Practical Spiritual Experiment: “Plugged-in Presence”
An "electrical" spiritual exercise by L. Ron Gardner
L. Ron Gardner is an author, mystic-philosopher and in-depth researcher of spiritual traditions. He’s also a creative thinker and theorist with an eye for underlying commonalities between various traditions. (Parallels between the Buddhist Trikaya and the Christian Trinity is one example.)
Below, he explains the “how-to” for what he describes as “plugged-in presence.”
And what is “plugged-in presence”? A thorough description of it has the potential to be a deep dive, yet it can also be described quite simply.
It works, essentially, like an electrical circuit.
In a nutshell, the basic idea is to “plug in.”
If prayer is practiced properly, then it is the same as meditation. In other words, if it is practiced intently and one-pointedly, with full focus or concentration, then it becomes a meditative (or yogic) spiritual exercise rather than a random, haphazard petitioning of the Divine. True prayer does not involve begging God for favors; it simply means meditatively (or intently, one-pointedly, and sometimes incessantly) asking God to bless you with His Grace, His Spirit-power. God’s Blessing Power is the same as His Will (which is to en-Light-en you). Therefore the Model Prayer, in essence, is simply to say: “Thy Will be done,” and then to allow the supernal Light-energy to irradiate your whole bodily being. Until your prayer bears Fruit (Grace), you must continue to beseech God to bless you. When His Spirit-power descends into and through you, you can relax your efforts and simply channel the Divine Blessing.
1) Sit upright on a chair (Note: slightly tucking your chin will naturally straighten your spine. Rest your hands (palms down) on your thighs. Experiment with sitting on the edge of the chair (or a bench) verses with your back against its back. Alternatively, you can sit cross-legged on the floor (preferably with a meditation cushion, such as a Zen zafu, underneath your buttocks.
2) Establish what the Buddha called “self-possession.” In other words, feel yourself as the whole body, and then be consciously present as the whole body, the whole psycho-physical being. Randomly focusing your attention on your third-eye area and hands will help enable you to coincide with your body, and thereby heal the body-mind split. When you consciously inhabit your whole body and are wholly, or integrally, present to the whole (the totality of existence), you are in proper position to receive and conduct the Force-flow from above.
3) “Gaze” into empty space. If you are “self-possessed,” this “gaze” will amount to being whole-bodily present to (or in direct relationship to) the void. As soon as you become aware that you have retracted from your “position” of conscious connectedness to (or single-pointed focus on) the void, simply reassume, or attempt to reassume, your “stance” of holistic at-one-ment. To this end, you can randomly use an enquiry (such as “Avoiding relationship?”) to instigate your resumption of communion with the void. When the void begins to “shine,” it is experienced as Divine Presence; and when the Power of the Presence pours down upon you, then “emptiness” has morphed into Spirit, and your “gaze into space” has transmuted into empowered Holy Communion.
4) Randomly focus your attention on your breath (by being in direct relationship to your breathing cycle). When the breath “comes alive” as prana-shakti, palpable intensified life-energy, simply remain present to it. Your communion with the breath cycle will transmute into true, or infused, Holy Communion when the prana-shakti morphs into the Holy Spirit, the great Shakti poured down from above.
5) Totally relax your body (including your head) and utterly let go of your mind. Once you are able to connect to the Shakti, you will directly experience that letting go intensifies the force-flow (or pressure) of the Spirit-current. Be an empty cup, ready to be filled with Holy Water from above. When you experience the Benediction, the Divine downpour, remain motivelessly present to it. Your searchless beholding of the Shakti will enable you to spontaneously merge with it.
These technical meditation (and prayer) instructions are all about facilitating communion, and then union, with the Divine. It is up to you to test them out and determine how useful they are for your Christian yoga practice. Truly speaking, no spiritual practice, in and of itself, is holy or sacred. The only “Thing” holy or sacred is the Holy One Himself (including His Holy Spirit). Therefore, whatever practices bring you into communion with the Holy One are the ones you should employ.
The above is an excerpt from Gardner's book, Electrical Christianity. For a deeper exploration of this, the book is available here, or visit Gardner's website here.