and things change! So, before writing that turn of the spiral, let us all must live from the best within us. Habits of consciousness, karmic patterns, behavioral tendencies, relational defaults, preferences that keep us mediocre at best and limited overall – all must be transcended and that is the spiritual Path. How one does it doesn’t matter, but do it we must or the same patterns and tendencies will follow us into the next life and the next and the next. Now is the only now, and our chart is blatantly telling us what to change and HOW to do so.

The 12th house is a karmic house. There are others. Karma is the relationship of causes-condions-and results. They are interlinked and interdependent. First, planets in the 12th house should be understood as placed in that house by your Higher Self, your Wisdom-Being nature, for important reasons. Negative or limiting karma is related to the planets in the 12th house AND positive karma or merit can be generated by living the same planets in a transformed, selfless, and genuine way. The 12th house is like reminding one’s self of a food allergy. Living the planets in the old ways that got us in trouble will only continue to get us in trouble. No matter who we are or what planet(s) are in the 12th, our higher self is saying “Yo, let’s do this wisely this time.”

From a spiritual point of view, everything in the chart has significance; some indications state a primary theme, and all of the chart’s energetics are what they are because – in our inner and detached wisdom and compassion – we know what will grow us. As such, the 12th house is basically stating that is vital that the personality not have easy access to the power or desire or self-referencing and self-importance that the planets in the 12th represent. This, alone, is a spiritual Path process because we have to live those planets in a fresh way, rather than an habitual karmic way. This placement helps us change how we live our Mars, Venus, Sun for example in your case, Daphne. This is exciting because such a forced process has the potential to substantially transform the planets thus psychological ways of being that they represent that are in that house. Spiritually, more of the range of the planet is being made available. By learning to live from a fuller range of the planet more of the power and spectrum of the planet’s sign is also accessible. Doing so is Path.

If you have Gemini rising, then you likely have Mars on the ASC. Any planet on the ASC is hugely significant. Yes, Mars is underwater (12th house) and, yes, you are being forced to live Mars in new and fresh ways – which means non-reactively and non-aggressively – but to use your mind (Mercury conjunct); but also Mars on the ASC indicates that you can. Mars is conviction, impetus, volition, commitment, daring, bravery, and in-the-zone truth of being. The ASC esoterically represents the agenda of the Soul or Higher Self. In your case, Daphne, with Gemini rising – understanding how you reinforce self-made duality is part of the purpose of this life. Not only getting a handle on Mars needs to happen (emotions, personalizing, and not being wise with the physical realities of life and body), but Mars is also a spiritual ally for you in this life. As you do “get a handle on Mars”, that will propel (Mars) you along your spiritual Path of Awareness/Wakefulness.

Venus conjunct the Sun signals that one’s desire nature, comfort zones, and getting what one wanted was a life pattern in previous lives. Relationships were important and probably still are. (Venus in strong aspect to the Sun would indicate these things as well.) But because they are in the 12th house, these patterns did not serve you well nor did you serve others well following your Venus. Okay, fair enough, this is another life and set of opportunities. First and foremost remember that beauty is not even skin deep. Outer beauty is fickle and fades quickly like a flower or the change of a mood. Inner beauty, inner peace and harmony lived authentically and lived with others is the true beautiful radiance (Venus/Sun) that matters. Get to know people for their depth and presence and let others get to know you. Yes, be vulnerable (Mars in the 12th), yes, get to know yourself. Strong Venus in the chart can spend a life posturing and trying to impress but ends up living mostly through a mask and on the surface relationally.

Spiritually, Venus in strong relationship with the Sun indicate that a deeper love is available is the person can break the old habits of comfort for its own sake, distractions, and ease that equates laziness. Venus liked things nice and easy! Astrologically, Venus often indicates this default in the personality. The spiritual Path does not have to hard, per se, but the personality tendencies must be transformed. Like working with a personal trainer, it’s hard work and one works hard to transform these old habits of consciousness.

* Response to the other two people will be in the next post tomorrow.

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