Category Archives: mindfulness

Focusing the Mind for Deeper Meditation, Part VII

Turtle Medicine - Live in Peace Art by Bruce Manaka

Turtle Medicine – Live in Peace Art by Bruce Manaka

The overall sensation of the body during periods of meditation practice resolves to an awareness of an underlying vibration, a gentle “hum.” This is a feeling experience that has a way of focusing the mind to moments of one-pointed attention.

Perhaps a more accurate depiction is that the easily distracted and active mind is rendered silent as it is “gripped” by the inwardly felt resonance of the “Hum.” During these moments of one-pointed attention, of “no-thought,” there is only the visceral experience of the subtle currents of “Life Force.”

The mind/consciousness that is “caught” in the currents of Life Force (the awakening Kundalini), experiences a different perspective with its sense of self and the normally active and easily distracted mind. It is able to observe dispassionately the rising and falling of thoughts…with fleeting moments of “no-thoughts.”

In other words, it is able to observe the mind for what it is: an energetic vortex of energy connected with the body that in normal waking state is constantly “firing-off” thoughts, memories, desires, like/dislikes, etc. It is able to observe without attaching to them!

The mind that is held in the “current” of the underlying “Hum” of the body easily goes into meditative trance. Its perspective changes from outward focus to inward focus that locks into the ever-deepening sensations of subtle vibrations.

Although the process of connecting with the subtle currents of the inwardly flowing Life Force (Kundalini) is simple enough, it may seem like the most difficult thing to do…until you allow yourselves to simply feel what you feel in the moment…and then to go slightly deeper.

The going “slightly deeper” is important in that there is a subtle shift in the mind and body that takes place. There is a focusing affect that occurs, along with a bodily sensation. This is subtle and the mind may not want to pay attention to something so mundane and simple.

However, I believe everyone has the ability to notice this transition and my suggestion here is to hold intention to explore this seemingly uninteresting transition. The very intention and act of exploring nuances of vibration in the body allows an opening or entryway to deeper and deeper subtleties of the energetic field of the body.

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Focusing the Mind for Deeper Meditation, Part VI

In exploring the subtleties of how to focus the mind during meditation practice, I find it helpful to pay close attention to those fleeting moments when the mind is still, between thoughts. Noticing the moments between thoughts is not difficult to do, but the important point during those moments is to feel deeper into the overall sensation of the body.

Without the intention to feel slightly deeper, the mind may not apprehend the opening that it is being given…to go deeper and deeper into the subtlety of vibration!

However fleeting those moments are (like a “flash-in-the-pan”), they are accompanied by a visceral experience involving the deepest vibrations of the body. There is an overall sensation that is created…and this “overall sensation” has a way of holding the mind for longer and longer periods of “no-thought,” in one-pointed focus.

To me, it is as though the sensation “grips” the mind in one-pointed focus, almost as if the mind/brain had a muscle around it that “squeezed” it into stillness. Using this approach, the body becomes part of the “mechanism” for tuning the mind into one-pointed focus. The process can be thought of as a dance with finer and finer vibrations, a dance where we allow the subtle (Divine) Currents to take the lead.

When feeling into the overall sensation of the body, you may notice the mind moving (firing off), engaging with thoughts, memories, distractions, likes/dislikes, etc. However, as you hold the intention to feel finer vibrations, the mind (and all distractions) may slowly begin to fade, as though you were observing them from afar.

During those moments of feeling deeply, you want to notice the overall sensation of the body…and the flashes of when the mind is not “firing-off.” This is important insofar as you are given an “entryway” to go deeper and deeper…if you allow yourself to latch onto the finer “threads” of what is just below the superficial thoughts and feelings.

As you gain familiarity with those moments of “no-thought,” you will be inwardly guided to string those moments together into longer and longer periods of one-pointed focus.

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Focusing the Mind for Deeper Meditation, Part V

Kundalini Awakening

When Kundalini Awakens

The sensations of the incoming and outgoing breath become finer and finer, threadlike, as you deepen your focus upon the infinitely nuanced vibrations that play in the central core of the body, especially in the spine.

The subtle sensations of breath may, at first, not be noticed because of the habit patterns of mind that are conditioned to chase after distractions of thoughts, memories, desires, likes/dislikes, pain/pleasure, etc.

You have the capacity to notice and feel exquisitely subtle sensations created by the movements of breath. I believe it just requires getting past the gatekeeper of the analytical mind just long enough to simply feel in the moment…and then slightly deeper.

The “slightly deeper” part, although not difficult to access, can be where the mind gets in the way. Even with strong intention to feel into subtle currents of the Life Force, the mind may not truly recognize the invitation of the moment when it has the opportunity to go once again “slightly deeper.”

The mind, in normal waking state, that vibrates in resonance with Earth density, cannot help but continue in its constant engagement with body, mind, ego, desires, etc. Recognition of the subtle Life Force seems to happen in those fleeting gaps when the mind is not “firing off,” in moments when the feeling connection is made with the sublime vibration (Kundalini). In those moments, there is only sensation/vibration, with an awareness of a deeper underlying connection with a nectar-like sweetness.

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Focusing the Mind for Deeper Meditation, Part IV

You can experiment for yourselves what happens when focusing your mind on subtle and seemingly insignificant sensations in the body. There are an infinite number of sensations that can be focused upon: cold or hot hands/feet, giddiness in the area of the stomach/abdomen, tension in the scalp, etc., etc.

When feeling into any subtle sensations, take notice of what happens to your awareness and how it affects the body. When the mind’s focus connects deeply with any subtle sensation, I notice that my eyes become very still and lift slightly upwards in the eye sockets.

This “lifting up” of the eyes happens automatically, spontaneously. If you use intention or will to lift them up, as sometimes recommended in certain meditation techniques, you may miss the point of connecting with the very fine “currents” of the Life Force that flow naturally through the spine and rest of the body.

It just requires a delicate noticing. The “rising up” feeling of the eyes creates an overall “lifting up” sensation of the body. There is an important point being made here. When the mind is deeply focused on any subtle sensation, the eyes become still…and the mind also becomes still (if only for a moment).

These “moments” of focus and stillness are worth taking deep notice of, in that it offers a way for you to “capture” the visceral experience of the focused, one-pointed mind and how deeply interconnected it is with the body.

Mind holds sensation…sensation holds mind! In apprehending the delicate balance of mind and subtle sensations, there is an inner “getting,” a gentle “aha!” of how very close you are and always have been to the Divine Resonance, the underlying “Hum” of your body/mind/psyche/spirit!

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Focusing the Mind for Deeper Meditation, Part III

The mind’s habit of wanting to define and distill meaning to all experiences, even ones of a transcendent nature, can get in the way of going deeper into the subtle vibrations of the energetic field of the body.

The constant mind “chatter” seems to be a “symptom” of earth and body density. At least in my experience, when I just observe my mind, there is a constant “firing off” of thoughts, memories, desires, likes/dislikes, etc. Mental activity of all kinds!

This is what the mind seemingly cannot help but do when caught in the strong tidal pull of Earth density. If there is no intention or inclination to explore beyond the “matrix” of the worldly resonance we find ourselves in, then there is not much chance to experience states of consciousness beyond the proverbial “corner” that we “paint ourselves into” along with the belief that, “This is the reality of all that is!”

What I believe happens is that the overall vibration of body, mind, psyche and sense of self resonate at a certain range of frequencies…and this overall vibration creates the conscious range of how we experience the world. As long as the predominant frequency range remains within the density of the Earthly dimension, the body/mind/psyche will experience only what is within range of the worldly resonance.

Consider this: during sleep our minds access a very different state of consciousness (or frequency range). The day-to-day world falls away and our minds cease to “process” in the ways that we are familiar with during waking state. The awareness shifts when “tuned” to different resonant fields.

Normally we are not aware of these subtle shifts, such as when we fall asleep, because the patterns of awareness developed over a period of a lifetime makes the transitions a seamless shift from one state of consciousness to another. We fall asleep without noticing the transitional states of consciousness.

Also, because it is so seamless, we may not ever consider exploring the subtle states of consciousness as we fall asleep…or when we sit in meditation. Why would we? Our habitual patterns are so automatic, why would we even consider the subtleties of what we do naturally everyday?

Well, the whole purpose of meditation or mindfulness practice is to be able to focus upon these very fine subtle “transitional” states of consciousness, feeling into what we would normally not consider very interesting or significant.

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Focusing the Mind for Deeper Meditation, Part II

Shaman's Dream III, art by Bruce Manaka

When connected feeling-wise with the subtle sensations that move through the body while meditating, the “practice” of meditation technique may fall away. In its place, meditation “practice” transforms into what seems to be more a natural and spontaneous dance of “micro-movements.”

These micro-movements are guided by the connection you develop with the refined energies of the Life Force, experienced as a most delicate and uplifting sensation felt in the central core of the spine.

As you gain greater familiarity with these subtle vibrations, you will come to understand how the body is able to spontaneously adjust and “posture” itself in infinitely nuanced “micro-movements.”

These “postures” and movements can only be described in most general terms, as it is not possible to adequately describe and quantify the infinite subtleties of how the awakening Life Force (Kundalini) moves through the interior landscape of body, bones, fascia.

When I watch certain kinds of dance, especially Balinese dance and belly dance, to me certain movements of hands/fingers and spine/neck are deeply reminiscent of the movements that I feel when connecting with the energies of Kundalini.

Perhaps the movements of the dancers can be described, taught and learned, but the infinite nuances of the internal “micro-movements” can only be intimated about, poetically rendered as a most delicious, nectar-like substance in the spine!

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Focusing the Mind for Deeper Meditation, Part I

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What happens when we normally sit for periods of meditation, with intention to focus the mind one-pointedly on the Divine? I know for myself that I spent years practicing techniques without going very deep in my meditations.

I had some nice experiences, but for the life of me, could not seem to make any headway into truly focusing the mind. I did not “get” the significance of feeling into the vibration of the “Life Force” and how the vibration itself, when experienced as an overall sensation, has a way of holding/gripping the mind in one-pointed focus, even if initially for just moments at a time.

I find it ironic that I had spent years practicing meditation techniques for purposes of focusing the mind and connecting with the subtle (Divine) currents, but with little improvement in my ability to focus!

I learned to sit for long periods of time, but with mind more oftentimes drifting into subconscious realms of memories, desires and even sleep!

To me it seems that I kept my meditation practice on the surface, focused on techniques and mental discipline, keeping the body seated in meditation posture for long periods. I did not consider the importance of listening and feeling deeply into the subtle vibrations and sensations that were there from the very beginning!

Apparently my regular practice of meditation techniques did not give me the focus of mind that I wanted in order to connect with the subtle currents. I believe now that although meditation techniques may not be enough to connect us with the subtle currents, they are very helpful once we have connected with them!

Here is what I believe happened in my own experience. The techniques and forms of my meditation practice kept me within a certain range of habits and patterns of consciousness.

I sat still during meditation, maintained a disciplined lifestyle in the ashram, adhered to a certain philosophy, etc. When things started to come crashing down in my life, I was given the first glimpses/impressions of very subtle sensations in the spine, connected with the not-so-subtle feelings of fear, panic…free fall!

It took years to gain deeper and deeper connection with these subtle sensations, which dramatically shifted the relationship with my Life Force and with my sense of Self.
My practice of meditation techniques has also drastically shifted and now seems more like a dance of “micro-movements.”

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The Paradox of Subtlety—When Kundalini Comes Like a “Thief in the Night” Part X

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When you begin to recognize the subtle forces at play…the push/pull/squeeze/twisting dynamics of the Life Force moving in the body, especially in the spine, then you will recognize the great gift you have been given that allows connection with the Divine Current!

It is the gift of being able to “tune-in” quickly to the proverbial “needle-in-a-haystack” of the exquisitely fine Bliss Resonance” vibrating deliciously in the spine!

The “Divine Current” can be thought of as a high frequency field of vibration that, through resonance, begins to shift the “density” of the body to a finer vibration. You will also find that whatever “lifts” and shifts the vibration of the body automatically tunes the mind to the higher frequency…again through principles of resonance.

The paradox is how close and easily accessible these subtle vibrations/sensations are! Your mind has the ability and capacity to naturally and quickly shift to a deeply focused, one-pointed attunement with the subtle currents.

In a nutshell, feeling into the fine sensations of the body (especially in the spine) has a way of focusing the mind. These moments might be fleeting in the beginning, but the visceral experience of connecting with finer and finer sensations gives you an inner acknowledgement (an inner “aha!”) of what happens when you “touch” the underlying sensation of the body/mind/psyche!

The experience is exquisitely subtle, but it is also a “big deal” because you recognize how very close and easily accessible the vibration has always been. It also represents a major shift in your relationship with your Life Force and your approach to meditation.

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The Paradox of Subtlety—When Kundalini Comes Like a “Thief in the Night” Part IX

Turtle Medicine by Bruce Manaka

Turtle Medicine, artwork by Bruce Manaka

The paradox of subtlety (of sensations) in the body, to me, is a grand mystery! It is a mystery how certain sensations in the spine/body, so subtle and seemingly insignificant, can be so powerfully activating when we allow ourselves to feel their fine reverberations!

I realize now that what was always accessible feeling-wise (subtle vibrations), I did not give much or any attention to. Even with all the years of meditation practice, with intention to go below the surface of the superficial, I did not truly “get” the significance of feeling into finer and finer sensations.

Here is what I believe happened that prevented me from connecting with the subtle vibrations. In my strong desire to meditate and to live the monastic life, my focus on meditation “practice” and living the monastic lifestyle created a protective shielding that insulated me from primal energies, of sex and wild, chaotic stirrings of the unconscious mind.

The paradox is that, for me, although the monastic lifestyle was able to provide structure and community to seek the Divine, at a certain point the “structure” was unable to accommodate the wild unraveling and unwinding of the awakening Life Force….Kundalini!

Think of it in this way: as you surely know, life and circumstances can at times get messy…really messy! With the awakening Kundalini, there seems to be an added component of “strangeness,” especially during times when body/mind/psyche are getting severely shaken.

During such times, the body can go through spontaneous contortions and gyrations as the energy builds up to a crescendo in the spine. It seems to me that the body lagged way behind in its capacity to process and manage the resonance of the high vibrations of Kundalini.

Leaving the ashram provided the initial “pattern disrupt,” shaking loose the structures and mind habits of how I approached meditation and spirituality in general.

I find it fascinating how the mind (my egoic mind) wants to make sense of its place in the world as well as to define and ascribe “meaning” to all things, including the wild ride of the awakening Kundalini.

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The Paradox of Subtlety—When Kundalini Comes Like a “Thief in the Night” Part VIII

Bruce Manaka Art

Considering how pulverizing to the body, mind and ego the Kundalini process can be, where does the “sweetness” come in? Now, this is an aspect of the awakening Kundalini that to me is quite paradoxical. It (sweetness) is there along with all the feelings of getting crushed, ground to dust.

For me, the concept of “sweet sorrows” somewhat captures an aspect or part of the experience of the awakening Kundalini. It is akin to the feelings of nostalgia, where there is a heart-wrenching longing to return “home”… where our sense of home is not so much the longing for our earthly abode, but rather the intuitive knowing and longing for a return to the Divine Sacred.

Of course, when going through a lot of pain, whether physical, mental, or spiritual, the pain has a way of taking up all of our attention, and the biggest desire is usually to be free of the pain.

Perhaps you’ve experienced this, that when pain (of whatever cause) is so prolonged and unrelenting, that you feel you cannot take one more moment of it…and there is only a cry/scream for help that comes from the deepest place of longing…of surrender.

I believe there is a place within each of us that has a memory of not only our own sufferings, but also a kind of collective memory of the sufferings of all beings. This happens through the field of resonance that surrounds the heart, connecting us with the wider field of the Cosmic Heart.

This is something that can only be felt…and we get glimpses of this Divine Connection through the haunting experience of “sweet sorrows,” when we’ve been prostrated by life circumstances, “forced to our knees” so-to-speak, to the point where our inner cries for help come from of an intuitive, spontaneous longing to “return home.”

However fleeting this experience might be, it is one that is forever haunting, creating a connection with what I think of as “grace.” To me, grace is a kind of ethereal lifeline that seems to show up miraculously through the darkest of nights!

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