Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Holographic Body (Hollow Body Visualization)

There are several ways to deepen the Tumo Yoga practice mentioned in a previous blog. One of the important ways has been called the "Hollow Body". This is, prior to doing the visualizations of the "Om", "Ah" and "Hreeh" symbols, the fire, the liquid light, and the mixing in the heart to visualize the body as being filled with empty space. In modern terms, you visualize your physical body as a hologram, as an external appearance with nothing substantial inside, no organs, no bloodstream, etc. What Quantum Physics has discovered is that we are mainly composed of empty space. If you take the usual idea of an atom, with neutrons, protons, and electrons and mashed it together by removing all the empty space from inside us, then all the atomic practicles could be packed into a 1x1x1 inch cube (or maybe a lot less). So when we visualize our bodies as hollow, we are connecting with and acknowledging a deeper truth about who and what we are. We have this imagination of "density", of our body composed of matter, of having weight and being heavy, and made of some kind of solid stuff which can collide with other solid stuff. In the physics of Isaac Newton, he discovered "F=MA" (force equals mass times acceleration). We imagine all this mass colliding with each other and causing events to ripple out by cause and effect. This model is valid up to a point. But "mass" is something mysterious and part of Quantum Physics and Madhyamika Buddhist Philosophy is that nothing exists substantially, separately, and independently from everything else. When I first understood this from a kind of intellectual contemplation and meditation on the nature of matter, I felt myself explode into the "interdependence" of everything with everything and a sense of seperateness released itself. The experiential part can be described as "the unity of emptiness and appearance". You feel you have an appearance when interacting with other sentient beings and inwardly you feel like crystal clear radiant empty space. What you appear like to others is also not a substantial thing. You do not appear the same to every sentient being. How we appear arises from an interaction between our energies and the mental projections of the other person. We may, for instance, appear as an angel to one person, a demon to another person, a brilliant person to another person, a stupid person to another person, saint to another person, a wounded animal to another person, and vile sinner to another person. How we are experienced is not merely subjective and not merely objective. There is no one true way of experiencing us and there is no totally subjective way of experiencing us. How we appear always arising in interdependence with the total energy environment, the mental projections arising from the other person, and the energies we emanate. We can remove denser levels of mental projection from the interaction and become a "clear seer". This is about as close as we can get to objective perception or pure perception. Then we can see the same way as all the other clear seers. But when we do so, then we understand this interdependence and rest in this kind of interactive oneness with all sentient beings and energies.

When we are doing the hollow body meditation, then we visualize empty space inside our skin and our skin as a kind of luminous envelope around emptiness. This empty space is "energy filled" and "radiant". It is not merely a vacuum with nothing inside. One way of understanding this is through "string theory" where space is seen to have a dynamic rippling and everchanging geometric architecture based on the unity of geometry, movement, and vibration. It is the reason why the bija mantras can have so much creative potency to them.

The hollow body visualization is designed to replace a subtle visualization of our bodies as being dense and material. This subtle visualization, like our conventional ego consciousness, is really a constructed artificial state that supports our conventional way of seeing reality. We can still operate within this social consensus visualization, but are no longer limited by it. On a subtle level we are "renouncing the world" through visualization of this hollow body. We can be "in the world, but not it".

When the hollow body is visualized (and we can on breathing into and out of this empty space), energy waves can usually be felt. Once the hollow body visualization is mature, then visualization of the bija mantras (in this case "Om", "Ah", and "Hreeh") become more creatively potent. This is partly because the subtle dense visualization is not longer resisting all the other visualizations that we layer on top of it. In one sense, the hollow body visualization is really an "unvisualization". It is a basis for experiencing a light body later on. It is part of the interlocking practices of Tumo Yoga.

Footnote: You do not blot out your sensitivity to the sensations arising in the body. You contextualize them to feel the sensations arising from empty space, rather than from dense matter. This actually converts the sensations into energy ripples, relaxes the phantom muscles, and later on allows visualized chakras to evolve into new levels of interaction with each other.

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