To me, the “paradox of subtlety” is the mystery of how feeling into barely perceptible sensations can serve as a “doorway” into profoundly blissful states of being.
For example, take a deep breath, tense the muscles of your upper arms for a few seconds…exhale and relax. Feel deeply into the vibration that continues on in the arms. Continue focusing upon the slowly diminishing sensation to finer and finer degrees of subtlety.
Now, if you continue your focus of attention for a number of minutes, you will recognize for yourself that you can “hold” the vibration almost indefinitely, long after the initial tension/relaxation period.
There is a significant point here because it is important to viscerally “get” the experience of your Self as vibration that is innately connected with a vastly wider, underlying vibration.
As you continue feeling the gradually-diminishing vibration moving through your arms, the sensitivity of your inwardly focused mind may discover the energetic connectivity of the arms with your shoulders, with your neck, with the rest of your body.
In other words, as you track vibration to its activating center, you will begin to feel yourself as a vast vibration!
There is an aspect of the awakening Kundalini (the subtle current of life force in the spine) that is anciently familiar. It imparts a sense of wonderment that a sensation so close and intimate could have remained seemingly elusive for so long!
Here is my thinking about this: for years I sat in meditation practice with intention to connect with Kundalini, with the fine currents in the spine. The connection did not come with a “Big Bang.” Rather, it came more like a “Thief in the night.”
It is now somewhat baffling to me that it took so long to make this connection, considering how very close and accessible the subtle vibrations have always been! I believe that, perhaps, I did not give due importance to simply feeling into the overall sensation of the body…in the moment…and then going slightly deeper…and then deeper again.
At a certain point while simply noticing fine sensations, my attention was drawn to extremely fine forces at play in what seemed to be in the spine…a push/pull/play of subtlety!
Again, to me, it seems to be a grand paradox that a vibration so intimate and accessible could remain elusive for such a long time! Another way that I think about this mystery is that, metaphorically, I was walking in “lock-step” with a certain drum-beat that aligned with the vibratory realms of the world and all its drama and distractions.
All the while, beneath the din and turbulence of the worldly drumbeat, there was/is another drumbeat that is in resonance with the heart…so very close! It is not that this subtle vibration was less accessible or more difficult to connect with. Rather, for me, I believe it was just that it did not occur to me to simply feel deeply into subtle sensations!
Is that all? In looking back, it seems that, even with all the meditation practice and spiritual “seeking,” the momentum of my routine, day-to-day state of mind, created a resonance of being that did not take the time or bother to recognize the underlying vibration/resonance just below the busy-ness of my spiritual seeking!
This deep and wide “underlying vibration” was always there, readily accessible, because I now recognize its “on-the -surface,” entryway “signature” in the familiar sensations that I had not given much attention to: the gut feelings, of giddiness, of nostalgia, etc.
Another important point to consider: in order to “shake” me out of the patterns of my day-to-day way of thinking and being, in my estimation I believe I needed something that was strong enough to shift the resonance and pattern of my limited perspective of feeling and being. I needed a “pattern disrupt.”
I believe it is in noticing the small, incremental shifts in awareness that opens a pathway for us to feel into finer and finer nuances of sensations…and that ultimately opens us to experience ourselves as subtle “waves” of vibrations.
As you begin to notice the overall resonance of the body, you may also start to notice the mind shifting, going into an inwardly focused state as it attunes to the subtle vibrations of the body.
Now, without conscious intention to feel deeper and deeper into subtlety, the mind remains at a certain depth and at some point is distracted by thoughts, memories, outside distractions, etc.
However, with strong intention to maintain one-pointed focus on subtle sensations of the body, you begin to experience fleeting moments of “no-thought,” when for a moment there is just a simple “noticing” of the overall feeling of the body.
I have found it important to continue holding the intention to go deeper and deeper into the overall vibration (hum) of the body. For me, when feeling into the “hum,” it seems that the vibration itself has a way of holding, gripping the mind into one-pointed focus.
This is a subtlety of the Life Force, that when awakened, seems to activate the body to spontaneously move and adjust in order to manage the increasing “voltage” of energy moving through the spine and rest of the body.
As you gain more facility and capacity for this ever-increasing “current,” the spontaneous movements of the body become more and more like a beautiful and delicate dance of Life Force in the body!
There are subtle sensations connected with desires (of any kind), along with their corresponding thoughts and memories. In learning to transmute desires, for me it has been helpful to feel deeply into the sensations and then to follow the sensations to finer and finer nuances of subtlety.
I have found that in following the sensations of desires (for example, the sex impulse), to deeper and deeper levels of subtlety, the impulse seems to get absorbed into the wider “current” of the overall vibration of the body.
Of course, this process also involves noticing the habit patterns of thoughts/memories and their connections with the desires…not so simple or easy, as the momentum of habitual thoughts and behaviors, over a lifetime, makes it difficult to go against the “current.”
However, by noticing the sensations of desires as they first begin to percolate up in the awareness, we are given an opportunity to quickly “short-circuit” our usual patterns of thoughts and behaviors…if we make the strong intention to do so!
When the impulse of desires first begin, the current is weak and we have the choice of following the pathway of the impulse to its source, which is a very different way of connecting with the impulses.
This different perspective on the sensations of desires allows us a way to connect them with the wider underlying vibration of the body, which diffuses the desire into the wider current of the Bliss Resonance.
The mind is like a “pattern generator/seeker” that constantly creates and moves towards form, structure and meaning. It doesn’t like to deal with messiness or things outside what is familiar, outside what “makes sense.”
There is SO MUCH below the surface of what is familiar, in regards to our sense of self/identity, our day-to-day lives, our relationships, desires, etc. The momentum of our lives continues day-to-day and has created a kind of “footprint” or “pattern” that we have come to consider “reality.”
In my experience, the beliefs I strongly held around spirituality, meditation practice, etc., provided a sense of security and peace of mind. It made total sense and provided a neat and tidy, step-by-step spiritual world view, so very satisfying…until it all came crumbling down!
I have come to believe that any form and structure, no matter how seemingly “high-vibration,” like the forms of exalted beings and their teachings, are not necessarily meant to remain in form and structure to the awakening student/disciple.
At any rate, in the experience of being swept up by the primal “Bliss Resonance,” your sense of identity and attachment to any teaching, teacher, guru, etc., all get shattered/pulverized, changed forever!
Perhaps, in a sense, the form/structure of the student (as well as the teacher/Guru) changes/shifts to a wider container that is able to accommodate the expanding relationship and consciousness.
Previous relationships of form and structure are remembered as a distant dream, a distant lifetime, meant to be transformed to a different and wider relationship…one that, like a dance, can be wild, chaotic, disassembling…as well as sublimely transcendent, blissful!
When the Divine Dance takes over, form, structure and mind patterns drop away…there is only the dance!
To me it seems that the “busy-ness” of mind, as well as its habitual patterns of thinking and relating to the world, makes it a little too easy to slip into mindless thinking and acting that keep us insulated from the finer vibrations and energies flowing so deliciously in the spine and rest of the body!
Our habitual patterns, over a period of many years (and perhaps a lifetime), become like a freight train that is not so easy to stop or change course.
However, it just takes repeated intentions of noticing sensations to finer and finer levels of subtlety in order to shift “tracks” of a mind that seems so intractable. A mind that is “locked” into a certain range of thinking and behaving may not want to consider exploring things outside what it has become accustomed to, that has no meaning or point of interest in terms of its familiar mindset.
The point is that the mind, through its “day-to-day-to-day” habit patterns has created the “spectrum” of how we think/feel/act…and like a train moving along familiar tracks, we get comfortable with what is predictable and “safe.”
The momentum over many years (and perhaps a lifetime) of feeling, thinking and acting within certain parameters, creates the thinnest of veils that prevents the mind from exploring sensations that are just below the “veneer” of the mind’s unwillingness to feel deeply.
In my experience, I believe I did not truly “get” (understand) the significance of simply feeling into the overall sensation of the body. This approach may sound too simple…and accordingly my mind resisted, would not allow placing so much attention on feelings!
Part of the “problem” for me was that my mind was, for years, going down the “tracks” of a monastic lifestyle that included very high ideals of meditation practice and codes of behavior. Not that there is anything wrong with monastic lifestyle or having high ideals, etc.
It is my belief now that whenever the mind gets “caught” on any track of thinking/feeling/behaving, no matter how lofty the “tracks” may seem, if the mind ceases to consider or feel the wider energetic field beyond its narrow perspective, then this becomes a “problem.”
For me, when the monastic lifestyle “track” came crumbling down, it allowed me a visceral experience of wild and primal energies at work in my life. Learning to work with these chaotic and volatile energies required a relinquishment of belief systems around spirituality and concepts about enlightenment/satori/samadhi, Kundalini, the guru-disciple relationship, etc. etc.
I believe these were all helpful in the beginning, but at a certain point, when actually connecting with primal energies, it all goes down the drain! They all lose meaning.
I would like to elaborate a bit more on the “pattern disrupt” of the mind that seems to be required in order to feel the subtle currents in the spine, not only during periods of meditation but anytime you wish to connect with them…standing in line at the market, sitting at the coffee shop, while driving, etc.
The point is that when connecting consciously with the infinitely fine, bliss-imparting sensations, you will also understand how close this primal vibration has always been…and how simple it is to remain connected!
The process of feeling the subtle currents in the spine is simple…but ironically most difficult when we do not allow ourselves enough time to “hold” the fine vibrations just long enough to feel their connections with the wider and more expansive resonance of the Bliss Vibration.
The mind gets in the way. It does not wish to let itself go into the primal experience of feelings. It remains stuck in patterns of thoughts and memories (mind chatter) that it has grown accustomed to, with little or no inclination to explore the finer realms just below the surface.
In my experience, even though I may have had the intention to feel into subtle sensations/vibrations during meditation practice, it is apparent now that I did not give enough import to the seemingly insignificant sensations moving through my body, sensations that were subtle yet familiar.
As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, there are no insignificant sensations! Any sensation can be a potential pathway connecting you with the most subtle realms of mystical beauty!
I think it ironic that for me, the shift in mind, the “pattern disrupt” did not come through meditation practice, but rather through the pain of illness, specifically the flu.
For years I had maintained a desire and intention to go deep in meditation, to connect with “Kundalini.” I kept a strict meditation practice everyday, many times a day…but it was just not enough to connect with the subtle realms.
Suffering from the flu provided my mind the “pattern disrupt” that it needed to shake me from my familiar state of awareness. Of course I was in pain and my mind was in a kind of trance-like state.
The familiar sensations of the body felt “off”…and this put my mind in an unusual mode. The sensations felt familiar and not-so-familiar at the same time!
This was a very different perspective on what I would normally not give much attention to, but it created something of a “cascading” affect on my mind that finally allowed itself to follow sensations to finer and finer points of subtlety!
As mentioned in the previous post, it was “for want of feeling slightly below my familiar set of sensations…” that I spent years in meditation practice without connecting deeply with subtle sensations and vibrations…the oh-so-important “stepping stones” to deeper and deeper meditations.
These “stepping stones” of subtle sensations are like connecting pieces that opens you up to the visceral experience of the “Om Vibration,” the resonance of exquisitely fine vibrations.
I found that the “subtle sensations” in the body (and spine) are readily accessible and easily felt by our sensitive nervous systems. From my perspective I can describe the process as this: feeling into the overall sensation of the body…and then feeling slightly deeper…and then slightly deeper, etc.
This approach sounds easy enough to do…and I believe that it truly is. However, if there is any difficulty in accessing the subtle realms/vibrations in the body, it is in the mind’s resistance to feeling deeply.
Of course we all have the capacity to feel deeply, as evidenced whenever we have emotional outbursts of joy, sadness, anger, etc. My suggestion here is to use this capacity (to feel deeply) with intention… to follow sensations to finer and finer points of subtlety. Following just the sensation!
Now, what I mean by the mind’s “resistance” to feeling deeply is the habitual pattern of the mind to follow the trail of thoughts and memories that are connected with the sensations…instead of just focusing on the sensation/vibration.
l found that as I began focusing on just the overall sensation of the body, the mind would begin to relax and the thoughts would slow down, with occasional moments (flashes) when thoughts would stop altogether.
These momentary flashes of “no-thought,” as fleeting as they were, imparted intimations of the vastly wide and deep “Bliss Resonance.” I think of these “intimations” as a kind of “pattern disrupt” that shifts the body and mind to a very different relationship with the Life Force (the energies moving through the body)…and how we interact with sensations/vibrations.
Normally we do not pay much attention to our familiar, “day-to-day” set of sensations. We do not give much thought to the overall vibration of Being. There does not seem to be any reason or purpose for doing so.
Of course, whenever we are in physical or emotional pain, our attention is drawn towards the feelings of pain, usually with reactivity…wanting to be free of the pain.
Now, it is easier to feel into subtle sensations when the body and mind are fairly calm and free of pain. However, the very practice of feeling into subtle sensations has a practical benefit of easing physical and emotional pain, even if just a little.
This can be a challenge because when we are in pain, the last thing we want to do is to tune into and feel deeper into the pain! For this reason it is important to experience the process of tuning into subtle sensations when the body and mind are fairly stable and free of pain.
I remember suffering severely from the intense pain of sciatica and nothing seemed to help, even my practice of tuning into the subtle sensations. The pain was like a “bull-in-the-china shop” of any connection that I may have had with fine vibrations.
However, I found it interesting that I could feel two simultaneous “rivers” of sensations: one that was intensely painful and the other one that had a kind of “underground” reverberation that was comforting. It did not free me of pain, but it shifted my reactivity to it.
The habitual patterns of the day-to-day mind makes it easy for us to navigate our lives, without having to learn and relearn all that is required for us to make it successfully through each day and to—hopefully—thrive in the world.
Habits of eating, sleeping, dressing, bathing, working, etc., along with all the social skills required, good/bad habits of thinking/believing, etc., creates our sense of self, our identity, our “channel normal,” that for good and bad, filters our perspective on how we think, feel and move through life.
Connecting with the Bliss Resonance in the body (especially in the spine), requires a very different perspective and relationship with our sense of self and our “life force.”
As mentioned many times before, in my opinion, the mechanics of connecting with the Bliss Resonance is not a difficult process. Anyone with a fairly sound body/mind/psyche, who is fairly self-reflective…and has a conscience, I believe is very close to the ecstatic realms of subtle vibrations.
In my experience, for want of feeling slightly below my familiar set of sensations…and then going slightly deeper, I spent years practicing meditation techniques without exploring the simple-but-transformative realms of subtle sensations/vibrations.
It would seem that it “goes-without-saying” that this is what meditation technique is all about: feeling into subtlety! However, for me, practicing technique could not show or teach me how to feel into the overall sensation of the body. For this it required the simple noticing of Being…in the moment.
Sound too simple? The paradox is that it IS simple! There is divine simplicity in feeling the overall sensation of all that vibrates within and all around us! I believe the big shift, the big “AHA!” occurs when we first notice the oh-so-delicate “feel-good” sensations that percolate/bubble up in the body.
Fleeting moments of “no-thought” during periods of meditation are very different from “absent-mindedness.” When deeply “tuned” into the very delicate sensations moving through the body, the mind naturally slows down as the feeling state comes to the fore.
In absent-mindedness there is no stable or grounded center of conscious awareness. The consciousness remains disconnected from the vibration of “center,” disconnected from the Bliss Resonance. An absent mind is easily caught in the “currents” of habitual patterns of thinking and acting.
Now, when feeling deeply into fine sensations they seem to have a way of “gripping” or “squeezing” the mind into focus…into one-pointedness! The mind/awareness becomes rooted to the sensation of “Center,” the experience of “Being.” Such moments may be accompanied by “flashes” of “no-thought” and intimations of the Bliss Resonance.
The “Bliss Resonance,” as best as I can describe it, is a deeply subtle sensation of the overall vibration of the body that imparts an energetic uplift of body/mind/psyche. Also, because the sensation is innately blissful, the mind is automatically drawn inwards, as though caught or embraced by a “squeezing” or “contorting” energy, as felt in the spine and rest of the body.
The “uplift” of vibration also has an affect of lifting and straightening the spine, lifting the eyes, automatically and spontaneously. The Bliss Resonance is like a live wire in the body that “electrifies” the system!