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I i

ICONS See "Symbols."

ID (See also "Ego," "Superego," "Unconscious," “Self," "Problems," "Emotions," "Energy Centers," and "Mind.")

          "Id" is a psychological concept. It is the deepest, lowest thoughts and feelings that are mostly hidden from your normal awareness. It is not unconscious physical processes that we can't control or over which we have little control, nor is it thoughts and memories to which we have easy access in our day-to-day lives, if we choose. Rather, it is, in psychology, your dark, deep secrets; it is memories or feelings that you have forgotten that were painful, frightening, or forbidden. You sometimes access them without intending to through dreams, through psychoanalysis (lengthy psychological counseling revealing yourself increasingly to a therapist), and through meditation.

          An example is a memory of something that someone did to you (or you did to someone else) that was terrible or very disturbing, or about which you felt so bad or guilty that you repressed it, only to have it come back to mind years or even decades later. Another example is a negative impulse or urge that you never new existed, one which feels strong when it comes to the surface of your awareness one day, such as an impulse to hurt or manipulate.

          Meditation can bring such elements of thought and feeling from the id to conscious awareness. It is inevitable that it will do so if you establish a regular meditation practice. And sometimes it even occurs in beginning meditation practices. Meditation is the act of gradually becoming more aware. As you become more aware, you reach into higher, lower, and broader areas of energy within yourself and around you. As a result, you should be aware of several ways of dealing negative memories and feelings:

  1. Be aware that not all feelings (and thoughts) that move into you necessarily from you. As you become more aware through meditation, you naturally may become more sensitive to energies from others, both close by and at a distance. Do you think of someone and start feeling bad (or good)? Are you sitting beside someone who is in a lot of turmoil (or joy)? If you are in a balanced, aware, neutral state of awareness, you sometimes may feel what they are feeling or think what they are thinking.

  2. Learn to protect yourself. There are several meditation practices for this. You can imagine a protective bubble or shell around you, filled with light, peace, love, clearness, or some other positive energy. Or you can concentrate more strongly or intensely on one of the higher energy centers (see), especially the above-the-head or heart energy centers (see).

  3. Get guidance. One of the reasons that many meditation systems strongly suggest or even require you to use a spiritual guide, guru, or master is because difficult memories, emotions, and feelings come into your meditation awareness or even overwhelm it. This is especially true if you follow a meditation practice involving general openness or waiting within your awareness, or a practice that opens up lower energy centers. Physical practices using psychedelic drugs, self-inflicted pain, sexual energies, or energies of will or desire usually require a spiritual guide, too.

  4. If you are working on a meditation practice on your own, depending on higher energy center meditations (especially above-the-head and heart energy centerssee) are safer practices. (See "Descending and Ascending Meditations," "Emotions," "Problems," and "Dark Night of the Soul.")

IDOLS, IDOLATRY See "Symbols."

IGNATIUS OF LOYOLA (See also "Pain for Meditating," "Pain," and "Drugs and Body Implants.")

          St. Ignatius of Loyola was the founder of the Order of Jesus or "Jesuits" in the renaissance Roman Catholic Church. At that time, the Jesuits became the "fighting arm" of the Pope–whichever Pope was in office. The group was organized along military lines of discipline and authority. In addition, Ignatius is known for his handbook "The Spiritual Exercises," which detail, according to his own experiences, how to use denial, discomfort, and pain to reach higher and deeper states of meditation.

          Some of his exercises may be useful to you as a meditator, especially if you have a very religious background (in almost any religion) and/or you feel a strong need to deny or limit parts of your worldly life. However, many of his exercises are meant only for those who actually find extreme discomfort or pain on a regular basis helpful to them.

        If you do decide to try some of his exercises, see "Pain for Meditating" first. If you are a typical, average meditator, you may prefer a more middle way (see).

ILLUMINATION – (See also “Enlightenment” and “Halo Effect.”)

“Illumination” means “a lighting up” or “to enlighten” (see). Illumination in medititation in particular refers more often to a specific experience, such as an “illuminating” meditation experience. However, it sometimes can refer to a general meditative or personal state, as in “Buddha was an illumined person.”

Illumination as it applies to meditation is not simply getting a bright idea or having an uplifting feeling. Rather, like enlightenment (see), it is an experience or state of being that is much more intense, deeper, and/or higher than normal, average human experience. If you have a spiritually awakening (see) experience, for example, sense the presence of a greater being (see “God”), or are filled with a special power or force through one of your energy centers (see), you can say that you have had an illumination.

ILLUSION – (See also “Delusion,” “Mind,” and “Reality.”)

A common misperception is that yoga and meditation teach that the world is illusion. In this misperception, the idea is that we live in an illusion, a world that, together, we make up or invent, that doesn’t really exist.

However, yoga and meditation do not teach this. Rather, the reality you perceive with your senses is truly real. It is not a dream or something made up by you or someone (or something) else. The great majority of meditation and yoga masters say that reality does exist.

The idea of “illusion,” according to most yoga and meditation masters, is that if you think of this reality as the only reality, then that is an illusory idea. You  can demonstrate this on a very simple, scientific level by considering how nonhuman creatures perceive.

For example, some animals can perceive a much wider range of vision than you–seeing infrared, for example, or ultraviolet–“colors” that humans can see only if they use technology. Other animals are able to hear much higher or lower pitches of sound than can humans. Some animals are able to sense, by smell or touch, much more than you can.

And, as science fiction writers like to point out, many of them scientists, themselves, intelligent aliens we might meet from other parts of the universe likely will have some senses that humans do not. And they may be missing some senses that humans have.

In addition, all of the parts of reality that science can perceive only through technology–from subatomic particles to distant galaxies –are equally real. This is one of the reasons science is held in such high regard: its ability to perceive far beyond what a human can.

However, there also are elements of life that science cannot yet fully quantify. For example, what does science know about the complete process of the beauty of a flower or the joy of creating, and the higher or deeper awarenesses that come through yoga and meditation?

What yoga and meditation say is that while science steadily moves outward and onward in what it can explain as real, there are ideas, feelings, and realms that science has not yet verified. These realities that are currently beyond scientific measurement are just as real. They are just as important.

So, our reality is not an illusion. Rather, the illusion is this: our human reality is not everything that exists. In fact, say yoga and mediation, the greater reality is much larger, Science will continue to discover and quantify these other areas and dimensions of reality, but only one step at a time, and only through years, generations, and eons.

If you hear a yoga or meditation master say that reality is an illusion, usually they are referring to a specific form of illusion. They are saying that the real illusion is in thinking every person and object are separate from each other. Rather, they say, everyone and everything is, underneath the surface of things, connected. Ironically, some theories of physics are beginning to suggest the same thing.

IMAGES, IMAGERY See "Symbols, Symbolism" and "Maitri Wisdom Meditation."

IMAGINATION, IMAGINING WHAT YOU WANT See "Visualization" and "Third-Eye Energy Center."


"Immanent" and "transcendent" often are used to describe two types of experiences of God, or of an intense spiritual experience, or of some other intense experience of great beauty, joy, love, peace, strength, etc. "Immanent" means "within" or immediately in or surrounding your body; "transcendent" means "outside," "beyond," or physically higher than your body. The two words do not refer, usually, to normal, average experiences, and often they are not used except to refer to something specific within a religion or spiritual tradition.

For example, "immanent" often is used in religions to say that God is right here, right now, either within you or immediately around your body. And "transcendent" is used to describe the experience of God or a spiritual state of being as existing above or beyond yourself, as in experiencing a sense of spirit or God in nature; in a spiritual or religious service of some kind, where the feeling fills the place of worship; in the room or auditorium where a profoundly beautiful piece of music is playing; or in an art gallery where you experience a great emotion beyond normal emotion when looking at an especially beautiful work of art.

In meditation, sometimes you can find and experience immanent states by using the various practices of meditation. And you also can experience transcendent states by using meditation methods, or simply focusing on great external experiences of beauty, joy, love, peace, and strength as the outer world brings them to you. Both immanent and transcendent experiences are forms of meditation, especially when used–repeated and pursued as a conscious practice–through meditation.

See “Drugs.”

INDWELLING SPIRIT/DIVINE See "Divine Indwelling." Also see “Self," "Atman," "Soul," "Selfless," "I-Thou," “Mind," and “Soul.”


All of these opposites simply refer, in meditation practice, to meditation experiences. There are two primary meanings for these pairs.

The first primary meaning is that "inner," "interior," and "internal" simply mean experiences within your body or your body sphere (see "sphere"). "Outer," "exterior," and "external" refer to meditation experiences outside of your body and/or significantly beyond your body sphere. The words also can refer to physical things such as organs or areas within the body and objects outside of the body.

In this first primary meaning, the words do not have any special spiritual or magical meanings, except that often they may refer to experiences or presences that are not always scientifically verifiable. Common examples of these word groups include such phrases as "inner life," "inward experiences," "exterior reality," and "external transcendent experiences."

The second primary meaning is used sometimes by psychic, occult, Wicca (see), and spiritualism groups that believe in an unseen world of spiritual and/or occult forces. In this second primary meaning, "inner," "interior," and "internal" mean psychic, spiritual, or occult forces anywhere and everywhere; and "outer," "exterior," and "external" mean the real, physical world explained by science.

In this second primary meaning, the terms do not refer to what is inside or outside your body, but rather to what is psychic or spiritual vs. what is scientifically physical. For example, typical phrases might include "inner worlds of spiritual phenomena," "inward journey into the occult," "the outer physical world," and "the external life's body."


INTERIOR SILENCE See "Nirvana," the "'No' Meditation," "Centering Prayer," and "Prayer."

INVITATION As in being inviting to meditation energies coming to you. See “Acceptance.”

I-THOU THEOLOGY (See also "Atman," "God" and “Self.")

          "I-Thou" theology means, simply, that the words "I-Thou" are a combination or equation that has a special and spefici meaning for meditation. Most recently, this phrase and its meaning were popularized by Jewish theologian Martin Buber.

          The "I" in this equation means the spiritual "I" or "Self" (see) with a capital "S": the basic Awareness (see "Atman") you have, apart from all contents or objects you normally sense. This Self or Awareness is not your normal "self" with a small "s"–it is not your normal personality and normal, daily awareness with no self-reflection or self-awareness. Rather, this "I" you have is, according to Hindu Vedic and other spiritual systems, the spark or chip of the highest spiritual awareness, or of God, that lies within yourself.

          The "Thou" in this equation is simply this same "Self," "Awareness," or spark that is in other beings around you. It exists, says this meditation tradition, in all beings whether or not they are aware of it. Some meditation can, in fact, involve your "I" meditating with other "Thous" around you in pairs or groups (see "Others, Meditating with").

          In the Jewish, Christian, and Muslim traditions, there is a significant meditation theme of "I-Thou" in their ' early scriptures. It starts in the creation stories. It then moves to the story of Moses' Ten Commandments and continues through these religions' books of the prophets. It also occurs in the story of Jesus of Nazareth.

          In the creation stories, the name of God is "Yahweh," which translates as "I Am That I Am," meaning that God is an "Am-ness" or perfect Awareness (see "God"). In the story of the ten commandments that Moses brings down from Mount Sinai, each of these ten laws starts with "Thou." Some suggest that these "Thou" words refer not just to commands, but also to a hidden or special meaning. It means, they say, that "Thou" refers to God and also to the Self, Awareness, or spark of the God in each person. So, for example, when you hear, "Thou shall not kill," it is not just a command or law. It also means that "Thou"–the the spark of the divine in you–can never commit murder. According to this belief, you can't murder the spark of the divine in anyone.

          Similarly, this meditation tradition says that when Jesus of Nazareth declares, "I am" this and that, he is speaking from his own Self, Awareness, or spark within him. And, says this tradition, he also encourages others to be aware of, find, or merge with their own spark.

          In terms of meditation, this "I-Thou" tradition encourages everyone to find his or her won Awareness or Self. In fact, this is one of the primary meditation paths that some meditation practitioners follow throughout their life (see the 'Awareness of Awareness' Meditation").

INVOCATION – (See also “Prayer.”)

An invocation or invoking is the act of calling up–or asking for the presence of–a higher power, force, or being. It is common in many religious services or spiritual rituals. It is not simply a prayer, wish, hope, or reaching out to a higher power. Rather, it is asking that higher power to come to you or your group and be present there.

One example of an invocation occurs in a religious recitation or ritual in which the leader or worshippers ask God to come and be present in their midst. Another example is when Wiccan or pagan worshippers try to call a god, power, force, or other being into their midst. 



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Text © 2017-2020 by Richard Jewell

Images © 1994-2018 by Gabriel R. Jewell

First edition: 1 Sept. 2018. Second edition: 1 Sept. 2019. Free Use Policy

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