Neptune rules many of the practices that help us reach our spiritual goals. Meditation, therapy, hypnosis, dreamwork and yoga are all means to access the spiritual realms.
People aspire to stages along the way as they progress from subconsciousness to consciousness. The stresses of modern life not only make these hard to incorporate, we have an even greater need to release the stresses we build up from our non-physical, high-tech lives.
In the '60s and '70s, young people started looking for spiritual fulfillment. The Beatles, who had become cultural leaders, went to India in search of enlightenment. They became disciples of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, a guru who had begun a "Spiritual Regeneration Movement" in India in the late '50s. He taught that meditation was the way to go.
The Maharishi showed up in the west with a method that would make it easy for people to meditate -- Transcendental Meditation or TM. You could pay your fee, get your mantra and meditate for 15 minutes. You could work it into your busy life, and it didn't involve the kind of serious spiritual commitment that many other meditation practices did. Westerners loved it and tens of thousands of Americans and Europeans began practicing.
Consciousness is the life we're aware of living in the body, and subconsciousness relates to the soul, the unseen portion of our psyche. Meditation is a kind of halfway point, where we involve the two parts of ourselves. Some people refer to reaching the "core self" during meditation.
People meditate for answers -- no need to take a trip into the high mountains on a rugged vision quest. It can be a mini-trip, a quiet state where answers can rise up on the screen of our inner vision when the static of anxiety and the daily calendar is let go.
We also meditate to rest. Our brain wave rhythms in a meditative state are said to harmonize and regenerate our bodily processes, resulting in greater health.
We achieve relaxation in many ways. Doing something we enjoy takes our minds away from everyday reality, such as pursuing a hobby, reading, cooking or napping.
Yoga, fitness, stretching, dancing -- these involve the mind-body connection: What you do with the body can quiet the mind. Some people prefer music, drugs and alcohol as paths to relaxation.
Some people experiment with hypnosis as a way to relax their conscious minds. Going past the mid-point of meditation, we travel into the subconscious realm. Or, hypnosis can be used to help find that middle spot quickly, with the help of someone else. We are usually hypnotized for a reason, often in the context of some type of therapy. We may be asking for help from the soul, or greater self, to quit smoking or to engage in a past-life regression.
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