Tag Archives: meditation technique

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 VI

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

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In these posts I am suggesting the use of the sensitivity of your feelings to focus the mind…on finer and finer sensations, on the sensations that can be tracked to their “activating center.”

What I mean by this is that, as you continue to follow the trail of sensations to deeper and deeper levels of subtlety, at a certain point you will begin noticing your sense of “center,” the overall resonance of the body. Your activating center.

You will then get glimpses, flashes of yourself as an expansive wave of vibration…and this comes with a vastly different perspective and relationship with your body, mind and life force.

You will notice how it is easier to focus the mind when it is “held” by the sensation/vibration of the Life Force. Here is what happens: As you follow sensations in the body to deeper and deeper levels of subtlety, you will notice how the mind can focus upon extremely fine vibrations…which creates sensations that are exquisitely delicate…and which seem to have a kind of gravitational pull on the mind’s attention…because the sensations have an innately fine sweetness that spreads through the body the more you focus upon it.

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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 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 XII

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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.

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Connecting With the Bliss Resonance, Part X

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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.

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Connecting With the Bliss Resonance, Part IX

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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.

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Connecting With the Bliss Resonance, Part VII

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Connecting With the Bliss Resonance

When feeling into the overall sensation/resonance of the body, with the intention to focus upon subtle vibrations, you may begin to feel intimations of a vast and primal sensation. Initially it can be mere flashes of what feels like a deep underground “rumbling” or “reverberation.”

These “intimations” can bring up certain feelings. For me,  they are quite oftentimes feelings of nostalgia and sensations of giddiness…all very subtle at first.

With the intention to go deeper into the subtlety, the mind and body begin to experience a most delicate balance point of focus…and by virtue of simply feeling into these fine vibrations, you may connect with certain unfamiliar sensations, including one that imparts an upliftment of feelings, the Bliss Resonance!

With deeper play, exploration and surrender to the Bliss Resonance, you will begin to experience how the body innately and spontaneously knows how to move and dance with the growing Bliss energy.

You will observe how the body will take up certain postures and “micro-movements” as ways to allow greater flow of what wants to move, express and expand in the body/mind/spirit.

The play of subtlety with the Bliss Resonance becomes more like a beautiful dance and unlike what we might have considered as meditation “practice.”

When viscerally connected with the fine energies of the life force, the Bliss Resonance, the thought of “meditation practice” no longer “fits” nor has the same meaning that it may once have had.

When connected with the fine energies of the life force, meditation “practice” becomes more aptly thought of as meditation “dance” or meditation  “swoon”…or perhaps “dance of subtlety.”

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Connecting With the Bliss Resonance, Part V

Learning to access deep states of meditative trance is not difficult when you allow yourselves to simply feel the overall resonance of the body…with the intention to follow sensations to deeper and deeper subtlety.

The initial states of meditative trance bring a noticeable slowing down of thoughts, relaxation of body and a magnetic-like inward pull of attention to what feels like the central core of the body.

You may also begin to notice a pleasant, “feel-good” sensation building up in the spine, along with a spontaneously-occurring uplift of the eyes in their sockets. The “uplift” feeling also happens in the spine.

As you gain greater facility with feeling into and surrendering to these subtle sensations, you will find your mind/consciousness going into one-pointed focus, as the growing Bliss Resonance fills the entire experience of Being!

The feeling of the Bliss Resonance begins as a most subtle “feel-good” sensation that seems to vibrate delicately in the spine. This too, is not difficult to experience…it just requires a setting aside of any resistance to vibrations that are slightly below the surface of familiar and seemingly insignificant sensations.

When going into meditative trance, you will notice the eyes naturally lifting upwards…along with a spontaneous uplift of the spine. This “uplift” energy has a feel-good sensation connected with it.

How to connect with this “feel-good” sensation? There are many ways, but one that I suggest is this: take a deep breath…exhale, relax…and then keep the breath out until you begin to feel the need to breathe in again. However, for purposes of this exercise, keep the breath out slightly longer…feel a subtle giddiness arise…and then breathe in deeply, exhale and tune into the subtle “feel-good” sensation that accompanies the satisfying of the need for breath.

For as long as you can, focus upon the subtle, pleasant feeling that comes with the satisfying of the need for breath. A deeper connection with this feeling is developed as you follow it to its source.

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