There was a big pond, and in it three were three fishes. The fist fish was One-Thought, the second fish was Hundred-Thoughts, and the third fish was Thousand-Thoughts. At some time a fisherman came and cast his net. He caught those two fishes of many thoughts; but he did not catch the fish One-Thought.
–Manichaean Parable (Turtan fragment M127)
[A small altar (can be a temporary space) should be set up with two candles (one white and one black) on the rear sides of the altar, a bowl of spring or fresh water, an amount of bread small enough to be consumed by the celebrant (preferably a small uncut loaf), and a goblet (of wood, noble metal, pottery, or clear crystal if possible) filled with a small amount of wine (color and type are unimportant). If possible, a cotton or linen towel and a few flower petals or small leaves from a flowering plant should be placed alongside the bowl of water. The altar is a sacred ceremonial space and should not be used as a table for other items during the ritual celebration of the Divine Service, even if it is only temporarily set aside for sacred use.]
[The Priest(ess) should be seated facing the altar, and spend a few moments in quite prayer or meditation in preparation for presiding over the Sacred Mysteries. Standing, the Priest(ess) should then turn silently in each of the four directions, making a profound bow and briefly meditating four times while holding open his or her hands to invite the spiritual communion of all animals, spirits, and human beings in the Divine Service. Following this, the Priest(ess) should make a final gesture of respect toward the altar such as genuflecting or bowing to place a kiss on the surface, as it becomes the Table for the celebration of God's Sacred Mysteries. Standing, s/he prays:]
[The following was devised by the AGCA, you may like to follow it, although in practice it may be too long. Please treat this and any of the following as a guideline.]
In the name of the One True God, the Beloved Son Jesus Christ, and the Eternal Lady of Light, Sophia. Amen.
I have come here today to set aside and make sacred a brief time of prayer and worship, when my spirit meets God in the totality of spiritual light that pervades our universe. I seek gnosis, the knowledge of the one God, living and true. This is my great Beloved, who loves me at all times like a tender Mother and Father, unconditionally and unchangingly.
Though invisible, this God is active in my heart. Though incorporeal, in Christ my God entered human time to make known the path of spirit and of truth. Though one unbroken unity, God is diffused throughout our universe in Sophia, the eternal Lady of Wisdom, and is present to me today in my own true spiritual nature, with which I approach this altar with boldness as son/daughter, as priest(ess), prophet, and king/queen, in confidence but in deep humility.
These are the great mysteries that I come to celebrate today. Alone here but united to the unbroken community of the Church of Christ and Sophia, I come forward to encounter my God in sacraments and signs that open my eyes to a greater than natural vision. So I pray for the strength to encounter mysteries that challenge my mind and my heart, that Lady Sophia might grace me with the gift of Her understanding as I contemplate the unfolding of the great mysteries of salvation.
[Pause for silent reflection, then continue:] Gracious God, my beloved, I pray for knowledge of your love today. Illuminate what is dark in me. Bring peace to what doubts within me. Bring understanding to what confuses me. Enfold me in your motherly love, and as a gentle father guide my steps along my path this week and always.
[Here an additional silent or verbal Prayer can be said
Our Father and Mother God,
you are within us all,
and you make all things holy and united,
as you are holy and united, one God living and true.
Your Kingdom come,
your will be done,
which is love to all that lives in the heavens and on the earth.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and let us give our daily bread to those who have none;
and heal our broken spirits,
as we heal and forgive others.
And lead us, through the darkness of your mystical love,
to the light of the pleroma,
[Enter meditation. For example, focus on your breathing, enter silence, reaffirm the 4 directions. Slow your breath and enter into silence. If you are used to Western meditation sit quietly and firmly on a chair, with your spine upright and straight. For Eastern meditation form a lotus position or similar, sit comfortably.]
Focus on your breathing, become calm and center yourself. Still your body, your mind. Feel your breath go in and out of your nose. With your eyes closed or open visualize yourself in the center of a circle. You see yourself surrounded by your friends and family. With your mind focus clearly on every member in the circle, note the things you like about them and the things you don’t. Experience everything you can about these individuals.
When you are ready the circle becomes bigger. Now the circle is filled with people from your place of work, your neighbors and people you meet on the street often. Recognize further how you interact and how you know these people.
After a short time expand the circle again, fill it with people from your town, from any church or spiritual group you may belong to. See that you are a part of this circle as it gets bigger and expands…if it helps add the wildlife around you, picture animals, plants, the city, the earth, the sky….
How are you connected to everyone in this circle?
How are you connected to those near and those far from you?
Are you stronger by this connection or weaker?
Are you able to give yourself completely to this circle and to everyone here?
Listen quietly for the answers, but you may not obtain them, do not force anything..let these answers come to you freely and naturally and without effort.
Relax your mind and body, focus on being silent and being empty.
When you are ready end your meditation
Aim to make this meditation last 15 to 20 minutes at first. As you get more comfortable meditating feel free to make your time longer. The more often you meditate the more effective it will be. Aim to meditate at least once a day. Although it is tempting to set aside a separate time for meditation, which can be essential as we begin such pursuits; our aim should be to be able to meditate at any time, with our eyes open, even during mundane daily tasks.]
[Close with a prayer for example:]
May all be blessed, peaceful and happy,
May all be free of pain, resentment and fear.
May we have infinite gratitude, patience and compassion for all above, equal, and below us.
May we be the doctor, medicine and nurse, for all the confused, sick and sad. May all the virtue acquired by us, flow freely to all need.
May everyone find the Path to Peace,
May everyone become pure and perfect,
May everyone find the Treasury of Life!
May Kushta bless you and keep you …
Good is the Good to the good, and They set their nature upon those who love their name.
We will seek and find, and will pray and be heard.
We have sought and found, we prayed and were heard in thy presence,
my Lord Yeshu and Maryam d-Hiya, Lords of Healings.
To follow up:
Throughout your day focus on interconnectedness, see how you relate to other people and everything in your life.
Feel free to adapt this how you see fit.
Praxis: Practice. Can mean an act; by extension, a function: also can mean deed, office, work.
Wisdom is always taste — in both Latin and Hebrew, the word for wisdom comes from the word for taste — so it’s something to taste, not something to theorize about. “Taste and see that God is good,” the psalm says; and that’s wisdom: tasting life. No one can do it for us. The mystical tradition is very much a Sophia tradition. It is about tasting and trusting experience, before institution or dogma.
HEART and HEAD
In this the first in a series we explore the “heart and head” meditation. The heart and head meditation is utilized in many traditions. Here we explore three examples. The heart and head meditation focuses upon “points of energy” at the “heart” and the “head.” This simple meditation is a great way for any beginner or expert to simply connect to the divine and cleanse the self. Indeed the emphasis of this meditation is largely to awaken one’s self toward theosis. The concept of making one’s self a hollow reed (sometimes referred to as theurgy) allows the practitioner to enter into a bargain with the divine. Here the practitioner is becoming a vessel, a container; ready to be filled with the divine.
Through the heart and head meditation we help build the temple and awaken the grail. Some may see this as far too simplistic; of course the simplest things are of course usually the most sublime and complex. Practiced daily, or as often as possible, the head and heart meditations will allow one to walk further toward the intoxication of the divine as spoken of by the Sufi.
This traditional meditation has many versions and parallels. But the simplicity allows for an opening that may change your life forever. Of course, the purpose of meditation is not so much to change yourself, but more to become who you already are.
The head and heart meditation, as we shall see, essentially involves meditating upon two “forms.” These are done through rhythmic breathing touching the head and the heart. We breathe in and touch the heart and focus place a focal “point” in our mind”; we breathe out and touch our head and focus upon another point. The head is generally the place of the “third eye” on the fore head, while the heart can literally be our hearts or in some traditions can be the solar plexus. Although, as we see in the below examples this can differ, but the overall idea is the same.
First we explore a Neo-Gnostic meditation
Here Br. Puma shows us a neo Gnostic meditation using the two Aeons (Gnostic emanations/Platonic Archetypes) of Christ and Sophia. Although slightly different from our below examples, this example has the same overall “feel.”
For the full text please follow the link.
Begin breathing slowly and steadily. Focus on your breath. There is no need to “count” your breaths, just allow them to flow naturally into one another. Breathe from the diaphragm, not the chest– your stomach should move in and out and your chest should remain still. Now, shift your awareness to a spot two inches below your navel. If it helps, make a spot at that point with a magic marker before you begin (this seems funny, but it works!). As you breathe in, mentally say the word “Christos” (pronounced KRĪSH-tos) As you breathe out, mentally say the word “Sophia” (pronounced so-FĪ-ya). In, Christos, stomach rises, out, Sophia, stomach falls. Christos, Sophia. Focus on your spot and repeat these words.
Invariably, thoughts will begin to arise and your mind will begin wandering. When you notice that your mind has begun wandering, say to yourself, “thinking,” return your awareness to your spot and begin again with Christos, Sophia. No matter what sensation arises other than your Christos, Sophia and your spot, acknowledge it and move on. If you have an itch that distracts you, think, “itching” and move on, return your awareness to your spot and your breathing. If it does not go away, scratch it, but say “scratching the itch” and return to your spot and your breathing. If you find yourself slumping, say “slumping and straightening” and pull the imaginary line taught. Continue in this way, simply being, acknowledging all thoughts but letting them pass away.
You will find, after a while, that the instances of “thinking” etc. are fewer and fewer. You are opening an inner gate and cleaning your inner stables, so you might have some thoughts that are utterly mystifying. No matter how unusual or bizarre the thought, let it pass away as soon as you are aware you are thinking it. You might think, “I’ve always wanted to kill so-and-so,” but do not be amazed; it is just a thought. Just say “thinking” and return to your spot and your breathing. Your mind might be muddled with problems stemming from work or your social life. Do not attribute the thoughts with any value, simply say “thinking” and let them fade away, returning your awareness to your spot and moving on.
Next we venture into Judaism and the Kabbalah. Praxis will explore Kabbalistic meditations further, but for this entry we follow the Jewish version of the Head and heart meditation.
The meditation focusing on the Hebrew word Shalom goes back to the book of Ezekiel. First as in the other examples, we should enter into a meditation posture. Free from distractions we should enter silence as you normally would to meditate. We can shake our hands to draw out unwanted energy. However you find it best, we must now relax.
We begin by touching our foreheads and verbally chanting Shhhh, we can do this out loud or silently (feel free to try both). We breathe inwardly and chant Shhh. This signifies divine energies being brought into our being. Hold your breath for a moment and concentrate your awareness on the divine.
As you breathe out chant Ommm and bring your hand to your heart. Repeat this action, so that the Sh blends into an Mmmmm sound.
Traditionally kabbalists teach that you should only briefly focus upon the “MMmmmm” initially and build into it. We can vary our focus on the Shhhh and the Ommm making our attention longer or shorter or equal as regards both “places.” We should not be afraid to feel and go with what feels best.
Eventually you may like to enter into silent communion. Here you can focus on the divine, your loved ones or whatever your focus for the exercise may be.
To close you may like to say a verbal or silent prayer.
The task of Jewish meditation is to open the heart to union with the infinite; this is the same fundamental and underpinning point that underscores everything else within the tradition. It is ‘Ehyeh asher Ehyeh,’ God in our breath, God and us in Oneness. When we meditate, we watch Zot, a feminine word that is both one of the names of God and the meaning of ‘thisness.’ When we meditate we naturally expand and cultivate Chesed – compassion and loving-kindness…..When we meditate we become healers not only of our own wounding, which we repair by connecting it to God, but also of the world around us.”
- Avram Davis and Manuela Dunn Mascetti (Judaic Mysticism (Mystic Library)
Giving and Receiving
The Base of the Practice
Sit down and allow yourself t relax, yet remain completely alert. Let your body find
its own natural rhythm of breath, and gently place your awareness on your breath just being
present with your breath and the moment.
Then envision the light-presence (the indwelling Christ) as a spiritual sun within and
behind your heart. Imagine your breath linked to this spiritual sun, as thought the spiritual
sun were breathing through you. Feel the warmth of the spiritual sun in the center of your
being the light, love, and healing power of Christ in you.
Feel the depth of knowledge,
and wisdom of the light-presence;
the depth of forgiveness and compassion.
Feel the sacred heart of Christ open in yourself and the acceptance of yourself, just as you are, by the Christ presence.
As you breathe, imagine that your whole body-mind is pervaded with the light fill with the light and love of Christ.
Finally we have the modern Manichaean Orthodox Church’s version:
Sit upright in a relaxed fashion, neither slumped nor rigid. Quiet yourself and relax for a few moments, feeling your breath go in and out of your nostrils. Relax and just listen to your breath for a bit, thinking of nothing else but how it feels going in and out of your nose. Release any tension in your neck or other bodily area and be at peace.
Place your fingertips on your forehead and take a quiet but deep breath inward whilst ever so quietly saying Aumen as you breath air in, moving your lips but speaking almost inaudibly. Hold the breath for a comfortable moment while thinking about far off worlds of light and your Heavenly Parents who are there. Try to invision and feel your spirit rising up to them through the top of your head. After a moment or two of having your awareness focused upward, move your fingertips to your heart and whisper Hay-ya in a soft out breathing. Feel Life, Goodness and Love pouring forth from your heart like clean pure water from a spring, quenching the thirst of all outer worlds from the hidden source of Aumen. Feel life force flowing through you and pouring forth freely through your heart center.
(If you have trouble feeling it, then breath out a little more forcibly for a few rounds. If you still don’t feel anything, continue to do the exercise anyway.)
Repeat this breathing and uttering of the divine name Aumen-Hayya for several rounds or a few minutes, feeling yourself connected with the Source of all goodness, love and light and channeling that goodness out into the world through the compassion of your own being. With each breath take new confidence that you have a right, as Their child, to connect with your Heavenly Parents above and receive love and light from them, especially when your motive is to bring in downward in order to share it outward from your heart center to help and heal all those in need. Become a conduit, forgetting oneself and concentrating on Aumen above and Their Life force flowing out of you into all the world. Feel empty of yourself, like a hollow tube, and full of Them like a gushing spring. Flow Their compassion and wisdom freely toward all, without reservation or direction. After a time, when it feels right to quit, let the word Aumen-Hayya, and yourself, melt into oneness with Them. Release any and all thoughts in your mind and contemplate, or feel, your connection with Them in your heart and with all your being. Say a silent non verbal prayer to become ever more one with Them in the future and end with “Aumen”.
Feel free to adapt and change any of the above Praxis, to suit your needs.
Stand relaxed, facing the moon.
Raise your arms up and face your LAOGONG points towards the moon
and look at the moon.
Use your mind to absorb the qi from the moon through your laogong
points into your body.
You will gradually feel a pushing pressure on your chest and you
might take a few steps backward involuntarilly.
Your palms will sometimes feel magnetized and you might take a few
steps forward involuntarilly.
Practice 20-30 minutes.
If you feel that the Qi is too strong, lead it out of your body
through your yongquan into the ground.
Absorb the moon’s Qi only during the 3 days before to 3 days
after the full moon (Liang and Wu. Qigong Empowerment, 222).
Although not mentioned, contraindicated in Yang deficiency
Qi, [ IPA phonetic spelling needed here ] also commonly spelled ch’i (in Wade-Giles romanization) or ki (in romanized Japanese), is a fundamental concept of traditional Chinese culture. Qi is believed to be part of every living thing that exists, as a kind of “life force” or “spiritual energy”. It is frequently translated as “energy flow”, or literally as “air” or “breath”. (For example, “tiānqì”, literally “sky breath”, is the ordinary Chinese word for “weather”). In Mandarin Chinese it is pronounced something like “chee” in English, but the tongue position is different.
between the 2nd and 3rd metacarpal bones, proximal to the metacarpo-phalangeal joint, in a depression at the radial side of the third metacarpal bone.
note; this point is best located at the place where the tip of the middle finger lands when a fist is made.
perpendicular insertion 0.5 inch
moxa is OK
Clears heat from the pericardium and revives consciousness
Clears heat from the heart and calms spirit
Harmonizes the stomach and clears heat from the middle jiao
Clears the nutritive level and cools blood.
Signs and Symptoms
cardiac pain, mental disorder, epilepsy, gastritis, foul breath, fungus infection of the hand and foot, vomiting, nausea
Laogong is a principal point to revive consciousness and calm the spirit. It is particularly useful in the treatment of febrile diseases affecting the Heart that give rise to psycho-emotional disturbances. According to ancient texts it was the Pericardium channel that treated diseases of the Heart. In fact, the Heart had no channel of its own at first. Even though, the Heart channel was added later, Pericardium points are still preferred to treat disorders of the Heart.
In 5 Elements theory both the Pericardium and the Heart are Fire. Laogong is the Fire point on a Fire channel making it particularly suited for clearing fire from the Heart.
Fire may develop in the Heart a number of ways including
i) stagnant Liver Qi
ii) deficient Kidney (water) failing to restrain Heart (fire)
iii) excess of any of the 5 cardinal emotions
iv) febrile diseases
Since the Heart is seen as the residence of spirit (mind), almost any disharmony will give rise to psychological and/or emotional disturbances. Heart excess will give rise to ceaseless laughter, while heart deficiency will give rise to profound sadness.
Heart fire is seen as an excess condition agitating the spirit giving rise to symptoms like a propensity to anger, mania-depression, and epilepsy.
The Heart is connected directly to the root of the tongue and opens into the tongue. Heart fire may manifest with tongue ulcers.
Since a branch of the channel travels through the diaphragm into the middle and lower Jiaos (the stomach and the intestines), plus being related to the San Jiao channel directly, Pericardium points have a strong effect on the middle. Laogong is indicated where fire disrupts digestion resulting in vomiting and foul breath.
Laogong’s ability to clear heat from the blood and its location makes it suitable to treat many skin disorders affecting the palms of the hands including eczema, tinea, (a fungal infection that causes white or light brown patches on the skin), and scaling.
Finally, Laogong is particularly important in Qi Gong practice as it is one of the points practitioners learn to breath through. It is also the principal point for ‘emitting’ Qi. In Reiki, Laogong is most likely the point through which Dr. Usui channeled Reiki energy.
Meditation with the Rose Crescent
How can one use the symbols of the crescent and the rose to meditate?
The Rose Crescent meditation is among the most transformative and powerful meditations revealed to mankind by Al-Khidr, the Green Man of Islam.
Before explaining the rose crescent meditation let us reflect on the significance of the two symbols: the moon and the rose.
The moon reflects the light of the sun as creation reflects and reveals the light of the creator.
The moon passes through various powerful and influential cycles on its journey: new moon (when it is in occultation); crescent moon; first quarter waxing moon; full moon; waning moon; and third quarter waning moon. In each of these cycles the moon reflects a different cosmic energy. The crescent has long been a symbol of Islam. Whereas the Prophet Muhammad is the seal of the prophets, the crescent moon points beyond itself, full of hope to a new beginning that is still unrealized and just beginning to dawn.
The rose is the symbol of the soul. Like the development of our own souls in this world, roses bloom amidst thorns. The rose fragrance is the ethereal connection with our Higher Selves. Many Sufis of the Rose Crescent tradition choose to anoint themselves with rose oil prior to performing their daily prayers, dabbing a bit of oil behind the ears, on the back of the hands and in the middle of the forehead. The Prophet Muhammad himself (PBUH) along with his wives and his daughter Fatima loved roses and used them as part of their daily spiritual practices.
Begin by saying “Bismallah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim”
Slowly breathe in deeply and take in the energy of the cosmos
In your minds eye picture a dark sky before you
See the crescent as it emerges
Feel the joy and exhilaration of the crescent
Take its energy in
Watch it slowly wax into a full moon
Hold your breath
Draw the energy of the full moon into your mind
Watch as the full moon transforms into a beautiful rose
In your mind’s eye, zoom slowly in on the rose
Watch as the rose begins to spin, turning back into the full moon
Slowly release your breath and release any negative energy stored in your body
Observe how the full moon wanes
Say, “Allahu Akbar”
Today we explore walking meditation. This can be done in a number of ways. Here we explore the Wu Wei walking meditation.
A Kabbalistic version can be done by the following exercise also.
The Taoist practice of “aimless wandering” through places of great natural beauty is a wonderful way to cultivate Wu Wei. As we practice, little by little we revive our capacity to move in the world with the kind of joyful ease and spontaneity that we see in young children. At the same time, we are nourished deeply by the elemental energies – by the plants, minerals and animals, the earth and the sky.
Time Required: 30-45 minutes, or longer if you’d like
1. Choose a place to practice. This might be your neighborhood park, the courtyard of an apartment complex, a mountain meadow, or a forest with a gentle stream flowing through it. What’s important is that it be a place where you can connect with the elements of the natural world, and a place that you feel inspired by.
2. Sit or lie down directly on the earth. (You can use a blanket underneath, if you’d prefer.) Close your eyes. Take a couple of deep slow breaths, and feel your connection to the earth beneath you. Feel the breath moving into and out of your body. Let go of any thoughts of past or future, as though there were no past or future – only this delicious moment, here and now.
3. Now open your eyes, and let your gaze gently scan your surroundings, noticing and appreciating the beauty of this place. Notice also what you’re hearing (birdsong perhaps), smelling (the scent of pine needles) and feeling (a gentle breeze on your face).
4. Next, let yourself begin to wander – to stroll about in this beautiful place, without an agenda of any sort. Be guided by what catches your eye, or perhaps a mysterious sound, or perhaps just your intuition saying: “let’s see what lies in this direction.”
5. Feel free to pause whenever you’d like, to sit or lie down again, or to examine something in great detail: to notice the texture of lichen on a rock, or the innermost folds of a blossoming rose. As you explore in this way, do your best to remain at a feeling and sensing level, without a lot of mental analysis.
6. If you notice that you’ve gotten lost in thoughts of the past or the future, no problem – simply bring yourself back to the practice: to wandering about, carefree as a child, in this beautiful place, letting your curiosity and gratitude guide you.
7. When your allotted time for the practice is up, or when your intuition tells you it’s time to end the session, sit down once again, and take a couple of deep slow breaths. Generate a feeling of gratitude for having the opportunity to spend time in such a beautiful place. Notice how you feel, in your body.
8. Then bring that energy with you, though the rest of your day!
1. Don’t worry if this feels a bit awkward at first. Many of us are so used to structuring our days with agendas and schedules and check-lists, that moving in a more spontaneous way can feel a bit odd at first. But you’ll soon remember how wonderful it is!
2. Be clear about the difference between this practice of “aimless wandering” and simply spacing out! Spacing out is what happens when we are drawn into thoughts of the past or future – when we get sucked into a “movie” being created by our thoughts. Aimless wandering brings us into the fields of our senses, and into a direct relationship with the elements of the natural world.
3. Notice the difference between honoring your own intuitive desire to move in one direction or another, and engaging in judgment. The sweetness of the “aimless wandering” practice is that there is no absolute “right” or “wrong” way to do it. Each of us discovers what’s right for us!
4. As you become more adept at the practice, your sensitivity to the energies of the place will increase. Enjoy this!
What You Need:
· a precious human body
· a place of great natural beauty
· a blanket to lie on, if you’d like
As you are walking place your eyesight and awareness on the horizon, or whatever is close if you are in an urban area. The idea here is to focus your attention upward and forward, instead of looking down and skulking.
Calm yourself, breathe rhythmically or however you achieve a serene state
As you walk focus your attention on the four kabbalistic “power points.” The feet, the groin, the heart (or solar plexus) and the forehead (or just above the head).
As you walk focus on those points in your mind. Feel your connection to the earth, the feet
Then the groin
Then the heart or solar plexus
Finally the head (or just above the head).
This can be done by focusing on the energies of the sefirot,
Malkuth, yesod, tifferet, Kether
Variations of this:
Focus on the images, of
Naturally we can go upwards or downwards, obviously the energy here has differing connotations.
This is of course related to the middle pillar exercise.
Another variation is to add the death emanation, or Gnosis.
Here at the throat, or if you are male, the adam’s apple we can picture the Gnostic “power” center. Find a symbol of image or something to help you visualize this energy center. I personally use the grail symbol of one upward triangle on top of another.
A further variation would be of course to use “energy balls” instead of kabbalistic emanations or imagery.
Feel free to change things to how you would like.