Tag Archives: subtle sensations

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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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 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 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 V

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When feeling into the “overall resonance” of the body, you might notice feeling a fine underlying vibration/sensation that can be tracked to deeper and deeper levels and that is refined to a most subtle “activating center.”

For me, this “activating center” is felt between the shoulder blades. It is “activating” in the sense that it seems to have a kind of push/pull play (like a magnet) of forces that creates a dance-like dynamic…between tension and relaxation, stillness and movement.

Another way of explaining this: if you observe the incoming breath, along with all the muscles involved with breathing in, you will feel a certain amount of tension, with a very subtle “lifting up” sensation. With the outgoing breath, you might feel a relaxation of tension, along with a “down-flow” of sensation.

Normally we do not pay much attention to the subtleties of the incoming and outgoing breath, but what I’m suggesting here in these posts is that, when you allow yourselves to explore the inner landscape of finer and finer sensations/vibrations, you will begin to also notice extremely nuanced forces at play in the body, especially in the the spine.

As you become familiar with these forces, you will also notice how the body will automatically, spontaneously adjust in most delicate micro-movements and ultimately in dance-like movements that allows for the greater expansion and flow of the Life Force, Kundalini.

This is all a play and dance of Kundalini, the activated primal life force in the spine. When connected with these subtle (and at times not-so-subtle) forces, you will have a very different perspective with your body, breath, life force, mind, Self and Nature…a perspective that experiences these things as waves of fine vibrations/sensations, connected with the underlying resonance or Hum of Creation!

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