Meditation Utilizing Ashtanga Yoga and Ending with Chakra Activation and Visualization
In my yoga classes we often end the session in meditation attempting to more deeply commune in harmony with our true nature as a practice of spiritual healing. Ashta means eight while anga means limb. The Indian Yogi, Patanjali is credited with being the first to write down this eight limbed practice in his "Yoga Sutras" around the time of Christ. The Yoga Sutras concentrates on the reaching samadhi through meditative practice. Elsewhere on this Web Site there is much more about Patanjali and the "Yoga Sutras", but here we will focus on the eight limbs as an accelerated process quickly leading up to an advanced meditate position. The eight limbs briefly are:
yama: non-actions by removing harm, falsity, fragmentation, deceit, delirium, craving, and hunger
niyama: beneficial or meritorious actions to move u from fragmentation to wholeness.
asana: a firm, balanced, and comfortable posture to connect.
pranayama: utilizing the breath to keep the energy flowing
pratyhara: the harnessing of the wandering mental and energetic movement of consciousness (cit-prana) so they balance all opposition, while the unified energy moves into the central column
dharana: concentration or one pointed focused attention upon an object (internal or external)
dhyana: meditative absorption where the intellect and discursive dominance of the mind are disengaged
samadhi: the accomplishment of the non-dual state (samyama is comprised of concentration, meditation, and samadhi)
Yama and Niyama
Of the classic eight steps of yoga are firstly, the yamas, the non-actions or renunciation of harm, because they bring undesirable results (karma) in our spiritual progress. Acting against life (ahimsa), it acts against our own communion with nature and natural law. Secondly the niyamas or beneficial actions to take in order to settle our psycho-social attitude in the direction of peace and spiritually productive karma. Niyama is thus the pro-active side of yamas which we integrate at every juncture in life. Here the yams/niyams most often refer to social, community, and ecological contexts, while the remaining limbs refer more so to formal practice. These first two focused intentions settle our thoughts in the principle of ahimsa i.e., not to cause harm to others, to the whole, and to ourselves, to life, or to nature -- to not cause suffering to the great Self (any being anywhere). The niyama aspect of ahimsa is more pro-active, which is to say our most productive attitude is to alleviate harm, to remove suffering, to heal others and self, to honor, acknowledge, respect, nurture, and magnify life. In order to do so, we must clear out past karmic impediments. As our realization grows as to who we really are it becomes clearer that to harm others is the same as harming Self (any or all) as samadhi is the ultimate experience of non-separation. Thus by focusing first on yama and niyama, our attitude and intention helps focus the meditation and create a firm ground for a steady and joyful asana. Asana, in turn, provides the base for pranayama, pratyhara, dharana, dhyana, and samadhi, and so forth like that.
There are five yamas are ahimsa (removing-harmful thought, speech, and action), satya (being in truth), asteya (refraining from theft, trickery, or exploitation), brahmacharya (marriage to, harnessing, or devoting oneself to Brahma -- the generative/creative force), aparigraha (renouncing hoarding while simplifying one's fullness of life). The niyamas are saucha (cleanliness or purity of body, mind, and speech), santosha (contentment), tapas (self discipline and ability to focus with spiritual intent), swadhyaya (self study), and isvara-pranidhana (loving and surrendering to God or non-dual truth above all else). In Kashmir Shaivism Isvara-pranidhana is the supreme niyama. With a little practice one can easily see how all these work together to help us focus on attaining the singular goal of total union (samadhi).
Thus after having thus settled into a focused mental and emotional stance, attitude, perspective, relationship, intention, and position we also settle our corresponding biopsychic and energetic components. Then meditative asana is much easily achieved and maintained as a firm, comfortable, balanced, aligned, and relaxed position, posture, attitude, or physical stance that enhances our framework of reference or otherwise creates the synergistic self supporting conduit between the crown and earth chakras. Any stable comfortable position can be productive even sitting in a chair as long as the spine is straight, one can relax comfortably, and there is no impingement upon the flow of energy in the psychic nerves. We should try to find a position that is self supporting and uplifting simultaneously creating a feeling of lightness and groundedness.
However for long periods of meditative absorption the classical hatha yoga padmasana is the best as long as it is comfortable for reasons of stability and support. We thus find a comfortable position sitting on the floor or in a chair with the spine in a relatively straight and unobstructed position. The important part that we are not straining and there is no physical tension nor undue attention to the body throughout the chosen duration of the meditation.
Sitting, we allow the skull to rest effortlessly in synch and connected with the pelvis aligned in a straight line balancing using the spine as its central connecting axis. Usually this means that the chin is slightly pointing downward (in order to smooth out the back of the neck) raising the occiput. .
The eyes should also be tensionless and focused either upward and inwardly toward the third eye and/or it may slightly open so that we are aware of both the physical surroundings as well as the world beyond the five senses. If we get sleepy easily we can focus on a point above the crown or if we get easily distracted, we can focus the eyes and attention at the heart or navel.
All tension, struggle, and blockages in the body should be relaxed and let go. The top of the shoulder blades should be rotated back, up in front, and down in the back swiveled so as to move the heart forward and upward creating a non-collapsed chest while the tailbone and sacrum sinks and remains grounded. The tongue can touch the palate or placed in khechari mudra if one knows it. The arms can rest on the knees in chin or jnana mudra if comfortable. We allow every cell and energy center of the body to vibrate, tingle, pulsate, and become relaxed and energized. We visualize that empty space between each cell and atom of the body is the major constituent of the body and we imagine an equipoise of this space within us with that of infinite space.
We then imagine the vector of gravity emanating from the center of the earth outward and upward into infinite space piercing the earth at a perpendicular right angle from the earth's surface. This energy, the cause of gravity, should be seen as a vortex or spiral rather than a straight line containing at least two energetics. One energy vortex is concentric, solidifying, moving downward into the earth along the back -- the apana energy which is what is normally called gravity. The opposite balancing counter-force (counter-part dynamic) is prana which is an upward moving and evolving coil called kundalini which we visualize as emerging, supporting, uplifting, comforting, and caressing us from the earth upward along the front of the body. At the root chakra (muladhara these two energies are brought together in harmonious balance front and back, left and right, crown and root between our thighs (if we are sitting) into the central column (sushumna) without tension or force -- releasing blockage.
We then align our spinal axis starting at the thighs, perineum, tail bone, pelvic bowl, sacrum, lower back, navel, middle back, chest, shoulder, entire spine, neck, throat, back-brain, forehead, and crown with awareness of this axis of gravity or kundalini energy. We visualize the pelvic bowl and tail bone being firmly rooted, relaxed, settled, and connected with the earth; the spine effortlessly resonating and in harmony with the circling forces of gravity and kundalini; and above the upper cranial bowl the awareness of a point of transcendental consciousness. The cerebrum is then visualized as being light, empty, and nascent as infinite space as we find our point of effortless self supporting balance.
The spinal column in the meditative asana can be viewed as being a channel or conduit of spirit flowing as electrical like current from the base of the spinal cord up above the crown. This all allows us to accomplish pranayama through asana, just like yam/niyam created the basis for successful asana.
The fourth step is pranayama which means the lengthening and extension (ayama) of the energy (prana) throughout the body/mind. Such an awareness and resultant achievement places us in synchronicity with the intelligent Source of Prana.. So first we ask, what is this energy, and how do we reconnect with our core energy? First we must come to the realization that nothing moves without energy or voltage -- that this energy has as its nature polarity, voltage, or duality (repulsion/ attraction, yin/yang, shakti/shiva characteristic which we can harmonize (change). The entire universe and every atom including our mental functions all move according to energy patterns or pranic forces. When the energy disintegrates the matter changes or ceases to be. Thus when the energy pattern is distorted, altered, or disturbed the physical is then transformed also.
When we learn to still the disparate polarity, voltages, or energetics of conflict and duality -- of apparent separation (or the conflicting forces of repulsion and attractions of the apparently random mental formations) through pranayama, we can go beyond the duality and limitation of the mental functions (as fluctuations, agitations, disturbances, or diseases of consciousness called vrtti) and thus merge into our natural state -- the unconditioned; the source of the energy that predates the polarity or duality; into the fruit of meditation (swarupa).
A simple and easily learned pranayama which is also powerfully effective is sushumna breath; or if we are advanced we can utilize a combined pranayama/mudra practice and visualization to stabilize and energize our meditation and move the energy into the central column. The sushumna breath is a pranayama method of equalizing the breath in both nostrils. It brings beneficial rewards when we practice it in daily life as well.
First we notice our own breath flowing through both nostrils and ascertain which nostril is dominant and which nostril is partially restricted or closed. We ask is the breath equal and if not what nostril is dominant? We then use our focused concentration, attention, and intention to open the constricted nostril so that the air flow in both nostrils is equalized. Control becomes easier if concentrate on the bones above the lips and directly below the nasal openings.
Unless we suffer from deviated septum or extreme nasal or sinus congestion, this equalization can be accomplished in a short time usually within three or less breaths. When the breath is equalized, the prana can flow in the central channel (the sushumna), thoughts then cease to wander, our energy ceases to become drained, and equipoise arises. By focusing on the sushumna we leave ordinary dualistic mental functioning behind and enter into the non-dual transcendental space beyond the conceptual limitations of ego.
Advanced students can use more advanced methods of bandha, mudra, pranayama, and visualization to accomplish this same result of keeping the mind from wandering during meditation by activating the flow of energy and consciousness into the subtle or spiritual body (sushumna). We use these pranayama methods so that anytime during meditation we can quickly call forth this technique if needed to force the energy back into sushumna in order to stop mental wandering, lack of concentration, disturbance, or discomfort. This increases our ability to collect ourselves more easily and more fully and to rest deeper in the wholeness and beauty of samadhi.
Pranayama awareness and practice leads naturally to the fifth preparatory limb which is pratyhara or the withdrawal of our consciousness from the inanimate, frozen, dead, external, inorganic or object orientated "I-it" world and placing it into the realm of non-dual consciousness. Here we cease to be entranced, fascinated, attracted, drawn into, hypnotized, or enchanted by the ordinary alienated world of the sense objects as being separate from ourselves. Here we take our attention and energy and withdraw it from outside distraction and dissolution Here we give up the superficial "reality" of conceptual thought, wandering thought and attention on intransitoriness, our ego identity based on separateness -- our limited, arrogant, ignorant, fabricated, conceptual and artificial intellectually based world. Here we go beyond the ego, delusion, limited manmade beliefs, concepts, and views -- the limitations of duality, fragmentation, corruptive thought and the process of mentation completely by moving our biopsychic energetics and attention inward and upward toward that reality which is both within and outside and all inclusive.
Through pratyhara we recognize that all of nature is within us and that likewise we are in all of nature. This reality is known in the spiritual heart. We draw our attention inward and upward toward the divine intelligence behind nature (rather than downward and outward in lust, fear, and separation). Here all dissipative energetics are stopped while the inner circuits are energized and the focus of our concentration and meditation is catalyzed.
Here we visualize the Pingala and Ida nerves (right and left nerves) becoming harmonized and drawn together at the muladhara (root chakra located at the base of the spine) and directed into one flowing course upward into the sushumna resolving all duality, polarity, tension, and separation. Here Siva and Shakti, Ha and Tha, male and female, heaven and earth, spirit and form, consciousness and nature, and the like are known to be inter-connected in the greater one within the spiritual body. Here we move toward the great harmony -- the great integrity -- beyond polarity. SO we can see now that all these prior limbs are building up momentum -- they are mutually synergistic and leading us on to one pointedness of mind - dharana, dhyana (meditation), and samadhi.
Samyama (Concentration, Meditation, and Samadhi)
Then we practice samyama on our true nature combining the sixth stage of concentration, the seventh step of meditative absorption, and the eighth step of samadhi which is entering the enstatic conscious state of wholeness beyond the ignorant and dualistic state of mere mental or ego alienation.
This is the goal of the meditation -- to stay bathed in the healing well-springs of the non-dual and integrative of our true nature. He we become rejuvenated, animated, peaceful, wise, whole and complete. Through cultivating this state of samadhi through meditation we gradually are able to increase our communion and deepen our connections with Siva-Shakti.
In dharana we remain fixed in our meditation first focusing the united purpose and intent of the mind, will, body, breath, and energy, and then move that into the mores subtle energetics, then letting the transverbal and trans-personal intelligence of the energy lead us into objectless space -- upon the non-dual transpersonal state of samadhi beyond object and subject -- beyond man's intellect, thought, words, separateness, or ego identifications. When the agitations (vrtti) of the mind cease (nirodha) the citta is merged with its original true essence (swarupa) and yoga is accomplished as samadhi. Here we rest upon the sacred presence residing in the eternal present the unity and harmony of spirit and nature -- heaven and earth. When our consciousness wanders to the past or future, to words, day dreams, to drama, dissipation, duality, and the like we simply refocus (concentrate) on meditative absorption into samadhi or in the reverse order (if needed) of pratyhara, pranayama, asana, niyama, or yama until we regain our momentum.
After consistent practice (abhyasa) meditation becomes easier -- the spaces between thought -- the stillness and clarity becomes longer and more integrated in our daily lives. The more easily it becomes integrated, the easier the mediation becomes, the easier the meditation, the more integrated it becomes with our daily life, and hence positive momentum is created naturally so that all effort ceases -- samadhi becomes our natural passion -- we fall in love with love.
Chakra Cleansing and Empowerment
Thus we first run through the eight prefatory steps prior to meditation. We can just go into meditation now, or we can do the following chakra purification practice first in order to augment the pratyhara and dharana and solidify the meditation through this powerful chakra empowerment and purification utilizing the breath, sound, and visualization (bhavana). As we inhale we visualize a brilliant and powerful white light at the base of the spine billowing up through each chakra one at a time. As we exhale we tone or vibrate the seed sound (bija mantra) for each chakra while visualizing that chakra opening or being pierced like the flower petals of a bud opening, or the hood of the serpent kundalini widening. The seed syllables approximate the sound of the vibrating breath (pranava) in the form of prana-kundalini as it activates the chakras and they start to awaken and move in an increasingly higher vibratory rate.
For the first chakra we inhale a brilliant bright light into the muladhara chakra and exhale the mantra lam as it is being pierced and opened. Next we visualize the bright light coming from the base of the spine and entering the second chakra (swadhistana) just below the navel and exhale the mantra vam while visualizing its opening. Similarly we visualize the white light rising from the base of the spine into the chakra above the navel (manipura) and piercing it on the exhale with the seed mantra of ram. Likewise the heart chakra (anahata) with the mantra, yam, the throat center (vishuddi) with mantra, ham, the third eye (ajna chakra) with the mantra, om , and the crown chakra (sahasrara) with the mantra, ah.
Some say that the crown chakra can not turn while others say its' seed syllable is hamsa or it is devoid of any seed syllable whatsoever. Once the chakras are acknowledged and activated it is much easier to energetically focus and sit undisturbed without mental wandering for longer periods of time and in deeper and more fulfilling harmonious and rejuvenating meditation.
Once we become sensitive and aware to the vital biopsychic energetics involved at each chakra and the biopsychic interconnected dynamics of the whole system functioning and spinning at once our ability to benefit from meditation is enhanced. Indeed we then go beyond meditation entirely into the fruit of samadhi itself.
Similar methods can be used by those who wish to perform more specific pranic healing or biopsychic pathway work as well. Thus we may perform a focused meditation on a specific chakra for healing, focus on the crown chakra above the head for increased light and purity, open up a chronic restriction between the throat chakra and the navel, or on the heart, etc.
If we chose we can practice moving the energy between two or more chakras back and forth with breath and visualization for a more focused but limited meditation. Here however we are describing the most rewarding meditation of allowing complete surrender to shakti, to the present, in order to gain spiritual wisdom and harmony. Here we will forego any focused intent, concentrations, mentations, or visualizations except those which help to hold us in the all encompassing great light and love.
"Bend the neck to conform to the shape of an iron hook, expand the chest to conform to the shape of an earthen pot, tie the breath in a bow-knot, and shoot the breath forth like an arrow....Inbreathing, and filling, and equalizing, and shooting the breath out are the four practices. Without understanding of these four combinations, there is a danger of changing their virtue into harm.
The drawing in of the breath through both nostrils from a distance of about sixteen fingers in front without making any sound is called inbreathing.
Pressing the air of the inspiration down to the very bottom of the lungs and then contracting the diaphragm so as to raise the thorax thereby making the chest conform to the shape of an earthen pot and holding it thus, is called the filling.
When having difficulty retaining this pot-like shape draw in short breaths pressing the inhaled air to the right and left so as to equalize the lung expansion (ida and pingala nerves). When one feels incapable of maintaining this equalizing then exhale through both nostrils gently in the beginning and the end, but with the greater force in the middle...the flinging of the breath outward is the shooting of the breath forth like an arrow."
This pranayama utilizing bandhas is from, "Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines", W.Y. Evans-Wentz, Oxford Univ. Press, 1958.
Please note that seed mantras are pronounced with an "ng" ending such as lang, vang, rang, yang, and hang for lam (muladhara), vam (swadhistana), ram (manipura), yam (anahata), and ham (vishuddi) chakras respectively.
During the meditation we allow the creative evolutionary force of nature (shakti) or creation in the form of Sri Kundalini to awaken the dormant healing biopsychic circuitry within us. As our biopsychic organism becomes more greatly attuned with its natural transpersonal state of wholeness, shakti in the form of kundalini rises from the muladhara chakra to her rightful abode in swadhistana chakra and then up the chakra system opening up the sushumna as she goes just as a flower unfolds her petals until she rests in firm embrace with Shiva above the Sahasrara chakra.
Here above our heads Siva and Shakti generate and emanate an undulating and pulsing brilliant white light from their hearts which collect in a pulsating luminous auric cloud above their heads which subsequently rains down and flows through our own brahmarandhra (located at the top of the skull which is the upper end of sushumna in our physical body) and is imbibed or absorbed chakra by chakra by the meditator as the amrita, ambrosia, heavenly nectar, or soma which is collected in the heart. Coming down from the sahasrara, this heart is now the spiritualized heart, the heart of hearts, the hridaya, which can only be reached through the transpersonal realization available through the sahasrara.
This ambrosial nectar heals, nurtures, and strengthens us. All our trillions of cells and atoms partake with us in this feast of absorptive completion and integration -- this celebration of life and consciousness. As Shiva and Shakti are intertwined and interpenetrated, so also are we interpenetrated with the whole of creation and nature in the non-dual divine state beyond separation and estrangement and thus all of nature celebrates with us. The entire physical body is surrounded both inside and around it with this healing, purifying, activating, swirling, protecting, and integrative evolutionary energy infused with divine intelligence.
It is not necessary to visualize this process in detail. Merely feeling, knowing, or intending the occurrence of this transubstantiation into transpersonal space: into unity with the great integrity that exists in the reality of non-artificiality, will serve as an aid in preventing regression into normal mentation consciousness: into ordinary mental wandering, fragmentation, intellectualization, and dissipation. The dynamics within and after the meditation process may be experienced as feelings of well being, lightness, peace, pulsation, warmth, heat, lights, movement, waves, wind, tingling, pranic vibration, bliss, and it may also be accompanied by sounds, visuals, smells, or taste.
After the above preparation the actual meditation (or rather the deep communion with shakti begins). Besides utilizing the chakra visualization to help us reach the supreme silence which is the fruit of meditation, we are reminded that we can make use out of any of the following to concentrate and steady our energy upon the state of transcendental insight: check and align our posture with the force of gravity, utilize the sushumna breath or other pranayama/mudra, and/ or visualize the central column, chakras, and flow of amrita as above. These techniques according to our own unique propensities are all of value should our thoughts begin to wander, our biopsychic energy begin to waver, or we otherwise desire a bolster in our meditation practice in order to rest in the non-dual spiritual state.
The practice of this meditation is intended to transcend itself. After the pathways have been purified, the blockages loosened, and the path cleared, the kundalini motion will move more freely of its own accord upward to the sahasrara and back down into the spiritual heart with little effort of intention. Success is achieved when we no longer need to go to the visualization, concentration, or pranayama/mudra to remove the obscuration or propensities of limiting mental function. Here all need of intentional practices no longer are necessary in order to rest and remain seated in the bliss of the non-dual state of samadhi.
Meditation should be daily and for a pre-set time (minimum three minutes). As a group we end the meditation with three AUMs. Then we visualize Shiva/shakti combined and dissolved as a unity -- as pure universal consciousness abiding in infinite space above our heads. We simultaneously inhale and raise our hands above our heads, Then holding the breath in we simultaneously keep the arms extended up above our heads, looking up above the ceiling, above the clouds, above the sky, above the stars, to infinite space, to the source of all of manifest creation including the source of the earth itself. Having so held the breath inside, the gaze upward, the attention, and intention, we then simultaneously slowly exhale with a controlled breath (slightly closing the glottis), turn the palms facing toward us, slowly bending the elbows out and bringing them slowly downward so that the palms pass facing us from above our heads down to our hearts.
We thus bring the light and healing power of pure universal consciousness into our bodies (into embodiment and manifestation) and into life through the top of the skull, the head, throat, and into our hearts. We cross the palms at the heart, resting them there, and breathe normally. Then we dedicate the practice with a prayer for healing, wholeness, and/or peace.
The above one classic and effective way to open up the pathways to the chakras but there are many others more or less effective depending upon the unique past conditioning of the practitioner. A Buddhist yoga practice is very similar:
"Accordingly, visualize at the point where the right and left psychic nerves meet with the median nerve, four fingers below the navel, the half-A, in hair like outline, floating, and half a finger in height, of reddish brown color, hot to the touch, undulating and emitting like a cord moved by the wind the sound of Phem! Phem!
Then clearly visualize a letter HAM, white of color, inside the median nerve at the crown of the head (within the thousand petaled lotus), and as if it were about to drop nectar.
Thereupon by drawing in breath, the vital force enters into the right and left psychic nerves. These expand, as if distended with air; and thence the vital force passes into the median nerve and striking against the hair like short A, it fills it out into its fully shaped red form.
While the filling and the equalizing are thus going on, concentrate the mind upon the processes. While exhaling, imagine that the breath is going out of the median nerve in a bluish stream. Actually however the breath has its exit through the nostrils.
Having arrived at mental concentration upon these visualizations, then, in a second course of exercises, holding to the same manner of breathing, think that from the hair like short A, a flame of fire half a finger in length and very sharp pointed, flares up.
Imagine that the flame is endowed with the four characteristics (of the median nerve as visualized, namely, perpendicularity, transparent brightness, redness, and vacuity); and that it resembles a revolving spindle.
Imagine that with each breath the flame rises up half a finger higher; and that by eight breaths it reaches the navel center. With ten such breaths, all the petals of the psychic nerves of the navel nerve center will have been filled with psychic fire.
With ten more breaths the psychic fire moves downward and fills all the lower parts of the physical body even to the ends of the toes.
From there with ten more breaths, it burns upward and fills all the body up to the heart psychic-center. With ten more breaths, the fire passes up to the throat psychic-center. With ten more breaths it reaches the crown of the head.
In this way meditate. It has been said: 'Gradually Milk the Cow of the Heavens' (the Tibetan letter HAM). With ten more breaths the visualized letter HAM within the crown of the head is dissolved by the psychic fire into the secret vital-force of the transmuted moon-fluid (the generative power or elemental unborn vision), and this fills the psychic nerve-center of the brain.
With ten more breaths it fills the psychic nerve center of the throat. With ten more...the heart...with ten more...the navel...with ten more...the whole body is filled to the tips of the toes,
In this Milking Process these 108 breaths constitute one course of exercises. At the outset they are performed six times a day ...later on reduce the number of repetitions to four as prolongation of the breathing process becomes deepened. Except when taking food and recuperative sleep, carry out the meditation incessantly....
By retaining or storing in the psychic centers the vital force, something akin to heat is produced at first; secondly, blissfulness is experienced; thirdly, the mind assumes its natural state; then the forming of thoughts ceases automatically, and phenomena appearing like smoke, mirage, and fireflies, and something resembling the light of dawn, and something resembling a cloudless sky are seen....
The expiration being delayed (prolonged) by conscious effort, the psychic force is retained in its own place (the chakras); and this is called Retention. By virtue of the Retention the number of breathings is reduced. This is called Retention of the Motion of the breath. The shortening of the expiration is called Retention of the Length. The lessening of the force of the expiration is called Retention of the Force. The knowing of the color of the breath is called Retention of the Color. The absorbing of the power of the different elements is called Retention of the Power. The vital force being retained thus, the waves of Psychic-Heat (Tummo) are made stable. Thereupon, the mind and the vital force being tranquilized or made to assume their natural condition of primordial quiescence, heat is produced....
The poison of the unceasing current of thought formation is thereby neutralized and the mind attains its natural condition, the True State of Abiding Quiescence, or the tranquil state of samadhi."
from, "Tibetan Yoga and Secret Doctrines", edited by W.Y. Evans-Wentz, chapter on the Yoga of the Psychic Heat, Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1958.
Group meditations can be very rewarding possessing so much more potential than isolated individual meditations because our collective loving intent can reinforce each other. I am very grateful to everyone involved at Harbin Hot Springs who shared in these beautiful group experiences -- to the many beautiful people who have contributed and shared with their fellow creatures our highest aspirations, vision, love, and intent and especially to Shakti Ma through whose Grace everything good occurs. May the suffering arisen from the ignorance of estrangement be dispelled and our true integrity felt, Thank you.
See Chakra Purification Meditation for more details on the chakra meditation.
|Muladhara||Base of the spine||Lam||apana vayu||smell||earth|
|Swadhisthana||Below Navel||Vam||vyana vayu||taste||water|
|Manipura||Above Navel||Ram||samana vayu||seeing||fire|
|Vishuddha||Throat||Ham||udana vayu||hearing/speech||ether (akasha)|
This chart shows the most common seven chakra system. In some tantric systems in addition there is the Akulasahasra (outside and directly below the body), the Kulasahasrara (directly above the Sahasrara chakra about one foot above the skull), and the Lambikacakra (at the root of the tongue) making ten chakras. These are indeed all important energy centers that may be worth our attention as long as it does not distract us from our goal to reach to the highest stage of completion.
In addition we may want to become aware of chakras directly above the Anahat Chakra at the thymus (between Vishudda and Anahat chakras) and the chakra directly below the Anahat chakra (at the level of the liver, pancreas, and bottom of sternum, but above the Manipura chakra) making twelve chakras altogether. In addition to these twelve, according to other schools, and especially if we stand or sit in a chair to meditate, we may want to work with the chakras of the feet, the knees, and the chakra between the thighs.
Many schools advocate that there are many (usually nine) small but important chakras above the Ajna chakra and others below the Sahasrara chakra. Certainly there are many other important energy centers also inside and around the body that have specific function in healing, disease, and psychophysical dynamics which may become effectively utilized in our practices.
An especially important and commonly ignored chakra is the lalana, located just above the ajna and below the
sahasrara and is associated with the lunar nectar issuing through tonguing the uvula above the palate (khechara).
Also the talu chakra which is located just above the neck at the back brain near the occiput. Both of these are
associated with AUM. For more on energy work and chakra healing see HeartMind
Energy and Chakra Healing
Many other chakras can be identified throughout the body as well as above and below it, but perhaps the most important center is the Hridayam chakra. Although Hri means heart, it is not to be confused with the anahat chakra, but rather with the heart of hearts which can only be realized through the complete entry into transpersonal absolute existence. Thus it is necessary to reach the sahasrara first through sushumna, and then enter the hridaya cakra (which is the innermost eternal core center which does not move. From the Hridayam all of creation flows like a river. Others say that it is the Hribindu which is at the heart of all the chakras (it resides in all of them).
"Since this doctrine is a deep secret, I am not delineating it clearly. He who is interested may read the treatises. The body itself is the supreme wheel, the eminent, beneficial linga, the chosen place of the divinized energies and the realm of the highest worship (puja). It is indeed the chief mandala composed of the triple trident, the lotuses, the centers, and the etheric void (kha).
There, all the divinized energies are ceaselessly worshipped, both externally and internally. Then in full awareness of the mantra let them through a process of emission and resorption be put in contact with the blissful manifold sap issuing from the main wheel of energies.
Through this contact, the wheel of consciousness suddenly awakens and he who has sovereignty over it reaches the supreme domain where all his bodily energies become satiated...Let him satisfy them externally by means of substances apt to unfold his heart and internally through appropriate awakenings.
O vision of immortal and supreme ambrosia, resplendent with conscious light streaming from the absolute Reality, be my refuge. Through it art thou worshipped by those who know the mystical arcanum (rahasya).
Having purified the root support (the coiled up kundalini) sprinkled with the savor of the wonder-struck Self-consciousness, and by offering the spiritual flowers of my own essence exhaling an innate scent, I worship Thee night and day: God united to the Goddess in the divine sanctuary of my heart overflowing with ambrosial bliss."
from the verses 169-177 "Tantraloka" of Abhinavagupta, translated in "Kundalini: Energy of the Depths", Lilian Silburn, NY:SUNY, 1988.
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