Tag Archive: consciousness


Be Still

mountain

One connection I’ve become acutely aware of from my meditation practice, and more recently from a half hour stint remaining completely still under a gamma x-ray machine, ¬†is how the body mirrors the mind.

As the mind quietens, the body has a tendency to become less active. When the mind becomes completely still, all outer, gross muscle movements in the body seem to stop. Stillness in the mind seems to permeate both the mental a physical levels of being.

I took this understanding and applied the concept of reverse engineering to it. The idea here being that if I still my body through a process of systematic relaxation, that stillness should work its way into my mind. And guess what? It worked. Stilling my body stilled my mind. Though I have to say, it didn’t surprise me in the slightest. After all, the body and mind are intimately connected, locked in an unending dance with one another from birth until death. A dance in which the mind sometimes leads the body, and the body sometimes leads the mind.

Give it a try.

BE STILL ūüôā

The simple path

Image

Sweeping the floor, watching your breath, drinking a cup of tea; whatever you like to do, pay attention to it.

The more focused on the present moment we become, the more our state of awareness expands. When the mind is caught up in thoughts of the past or future, it can‚Äôt be fully aware of what‚Äôs happening in the moment. Training the mind through focused concentration, brings us into that rare moment where we experience full awareness. Training the mind to do this is as simple as bringing your attention to what you are doing. Although, that‚Äôs not really as simple as it seems, is it? ūüôā

What is reality?

Brilliant video. We really don’t know shit!

Image

Many years ago, when I first became interested in the esoteric elements of yoga, I remember looking through dozens of texts and noticing a strange recurring theme. Throughout the texts I saw paintings of yogis depicted as being in a deep state of Samadhi, with their eyes crossed and directed up towards the centre of their forehead.

It turns out that the yogis in those images weren’t just pulling funny faces, they were applying a simple yet powerful consciousness expanding technique known as shambavi mudra. Applying this simple technique of turning the eyes up towards the centre of the forehead allowed these explorers of consciousness to open their mind’s eye and see the unity and the oneness of everything.

Shambavi mudra can be looked at on two levels; they are the external, physical level, and the internal, mental level. In this post I’ll describe the physical level, as understanding and learning how to apply it lays the foundation for practising on the mental level.

The Physical level of Shambavi

In the same way that Yogis noticed the other bandhas and mudras occurring spontaneously throughout their body as their mind began to awaken, they also observed how, when they entered a deep state of meditation, their eyes would naturally roll up and in towards the centre of their forehead. It seems that this natural movement of the eyes, in response to the mind entering deeper states of awareness and expansion, has the affect of bringing the two hemispheres of the brain into harmony with each other, creating a unity and synergy between all parts of the brain.

With this understanding of shambavi mudra, it’s interesting to see how an awakened mind is often symbolised by closed eyes turned up towards a single, opened eye in the centre of the forehead. Symbolically, this represents the neurological integrative affect shambavi has upon the brain, and the subsequent awareness of unity and oneness that arises in the mind.

Practice:

  1. Sitting or lying in a comfortable position, bring your index finger to a central point in front of your face, level with your eyes.
  2. Focus your eyes on the point of your finger.
  3. Keeping your eyes focussed on the tip of your finger, slowly move your finger to touch the point just above the bridge of your nose, where the third eye is often depicted as being situated.
  4. Once you have reached the position described in step 3, maintaining your eyes in that position, close your eye lids as your remove your finger and bring your hand to rest in your lap.

The effects of this practice, although happening mostly in the background, manifest in a specific way. Over time, as the eye position of shambavi integrates the brain’s hemispheres and begins to stimulate and activate specific areas of the brain, the practitioner begins to see a light in the centre of his/her forehead. The longer the practice is used, the stronger the new neurological connections become. The affect of this neurological strengthening is a growing intensity in the brightness of the inner light in the head.

Integration

When we integrate shambavi mudra into our bandha and meditative practices we are greatly enhancing their affects on the awakening body and mind. Eventually, when we practice our meditation in conjunction with shambavi, the mind becomes completely absorbed in the light in the head. When we reach this point in our practice, the mind expands and we see ourselves in everything and everything in us.

One Love ‚̧

My disappearing body

All this week I’ve had the feeling of living in a dream, of being completely disconnected from what I would normally call reality. And although I can’t find the words to portray exactly what I’m experiencing, I can best describe it as a type of doing without doing, thinking without thinking. It’s like this body is moving, acting and reacting, and the mind is thinking, but it’s not me. I’m simply watching it all happen. Even thinking about these words I’m typing, and the act of physically using the keyboard on the laptop in front of this body I call my own, doesn’t feel real. It’s like I’m observing it all from behind the curtain of the mind.¬†

Oh words are so meaningless. They completely fail me at times like this.

Dissolving in light

Tonight, during meditation, as I felt my body becoming lighter, I perceived a brightness, an intense light, filling my physical form. It was like my body was a balloon filling with helium. Becoming lighter and lighter with every breath. Soon after this, I began to notice parts of my body disappearing, until eventually there was no body. There was only light. I was light.  

As I regained the sense of body, it was as if I was in the body but at the same time all around it. It is a strange sensation. It feels similar to the awakening I experienced a number of years ago, only the intensity is far milder. Anyway, I just thought I’d share.¬†

Next post will be on Shambavi Mudra, an important step in reverse engineering the awakening process. 

Although I’m feeling separate from everything at the moment, paradoxically, I’ve never felt so connected. With this, there comes a feeling of immense love and compassion welling up from the depths of my being.¬†

Wishing every one of you much love and happiness ūüôā

Namaste

Image
The body’s¬†innate intelligence is always inclined towards awakening and evolution. We just have to¬†allow it to do what it does best by¬†not getting in its way.¬†
 
I was nine years old when I first discovered that I could do Uddiyana bandha and nauli kriya, although at the time I had no idea what they were called. In fact, I didn’t even think there were names for these weird¬†belly gymnastics I was able to do. I just started doing them one day and thought they looked cool. I also got a kick¬†from freaking out¬† my friends and family.¬†It wasn’t till¬†much later that I found out these odd belly maneuvers were actually practices from yoga used to cleanse the organs and stimulate the brain and nervous system as part of the awakening process. With this¬†understanding of what I’d been doing came the realisation that I’d been practicing yoga and preparing my body and mind since before I was even aware that something called yoga actually existed.
 
Awakening the Heart
When we begin the practce of uddiyana bandha, Nauli Kriya, and agni sara, we’re using the diaphragm and abdominal muscles like a pump to draw kundalini up into the heart. Energetically this has an opening or awakening affect, the result of which is a type of hyper intuitive and empathic state of being.
 
As the heart opens it can feel as if it’s¬†simultaneously melting and exploding. This is a sensation that comes in waves, where it builds up, explodes and slowly fades into an after-glow. Then the cycle begins again. As¬†this is happening¬†there’s a¬†sense of a complete outpouring of love from the centre of your being.¬†
 
Physically, these practices are unmatched in their ability to tone and strengthen the diaphragm and core muscles while massaging all the internal organs, including the heart. Other physical benefits include weight loss and correcting of the posture (another essential element of martial arts and yoga).
 
Awakening
Uddiyana Bandha stimulates and wakes up the mid brain structures, the emotional centres of the brain.
 
Martial connection
In the¬†Warrior traditions¬†of Japan there’s special emphasis placed upon the abdomen. In fact it plays such an important roll not only in martial arts, but in daily life, that the Japanese developed an entire set of exercises and practices which they called Haragei (belly arts).
 
I’ll post more on this subject tomorrow including instructions on how to do Uddiyana, Nauli and agni sara. But before I do that I’m just going to finish a short animation that illustrates the flow of energy during Uddiyana practice, which I’ll include a link for here in just a few minutes ūüôā
 

A digital sketch I made to illustrate the flow of Prana induced by certain yogic and martial practices. In yoga they’re called bandhas (seals). I’ll share my understanding of these internal practices during the coming weeks.

20130106-224712.jpg

Image
I’d been meditating from the age of 12, and over the years had¬†heard rumours and whispers of some mysterious place in the body that, when¬†found and activated,¬†was capable of unlocking the untapped potential of¬†the human mind, catapulting the meditator into states of inner bliss, where he/she would experience¬†oneness with all things. Since I first heard of its existence, I thought such a point was nothing more than a myth, just another story told to encourage spiritual seekers to stay¬†on their path. That¬†was until, as if by some strange twist of fate, at the age of 26,¬†I experienced¬†the effects of this point¬†directly for myself.
 
 
It is said in the ancient Yogic texts of India¬†that when the spiritual force, called Kundalini, rises up through the body, the tongue rolls back and the eyes turn in as the spiritual eye opens and the yogi enters through the door of Brahman to realise his/her true self. Ok, so that’s all¬†a bit esoteric. Let’s see if we can get our heads around¬†what I just wrote¬†by¬†changing our¬†perspective and looking at it in terms¬†of reverse engineering the body and mind.
 
Reverse engineering the awakened mind
As the mind begins to expand and wake up, its physical counterpart, the brain, goes through many structural and functional changes in a process called neuroplasticity. While these changes are happening in the brain, the body responds by changing and refining its own biological processes. As Yogis and Yoginis of the past went through the natural awakening process, catalysed by their meditative practices, they noticed many physical phenomena occuring in their body, phenomena that were caused by changes in their brain. Yogis, understanding that the brain and body are interconnected and comunicating in a two way process, realised that just as the awakened brain can change the body, an awakened body could just as effectively change the brain and, incidentally, trigger the expansion of the mind. It was from this understanding that the physical sciences of yoga were born.
 
So what¬†are the physical body symptoms of an awakened mind? Well, the list is long, far too long for a single blog post, so instead of listing and explaing them all, I’ll name a few important ones and then focus on one that’s particularly significant¬†to the awakening process. The following are a few important awakening symptoms of the physical body:
 
  • Spontaneous postures (asanas)¬†and hand positions (mudras).
  • Severe, spontaneous changes in breathing patterns, ranging from rappid to extremely slow respiratory cycles.
  • Complete cessation of the breathing cycle for long periods of time.
  • Extreme changes in body temperature.
  • Spontaneous internal muscle contractions, called Bandhas.
Of all these symptoms, the one I’ll look at here is the spontaneous, internal muscle contractions called Bandhas. There are many Bandhas that have been recognised by traditional Yoga as vital ellements¬†to the awakening process. The most important of these are Moola Bandha (contraction of the perineal muscles), Uddiyana Bandha (Contraction of the abdominal muscles), Jalandhara Bandha (contraction of the neck muscles), Kechari mudra (contraction of the tongue), and Shambavi mudra (contraction of the eyes). And of these, it is said that Kechari mudra is the king.
 
As the nervous system undergoes cleansing and physical changes, various muscle groups within the body¬†are stimulated to contract in very specific ways. These contractions are what I’ve described as the Bandhas, above. As the bandhas are engaged, various parts of the brain and, therefore, mind are stimulated, which, over time, leads to expanded states of awareness.¬†
 
Kechari Mudra
Kechari mudra, described as king of the mudras, is the name used to describe a peculiar phenomenon in which the tongue moves back, behind the soft palate, and up into the nasal cavity where it rests against a point on the septum, otherwise known as the door of Brahman. It is this point on the septum that can catapult the yogi/yogini into super conscious states of extasy and bliss.  
 
A personal experience of Kechari Mudra
My experience of Kechari was a spontaneous one. But I’ve already described that experience in my previous post. So instead of writing it out again, let me talk about the after effects of the Kechari experience.
 
For months after my initial awakening, my tongue would spontaneously move into the kechari mudra position. During these mini awakening episodes, which often lasted for half an hour or more, I experienced dream like states accompanied by wave after wave of blissful, orgasmic energy washing over my body. All of these effects are great when in the safety of a meditation room, but not so safe, as I would come to realise, when they happen in the outside world. While in those dream like states, there were many occasions where I was brought back to my normal senses by the distant sound of a car horn, to find myself wandering across a busy road.
 
After a few months of spontaneous Kechari, I gained control over it, and was able to apply it at will. But by this time I’d gotten used to the energy flow it induced and was able to function normally while in an uplifted state of awareness.¬†
 
Some of the other notable things triggered by the practice of Kechari only began to kick in at a later stage, about six months after I first experienced it. One such effect was the unusual but definite connection made between my head and genitals. This was experienced as a type of orgasm. When my tongue entered the nasal cavity to touch the door of Brahman, it triggered a spasm of my perineal muscles. This would last for as long as I left my tongue in that position, and was enhanced by turning my eyes inward to look up at the location of my thrd eye. For all you knowledgable Yogis, this perineal muscle spasm is a dynamic form of moola Bandha, but very subtle and completely unforced.
 
Accompanying the activation of my perineal muscles was another unusual spasm, which I haven’t been able to find a name for in Yogic scriptures. This was the spasm of my soft pallet, which would contract and pulsate around the base of my tongue as my breathing slowed and almost came to a full stop.
 
The accumulated sensation of the kechari mudra practice was what I can only describe as a brain orgasm. This effect resulted in deep states of bliss and inner tranquility which continues to overflow into my surroundings to this day. Ultimately, Kechari leads to a feeling of connectedness to all beings and an ensuing feeling of love towards them.
 
In my next post, I’ll look at some of the other effects of Kechari Mudra and explore its connection to the path of the warrior. Plus, I’ll see if I can upload a short video clip of myself demonstrating Kechari mudra ūüėČ
 
HAPPY NEW YEAR, AND MUCH LOVE TO ALL OF YOU AND YOUR FAMILIES ūüôā
 
P.S, The image in this post was taken from www.sanatanamitra.com
%d bloggers like this: