Tag Archive: Happiness


Khechari mudra diaries

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There is a sense of deep peace and clarity after the practice. When my eyes open I feel like a new born baby looking at the world and seeing everything for the first time. There are no labels. There is no prejudice. Everything just is.

The following are notes taken from my personal diary. They offer a first hand account of my experience with the practice of khechari mudra and give some insight into what goes on in the body and mind when the tongue is repositioned into the nasopharyngeal cavity.

At first there’s a burning sensation under the base of the tongue and in the pit of the throat (like the beginning of a sore throat) accompanied by tension that spreads from the front of the neck up into the jaw and temple area.

When the tongue first touches the nasal septum there is a light electrical sensation in the tip of the tongue and a sensation in the nasal septum that is so intense it’s as if you’ve snorted a pint of fizzy soda up your nose (think of the sensation you get in the back of your nose just before you sneeze and multiply it by 10). After some time there are various tastes that become noticeable on your tongue, as if a very delicate liquid is trickling into your throat. It’s salty at first but becomes increasingly subtle in it’s taste and consistency. Some of the tastes are metallic (almost like blood), and sweet (but not like sugar, there’s a delicate intensity to the sweetness).

The breath becomes very shallow and slow, almost imperceptible. Breathing out is particularly strange. The out breath is long ( just when you think there’s no more air in your lungs more comes out. It’s like wringing water out of a sponge). When all the air is emptied from the lungs there is no feeling of wanting to inhale. At this point the soft pallet begins to go into spasm and lightly pulsate around the base of the tongue.

There’s a warmth that moves up from the back of the throat, through the head to settle behind the eyes. The warmth grows in intensity until it feels as if your eyes are glowing like hot ambers under your eyelids – it’s not an unpleasant feeling, in fact it’s quite comforting.

The forehead feels as if it’s being sucked into one point between the eyebrows. It’s a strange muscle tension – difficult to recreate without the help of Khechari, but not impossible (I think it’s a naturally occurring form of shambhavi mudra). This is accompanied by a light in the head (that grows in brightness) and a strange warm breeze that constantly blows against the forehead along with a tugging sensation from inside the head that is somehow synchronized with a pulsation of the perineal muscles. The feeling generated by this is similar to a genital orgasm (there is no ejaculation, rather it’s as if the ejaculation becomes internalized and continuous), but it spreads, like an intense warmth, instantly up the spine.

The heart and chest area feel as if they are filling up with excitement (as if you’re about to hear the best news you’ve ever been told, like exciting anticipation). This culminates in the feeling of the heart wanting to explode with love and happiness. In this state there’s love for everything.

There’s a sense of being in your head, as if the rest of your body is separate. This progresses into a feeling of your head expanding like a balloon being pumped up, as if there is infinite space inside your head. And finally, all barriers dissolve to give a sense of infinite expansion and being inseparable from everything- in this moment it’s as if you are one with everything, you are the universe.

There is a sense of deep peace and clarity after the practice. When my eyes open I feel like a new born baby looking at the world and seeing everything for the first time. There are no labels. No prejudice. Everything just is.

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Be Still

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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 🙂

canoe

Who ever came up with these lyrics was an enlightened genius, capturing some deep insights and incorporating them into a kids nursery rhyme. What a great idea. I loved this rhyme as a child. Looking at it now, it’s a bit like a mantra for a good life 😉

Row, row, row your boat (your body is your boat),
Gently down the stream (life is the stream).
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, (be cheerful)
Life is but a dream. (because it’s all just a dream)

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Here’s some concept art I’m working on for my book project ‘The Smiling Masters’ to show how holding one thought in the mind generates a steady emotional state.

Here’s how it works
You receive sensory information about the object you’re focusing on (in this case it’s a rose). That information gets processed and filtered by the reticular formation in your brain (point 1). The filtered information is sent to the brain’s higher centres (point 2), where we perceive the rose. Our perception of the rose triggers an emotional reaction from the brain’s emotional centres (point 3). From here, the brain releases neuro peptides (messenger molecules) into the blood stream. Your emotional response then spreads to all areas of your body as it becomes flooded with these tiny emotional messengers. So whatever emotion we experience in response to the sensory input, let’s say in this case it’s joy, that emotion is felt throughout our entire body. Emotion is a mind-body experience.

When the body experiences an emotion, a feedback loop is created where the brain is told that the body feels that emotion (joy). When the brain gets this information, it produces more neuro peptides. This process continues until it gets interrupted by a new thought or another source of sensory input that changes our emotional state.

In the normal course of events we experience lots of emotional ups and downs because our thoughts are unfocused and tend to drift here and there, landing on whatever catches our attention for the most part. But once we learn to focus the mind and hold one thought, our emotional state becomes stable. And if we continue to bring the mind back to that one thought over and over again, eventually the emotion it produces becomes like an emotional reset point. That emotion becomes our dominant mood and state of being. So, I think it’s worth saying, be mindful of what you think about; your thoughts dictate your state of being.

samurai

Joy and combat. Trust a martial art enthusiast to make a connection between those two words. But interestingly, they go together, hand in hand. You see, when someone is engaged in combat, their attention is fully focused on their opponent’s every movement, as it happens in the moment. When in the heat of combat, there simply isn’t any time to reminisce on the past or worry about the future. There is only what’s happening now. Learning to fight, counter-intuitively, taught me how to relax and be present. Combat, for me, has become a type of meditation.

There’s an unexpected serenity to be found in the heat of battle.

Because the warrior’s mind is focused in the present, combat induces an unexpected calm, a type of joyful serenity in the mind of the warrior. This is probably why most people are pleasantly surprised when they meet someone training in the warrior arts. Instead of the aggressive, testosterone fueled monster they expect to meet, they’re greeted by a calm, and unusually present individual.

Of course, you don’t have to go out and start a fight just to experience a serene, and joyful mind. You just have to focus on what you’re doing right now. Mindfulness. That’s the key to a happy life.

If your mind is your reality, and mind is a stream of thoughts, then your state of mind (the thoughts you’re having) is reflected back to you by your reality. Smile, not just with your lips, but with your mind too 🙂

Choose to be YOU

chameleon

For the morbidly obese man or woman, it’s not inevitable that you’ll continue to gain weight until you die of a heart attack. To the alcoholic, you don’t have to end up in the emergency room having your stomach pumped every night. And to anyone that has ever said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. You’re wrong. Someone needs to grab you by the shoulders and shake you till you wake up and realise that change is happening, every moment of every day, inside your body and all around you.

We’re changing, our reality is changing, and it’s happening ALL THE TIME. To say that someone can’t change, is a bullshit notion created by a society of people afraid of making their own decisions. But here’s the thing, every one of us is capable of thinking for ourselves, and every one of us is capable of change. We just have to wake up and start taking responsibility for our lives. If you’re overweight, there’s absolutely nothing stopping you from making a decision to change your lifestyle in a way that will help you lose weight. If you’re unfit, then choose to get up and exercise. If something in your life needs to change, then change it, just don’t tell me you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, that’s just an excuse, a weak excuse.

The problem, for many of us, is that we listen so much to what other people think, that we become this type of human chameleon, where, depending on what people label us as, we act out the traits of that label. So when your husband is with you, you’re the wife, and when you’re in work you become the chef/carpenter/super model, or what ever it is you do, and so on. If you’re overweight, you become the fat guy or girl. The thing is, and this is important, we don’t have to be the labels other people stick on us. We are totally free to be our selves. That’s the gift that change gives us, the gift of choosing who we are right now, in this moment, and of who we want to be and what direction we want to go in life. When we realise this, we become free, free to be an INDIVIDUAL.

Be your SELF

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 🙂

Namaste

Choosing a better reality

Isn’t it amazing how our inner state is always reflected in our outer environment. It’s like, if you wake up in a grumpy mood, your entire reality seems to reflect that grumpiness, whereas, if you wake up feeling happy and energised, the world seems like a brighter and much more welcoming place.

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Well, according to neuroscience, if we repeat a thought often enough, that thought becomes a belief, which manifests as a state of being. So healthy, happy thoughts generate a happy, healthy state of being. And because our outer reality reflects our inner state of being… well, the effects speak for them selves.

With this in mind, I’ve set myself the intention of spending at least two minutes generating a happy, peaceful state of mind every morning before I step one foot out of my bed. Then at night, just before I go to sleep I plan on doing the same thing.

*The photo is of my very cool, happy two year old daughter, Aoife. A great reminder of this principle 🙂

A very short video I just made, to demonstrate kechari mudra (since I’ve been talking so much about it). I’ll post a bit more about it over the weekend, and then move on to other interesting practices 🙂

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