I would like to express my gratitude to the following sources of inspiration and profound teachings…
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I would like to express my gratitude to the following sources of inspiration and profound teachings…
Without a doubt, abiding passion is a cornerstone of a successful, longterm meditation practice, but not far behind in the list of requirements is the need for urgency as well. It is almost as if the abiding passion creates the atmosphere for meditation to be practiced and then urgency, provides the necessary catalyst for insight to explode.
I have been sharing the insights that take place during my meditation session in the series “Insights from Advanced Meditation Practice”, and below is another such insight which I noted after a deep meditation session. The particular technique I practice, for those interested, is along the lines of Insight Meditation (Gyan Yoga or Zen Meditation) and I have gone into it in some detail in the following article Silent Mind Meditation Technique.
Here is the insight I noted regarding the requirement of urgency on the path to enlightenment.
We are dying. That is a fact. Slowly, despite what the New Age pundits preach, we are physically deteriorating. It is the way of that which is physical. We must feel this urgency. We must be almost desperate – and yet be composed.
As a human we are capable of encountering the True nature of things, and this opportunity is very much precious. It ought to be optimized for the true discovery of things real. Do whatever is necessary to break free from complacency- there is no time for laziness.
It is best not to get into situations that distract us, than to get in and then try to get out. At the end one has to not worry about survival, one has to only worry about applying oneself totally to the discovery of one’s True nature.
Consider yourself on death row and the only escape is meditation.
All the great masters of meditation recognize this need for urgency. It is what allows for the total commitment to awaken. This total commitment then gives them the necessary energy needed to penetrate the dualistic mind and see the Oneness, which is the True Reality that lies beyond. The key to this urgency is to realize that the clock is ticking.
Many traditions use various means to spur this sense of urgency onwards. In some schools of yoga, human birth is considered an immeasurably rare opportunity and the students are constantly reminded of that by the teachers to keep them focused. In Buddhism, one of the realizations which led the Buddha to pursue meditation was the fact of age, illness and death. In similar fashion, other masters such as Gurdjieff & Krishnamurti, remind us of the paramount importance of applying ourselves passionately towards our freedom right now.
Scattered throughout this blog are such reminders and below is my favorite zen quote pointing out the importance of our meditation practice and how urgent the situation is…
Let me respectfully remind you, life & death are of supreme importance. Time passes swiftly and opportunity is lost. Each of us must strive to awaken. Awaken! Take heed, do not squander your lives.
Are you going through a kundalini awakening episode or experience? Let’s find out…
Kundalini awakening symptoms are truly a very intriguing subject. Really there is no correct answer to the question, “What are the symptoms of Kundalini Rising?”, as thankfully, each of us is absolutely unique and thus, on a unique trajectory on the path to Kundalini Awakening. That said, there are some common kundalini experiences that are often reported, which I would like to share with you in this article.
Although we can draw up endless lists of symptoms from third party accounts, I would like to instead make this series about kundalini symptoms that you or I have actually experienced. In this article, I will give a recent account from one of my students about what she experienced shortly after class, and then I will add my own kundalini experiences and observations as well.
In the comments section, I encourage you to add any kundalini awakening experiences or symptoms you have felt, so others can better understand what they might be going through. Here is the recent email I received from my student, Aida:
I am a student of the “Gentle Kundalini Class”. I just finished taking a series of exercise specifically for the spine.
As I left the class I felt energized as I usually feel after each class, but this time it was a little different, I was feeling extra aware of my surrounding. Like a light turned on. My back was so straight. It lasted all day.If I could go to class every morning I would go. It makes my day start right in every way. And there are times when I am not feeling like going to class and I push myself to go and do not regret it.Thank you for being my teacher.Aida D.
For those interested, here is a link to the Spinal Warmup Kundalini Yoga Kriya we did in class that day. Thank you Aida, for sharing your personal experiences with us.
This particular experience of kundalini is very interesting and significant. This is because it is the common experience of advanced meditation and of kundalini yoga. In the article, Powerful Kundalini Yoga Battles Profound Zen Meditation, I described my own such experience with kundalini awakening, but not from doing kundalini yoga, but instead from doing Silent Mind Meditation!
Aida’s experience points at the two things that all yoga and meditation boils down to. Energy and Awareness.
My favorite description of Kundalini Yoga is, “The Yoga of Awareness,” and as you see from her account, she felt more aware, as the energy of kundalini had risen up her spine. In meditation, it is the same. The demand for intense awareness, in order to comprehend the thought process via direct perception, leads to energy (kundalini) rising up and elongating the spine. Awareness then follows.
Jiddu Krishnamurti describes this experience of kundlaini energy flowing up the spine as “The rush of water filling up and thus causing a pipe to stand erect.”
When we insist that the spine be straight during meditation, it is simply to facilitate this awakening and thus, to assist in being more aware. I have experienced kundalini rising and puling up with such force, during meditation, that it sometimes make me feel as if I am going to be launched right off the ground or as if it’s going to pull my head off and up into the sky.
I am going to describe some of the physical symptoms my students or I have felt due to kundalini awakening. I know there are many emotional and mental symptoms as well, and you are welcome to share those with us in the comments section below. I am grouping the experiences into 3 categories, common, uncommon and rare, according to what I have observed.
There are of course a wide range of transcendental experiences, some of which you will find described in the category Spiritual Enlightenment Experiences. Above, I have provide those that are more commonly associated with kundalini awakening, although many would argue, including Swami Vivekananda, that all enlightenment experiences have to do with kundalini entering the brain region in some capacity.
So if you have experienced some kundalini symptoms as well, please do share them with us below. I think it will benefit others identify if what they are going through is actually symptoms of the ever mysterious kundalini awakening.
How to Live a Good Live
I think it’s time to update the famous Yamas (Dos) & Niyamas (Don’ts) spelled out by the great Yoga Sage Patanjali. These observances are the ethical and moral requirements generally accepted by Yogic teachings. Don’t get me wrong, I am a big fan of Patanjali and the Yoga Sutras, but frankly, I was never very impressed with the Yama Niyamas that he laid out in the Sutras. Furthermore, recently I am seeing many attempts to broaden and reinterpret the meanings of these observances to make them “fit” better and be more comprehensive, and I think these wranglings are getting a bit out of hand. For example, “celibacy” is being translated as healthy sex with your partner if you are married and between the ages of 25 and 50 with no adultery. I mean come on, let’s just be brave and come up with a new model. It could very well be that in Patanjali’s time these Dos and Don’ts made sense, or it could be that they were meant for a different purpose than what is currently thought (I suspect Ashram rules to assist in the study of Yoga), but, in any case I think it’s time to put forth a new set of principles for enlightened living and that is the focus of this article.
The 5 Universal Principles below for living an enlightened and good life is the result of decades of spiritual exploration, experimentation and self-study. These are the principles that I live by. They are my mantras, my vows and I have found them to be extremely helpful in navigating the waters of spiritual living and help forge a sweet life. First, I will just briefly list the original Yamas & Niyamas of Sage Patanjali, which can also be found in the article Introduction to the Universal Principles of Yoga, and then I will go into my 5 principles for living an enlightened and good life.
Original Yamas Nyamas from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali:
Updated 5 Key Principles of Living an Enlightened and Good Life:
1. Relax: This principle is not to be brushed over. It is the key to developing the right approach towards life and all the twists and turns that inevitably come your way. If you can stay relaxed you will have a chance to break the reactive pattern of automatic response to conditions, thus, meeting more of the moment with more of your being. It all begins will having this ease of being. To relax means to not be easily swayed by the pull of dualities. Neither buying excessively into the promises of gain nor fearing excessively the consequences of loss.
Here are some articles that explore the concept of relaxation in more detail: Embrace Reality and Let the Universe Fulfill Your Desires, Shunryu Suzuki Speaks on Enlightenment & Zazen Practice and Today I Finally Passed the Test & Officially Became a Man.
2. Witness: This is a big ask I know. No human being ever has or probably ever will be able to bear witness constantly to all that is taking place within their mind and body. That being said, the more you can do it the more awareness will illuminate the inner walls of your mind, thinking and emotions. At the end witnessing is really all that is needed for enlightenment, so devote yourself to this practice of mindfulness. As Osho and Gurdjieff describe it, look with double arrowed awareness. One arrow observing that which is being done, thought and felt, while one arrow observing the doer, thinker and feeler. This is the secret to self-knowledge and being a light onto yourself.
In addition, witnessing is the basis of all insight meditation and you will find more details, hints and tips on this practice in the following articles: Brain Development & Enlightenment – Insight Meditation – Part 3, Silent Mind Meditation Program – The Silent Mind Meditation Chapter 12 and The True Meaning of Laziness.
3. Affection: Forgive, be kind, be thoughtful, be nice, be good, be sensitive, be loving, be compassionate. All in all, it’s the practice of Loving-Kindness Meditation. Let me tell you the hard part here. It is easy to do all of the above when things are going your way, but, can you do all of the above when things are not? As they say a well fed dog is friendly, but the real nature will be revealed when he is hungry. So it is with us. We can put up our best when all is good, but, can you do the same when you don’t get what you want? When someone insults you? When your ego takes a hit? Will you be able to side with affection under duress or will the subconscious, hidden, egotistical nature take control? That is the real test of adhering to this principle of affection and be warned it is not easy, but if you wish to ascend this practice must be mastered.
4. Honesty: Absolute honesty I should say. In word, deed and behavior. You will have fun with this one. Just give it a try and you will be amazed by how much you learn about yourself. How hard the mind works to manipulate perception and procure security, without any consideration to what is true. I have gone into this concept in more detail in the following article so head on over to read the nitty gritty: Silent Mind Meditation Program: Honesty – Chapter 6.
One additional helpful tip. In the article, 10 Things to do Everyday for A Happy, Meaningful & Good Life, which I hope you are all following religiously :-), item #7 speaks of doing your daily accounting at the end of the day. This is a great time to reflect on all the times during the day you were dishonest, insincere, hypocritical and pretentious. Please don’t start judging yourself, simply maintain a healthy sense of humor and learn about the antics of your ego and mind.
5. Courage: By courage here, I also mean self-confidence and self-belief. Courage is important on 2 fronts. First, the path to enlightenment is ultimately walked alone. Without courage you will not get very far, as at the first sign of danger you will balk. Second, to live a good life means to live according to your passion and if you lack courage you are going to play it safe always and never take the necessary chances to follow your heart.
This is another topic on which you can find lots more information here on Mastery of Meditation. I would suggest the following 4 articles to help explore this concept more: Silent Mind Meditation Program: Confidence – Chapter 5, Inspiring Osho Quote on How to Live Courageously, New Kundalini Yoga Classes & the Courage to Live Dangerously and How to Escape Your Suffering – The Blind Man vs. The Cripple.
So there are my 5 golden rules for living an enlightened and good life. I try to review them every morning and have them posted in handy places as reminders as well. If you have a set of observances you follow or other techniques which have helped you in your life, please share them with us below so others can benefit as well.
There are as many types of meditation techniques as there are wonderful flavors of ice cream. This allows each person to find a flavor that is delicious to them. This article is the combined result of the 3 part series “Comprehensive Guide to the World of Meditation Practice”. I created this one article out of those three to provide a single document which one can refer to for an introduction to all the important meditation techniques and types available. This article provides this overview of all the significant meditation techniques and hopefully this will help you find the style that is sweetest to you.
Some meditation styles suit those of an intellectual disposition, while others are more attractive to those who prefer the path of love and surrender. Still others, with an active approach to life, may like the meditation techniques involving movement, while those with a strong mind would enjoy the approach of thought, mantra, visualization or concentration. Overall, there are several broad categories under which we can capture most of these different meditation practices and this article will explore each of these types of meditation techniques.
These are the meditations of choice for the Gyan Yogis or those drawn to the intellectual path. It incorporates the advanced meditation techniques from the Zen school of Buddhism, the Advaita Vedanta school of Hinduism, certain schools of Western Religions among others.
The meditations that fall under this category use the science of sound and thought vibrations (Naad Yoga), along with rhythm and music (Laya Yoga) to purify the heart and mind. These meditations have a wide range of applications, from bestowing Enlightenment, to improving health, wealth, happiness, peace etc…
These are probably the most common and well know of all the meditations and often meditation is defined by these kind of meditations exclusively. They are closely related to the Insight Meditation Techniques with the difference being that Insight Meditation Techniques utilize the active application of intelligence and discernment, while the Concentration Meditation techniques use the power of focused attention to a greater degree. To some extent these meditations lay the groundwork for the Insight Meditations which need a high degree of concentration as a prerequisite to being effective.
These meditations and practices may suit those inclined to physical activity, but as you will see from the list below there are meditation techniques using the body which can easily by enjoyed by all. In addition, the meditations of this type almost all have the added benefit of keeping us fit and healthy.
So there you have it. All the main flavors of ice cream available to satiate your meditative appetite. Most important thing for you to do is indulge. Your soul craves meditation like children crave ice cream, so go ahead and take a bite — I promise, you will absolutely get addicted and it will be the most beneficial addiction you can ever have.
Internet Resources for Meditation:
Yoga Meditation Tips: There are many positive benefits and advantages which come from Yoga Meditations; however it is important to understand the basics of the activity before becoming involved in it.
Here comes that ice cream truck again, this time serving up some very interesting meditation techniques. The meditations we have explored so far have emphasized the mind, intelligence, thought, sound, feeling etc, now we will introduce the category of meditations that use the body as a vehicle for self-study and expanding awareness. These meditations come to us from religions around the globe and many are fast becoming an integral part of mainstream life.
4. Body Meditation Techniques: These meditations and practices may suit those inclined to physical activity, but as you will see from the list below there are meditation techniques using the body which can easily by enjoyed by all. In addition, the meditations of this type almost all have the added benefit of keeping us fit and healthy.
So there you have it. All the main flavors of ice cream available to satiate your meditative appetite. Most important thing for you to do is indulge. Your soul craves meditation like children crave ice cream so go ahead and take a bite — I promise you will absolutely get addicted and it will be the most beneficial addiction you can ever have.
In part 1 of this series we dove into 2 wonderful flavors of meditation, Insight Meditation Techniques, which use the active power of intelligence and Mantra-Thought-Intention type meditations which use the vibratory power of sound and thoughts to tune into the individual and Universal Electromagnetic field to produce desired results. In part 2 we will explore the popular category of Concentration and Visualization Meditation Techniques.
3. Concentration and Visualization Meditation Techniques: These are probably the most common and well know of all the meditations and often meditation is defined by these kind of meditations exclusively. They are closely related to the Insight Meditation Techniques with the difference being that Insight Meditation Techniques utilize the active application of intelligence and discernment, while the Concentration Meditation techniques use the power of focused attention to a greater degree. To some extent these meditations lay the groundwork for the Insight Meditations which need a high degree of concentration as a prerequisite to being effective.
The above category consists of many profound and powerful meditation techniques which are worth exploring and discovering. I hope you will find some that suit you, but if not, no worries, part 3 is coming up soon.