Category Archives: trance

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 XV

The sensation of the current of Life Force moving in the body (especially in the central core of the spine) naturally and automatically focuses the mind, drawing it within to exquisitely subtle sensations…just like iron filings to a magnet.

Attuning to the vibration/sensation requires a delicate balance between tension and relaxation…as the movement of the Life Force in the central core of the body creates a sensation that activates the body to “contort,” to fall into “swoon.”

Finding the balance point between tension and relaxation is important because, in the beginning, the tension of the body contortion can quickly exhaust the body. As you gain familiarity with the contortion energy, you learn to modulate the buildup of energy without overextending the energy of the body.

As I’ve mentioned many times in previous posts, connecting with the subtle sensations of the Life Force (the awakening Kundalini) is not a difficult process. I realize, though, the immense paradox of how a vibration so close (and obvious), can remain seemingly hidden, unobtainable for a lifetime(s)!

The subtle sensation is available, accessible through every movement, every posture…in yawning, in stretching the body, in every smile, in tears, through sex… through every body function!

The connecting piece, which I believe is also the “missing ingredient” that opens the feeling connection with the subtle sensations (at play in the central core of the spine), is surrender…to the dance.

Not a passive surrendering to any and all vibrations, but a listening, feeling and falling (surrendering) towards expansion, towards what imparts an uplift of the heart. In surrendering to the Cosmic Dance, there is a deep release of self to follow the lead of Higher Self!

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Focusing the Mind for Deeper Meditation, Part XI

The visceral experience of the awakening Kundalini is very much like a dance, in which we surrender to the “lead” of the Life Force. In this dance, the mind/body/psyche adjust in micro movements as a way to accommodate the buildup and flow of the expanding energies in the spine and rest of the body.

What usually happens when we sit to meditate? With the intention to turn the attention inside, to follow and connect with the subtle sensations, we might feel a sense of peace and relaxation. However, no matter how intently we focus on breath, on stillness, the mind inevitably seems to get distracted by thoughts, desires, memories, etc. And then it falls into subconscious dreams, etc.

What to do to go deeper? Sometimes it just does not occur to us to follow and focus upon the finer and finer sensations in the body.

In the rigid attachment and focus upon sitting still, holding to technique, it can be easy to miss the subtle “nudgings” of the Life Force and how it moves in the body. In a sense, we resist allowing ourselves to be “shaped” or “postured” by the awakening currents, and thus remain disconnected from the deeper resonance of the Life Force.

The mind and body that is in tune with the subtle Kundalini becomes “enraptured” as though electrified. This is a sublimely delicate experience, like balancing on a razor’s edge or tip of a needle. It is not so difficult, it just requires a recognition and focus upon the subtle sensations and connections with the underlying vibration or “Hum” of the body.

In this experience, the mind may continue doing its “thing” of bouncing here and there. However, there will be a perspective of watching the mind, as though from a distance, not getting caught up in any “threads” of memories, thoughts, desires, etc.

It will be more like watching embers rising and fading away from a campfire. The Self will not attach to the rising and fading away of the embers (thoughts). It will just observe/experience.

Again, the mind may continue bouncing around, as it does in “normal” waking consciousness. However, when the consciousness is also connected with the subtle sensations of the underlying “Hum,” the “bouncing” around of the mind is experienced with mental neutrality.

In other words, you do not get caught up in the endless rising and falling of thoughts, memories, desires, etc. What I believe happens is that the visceral connection with the subtle underlying vibration (the Bliss Resonance), has a way of deeply interiorizing the mind…because it is so sublimely delicious!

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Focusing the Mind for Deeper Meditation, Part X

What happens after you clap your hands and then feel deeper and deeper into the slowly diminishing vibrations, as suggested in Part IX of “Focusing the Mind for Deeper Meditation”? You may notice how long you are able to track the vibrations, even as they get finer and finer (less noticeable).

By continuing to track the vibrations, you may come to a point of feeling the underlying “buzz” or “Hum” of the energetic field of the body. In experiencing the subtle Hum as can be felt in the hands, you will also feel its connectivity with the forearms, upper arms, shoulders, neck, etc. The whole body will be felt as a wave of sensation/vibration.

Alongside, or perhaps just below this subtle vibration, there is an exquisitely fine sensation that imparts a beguiling, infinitely nuanced response in the centermost space of the body…the Bliss Resonance!

The body/mind/psyche that relaxes, surrenders to this resonance, easily accesses meditative trance and begins to move and adjust in dance-like micro movements, which includes spontaneous twisting, spiraling, contortions of the body.

The inner witnessing mind learns to stay out of the way and not interrupt the Divine Dance that takes place. Any efforts to control or guide the experience can cut your connection with the subtle Bliss Resonance.

Any resistance to the strong current moving through the field of the body can result in grotesque flailing of body and limbs, especially if the body and nervous system are not prepared to receive the strong voltage of the awakening Life Force…Kundalini!

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Focusing the Mind for Deeper Meditation, Part IX

In these blog posts, “Focusing the Mind for Deeper Meditation,” I speak often of “subtle currents” and feeling deeper and deeper into “subtle sensations.” My intention here is to share some things that I did not fully understand or “get” in my years of meditation practice and that prevented me from connecting with the exquisitely fine “currents” in the central core of the spine that are now so obviously apparent.

What does it mean to feel into subtle sensations, subtle currents? This is not a difficult concept to understand or to viscerally experience. An example of this approach is this: clap your hands loudly three times and then place them on your laps, palms up. Feel into the vibrations/sensations. Continue feeling as the sensations get softer and more “subtle.”

Take note of how you can track these subtle sensations for long periods of time, much longer than you would normally ever consider.

It is important to acknowledge to yourself that you have the ability to feel deeply…to feel into subtlety. Now, the following point is important to “get.” As you feel into subtle vibrations/sensations, you may find inner resistance of the mind. It wants to do what it is habitually familiar with doing…engaging with thoughts, desires, memories, etc.

So, although you may know that you have the ability to connect with subtle sensations, the mind may resist with thoughts of “So what? What’s the big deal with subtle sensations?”

Here is the big deal with subtle sensations: As you feel deeply into fine vibrations and sensations, you want to take notice and acknowledge those fleeting moments (flashes really) when the mind is not moving…when the mind is in the state of “no-thought.”

While tracking and feeling into subtle sensations, you may also notice how the mind continues “firing off,” engaging in thoughts…but you may also notice the thinking mind experienced as though from a distance…and with occasional flashes of “no-thought.” Just sensation!

These “flashes” are important to notice and acknowledge, even if at first they do not seem like a big deal. It is a huge deal, because these fleeting moments of “no-thought” that flash on and off through periods of meditation will ultimately reveal/impart the underlying “Hum” of the body that is connected with the Bliss Resonance!

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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 II

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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.”

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Learning to Transmute Desires, Part V

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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!

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Learning to Transmute Desires, Part IV

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What do I mean by the “underlying vibration” of the body? When sitting in meditation pose, the mind can easily focus upon the overall sensation of the body. Now, with the intention to feel slightly deeper into subtle vibrations, the overall sensation of the body can be felt as a “wave” or “field” of vibration.

This is a delicate balance point, during which the mind, if it does not “get” the importance or significance of continuing to feel into finer and finer vibrations, may lose the connection and momentum to experience the primal “magnetic/contorting” flow of Life Force that lies just below the surface of our familiar states of consciousness.

By going slightly deeper into subtle sensations, there is a visceral experience of exquisitely fine forces at play in our bodies and especially in the spine. The paradox is that, in my opinion, it doesn’t require years and years of meditation practice or any superhuman feats of concentration.

However, in my experience, I spent years and years in meditation practice without making deep connection with the subtle Life Force (Kundalini) because I did not truly “get” the importance of feeling deeper and deeper into seemingly insignificant sensations…until they resolved to the overall resonance of the body.

My mind was busy with meditation practice/technique…disconnected from truly feeling deeply. Of course, the purpose of meditation technique is to connect the awareness with subtle vibrations/sensations and the Divine Spirit…but in looking back at my “practice,” I realize now that I created a thin “veil” that insulated me from feeling deeply.

Perhaps it was not so much a problem of meditation technique, but rather my non-consideration of feeling deeply. I believe there was also an issue of my “day-to-day” mind and habitual patterns that stayed within bounds of what was familiar and safe, no matter how much and how long I meditated.

I am also very much aware that it is not enough to instruct myself or anyone else to “feel deeper and deeper” into subtle vibrations. The connecting piece, the “Aha!” moment occurs when you truly “get” and viscerally feel that any sensation (no matter how seemingly insignificant) can be felt in relation to a wider and wider vibration or resonance of feeling. There is also a noticing of how the mind will automatically go into trance states…that focuses upon finer and finer vibrations/sensations.

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Connecting With the Bliss Resonance, Part XIII

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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!

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