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.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Tumo Yoga

When I was in High School, I had a friend mention Tumo Yoga. This is a meditation method whereby Tibetan Yogis would be eventually able to either melt snow or dry a wet blanket placed on their naked bodies, when meditating during a Tibetan winter on a mountain top. The severe cold of Tibet makes this an objective test of a paranormal achievement. When I heard about this yoga, something inside me responded to it. My inner scientist felt it was relevant that some mental process could generate actual heat and raise it to the level where it could prevent hypothermia. At this time, the literature base for Tibetan Buddhist practices was rather limited. Even the texts that were published were hard to find. One author, Evans-Wentz did a great service by translating many key texts about the Six Yogas of Naropa and got the information out to the public. The text did recommend that a person study with a qualified Lama, but also gave enough information so that a person could possibly practice on his or her own. I found out later on that the "psychic heat effect" was not limited to Tibetan Buddhism. Many kundalini yoga methods and Taoist Chi Kung methods generate a psychic heat side effect. Tumo Yoga is just more focused on attaining this particular result. Even in Tumo Yoga, though, the result is still a side effect of a deeper process which does more than just raise body temperature. The main purposes have to do with balancing male and female hormonal essence energy, boosting the immune system beyond all illness, and reaching "psychophysical bliss". From psychophysical bliss, it is a short jump to radiant awareness bliss which is beyond the usual causality of material events and therefore immune to the fluctuations of transitoriness.

Later on, I participated in an experiment in Graduate School in Psychophysiology. I was wearing a thermal sensor when I was doing Shikan Taza, the highest level of Soto Zen meditation. Normal external skin temperature is about 72 degrees. I was able to raise it to 98 degrees by a kind of diffused concentration on all the sensations arising in my body in the present moment. I was sweating profusely in this concentration. I remember feeling that I could now understand the level of concentration that Jesus did when he was sweating blood in the garden. It felt like my mind was rising out of a kind of drunken slumber, like a hazy fuzzy dream, and moving into a radiant crystal clear clarity. I would sometimes feel myself falling back into the haze and then rising again from it. I found, then, that I could understand when Jesus said, "Let the dead bury the dead" and the ancient liturgy Saint Paul quoted in his epistles, "Awake, O Sleeper, and rise from the dead, and the light of Christ will shine on you." It did feel like a zombie like deadness and slumber was being overcome. I found that when my attention was focused on one part of the body and feeling it enliven, then another part of the body would fall asleep. Or when I would refocus on the part that was falling asleep again, it would start to enliven, and another part would fall asleep. I found I needed to be more omni-directional in my awareness, that I needed to have attention spread from place to place without losing the focus on the previous spots. I could feel a part of myself that wanted to be unconscious, to be asleep, because it meant not feeling certain emotions that were held in my body. I was also surprised at how strong these emotions were that were held there. Sometimes it meant reliving the vivid torment of old emotional wounds, of moving back in time to complete old events, and finish with them. It did not feel like processing memories, though sometimes vivid memories surfaced, and eventually past life time memories surfaced. The anchoring of the process in present time body sensations kept the process somehow more objective and also allowed a kind of regrounding in reality that calmed down the emotional reactivity. It was easy to fall into a kind of sleepy trance where it felt that the mind was somehow drunk on another state that muffled deep and full feeling of what was arising. I would keep rising beyond it. The time when my body temperature was pushing about 30 degrees above normal was like those scenes in the movies where they try to keep a trauma person awake so that they do not fall into a coma. I wanted to stay in the radiant aliveness that I was present in and could feel something like seductive sirens wanting to lull me back into a kind of sleep and numbness.

It was shortly after this meditation session that I reached enlightenment. Two more phases were needed. One was letting go of the strain to awaken by letting "it" be aware for me. Two was understanding how time and mind are interdependent and allowing both mind and time to end. By making enlightenment a goal to be achieved, the mind was actually creating a gap between the present moment and the future goal. This gap was called "time". Thought was creating this kind of time and prevented thought from merely ending in the present moment. When I saw "mind creates time", then the last thought dropped away and this radiant space was entered into. It was beyond causation and it was free. I was enlightened. This radiant space is always there, like it was before awakening, but now there is recognition. I found, though, that mere enlightenment, lofty as it is to attain, is just another beginning. Emptying the subconscious mind of its massive storehouse of samskaras, karmaic tendencies, would take much time. They started arising more freely and rapidly in meditation, with a lot of force and power. I had the worst six months of my life during this time. At that point, I understood another verse from the New Testament, Jesus has his enlightenment experience when he meets John the Baptist, when a voice from heaven says, "This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased." Whenever someone gets enlightened, there is this feeling of being welcomed back into life and of life being happy to have you back. But after this enlightenment, there is another verse, "and Jesus was led by the Holy Breath to be tempted by the devil". Jesus undergoes a torment in solitude that feels the opposite of the enlightenment experience. One eventually returns back to the original state with a deeper understanding. For me, the teachings of Krishnamurti helped immensely and allowed me to understand something deeper about the nature of the mind. I was taught how to stay in the process moment to moment as a basic way of life. After the six months, my mind dropped away again, and I was in such a deep radiant clarity that I did not need to sleep for two weeks. This was good, because I was taking 18 hours of classes per a week, 3 labs, and working 25 hours a week in the cafeteria on campus. I got caught up on all my homework and was able to do my work more effectively. I understood the name "Arjuna" which meant "conqueror of sleep" who is taught by Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita. Nearing the end of this two week period, I would often lie down and just feel the radiance, and then get up to go to work without ever going into the numb trance of sleep. Thoughts started returning after the two week period and I could feel part of the state slipping away. I actually sent some "thought imprints" to my sleepy self that I felt would help me to reawaken again and again. This, I found, did work to a certain degree. Looking back at this time, my realization still had an element of dualism in it. Zen Buddhism teaches a kind of "no thought samadhi". But thoughts are okay and are part of life. Zen Buddhism kind of represses thought some to get freedom from a thought trance. But eventually we learn it is not about thought and that we can let thoughts float in our awareness without letting them hypnotize us. It would take me about two years of Vipassana Buddhist meditation to understand this more deeply.

I did find that Vipassana meditation was not easily reaching the subconscious mind. Sometimes it would take a long time for something to surface and release. It was not actively undoing repressive patterns. I later on found that by synthesizing the Vipassana attitude with Rebirthing breathing, then the process of emotional integration could be accelerated. I could feel pure radiance again and could feel it permeate the very cells of the body. I found this later on hit some limit too and this is when I got initiated into Tumo Yoga. It took the process to another level, where the "unity of mind and prana" was worked with. From "not thinking", to "letting thinking float", to "focusing thought through visualization", something happened. It is like one works with two levels, thought and awareness.

The first practice is to visualize a red dot at the sacrum and synchronize it with the breathing. You visualize the red dot pulse with each exhale, intending it to get brighter and brighter, and hotter and hotter. The breathing in of prana follows the visualization and pours energy into the red dot, while the exhale releases the energy into the thought intention. The red dot is what is called a "bindu" in Hindu and Buddhist meditation practice. It is the smallest unit of "thought matter". It is "materialization 101". You are actually using thought and prana to manifest a unit of matter. This particular bindu is rechemicalizing the whole body. It is generating female hormonal essence energy and purifying the biological karma received from the mother. Eventually it will ignite and travel as a psychic fire up the spine, spinning counterclockwise, and burning up the karma stored in the body within the vertebral subluxations. The next practice is to create a white dot bindu at the third eye and each time one exhales a drop of liquid white light drips into the pituitary gland and pineal glad to activate regenerative hormones. This is the male hormonal essence and purifies the biological karma received from the father. This liquid eventually spins clockwise down the spine and mixes in the heart chakra with the red female fire. It produces a silvery blue light if a person is practicing physical immortality and a cobalt blue light if a person is practicing the eventual shedding of the physical vehicle. This silvery blue light was shown in studies by Wilhelm Reich when he infused "orgone energy" into cells. The lungs transfer this energy into the blood stream, especially after this Tumo meditation.

Later on, the red dot and the white dot are replaced by "hreeh" and "om" respectively. The mix becomes visualized as an orb with "ah" in it. These are usually visualized in Tibetan letters, though it is possible to visualize English script too. Tibetan letters are better, because the letters are completely phonetic. I have found that visualizing the sounds in Gregg shorthand also works, since shorthand is completely phonetic too. The mental subvocalization of the "bija mantras" activates a vibration which helps this process reach another level.

This process is also accelerated by what is called an "empowerment". The Dakini Vajrayogini is the being who governs this process. If she is invoked, she will help this process produce results more quickly, safely, and powerfully. This is done by doing "Guru Yoga" with her. I would call this "telepathic link yoga". Her mantra is "Om Hah Hreeh Nee Sah". If a person chants this with the intention of linking with her blessing energy, he or she will receive a support which can accelerate the results. This linking can be so powerful that she will do the practice inside the person. When I linked with her, the entire process was done in 30 minutes and generated enough heat so that I was doing errands in an Oregon winter on the coast with only a wind breaker on for two weeks. The energy anatomy of my energy body was also upgraded to process energies differently. Sexual communion with a loving partner would activate these circuits and cause my body to generate the heat waves.

I realize that believing in the existence of Dakinis who can help our practice may be a leap for our modern scientific minds, but I mention it here because it is an acceleration of the Tumo practice. A person does not have to believe in this Dakini in a dogmatic way, but have a kind of "hypothetical faith" in her existence, or see her merely as a Jungian artchetype. This will be enough to activate her blessing energy and support the practice, though a person may end up believing in her personal reality through the experiences that eventually happen.

There are variations of the Tumo heat practice. Different bija mantras are sometimes used. The male essence energy is sometimes done at the soft spot at the top of the head, rather than the third eye. The short "ah" sound (looks like a "3") is used rather than "hreeh". The "ham" sound (looks like a "5") is used rather than "om". I have omitted detail about the guru yoga and about the two breathing processes that are linked to the prana activation. Some of the differences have to do with me using shivasana as my meditation posture, rather than padmasana. The third eye drip makes more sense when lying down, while the crown chakra drip makes more sense when sitting. They both feed the pituitary and pineal glands. The three bija mantras are keyed into the mantra that I chant: "Om Namo Amida Buddha Hreeh". The mantra sustains the practices outside of the focused sessions. Amitayus Buddha is visualized pouring elixir into the soft spot to nourish the pituitary and pineal glands. Pictures of this aspect of Amida Buddha can be seen with the vase that is used for pouring. It does seem to help to take an HGH formula while doing this practice. The Now vitamin company has a Pro-GH formula that is very good and more affordable than most. There are other stages of practice beyond what is mentioned here. One is where the bija mantras are visualized as a Bodhisattva and Dakini in the yabyum position. There are some preliminaries so that these visualizations produce the proper energy circulations in the energy body and affect the physical body. Then the visualizations are dissolved so that the Dharmakaya or radiant awareness body is activated. These other levels are not always necessary to do, but represent natural morphings and adaptations of the essence idea for specific purposes. The bottom line has to do with energy, realization, and growth. Right now I am just giving a summary and overview of the whole process and giving a starting point if someone wants to start a practice. You start with the red dot and get it to heat up (after chanting to the Dakini Vajra Yogini).

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Light Body

During one of the discussions around the Abwoon prayer and the transfiguration of Jesus, someone asked why it would be important for us to undergo the same transformation. It seems that all of us have a lot of emotional hang ups and practical problems that keep us busy enough. I thought this was an interesting comment and wanted to devote some time to responding to this. For one, I do think that there is what Avagosha called, "an awakening of faith". You study some spiritual teaching and you have have a conviction that something is both possible and important to do. When I studied Avagosha, I did have an awakening of faith about Buddhist meditation. I came to the conviction that it was possible to become enlightened and that if I sat in meditation long enough that it would happen. I found that it took four months of sitting for 4 hours per a day. Some of the sitting sessions were difficult, stressful, and painful, but I learned to sit through the pain and come out the other side. There was a moment when the mind dropped away and something deeper than the mind emerged and radiated in all directions. I could feel stars being born and galaxies whirling around, and a crystal clear sense of radiant empty space. If someone asked me why it was important for me to have this experience, it would be difficult to really answer, other than something called from inside me and wanted to do this. I think that evolution is not merely about natural selection and survival of the fittest like Darwin thought or inheriting positive traits from our ancestors like Lamark thought. There was another theorist who even came to the idea that it was about survival of the most cooperative (which makes a lot of sense from the viewpoint of Buddhist interdependence). I feel that more than one mechanism drives evolution forward and that all these theorists are observing valid mechanisms. But beyond all these mechanisms, there is a vital force permeating all life that is pushing itself to grow, to evolve, and to fully realize its deep potentials. When we hear of a teaching that expresses this potential and shows us how to actualize it, it can quicken us to respond and live this process. Something deeper than the mind recognizes itself in the teaching and awakens. It is interesting that the original Greek word for "church" is "ekklesia" which means "call out". The original church was not a building or a club, but people who are called out of the mundane world and who respond to this evolutionary call to be reborn from above, to be reborn into a higher level of life.

The teachings of physical immortality and light translation are like this. They define an evolutionary arrow to a possibility latent within us that can be actualized. Meister Eckart called it the "divine seed" within us. Looked at from this way, much of deep spirituality has to do with people activating and manifesting the potentials in this divine seed. Different saints and enlightened beings manifest different aspects and degrees of this potential. Not everyone goes all the way to the very end. Very few seem to accomplish the Light Body level. Many settle for merely being a good person, a healthy person, a saint, an enlightened being, or work on developing a few miraculous inner potentials. It is okay to do this, because I feel that the purpose of life is still realized through these partial actualizations of our potential. We move from lifetime to lifetime developing different aspects of ourselves. We do not have to accomplish everything in one lifetime. Whatever gains we achieve in one lifetime go with us into the next lifetime.

There is some advantage, to me, of embracing the goal of attaining a Light Body. This is because the attainment of the Light Body includes all the other goals within itself. It is a symbol for the full realization of our divine potential. In Buddhism, they teach that even raising the thought of enlightenment is very healing and liberating. Even though merely thinking about enlightenment does not fully enlighten us, since enlightenment is about transcending thought completely, when we think about enlightenment and feel that it is possible, it stirs up something deep inside of us and calls it to life. It is the same with the Light Body. For some who are ready, this idea will call up something inside us and stir it to life. For others, they might even have "light episodes" where their bodies might momentarily shift into light for a short period of time. It has happened to me more than once.

I would like to present a metaphor about jumping. If you decide to only jump a few feet forward, let us say 10 feet, you may or may not attain it. You probably will given enough time, effort, and practice. But if you decide to jump 30 feet, you might just jump 10 feet more quickly and easily. If you try to shoot an arrow as far as possible, you will probably shoot further than a person who is only trying to shoot an arrow a few yards away. When you aim for the farthest target, some lesser goals are automatically accomplished. Whether or not we succeed in actualizing the Light Body, we still grow very easily, rapidly, and peacefully in other areas of our life. There is some meaning to this when Jesus says, "Seek you first the Kingdom of Heaven and its balance, and all other things will be added on to you." I am translating "diki" (normally translated as "righteousness") as balance, which is, again, more literal, and fits the context of the discussion (about trusting life to take care of us, even economically). The idea is that if we align with the evolutionary call, everything else in our lives falls into place. Whether or not we succeed is another story, because once we respond to this evolutionary call, then something wakes up in our present moment and comes to life. We eventually learn to trust that this will unfold over time and fully liberate us. When we respond to the call, too, it is not us as isolated beings trying to do something. Life around us supports this process, mobilizes synchronicities to help us, and literally fuels this process inside us. Two parts of the prayer of Jesus have to do with trusting this kind of support from life and trusting the process itself.

This kind of view makes the resurrection of Jesus into something more than a mere parlor trick miracle to prove Christianity being the "right religion". In the writings of Plato, he clearly and philosophically dismisses the idea of miracles as proofs for some message being true. If I say 2+2=5 and levitate in the air, it does not make what I say true. Our level of scientific and technological knowledge would be miraculous to human beings who lives 2,000 years ago. If I time traveled back with some of our technology, I could appear as a miracle worker and say a lot of untrue things, and even probably be believed. But the miracles do not really prove anything I say to be true. The miracles do not even prove that I know what I am doing. Many people have used a technology invented by someone else who did know something, but only knew how to use the "on" button. If Christianity or any other religion is basing its validity on miracles as proofs, then it is on a shaky foundation.

But, to me, Jesus was more of a spiritual scientist than a stage magician. He demostrates that something is possible for us by transforming a mortal human body into a Light Body. It is not a miracle meant to prove something else. It is a demonstration of the very thing he was trying to teach. This view of the resurrection does not require the event to be anything other than it was. It does not require a belief in a god who is so wrathful that it has to torture an innocent person to not throw everybody into a lake of tormenting fire forever (which I do not believe really exists). The Buddha, too, was also a spiritual scientist and the essence of what each of these taught dovetails well together because of this. One of the gifts of Buddhism is the technology of meditation and many have been able to attain a Light Body through some of the advanced meditation practices like Tumo Heat Yoga. The teachings about the kind of breathing prayer that Jesus was doing are harder to find, though I hope to give enough information in the blog for people to experiment with it if they want to try.

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Holy Breath

Several recent discussions seemed focus on the "Holy Breath". As mentioned before, I feel that the translation "Holy Spirit" is probably inaccurate and that "Holy Breath" is more accurate, with one passage in the second to the last chapter of the Gospel according to Saint John being only translatable as "breath". If you take all the passages which are normally translated as "spirit" and use the more accurate and more literal word "breath", then a pattern unfolds and which relates to a meditation method that Jesus most likely did when he converted his physical body into a light body on the Mount of Transfiguration. Christianity did not follow this understanding and separated praying from breathing. If you take one of the old Trinitarian formulas for prayer that early Christianity had, and substitute "breath" for "spirit" (and using the early word for God called "Abwoon" in the Aramaic), you get "In Christ, to Abwoon, through the breath." There has been one group of Christians who have kept the association of prayer with breathing. These are the Hesychasts of the Eastern Orthodox Church. It seems that one of them Saint Seraphim did convert his physical body into a light body like Jesus did and therefore validating what Jesus was trying to demonstrate what was possible through breathing prayer.

When John the Baptist predicts the come of Jesus, he says, "I baptize with water, but one will be coming who will baptize with breath and with fire". This passage is interesting, because Christianity has not had a baptism of breath or of fire. The word "baptize" means to "immerse". This is partly why Protestants rejected the Catholic practice of Christening, of pouring water on the head of an infant, and returned to the fuller baptism by complete immersion in water. Yet it is not realistic to totally immerse someone in fire. During the time of Jesus, there was no science of energy like we have in our time. The word "fire" would be the word that they would choose to represent the feeling of tingling energy moving through our body. My sense is that John the Baptist is referring to Kundalini Breath of Fire and not two more baptisms. He is referring to use pranayama breathing to immerse the body in a tingling energy sensation. In one Sikh Kundalini tradition, this process would take about 40 days of practice for 2.5 hours a day. They took the biblical idea of tithing, of giving 10 percent of one's income to the church, and decided to give ten percent of one day to God (10 percent of 24 hours is about 2.5 hours). The breath of fire would rise up the spine, move from chakra to chakra, open the seven seals mentioned in the Book of Revelation, and clearing out the karma embedded in each chakra along the way. The last chakra would be called the Crown Chakra a few inches above the head, where the energy projects out from the soft spot at the top of the head. According to an old Christian tradition, this soft spot was still open in Adam in the Garden of Eden and allowed "free speech" with God. The Corinthian Church, which Saint Paul found challenging to spiritually guide, is admonished to keep pressing on until they "receive the crown", while the Ephesian Church is admonished the "keep the crown" that they had already attained. These passages indicate some process that one church had mastered and another church had not.

In the Epistle to the Galatians, and in many other places in the New Testament, the Greek language uses the aorist tense, something that English does not have. The closest tense that we have to the aorist tense is the progressive tense. This tense changes the meaning of many key passages, because it shows salvation to be a process rather than a one time born again experience. Even Jesus taught for his disciples to "die daily," implying that one needs to be reborn daily. When translated properly, a Galatian passage goes, "Keep on surrendering into the Holy Breath and you will keep on being saved." In Thessalonians, there is a verse that goes "pray continuously in the breath". Another verse in the NT says, "Pray without ceasing". While a person might go a little crazy if prayer means mentally talking to God all the time, it is possible and necessary to always breathe.

What seems to be indicated is to do the Kundalini Breath of Fire for 40 days, opening up all the chakras and having an enlightenment experience, and then using what I would call the Kundalini Breath of Water afterwards to sustain the energy flow that has been activated. Saint Paul talks about, "My conscience bearing me witness in the Holy Breath". If you breathe in the manner that is mentioned, it will stir up all the resolved karma held in our subconscious minds and require us to repent of past negative behavior and to forgive those who have hurt us. In the Gospel according to Saint John, the Holy Breath "brings all things to remembrance". Many of the teachings of Jesus are meant to be remembered or illuminated in the Holy Breath. When we are in the breathing process, many of the teachings make sense. Ego death is linked with a final exhale which Jesus does on the Cross and which ends the sense of separateness (the veil in the temple) which defines the ego state.

The disciples in the first two chapters of the Book of Acts are admonished to "tarry in Jerusalem" until they are "endowed with power from on high". The Holy Breath comes with tongues of flame which descend into the Crown Chakra. At this point, Jesus is able to initiate people from his Light Body and empower their spiritual life. The key point is that the Holy Breath anoints or enlivens us into having a spiritual life that we can feel as literal energy moving through our bodies. Saint Paul shares that the "breath gives life". He talked also, "If the same breath that raised Christ from the dead dwell in you, it will quicken your mortal bodies." He talked also of "this mortal shall put on immortality" and how not all flesh is the same but differs in glory (energy). In most theologies, the spirit is already immortal and so cannot put on immortality, but the body is mortal and perishable is meant to become immortal and imperishable. This is why Saint Paul talks about if the dead are not raised, then "our faith is in vain". In most modern Christian theologies, the bodily resurrection is not really crucial. The atonement for sins on the Cross is the big event and the resurrection is not crucial. At best it is just a miracle to prove that the first has been done, but raising someone from the dead does not prove that this person paid for the sins of the world. But it seems that regenerating and transforming a perishable body into an imperishable one was integral part of the message. Saint Paul even mentions Jesus appearing to 500 witnesses in First Corinthians chapter 15 and insists that he had met Jesus bodily as well. In the Epistle to the Romans, he talks of Jesus being "the first fruits of those raised from the dead" indicating that we are meant to undergo the same mutation or evolution as he did.

I am kind of sweeping through a lot of passages when I share all this, but I wanted to give an overview. I think some of the above passages would make more sense if one had some experience with breathing prayer. Saint Paul talked about the Bible being a "dark mirror", but when one turns to the breath the veil is taken away, beholding in a clear mirror, and moving from glory to glory (different energy levels). What this means is that words can only take you so far, but breathing prayer will awaken you. Jesus shared to "watch and pray", meaning that the prayer is one with awareness. The prophecy normally associated with the rapture, where "one will be taken and one will be left behind" to me refers to the ego state disappearing and the silent witness coming forward. Sometime I would like to go into how these historical prophecies refer more to an inner transformational process when kundalini moves up the spine and goes through seven chakras.

The 40 day process mentioned above is very powerful and would require someone to get some training and guidance with a good teacher. I think this is why there is no "how to breathe" manual clearly stated in the New Testament. The tingling sensations and inner fire can become powerful enough to melt snow around a naked body on a mountain peak in Tibet during subzero weather. It requires some care and respect for the energies invoked. Even the ritual of the Lord's supper in its original form was very powerful, so powerful that Saint Paul mentions that some of the Corinthians were sick because they "failed to discern the body of the Lord" in the sacrament. The early church required two years of training before attending a ritual. The modern mass is not so powerful. If you do not pay attention in the right way that you not will become sick. Kundalini stirs up all the past life karmas that we have stored in our subconscious mind and lifts them up to be healed. It is a fairly serious process that requires skill parallel to learning how to drive a car. Driving can be very enjoyable, but you can also crash. Kundalini can be very healing, but it can also fry a person who is not respecting the process in the right way. I do not think Kundalini Breathing is dangerous, just as driving a car can be safe if you are reasonably cautious and follow all the rules. If you practice now and then you will not get into any trouble, but if you go for a 40 intensive deep retreat it is important to have some training and initiation into this process.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Yogic Running

I wanted to share a simple practice that is conducive to physical immortality, health, and inner peace which I am calling "yogic running". I would like to share from the beginning that the practice is easier to do than to describe in words. There is actually more that I am going to mention to "unlearn" rather than to learn. American culture is still very achievement oriented and it shows up in how running itself is approached. There is an effort to try to push the envelope, to run faster, and to run further. But yogic running is about the avoiding the extremes (complete laziness and overdoing it) and finding the "middle way" that the Buddha thought was the secret of healthy living. There are a few observations about the running that are worth mentioning:

(1) Get some good running sneakers (preferably without leather or too much leather for the sake of the animals). They do make a difference. The cushioning on good running sneakers helps the knees feel better.

(2) Do "cycling". This is also known as "wolf running". You run moderately fast until you get naturally tired, then you walk briskly to relax. When you have calmed down and recharged, then you run moderately fast again. This means you do bursts of running for about 5 to 10 minutes at a time. The key is to not feel like you are ever pushing yourself or straining to go on. When you are doing moderate speed running, your breath is similar to kundalini breath of fire in vigorousness. When you are doing quiet full lung breathing when you are walking briskly, your breath is similar to "breath of water" (rebirthing breathing). This alternation of breathing processes will pump fresh prana into your energy body. You might be able to actually do the breath of fire and breath of water and make the running even more powerful. But if you try to shift your breathing to fit this, do not strain too much. You want to keep the breathing and the running feeling "loose and natural".

(3) Imagine an energy pulling your head upwards in a way that keeps your spine straight and tilted slightly forward (leaning in the direction you are running). Check in to how your neck is doing and feel it also elongate upwards. Expand your chest on your inhale and feel your lower back relax open. You do not have to obsessively check your posture every moment, but just periodically check in and make some gentle corrections. A little bit goes a long way. Gradually your body will get it and will actually like the improved posture.

(4) Notice how your foot lands on the ground and uses the ground to push across the surface. Feel like the Earth is supporting you in your running. Feel you like you do not have to strain like an isolated being who is alone in the world, but rather that you are one with a living world that notices you and cares for you. If this feeling is invoked, you might feel a magnetic quality between you and the ground. This means that energy is flowing from the Earth upwards through your legs and that energy is flowing downwards through your legs. You may wish to pause every now and then and just visualize this, inhaling when you draw energy up and exhaling when you are sending energy down. When you are doing this, make sure that your knees are relaxed and slightly bent, rather than locked and tense. When we lock our knees, stressful energy conducts to our lower back and this makes it harder for our posture to be "erect and relaxed" which is our ideal.

(5) There are some physicians who do not recommend running, because of the stress on the knees and other parts of the body, but instead recommend "power walking". If you follow some of the postural advice mentioned above, the running will be more like power walking and will feel both natural and sustainable. When I observe people running, there is often a look of strain on their faces or a look as if they are doing some kind of penance for overeating. Try to see if you can enjoy the natural feeling of simply running and let go of any focus on achieving any specific results. You will get your heart pumping, increase your thermogenesis, flush out toxins, get fresh prana, and normalize your metabolism, but just focus on enjoying something ancient, cellular, and natural.

(6) You will find that your cycling will change as your body adapts. It will be able to run longer and faster without strain. The cycling is therefore not a rigid pattern, but a matter of staying sensitive to when you need to take a short rest and when you are straining. This sensitivity is key to the middle way. The Buddha likened this sensitivity to tuning a stringed instrument. Too tight or too loose, the instrument does not sound right and cannot make music. When it is just the right tightness, then the instrument sounds sweet and really sings. Occasionally the instrument will go out of tune again and will need retuning. The strings, too, will slowly stretch and the tuning point will change. Even heat and cold will change this tuning point. When we are sick sometimes, the body will seem fussy and tuning will be a challenge. This is probably a time to just do some power walking instead or to just be patient with the tuning process and trust that it will eventually happen. When you are tuned, running will feel simple, healthy, and fun.

(7) The idea behind yogic running is to do something good and enjoyable for the body each day that is simple and easy. If you add Kundalini Yoga, Hatha Yoga, and/or Chi Kung, see if you can maintain this stress free feeling in your practice.

(8) Build your running around your breathing. This principle is also true even in Hatha Yoga. It is a temptation to try to push into some external ideal and have the breathing suffer as a result. You do not want to go beyond your breath. See if you can keep the breath loose, full, and natural without straining. If you are straining, it will show up in the breathing first. If you consider your running as a support for a breathing method, you will not go wrong.

(9) There should be no need to warm up with this kind of running. With this kind of running, you are warming up for your day and for any other health practice you are intending to do. If you feel a need to warm up, it could be that your practice is getting achievement oriented and you are tempted to overstrain. Just notice this and make a commitment to keep the running easy and enjoyable.

(10) Notice your shoulders and what you are doing with your arms. See if you can find a relaxed swinging motion that opens them up. Our shoulders usually accumulate a lot of tension. Imagine during the time of your running that you have no responsibilities. You can always pick them back up when you are done running.

(11) Drink a little fresh water before running, some warm herbal tea, or a few drops of lemon juice and stevia in warm water (during the winter). This will allow the body to do an internal cleanse when it pumps blood through the system. This is especially true of a morning run. Try not to eat before the run.

(12) The ideal practice is only two runs a day for 15 minutes each. It is better to do these two short runs consistently, rather than longer runs inconsistently. This will be enough to support an immortalist health style.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Tantric Principle

The Tantric Principle was discovered by the Bodhisattva Saharaj. During his own training with a Buddhist master, he had finally attained a deep level of enlightenment and his teacher one day acknowledged his enlightenment. But Saharaj said, "No, I am not yet enlightened, something is missing." The teacher laughed and said, "I have had many students claim to be enlightened when they are not, but I have never had one claim to be unenlightened when he or she is!" Saharaj then wanders around the world to relax from his meditative efforts and to get some fresh impressions of life. He meets a woman called Dakini Arrow who he becomes fascinated with and with whom he eventually falls in love with. He notices that the main yoga that Arrow does is to do everything with great concentration. Arrow is mainly just living a simple worldly life, renouncing nothing at all, but simply living in the moment with deep concentration. During their sexual love making, Saharaj completes his enlightenment and at the same time discovers the "tantric principle". Stated in words, it is that "you can only transcend the things that you first accept". He saw that the path has been slow, stressful, and difficult because so much of what we are has been condemned, rejected, and repressed. It makes the struggle with who and what we are to be very arduous, take a very long time, and be very complex. It makes the whole spiritual path into an unnecessary war with ourselves. He found that once we accept ourselves as we are that this whole struggle falls away and then the path becomes easy, rapid, and peaceful.

Tantra has been associated with a kind of super sexual yoga where you can become enlightened through making love to someone. But Tantra is more than just using sex to become enlightened, it is about accepting everything as it is. The reason why sex has been emphasized in Tantra is because sex has been the most deeply rejected aspect of the spiritual life. Most of Hinduism and Buddhism has raised celibacy as the higher ideal to live. Many spiritual teachers have taught that having sexual desires means that we are in a lesser state and in deep bondage. Although Judaism, Islam, and Christianity allow sexual expression more room in our lives, all of them limit sex in some way: Judaism by only allowing sex at certain time, Christianity by only allowing sex in marriage, and Islam by having courtship by monitored by a chaperon. Taoism has been better about accepting sex, because it is nature oriented and believes we should be in accord with nature. But even Taoism has taught ejaculation control and introduced a kind of tension into the love making process. Perhaps a few of the Polynesian islands were very innocent about the whole sexual journey, but in modern times it seems everyone has been infected by condemning sexual attitudes through the communication media that links us all together. Many psychologists have felt that the condemning of such a powerful natural biological energy as the sex drive has lead to a deep neurosis and has caused the emergence of all the complex sexual elaborations, some of them very painful and traumatic, that sometimes dominate human consciousness.

The Buddha had taught that enlightenment happens when the three poisons of the mind have completely ended. These three poisons are craving, negativity, and delusion. Some teachers have assumed that craving and the desire are the same, and therefore have taught people to completely extinguish sexual desire. This is only slightly easier than trying to extinguish hunger for food and probably just as unnatural and unhealthy. Craving is like an addictive restless desire. It is easy to tell when it is present. Desires can peacefully arise and fall away in consciousness, but cravings have an obsessive, compulsive, and fixated quality. They can be seen to be a cause of sorrow and stress. It feels stressful to just feel them. Delusions have been associated with not seeing reality as it is. This is due to us projecting our mental beliefs on reality. The deepest cause of delusion is the "delusion of self". This is living from a mentally constructed self, a set of conditioned thoughts, and always looking at life through this lens. When we resume our true identity as radiant awareness, this delusion starts to end. Condemnation, more than the other two poisons, is based on not accepting life as it is. Condemnation attacks what is and makes us angry, afraid, and depressed. At first we are angry and try to change what is. We might be able to change some of what is happening, but we eventually find things that we cannot quickly change. We then try running away from them and seeing if we can live without them being around. But then we find that there are things in life that we cannot run away from and then we get depressed. The three poisons feed each other and strengthen each other. Condemnation turns desires into cravings. When we are into a craving, we do not accept life as it is, but only see that we either have what we do not want or want what we do not have. We then have all kinds of delusions about who we are, what we want, and what makes us happy.

When I was enlightened, I felt a deep sense of freedom to be whatever I wanted. Behind this sense of freedom was a kind of deep acceptance. There was also a feeling of "emptiness". This feeling is hard to explain. It feels like crystal clear empty space. There is a similar feeling when you look at a lake with no algae and can see the bottom everywhere. There is a feeling of floating and "no self". The mentally constructed self has a heavy and tired feeling to it, because there is a subtle strain of constantly thinking this self into existence. When we release this very unnecessary burden, there is a feeling of lightness, floating, and ease. You feel like you are everywhere and nowhere at the same time. All the complex neuroses are seen to be like a fever, like a compulsion, and like something that drives us. All this comes to an end, there is nothing driving us anymore. We are relaxed. There is nothing we even have to achieve, nothing to prove, and nothing to do. Of course, in saying this, our neurotic mind will ask, "Then how can we live? What will make us get up in the morning?" We are so used to being driven to do that we have a hard time understanding the simple freedom of enlightenment. We simply get up in the morning. There is no demon pushing us to get up anymore. We just might not get up in the morning. We just might enjoy sleeping in. Behind all this is a lighter motivation which is simply accepting and loving life as it is. Our neurotic mind is very fear and survival oriented. Perhaps millions of years of evolution has deeply conditioned our cells so that we freeze whenever a bush rustles for fear of a predator leaping upon us and making us its lunch. This deeper issue, this "clinging to self", this survival obsession, is why we cannot totally relax and just be. This is why, although Buddha was an immortal that he taught the inevitability of death. He wanted people to face their clinging to self and just let go of it, using the acceptance of impending death as a lever to bring up the issue. When the clinging to self is released, then life can be easeful and death is no big deal. This is an important release even for immortals, because physical immortality needs to have a foundation in not clinging to self and not clinging to survival. Fear makes things too serious and causes us enough stress to wear us out. We cannot really attain physical immortality while being run by this fear. There are some alcoholics who seem to live a long life, I suspect, because they get some relief from this fear driven clinging to self and life. But the strategy, while giving some relief, does not resolve the core issue and go beyond it completely. It ultimately breaks down and causes them to age and die.

Tantra, by the way, did look addictions differently. While traditional Buddhism would be solidly against alcoholism, Tantra has had a more accepting view of having an addiction. Since every craving we have is really an addiction, many Tantric Buddhist teachers and Sufi teachers would rather have us look at the addictions that we have and understand them, rather than to fight them, repress them, and create more addictions to take the place of the ones that we have. There is a reason why desires become cravings. It has to do with wanting to repeat a pleasurable memory in order to not feel pain, with forming a sense of self through thinking, and with extending our mental powers further. Animals have less trouble with all this, because their reasoning power is more instinctive. Humans woke up one day with a cortical brain, saw their own mortality and vulnerability, feared death, and started clinging to self and life. It has in some sense caused us to build tools and weapons, dominate all other animals, and even extend our lifespan. But behind all this has been a stress and a sorrow that we will eventually fail and die, that all our loved ones will die, and that we will lose everything that we cherish. There is a subtle movement within our minds and emotions about all this. It takes some time to feel it and understand it. This subtle movement of sorrow is fairly continuous. It is like a river always flowing, but it sometimes is felt very strongly, like riding the rapids, and sometimes is quiet and underground, when it pours into a hole and flows beneath the surface. Krishnamurti tried to talk about it, communicate about it, have people tap into it while in conversation or exploration with him, and shift their whole energies about it before even walking out of the lecture hall. But it does represent a powerful shift in consciousness, ending a movement of energy that has been running humanity for perhaps as long as 4.5 million years. The curious thing is that we cannot really go back to just being fairly happy instinctive animals. I think when people get drunk they are taking a kind of cortical vacation back to the happy instinctive animal phase. What this means is that enlightenment is about going forward to another state. Paradoxically, as the Taoist say, "the path of return is the way forward". We go back to what we have been eternally, which is radiant awareness, before we even had bodies, but we add something. It is a kind of knowing what we have been. We fuse the knowing component of consciousness with the being component of consciousness.

There is a kind of nonacceptance of who we are and kind of striving to be what we think we are not that runs us. It seems to emerge in childhood when we are condemned by our parents for doing bad things and when we try to become good people. This feeling of I am bad and I must strive to be good is behind our education system. Later on, when we try to get a job, we have this same feeling that we as we are is not enough, that we must get even more education and experience to be qualified for a job. This leads to a feeling of unworthiness, of not measuring up, and an attachment to being successful. I think behind this is why a lot of successful politicians and religious leaders seem to get caught in sex scandals. In sex, we have another cortical vacation from this tortured success driven movement of consciousness. It can be even deeper than this, too, because when we are loving another and being loved, there can be the energy of being accepted as we are. It is coming from the other person and blessing us, and we are taking it in. This is also why even the inflection of disapproval from a lover can impact upon us so deeply and throw us into a tail spin. In love, we are very vulnerable. We are naked. Clothing covers our self shame about who we are and it is gone. We are hoping to be accepted and do not want to be rejected. We are going to be sensitive to the slightest condemnation and it is going to hurt. Unfortunately, even if our lover wants to totally accept us, he or she usually cannot. We have a subconscious mind that is filled with a lot of repressed stuff. When we are intimate with someone, it is all going to come up and surface. It has to come up. We repress by pushing what we do not want to feel into muscle tissues and then tensing them into chronically tight regions. The deeper we go into sex, the more our muscles get flooded with energy, open up, and relax. All the emotions that are stored inside are going to come up to consciousness again. All our condemnations are going to surface and be felt within the relationship. There may be an attempt to limit and control the sexual experience so that its full potency does not happen and we are safe from some of the stuff that we are holding inside us.

Understanding all this, a loving sexual relationship can be used as an enlightenment process. I do feel that instinctive animal sex (lunar sex) is one path, and it is more than okay, our species depends on this to birth new members of itself, and that there is another path where it is used to birth our selves or enlighten us (solar sex). But even if either path is not used, because our life circumstances to do not create these possibilities, for whatever reasons, the Tantric principle of acceptance can operate and enlighten us now. This is because the Tantric principle is the opposite of the second mental poison of condemnation or negativity. Paradoxically, we can accept our condemnations (rather than trying not to condemn) and the condemnations will start to unravel on their own. This makes the path about present centered awareness, acceptance of what is, and letting go of craving and clinging. These three things working together form a new triad of energy that is an antidote to the three poisons of the mind.