The sun, centre of our inner life
In the twenty first century we know the sun is the centre of our solar system and the planets, including the earth, revolve around it, and yet many of us behave as though we still believed the earth were the centre of the universe and we human beings, the summit of creation. This egocentric (or as the Master says, geocentric) point of view is the cause of many problems facing humankind: by centring our lives on the dictates of our own will or selfish, instinctive desires, we prevent our inner sun, in other words, our spirit, or higher Self, from governing our life in accordance with universal harmony:
‘The sun is the centre of the solar system and the planets move harmoniously in orbit around it; it is this harmonious movement of the planets round the sun that must be duplicated in our own cells. But before this can happen we have to discover our own centre: the sun, God, the spirit within us. When we achieve this, every particle of our being moves in rhythm with universal Life and the sensations and states of consciousness that this produces is unutterably glorious’.
Surya Yoga – Meditation on the sun
The Master encouraged this form of meditation and gave it the name ‘Surya Yoga’ from the Sanskrit, ‘Yoga of the Sun’ and it is practised at all brotherhood centres between the Spring and the Autumn equinoxes. He explained that the rays of the sun and the ‘prana’ that is present in the air at sunrise are able to renew and transform us.
‘As you leave your house to watch the sunrise each morning, tell yourself you’re about to meet a living being, that all of nature around you is alive. The entire universe is inhabited by an infinite number of creatures, invisible and yet real. So greet them all, tell these entities that live in the four elements of earth, water, air and fire that you love them, you appreciate their work, you’re grateful for the limpid purity of the morning, for all the life awakening around you at that moment.
As you set off to meet the dawn, be conscious, in your head and heart that you are about to watch, and even participate in, a universal event of great significance. What is more beautiful, more essential than the birth of a new day? You will say perhaps that your presence will change nothing: day will break whether you are there or not. Of course, that’s true, but it is important for you, yourself. For there is a correspondence between what takes place in nature and what takes place within your own being. When you know how to watch the sunrise, you will realise how important it is to work with the forces of day, in order for these forces to dawn within your own consciousness’.
In the philosophy of Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov, the sun is restored to central place. He provides a modern, Western interpretation of a spiritual discipline that has been practised in the Hindu tradition since the time of the Vedas: contemplation of the rising sun.
Although most of us seek the sun, at least unconsciously, as we book our holidays, and moan about grey, cloudy days, we are generally unaware of how vitally important the sun is to our lives, to our psychic as well as physical health, our relationships with others and even our spiritual evolution.
Apart from being essential to our physical health, the sun we see radiating in the sky is also our doorway to the spiritual sun, the spirit of Christ in which the spirit of all creatures dwells. This inner sun is also known in the Cabbalistic tradition as the Sephiroth Tiphereth, the region of radiant beauty and splendour, of divine love, wisdom and truth.
Uniting the human and divine Self
Disciples of the Universal White Brotherhood practice ‘Surya Yoga’ as often as they can during the spring and summer months, by rising early to watch the sunrise. As they contemplate the sun in an attitude of reverence and gratitude they are able to restore the connections between their human personality and their divine Self:
‘At sunrise, in the morning, all our work with the sun, our meditations and prayers, are aimed at restoring communications, at building bridges between our lower self down here and our higher self in the sun. When the bridge is built and communications restored, we shall once again be united with that higher self that dwells with God in constant happiness, bliss and boundless freedom. Yes, part of us already dwells with God in a state of indescribable bliss’.
Health benefits of sunrise meditation
Some people ask why it’s important to meditate outside, why can’t they simply meditate in the comfort of their own room? There are many good reasons and the most basic is that the ‘Prana’ present at sunrise is able to restore and maintain our physical health:
‘Prana is a living force, the outpouring of vitality from the sun that we breathe in with the air and absorb into every cell of our body. Prana is like a pure stream, cascading down from the mountain heights, its water charged with every kind of nourishment for the beings swimming in it and also for the humans and animals living on its banks. Prana is a torrent flowing from the sun and, by respiration and meditation, we can obtain from it all the benefits we need’.
But the benefits of practising meditation at sunrise are far from being merely physical. By focusing our attention on the sun’s first rays while breathing deeply, we are nourishing our subtle, psychic and spiritual bodies; we are able to ‘eat fire and drink light’. And in this way, we not only rejuvenate our physical bodies, we also become inwardly richer, freer and happier. Our relationships with others improve as we become more loving and generous:
‘Learn to work with the light of the sun, for this light contains all riches. When you begin to take possession of these riches, you will feel your relationships with other human beings gradually improve. Why? Because when you feel rich, you become generous. But please understand me: I am speaking of true riches, that of the masters and initiates. They live in such abundance, such plenitude, how could they not wish to help others and love them? When you see someone who doesn’t love others, who shows no inner nobility or generosity it is because he or she is poor and miserable. And if you don’t want to fall into the same faults, work with the rays of the sun’.
The sun, image of perfection
The sun shines on all creatures equally, whether they be saints or criminals, all receive its light, warmth and vitality whether they are grateful for these blessings or not. In this sense, the sun can be said to be a physical representation of God, an expression of the trinity of love, wisdom and truth. It offers us a glorious image of perfection, inspiration for all those who strive towards a spiritual ideal.
The following prayer can be said at sunrise. We should pronounce it with inner conviction, while focusing on the first rays as they appear above the horizon, for it is then a powerful magic formula:
Prayer at Sunrise
As the sun rises over the world, so may the Sun of Truth,
Freedom, Immortality and Eternity rise in my Spirit!
As the sun rises above the world, so may the Sun of Love
and Immensity rise in my soul!
As the sun rises above the world, so may the Sun of Intelligence,
Light and Wisdom rise in my mind!
As the sun rises above the world, so may the Sun of gentleness,
kindness, joy, happiness and purity rise in my heart!
As this luminous, radiant sun rises over the world, so may the Sun
of strength, power, force, dynamic energy and activity rise in my will.
And as this luminous, radiant, living sun rises over the world, so may
the sun of health, vitality and vigour rise in my body!
Amen. So be it, for the Glory of God.
How to prepare yourself for the sunrise:
‘Be careful not to eat too much or go to bed too late the evening before, and avoid doing anything that might trouble or torment you the next morning. In other words, try to do whatever has to be done in such a way as to feel free, with a mind that is crystal clear and a heart at peace, with no loose ends to settle, nothing to regret or repair.
Then, in the morning, rested and in peace, you can start your meditation, slowly and gently, without concentrating intently on the sun too abruptly. Start by glancing inwards to see if all your inhabitants are at peace, and if they are making a noise or being rowdy and rebellious, try to calm them down and restore order and balance, for you cannot project yourself towards the sun until peace and harmony reign within you.
Once you are in a state of inner peace, you can project your thoughts out to the sun and imagine it as a glorious world inhabited by the most perfect, luminous creatures who live in sublime intelligence and absolute love and purity; think that, up there, in the sun, there exists an order, a culture, a whole civilisation in fact, that is perfection’.
For a comprehensive account of the methods of ‘Surya Yoga’ and many inspiring starting points for sunrise meditations please read the following books by Omraam Mikhael Aivanhov: