Category Archives: Places beyond the mind

Focusing the Mind for Deeper Meditation, Part XVI

Surrendering to the Cosmic Dance - Artwork by Bruce Manaka

Surrendering to the Cosmic Dance – Artwork by Bruce Manaka

Surrendering to the Cosmic Dance

In learning to focus the mind for deeper meditation, there is a dynamic interplay of mind that occurs with the Life Force. I think of the Life Force as the underlying “Hum” or resonance of the body.

Another way of describing this process is that when the attention is placed on the overall sensation of the body, the mind is given an “opening” or invitation to follow the sensation to finer and finer points of subtlety.

The mind and body then goes deeper and deeper into meditative “swoon,” or connection with the Bliss Resonance. In the beginning, the Bliss Resonance is quite subtle, like drawing closer and closer to a rose garden…at first receiving only intimations and wisps of the sweet fragrances.

However, as you learn to navigate and feel deeper and deeper into subtle sensations, you may notice how the mind and body are affected by the “intimations” and “wisps” of the fine vibrations.

Please understand that you all have the ability to feel into exceedingly fine vibrations. It just requires that you allow yourselves to feel below the surface of familiar sensations…and then continuing to feel deeper and deeper.

In my experience, the process is very much like like learning to dance…surrendering to the lead of the fine, subtle and magnetic push/pull/play of the Life Force!

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Focusing the Mind for Deeper Meditation, Part XIV

Please note that in the approach that I use for focusing the mind for deeper meditation, the sole purpose of using music and dance is to connect with the subtle currents in the spine that are easily felt when they align and move in resonance with the music.

Now, once the connection with the subtle “current” of Life Force (Kundalini) is made, I believe at some point the outer music can be dispensed with. When the inner “current” or “motor” of the Life Force is strong, then you want to feel deeper and deeper into the resonance of the “music” that plays within.

As blissful/pleasurable it is to feel into the subtleties of music/dance, understand that this approach is primarily to “get you through the door” so-to-speak to connect with the subtle currents. Once you are viscerally connected with these currents, then you want to continue refining and distilling your connection with the Life Force.

This is where I believe meditation technique is ultimately (and finally) helpful. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, in my experience, the practice of technique could not bridge the gap for me to connect with the very subtle currents in the spine. However, once the connection was made, then technique helped immensely.

I use the word “technique” loosely, as once the connection is made with Life Force (Kundalini), technique is not so necessary, but it does seem to create a way to “ground” and stabilize the energies that can at times feel too wild, primal and chaotic.

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Focusing the Mind for Deeper Meditation, Part XIII

In learning to focus the mind for deeper meditation, a refining process of the body/mind/psyche takes place, one in which the mind does not direct the process.

At least, in my experience, the mind initially takes part in making intention, saying prayers, preparing the space, etc. At a certain point, however, you might notice that the mind continues to do what it does: bounces around, engaging with thoughts, desires, memories, etc.

I find it difficult to focus mind using the mind. Perhaps it is possible, but I’ve not had much success with this approach. My approach to focusing the mind ties in with the previous post of feeling into dance…feeling into the pleasure of dance.

However, for purposes of learning to focus the mind to “one-point,” where all distractions, all thoughts, memories and desires fall away, the process does not lead to the movements of dancing, but at most includes subtle “micro movements.”

Here is the process: When feeling into the pleasure of dance, instead of actually getting up to dance, deeply feel into the pleasure of what is activating you to move in rhythm with the music.

Notice that as you tune deeper and deeper into the activating impulse of the dance, you may also witness exquisitely subtle and spontaneous “micromovements” of the body as it naturally adjusts to the buildup of energy in the spine.

These micro movements of the body are adjustments we normally do not pay much attention to, as they usually happen at a subconscious level…automatically.

By observing/witnessing these fine adjustments of the body, we allow ourselves an opening to experience the wider field of the Bliss Resonance!

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Focusing the Mind for Deeper Meditation, Part XII

Focusing Mind for Deeper Meditation - Art by Bruce Manakas

Focusing Mind for Deeper Meditation – Art by Bruce Manaka

What is this “sublimely delicious” experience that I spoke about in the previous post? I think of it simply as “essence.” It is the subtle vibration that is just below surface sensations of the body.

It is the overall sensation of all that is felt in the moment, a distillation of vibration resolving to a point of subtlety that holds the body/mind/psyche in one-pointed balance with the Bliss Resonance.

Another way of saying this: primal gut/intestinal feelings felt and tracked to the central core of Being. In both descriptions, the important aspect is the process of refining, distilling, going below surface sensations…to the activating “essence” of what flows through the body.

Feeling deeper and deeper into subtlety is the refining process. The body/mind/psyche has the ability to track sensations to deepest points of subtlety. In the process, the awareness becomes exquisitely balanced/poised…as though balanced upon the tip of a needle…or “razor’s edge.”

As I’ve mentioned so many times before, this process is not difficult…no more so than dancing! The crux of the matter, though, is in surrendering to the lead of how the Life Force, the awakening Kundalini, wishes to dance in the body…surrendering to the subtle “nudges” of Kundalini dancing through the body, to the “push/pull” play of energies in the central core of the spine!

My suggestion here is this: you most like already know the enjoyment of dance. A deeper connection with what you already feel can be made with the intention to follow/feel deeper and deeper into subtle sensations of your enjoyment.

In other words, follow the trail of subtlety, below the surface enjoyment of what you already feel. Hold and feel just below the surface…and then go slightly deeper!

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

AwakeIntheDream

Regarding the feelings of “sweetness” mentioned in the previous post, I would like to elaborate further because it is, I believe, at the crux of the process of the awakening Life Force (Kundalini).

Of course, there is no “one-size-fits-all” process of what happens when Kundalini begins to awaken in individuals, but in my opinion, I believe there is a foundational vibration (of Kundalini) that imparts the Bliss response in the spine…which can manifest as “sweetness.”

As Kundalini begins to “awaken” in the spine, a refinement process takes place. For me, in the beginning this “refinement process” felt more like being worked on by jack hammer and wrecking ball! Hardly blissful or comfortable!

A lot of toxic and stuck energy in my body, mind and psyche had to be moved and expelled! Part of the “stuck” energy was my spiritual world view, which served me well for a number of years, but at a certain point got in the way through all the assumptions, expectations, beliefs and attachments regarding how things were “supposed” to work.

In a sense, I created a “hard shell” of protection around my world view, around all that was familiar and “safe” (which included my negative patterns of thoughts/behaviors as well).

Kundalini was like a great shaking that turned everything upside down, introducing me to a very different relationship and perspective with my sense of self and my Life Force.

It was/is a very wild ride! As well as paradoxical, non-linear, impossible to fully quantify or put into a step-by-step process!

Of course the mind likes to encapsulate, define and give meaning to things…and if I can “put in a nutshell” what the process of Kundalini is, I would describe it in this way: refine, purge, integrate…refine, purge, integrate…refine, purge, integrate…and on and on.

The periods of refining and purging are times when old and unhelpful structures of thoughts/behaviors are shifted and then released. The periods of integration allow for adjustment to the new and higher frequencies of being.

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

Butterfly-Expansion

Artwork by Bruce Manaka

The play and dance of Kundalini is a most delicate feeling connection with finely nuanced sensations inside what seems to be the central core of the spine. We all have the capacity to feel these “currents” of vibration but miss them for want of “tuning in” slightly below the dense and heavy vibrations of the five senses, as well as with the habitual patterns of thoughts, desires, memories, etc.

There is so much that keeps us “busy” and distracted…engaged with all manner of outer distractions! Even with the intention to turn the attention within during periods of meditation, distractions and patterns of mind can distract us from connecting with the subtle vibrations.

When I look back on all the years of my meditation practice, I believe now that it just did not occur to me how important it was/is to feel into the overall sensation of the body…composed of all the seemingly insignificant sensations.

Now, the “overall sensation” of the body seems to resolve to a resonance or “hum” that, when focused upon, opens the awareness to extremely subtle sensations…the awakening of Kundalini!

As you gain greater facility and familiarity with Kundalini, it becomes more and more a play and dance with subtle forces, a most delicate balance of stillness and movement, of thought and no-thought!

My suggestion here, when feeling into the overall sensation/resonance of the body, to pay special attention to the subtle feeling of sweetness…even if it is just a “grain of sand’s” worth! Remember the paradox of subtlety: what seems to be so small, insignificant, can have huge impact on the consciousness!

The smallest feeling of sweetness, however it shows up for you, can be latched onto and followed to its source. There you will begin to understand and “get” the power (and paradox) of subtlety!

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