Contributing Writer for Wake Up World
“How do I walk?” If you can imagine asking this as child then you can imagine asking, “how do I meditate?” as an adult. We were practically all greeted with smiles and joy as we learned how to walk and developed our muscles in order to walk. And one should meet the question, “how do I meditate?’ and take those first steps with the same joy, as if an infant taking his first steps.
How would you properly explain walking to an infant? Ok, remember, no hands. Stay upright. Lift one foot, set it forward, follow it with the other and follow it and then repeat. Be careful to watch where you are stepping because you can fall or stub your toe. Keep your toes up too so you don’t trip…
And then what? Eventually, the infant must learn to embody this skill through experience. The infant must step forward on his or her own accord and invariably, there will be some falling. But those little falls, as shocking as they may be for one who has never fallen before, are best met with joyful laughter.
Meditation is invariably the same – we learn by taking on a practice. We must be as infants learning to walk, as part of a process in our development. After all, meditation is as natural to human beings as is walking upright. We are consciousness vehicles, biologically designed to walk and to meditate equally. While one is a physical practice and the other is metaphysical, both help us explore our reality, and both take dedicated practice to become second nature.
So, how would you properly explain the metaphysical practice of meditation to an “infant practitioner”? Using the number 108.
If there were to be a numerical symbol of yoga and meditative practice, it would have to be 108. Esteemed esoterically, the number 108 is considered metaphysically divine as it symbolizes, the union between the microcosm and macrocosm, the inner and outer worlds. There are also innumerable auspicious aspects to the number relating to astronomy, astrology, intuition, science and spirituality.
Being a divine metaphysical number, 108 is directly relevant to meditation and meditative movement. It is represented in numerous meditative practices; by the 108 movements of long form Tai Chi Chuan… the 108 movements of the Five Tibetan Rites Of Rejuvenation… the 108 sun salutations performed by Yogis on solstices and equinoxes… and meditators who use Mala Beads count mantra repetitions of 108.
Yet 108 is not just intrinsic to meditation, 108 describes how to meditate.
108, as all esoteric and metaphysical subject matter, has many layers. In part, one layer of 108 represents the trinity of time: 1 for the present, 0 for the past and 8 for the infinite future. From this perspective, the following steps to meditation can be understood through 108.
To achieve the highest aspect of meditation and allow that unified state into your daily life, start with the number 1. In order to be in a meditative state you have to find the oneness of the moment. Being present, is the first step. Consciously think on 1 thing – the breath. Thinking on 1 thing, just the natural breath cycle, allows us to take the next step; that is to think on 0 things, to be free of the past, and still in the present moment. The past, no matter if it is good or bad or whatever, should be as nothing in that moment, with absolutely 0 energetic weight. Then, in that moment of 0, we are able to receive of the “future” – the infinite unknown – in an open and present state.
And what a relief this can be, akin to all of a sudden being able to walk and explore on your own. When you can think about 1 thing, and then 0 things, you are open to perceive and comprehend components of the infinite.
The most amazing aspect of the number has only recently been scientifically revealed, directly correlating astrology with astronomy and suggesting intuitive understanding. Its meaning was made scientifically wondrous validating the metaphysical number in theological, individual, astrological and celestial concepts.
We are flowing in an ecosystem that is flowing in a solar system that is flowing in the greater universal system. Individual life on Earth and the life of Mother Earth herself exist thanks to a unique relationship between our wet rock, the Sun and the Moon (among other things). The celestial relationship between the Sun, Moon and Earth is balanced in a ratio of 108, with the exact distances fluctuating slightly during our spherical revolution.
The diameter of the Earth at its equator is 7926 miles. The diameter of the Sun is approximately 108 times that: about 865,000 (a 1% variation). The average distance between the Earth and the Sun is 108 times the sun’s diameter: 93,020,000 miles. The average distance from the Earth to the Moon is 238,800 miles, about 108 times the moon’s diameter: 2180 miles. And, even though the Sun is about 400 times bigger than the Moon, they appear the same size from Earth because of the ratio of 108. This proportion is most apparent as the moon appears to be the same size as the sun during eclipses.) And yet this knowledge was only specifically understood by western astronomers until the 20th century.
So what’s in a number? In 108 there is everything, just about.
The number 108 was celebrated and recognized for its intuitive value long before any specific knowledge of its cosmic astronomical importance was established. On a metaphysical level, the relationship of the Sun, Earth and Moon provide for all life and moreover all consciousness on Earth, so it is no accident or surprise that the relative size and distance between the familiar celestial objects are all in divine and miraculous proportion. This proportion of 108 is symbolic of celestial order and interconnected perfection. It is key to our Being.
As a gateway to meditative states, 108 describes both how to meditate and the direction meditation can take us – from the present to the infinite. Practicing meditative movements and meditations help us unite our mental, physical, and spiritual aspects with the natural or universal elements. The Five Tibetan Rites Of Rejuvenation are a perfect example, unifying elements of physical and metaphysical disciplines to achieve a simultaneously invigorated and meditative result.
The same principles can be applied to the interaction of the individual with the collective of individuals. We are all united, no matter our differences; a unity of natural elements and relationships. Through 108, we see the reflection of the universe in ourselves and it becomes possible for us to see ourselves, and the universe, in others. This is often a difficult perspective to achieve in a culture of separation — We are all part of the kinship of humanity, and everything we see is a reflection of ourselves. We are not separate from the stars, we reflect the stars. We are not separate from each other, we reflect each other.
Be present. Acknowledge your place in the cosmic order. Think on the breath. And as consciousness dissolves, access the infinite.
A book by author Ethan Indigo Smith.
Ethan Indigo Smith’s latest book, The Geometry of Energy: How To Meditate, explores meditation and meditative energies through the sacred four dimensions of geometry. Simple and profound, it is an empowering four-step meditation designed to lead to individuation, self-development, an enhanced understanding of energy, and psychological and spiritual cleansing.
The Geometry Of Energy: How To Meditate is available here on Amazon.
Previous articles by Ethan Indigo Smith:
About the author:
Activist, author and Tai Chi teacher Ethan Indigo Smith was born on a farm in Maine and lived in Manhattan for a number of years before migrating west to California. Guided by a keen sense of integrity and humanity, Ethan’s work is both deeply connected and extremely insightful, blending philosophy, politics, activism, spirituality, meditation and a unique sense of humour.
His publications include: