Concentration, Meditation and Self Realization

What Meditation is not?

A person who received a certificate from a meditation program doesn’t even know what true meditation is or what it should feel like because they themselves have never experienced it.  They can only teach what they have been trained to teach. They will tell you that focusing on your breath is meditation. Focusing mentally on your breath is not meditation.  It is concentration.  We might say it is one of the simplest forms of meditation or a meditation for beginners, but in the true sense it is concentration. In Hindi it is called dharana and it is the sixth limb of Patanjali’s Ashtanga Yoga ( eight limb yoga) that begins with yam (basic moral values), niyam (discipline), pranayama (breathing techniques), asan (yoga poses), pratyahar (withdrawing of senses), dharana (concentration), Dhyan (meditation) , and finally samadhi ( the merging of one’s consciousness with Super consciousness/self realiztion/Brahman).
Uninterrupted concentration is a precursor to meditation and for ones who can train themselves to focus effectively, it forms a robust substratum for meditation. One can benefit tremendously from a regular 30 minute session of focusing on ones inhalation and exhalation. There are three ways to do this:

  1. Just observe your natural inhalation and exhalation without trying to manipulate it.
  2. Inhale and as you do, mentally count slowly to 10 and as you exhale do so mentally to a count of 10. Pause for a moment and inhale again.
  3. Inhale slowly as you mentally chant SOoooooo and as you exhale slowly mentally chant Hummmm.

If done with sincerity you can experience the benefits immediately. You might feel more grounded, centered, calm, positive and have more clarity, better deeper sleep, compassion, kindness and forgiveness. It can help build a higher  threshold  for handling stress for negativity around oneself. Try to extend this ability to focus to everything you do. If you’re at home with your family don’t think about work and when you’re at work don’t think about home. Train yourself to give your 100% focus to whatever it is you are doing. The problem we all face today is that whatever task we are performing  in a given moment, it doesn’t have our full attention because  our attention has drifted to the next task instead of the one we are currently involved with. Trataka is another example of external concentration. In Trataka one focuses without blinking on the flame of a ghee lamp. Mantra chanting with rosary beads is yet another example of concentration. In a nutshell- trying to get the mind to focus is concentration.

 

Self Realization
This pictorial representation comes closest to attempting to explain self realization

Now what is meditation? 

In very simple terms- uninterrupted focus leads to the state of mediation.

Just as a certified meditation expert cannot really teach meditation but only provide some guidance, even so – a person who has experienced the highest Brahman state /self realization cannot teach another being how to meditate or attain self realization or what self realization feels like.

Why is it difficult to explain?

Because self realization is experienced through one’s consciousness not through the senses.  There are many words to describe every feeling one experiences through the senses, but there are no words to describe the state of Brahman. They can only attempt to describe what it should feel like and still fail for lack of words.

As I write this I realize I am struggling to best explain this experience of Brahman. It is happiness without cause but a very grounded happiness.  But then again it is a state of neither happiness nor sorrow, neither ambition nor inertness, neither action nor inaction, neither compassion nor apathy, devoid of anger, devoid of indifference, devoid of desire, devoid of restlessness. The state of Brahmi is one of silent contentment, peace, ecstasy, equanimity and pure love all at the same time that spontaneously emanates from within in the absence of an external source or cause.  That is my very feeble and inadequate attempt to even begin to explain the experience of Brahman or self realization. The realization that the world is false and the only truth is our pure, divine nature bursting with unconditional grounding love. That is the state of being self realized.

In my next article I will touch upon some guidance tips for higher meditation.

Advertisements

Chakra Meditation

My fellow blogger Eklavya is happy to share one of his  comprehensive posts on Chakra Meditation with us.

You can access more posts on meditation by visiting his website at http://www.meditationiseasy.com/

Link to chakra meditation http://meditationiseasy.com/blog/meditation-techniques/chakra-meditation

or read here

Chakra Meditation : A Definitive Guide for Absolute Beginners

Chakra Meditation is quickly gaining ground as one of the most popular forms of meditation. In this post, I am going to explain Chakra Meditation in a beginner’s friendly language covering all the relevant aspects of this topic.  In this article, I shall try to explain in details the concept of Chakras, Kundalini  and the simplest method to utilize them in your meditation practice.

Table of Contents :

What is Chakra Meditation
Understanding the Chakras
Chakras in Indian & Tibetan perspective
The Nadis : Channels that passes through Chakra
The Seven Chakras of Human Body- Explained in detail
The Concept of Kundalini
The Big Picture : Applying the concepts of Chakra and Kundalini in your life
Risk Involved (Don’t play with the serpent)
What if you can’t awaken it due to risk involved?
The safest path : Mantra
Technique of Chakra Meditation
Correct Pronunciation of Seed Mantras
Conclusion

What is Chakra Meditation

Before trying any kind of meditation using Chakras, we need to have a clear understanding of  Chakras. Once you understand this,  doing the  Chakra meditation will be easy and effortless. While I will be explaining the entire process of Chakra Meditation in the later part of this article,  for all of you who are curious, it would be suffice to say that Chakra meditation is quite similar to Mantra Meditation that I explained here. However, before learning the technique of Chakra Meditation, we need to have a basic understanding of what exactly are the Chakras.

Understanding the Chakras

The word chakra is a Sanskrit word which is derived from the verb car (“to move”). There are several literal meanings of chakra:

* wheel
* circle
* Center

Besides the literal meaning, there are also some esoteric meanings:

* The Chakra denotes the “wheel of becoming” (bhavacakra), or “round of existence” (samsara), which is the phenomenal cosmos.

* The word Chakra is used to refer to a circle of initiates in a Tantric ritual.

* A Chakra is a diagram used to determine the right kind of mantra for a particular situation or student.

* The word Chakra refers to the psychoenergetic vortices forming the major “organs” of the body composed of life energy (prana). These esoteric structures are also often referred to and graphically depicted as “lotuses” (padma, kamala).

As per the ancient Hindu belief, Chakras are energy centers of circular shape present inside our body. While there has been some disputes on the number of Chakras, in most of the belief systems there are seven chakras. These Chakras are believed to be situated inside our bodies at a  particular distance from each other, the lowest being at the base of the spine and the topmost between the center of our skull. The five lower chakras are believed to be associated with one of the 5 basic elements that constitute this universe which are Earth (prithivi), Water (apas/jala), Fire (tejas/agni), Air (vayu) and Ether/Space (akasha). The remaining two higher chakras i.e. Aagya (Third Eye) Chakra and Sahasrara (Crown) Chakra do not contain any specific element. The Third Eye Chakra is believed to contain Maha Tatva- the supreme element which is the source of all other elements. The Crown Chakra, on the other hand, is considered beyond all elements.

Here is a symbolic representation of Seven Chakras in our bodies.

 

Chakra Meditation -Image of 7 Chakras in Human Body

Chakras in Indian & Tibetan perspective

Chakras as per Buddhism(Tibet)

Chakras are seven energy points in human body and denote various characteristics of our spiritual development in this world. It is believed that right from our journey from the physical world to the highest position in spiritual word, a person passes through seven bodies. Every chakra in our body denotes one such body. Read more : The mystery of the seven bodies

The original models of the chakras from the Brahma and Yogatattva Upanishadswere adapted in Tibetan Buddhism as Vajrayana theory and as the Tantric Shakta theory. Vajrayana Buddhism aims to assist the student in achieving full enlightenment or Buddhahood in  just a single lifetime. Using techniques based on ancient scriptures known as the Tantras, the practitioner tries to identify with and practice the enlightened ways of the Buddha. Tantric techniques include the repetition of mantras, the use of breath control, healing mudras (or hand positions) and the use of mandalas (circular symbols of the universe) for meditation. In the Tibetan Buddhist tradition only five chakras are identified.

Chakras as per  Shaktism (India)

Shaktism arose as an organized sect in India in the 5th century AD, and it is this sect’s interpretation of the chakras that has most influenced the Western understanding of them. Shaktism describes the seven major chakras that we recognize today. In Shakta theory the chakras are viewed as centers of pure consciousness and are focal points for meditation. Shakta theory firmly established symbolic associations and correspondences for each chakra: its element, visual symbol, mantra sound, deity, color and animal. The Shakta way also teaches us about kundalini energy: the energy that was unleashed during the creation of the world; Tantric practice focuses our attention on awakening this energy at the base of the spine for a specific purpose.

The Nadis : Channels that passes through Chakra

The Tantric texts refer to the nadis (or  channels) of vital life-force (or prana), which passes throughout the body and link with the chakras. According to Shakta theory, the seven chakras are strung along the primary nadi in the body-the Sushumna Nadi-like pearls or jewels. It is also believed that there are two secondary nadis on either side of the sushumna: Ida on the left (containing descending life-force or vitality); and Pingala on the right (containing ascending vitality). Their aim is to direct the energy of each secondary nadi into the central nadi, where it then ascends through each chakra in turn. When kundalini energy reaches the highest chakra (the Crown Chakra), the yogi (or master of yoga who has achieved a high level of spiritual insight) achieves a state of oneness with God.

Let us learn each of these chakras and bodies in some details :

The Seven Chakras of Human Body: Explained in Details

First Chakra – Muladhara (Root)

Chakra Meditation : Image of Muladhara Chakra

Literal Meaning: “root-foundation wheel”
Location: Base of the Spine (Perineum area)
Color: Red
No. of Petals : 4
Element: Prithivi (Earth)
Mantra: LAM

The first chakra is the root chakra, called Muladhara in Sanskrit. The root chakra is believed to be located at the base of the spine at the tailbone in back, and the pubic bone in front which primarily consist of Perineum area.  The root chakra is closely related to one’s contact with the Mother Earth, improving our ability to be grounded into the earth plane. Muladhara is also the center of manifestation. When you are trying to achieve something in the material world, business or possessions, the energy to succeed is supposed to come from the first chakra. If this base chakra is blocked, an individual may feel fearful, anxious, insecure and frustrated.

A man’s sexual organs are located primarily in his first chakra, so male sexual energy is usually experienced primarily as physical. A women’s sexual organs are primarily in her second chakra, so female sexual energy is usually experienced primarily as emotional. Both chakras are associated with sexual energy.

Second Chakra – Belly (Sacral)/ Swadhisthana

Chakra Meditation : Image of Swadishtan (Sacral) Chakra

Literal Meaning: “Wheel of the self-base”
Location: Two inches below the navel (area of Clitoris in women/ Base of Penis in men)
Color: Vermilion, white
No. of Petals : 6
Element: Apas (Water)
Mantra: VAM

The next chakra or second chakra is the Svadhisthana – often referred to as the sacral. It is located two inches below the navel around area of Clitoris in women/ Base of Penis in men). This chakra is believed to hold the basic needs for sexuality, creativity, intuition, and self-worth. It also denotes friendliness, creativity, and emotions. It is also believed to govern a person’s  sense of self-worth, his/her confidence in his/her own creativity, and his/her ability to relate to others in a friendly way.

Third Chakra – Solar Plexus ( Manipura)

Chakra Meditation : Image of Manipura (Solar Plexus) Chakra

Literal Meaning: “Wheel of the jeweled city”
Location: Navel
Color: Dark grey, red, blue (also gold)
No. of Petals : 10
Element: Tejas (Fire)
Mantra: RAM

The third chakra is called Manipura (in Sanskrit) – also referred to as the Solar Plexus Chakra in English. It is located in the navel area. The Manipura chakra is considered as the center of personal power, the place of ego, of passions, impulses, anger and strength. It is also considered the center for astral travel and astral influences, receptivity of spirit guides and for psychic development. When the Third Chakra is out of balance you may lack confidence, be confused, worry about what others think, feel that others are controlling your life, and may be depressed.

Fourth Chakra – Heart (Anahata)

Chakra Meditation : Image of Anahata (Heart) Chakra

Literal Meaning: “Wheel of the unstruck sound”
Location: Chest (center of two breasts)
Color: Deep red, gold, smoke
No. of Petals : 12
Element: Prana (Air)
Mantra: YAM

The fourth chakra is the Heart (Anahata) chakra.It is located in the central of the spine near the heart, with its exact location between the center of two breasts. This Chakra is the center for love, compassion and spirituality. It directs one’s ability to love themselves and others, to give and to receive love. This is also the chakra connecting body and mind with spirit. When this chakra is out of balance you may feel sorry for yourself, paranoid, indecisive, afraid of letting go, afraid of getting hurt, or unworthy of love.

Fifth Chakra – Vishuddhi Chakra (Throat)

Chakra Meditation : Image of Vishuddhi (Throat) Chakra

Literal Meaning: “Pure wheel”
Location: Throat
Color: Smoky purple, Blue, White
No. of Petals : 16
Element: Akasha (Space)
Mantra: HAM

The fifth chakra is the Throat Chakra also known as Vishuddhi Chakra in Sanskrit. It is located at the throat and is the center of communication, sounds, and expression of creativity via thought , speech, and writing. The possibility for change, transformation and healing in a person are located here. When this chakra is out of balance you may want to hold back, feel timid, be quiet, feel weak, or can’t express your thoughts.

Sixth Chakra – Third Eye (Ajna or Aagya Chakra)

Chakra Meditation : Image of Aagya (Third Eye) Chakra

Literal Meaning: “Command wheel”
Location: Forehead ( Between eyebrows)
Color: White
No. of Petals : 2
Element: Manas (Mind)
Mantra: OM

The sixth chakra is referred to as the Third Eye Chakra. In Sanskrit it is known as Aagya Chakra i,e. Command wheel. It is located above the area of physical eyes on the center of the forehead. This is the center for psychic ability, higher intuition, the energies of spirit and light. It also assists in the purification of negative tendencies and in the elimination of selfish attitudes. Through the power of the sixth chakra, one can receive guidance, channel, and tune into your Higher Self. When this chakra is not balanced you may feel non-assertive, afraid of success, or go the opposite way and be egotistical. Please also read Third Eye Meditation.

Seventh Chakra – Crown (Sahasrara)

Chakra Meditation : Image of Sahasrara (Crown) Chakra

Literal Meaning: “Thousand-petaled Lotus”
Location: Above head, facing down
Color: White
No. of Petals : 1,000

The seventh chakra is referred to as the Crown.

It is the upper terminal point of the central channel (sushumna-nadi) and the final destination for the awakened serpent-power (kundalini-shakti). When the kundalini, the force of Devi, reaches this center, this signals the merging of Shiva and Shakti.

It is the center of spirituality, enlightenment, dynamic thought and energy. It allows for the inward flow of wisdom, and brings the gift of cosmic consciousness. This is also the center of connectedness with the Goddess (God), the place where life animates the physical body. The silver cord that connects the aura bodies extends from the crown. The soul comes into the body through the crown at birth and leaves from the crown at death. When this chakra is unbalanced there may be a constant sense of frustration, no spark of joy, and destructive feelings. Illnesses may include migraine headaches and depression. Balanced energy in this chakra may include the ability to open up to the Divine and total access to the unconscious and subconscious.

The Concept of Kundalini

The topic of Chakras will be incomplete if the concept of Kundalini is not described here. The Chakras are essentially the milestones through which the kundalini travels to reach at the highest abode in the 7th Chakra.

Chakra Meditation : Image of Kundalini as it arises in Chakra Meditation

`Kundalini” literally means coiling, like a snake. The word kundalini comes from the Sanskrit word kundal, which means a ‘spiral’ or ‘coil.’ In Yoga, Kundalini Shakti means the ‘coiled power.’ It is compared to a serpent that lies coiled while resting or sleeping. It essentially denotes a primal life force that animates all living entities and is the source of all creative energy. As the kundalini moves upwards in the spine, it results in an upward shift in our consciousness. There are three nadis (energy channel) in the body known as Ida, Pingala and Sushumna. When awakens the kundalini is believed to travel from Sushumna Nadi through various chakras.

In Hindu scriptures, Kundalini is also described as the feminine power – the Shakti- at the base of the spine, which travels up the spine to unite with the masculine power, her consort, Lord Shiva (Shakta), in the seventh chakra, Sahasrara.

Symbolism apart, Kundalini power has found a mention in almost all the spiritual traditions of the world in some way or other ( Read more here ) . While there has been a number of spiritual paths like Vipassana, Zen etc which gave no specific stress upon kundalini, there are a number of paths wherein the spiritual progress of a person runs parallel with his level of Kundalini awakeness.

Further, all the spiritual paths which give emphasis to Kundalini awakening can also be divided into two major groups. The first group is consist of the practitioners of Mantra Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Laya Yoga or Raja Yoga etc wherein the kundalini is awakened through the effort of the individual (often under the guidance of a guru or master). The second group is of those representing Sahaja Yoga, Kundalini Yoga or Siddha Mahayoga wherein the kundalini is spontaneously awakened by the grace of the Siddha guru in a process which is called ‘Shaktipat’. In this tradition, the Siddha Guru/Master conveys shaktipat initiation to the disciple by means of touch, word or intention which results in an instant awakening of  kundalini. Both of these paths of Kundalini awakening have their advantages and disadvantages.

The first path of individual effort is considered the difficult path as the person has to work hard on his practice and the  progress is often very slow. However, as everything depends upon the individual effort, the consistent efforts results in permanent  progress and the Sadhak (the person who tread the path) becomes supreme confidence in his efforts. Further, slow awakening of kundalini allows proper control over the excess energy it produces and the chance of damage or of negative effects are minimized. However, even in the individual approach, the guidance of a guru/master is a must. In the absence of an experienced person to guide the Sadhak, he may face a sudden uprising of the Kundalini which will be difficult to control.

One such real life incident happened in the winter of 1937 when an Indian man by the name Gopi Krishna experienced a sudden and forceful awakening of kundalini in the state of deep meditation in his room at Jammu, India. His life after the Kundalini awakening was both blessed by ecstatic bliss and tormented by physical and mental discomfort. Here is the description of his experience in his own words taken from his autobiography ‘Living With the Kundalini’

“The illumination grew brighter and brighter, the roaring louder, I experienced a rocking sensation and then felt myself slipping out of my body, entirely enveloped in a halo of light…I felt the point of consciousness that was myself growing wider, surrounded by waves of light…I was now all consciousness, without any outline, without any idea of a corporeal appendage, without any feeling or sensation coming from the senses, immersed in a sea of light simultaneously conscious and aware of every point, spread out, as it were, in all directions without any barrier or material obstruction…bathed in light and in a state of exaltation and happiness impossible to describe.”

Another disadvantage of individual effort in Kundalini Awakening is the fact that the Sadhak who succeed in this endeavor may become egoist due to his achievement. The awakening of Kundalini and its control is considered as one of the most difficult feat to achieve. As such, those who have some worldly desires in them, will feel elated and somewhat special on achieving this feat. From spiritual point of view, this egoism hinders the progress of the Sadhak.

The second path of Kundalini awakening through Shaktipat also has its merits and demerit. On the one hand, it is a short path where the blessing of a Guru is enough to initiate the disciple and awakening his Kundalini. On the other hand, this sudden rise in consciousness may prove difficult to the unprepared Sadhaks. Further, the Sadhak becomes too much dependent on his Guru and live his life depending upon the borrowed experience of his Guru’s grace. An independent awakening of an individual sadhak through is own  effort is thus missing in this second method.

The Big Picture : How you can utilize the concepts of Chakra and Kundalini in your daily life ?

What I have discussed in the preceding paras is a brief outline of the concept of Chakras and Kundalini as they exist in various belief systems. However, this will be of no value if I don’t tell you the way to adopt these concept in your daily meditation practice. As already stated in the beginning of this article, this guide is for absolute beginners who are living a busy urban life and don’t have time to fully devote themselves to the spiritual path – but still they want to adopt the practice of meditation in their life for inner peace and personal growth.

Risk Involved (Don’t play with the serpent)

Since we are discussing the concept of Kundalini Awakening, I want to clarify one thing loud and clear. The Kundalini is not something to play with. Never, never try to play with the Kundalini. Kundalini Awakening is a high risk subject which may wreak havoc on the subject if done in haste without preparation.

Please read this advice of Swami Yatiswarananda in his book ‘Meditation and spiritual Life’  about the danger of Kundalini :

Those who practise spiritual disciplines without physical and mental purity are not only wasting their energy from the spiritual point of view, but are also running the risk of gathering too much energy, which, flowing through the worldly channels, might intensify their worldly life, including sex life, and thus harm them greatly.

Sometimes some take it seriously, and try to awaken the kundalini without undergoing the purification of mind. The practice of concentration without sufficient purity is dangerous. If the energy that is increased through concentration cannot  move along the spiritual channel, it may express itself outwardly in the form of violent passions in an extrovert, harming him as well as others. In the introvert the gathered-up energy may not find an outward expression. In that case it may form an awful whirlpool in the individual, shattering his nerves and mind and making him a complete wreck.

In some cases, as the mind is stirred through meditation, all the good and evil things lying hidden in it may come to the surface with tremendous force and bring about a physical and mental collapse. Those impure souls who want to play with the ‘serpent’ always come to grief. In some others again, the stored-up energy may manifest itself as cheap psychic powers such as clairvoyance, thought-reading, and such powers which make those persons egoistic and spiritually bankrupt. In some cases again, there may be a partial awakening of the latent power. The spiritual power may rise to a higher center but may fall down with disastrous results, stimulating worldly desires.

One thing which I want to make clear is that when you are doing anything with the Chakra, you are actually tinkering with the Kundalini – the dormant energy lying at the base of your spine. Without the able guidance of a Guru, the awakening of the Kundalini can have serious negative consequence as the sudden burst of energy, if not controlled properly, can harm the Sadhak. The part of the consciousness which normally remains  hidden in the subconscious mind become available after awakening of the Kundalini. The untrained extrovert may waste the excess of energy on on sex and violence whereas the untrained introvert can stuck themselves in a whirlwind of cyclone of the void. (Read more about this concept here and here )

What if you can’t awaken it due to risk involved?

Again the words of Swami Yatiswarananda will give you solace and show a way :

The description of the rise of the Kundalini appears to be simple and easy enough. But actually, it is all very, very difficult. Out of a thousand people who struggle for it, only one may get the awakening. But there is no need to get discouraged. From the way most people live we find that it is only good that in their case the Kundalini awakens very slowly or does not awaken at all. Most people are not at all ready for the rise. They can not face the tremendous reaction that it produces. In fact, in the beginning of one’s spiritual life, it is better to  forget all about Kundalini and think only about God. Let the love for your Ista Devata (term denoting a worshipper’s favourite deity within Hinduism. Read more here)  absorb all your attention and energies. Leave the Kundalini to Him. He will look after your spiritual welfare. God will grant you awakening at the right time.

As I have repeatedly said, it is better to follow the path of synthesis – a combination of Karma, Gyana (Knowledge) and Bhakti (Devotion). Let selfless work go hand in hand with your meditation. That purifies and strengthens the mind, Practice self-analysis and make the mind detached and calm. And then japa (the repetition of the Mantra) does the rest. When properly done, japa creates an inner harmony which gradually flows along the susumna making it active.

In view of the risk involved, we need to adopt a path which uses the concept of Chakra & Kundalini in its meditation practice but does not involve the high risk mentioned above.

The safest path : Mantra

Whatever be our spiritual path, be it Hindu’s, Buddhists, Christians or Sufi’s, the three stages we all have to pass through are purification, meditation and experience of the divine Reality or Godhead. Here arises the question : how are we to begin meditation with a view to awakening our spiritual consciousness? One disciple once asked the spiritual teacher, Swami Brahmananda,’ Sir, how can the Kundalini, the latent spiritual consciousness, be awakened?

This is what Swami replied:

“According to some there are special exercises by which the kundalini can be awakened, but I believe it can best be awakened by the practice of japa and meditation. The practice of japa is specially suited to this present age; and there is no spiritual practice easier than this, but meditation must accompany the repetition of the mantra.”

So what is the path. It is very simple, very powerful yet relatively very safe. Simply speaking it is Mantra Meditation.

As explained above in the section of individual 7 Chakras, the lower 5 chakras have 5 elements attached with them. These 5 elements have their respective seed (Bija) Mantras. We use these seed mantras to balance the elements in the respective Chakras. For the two higher Chakras ( Aagya/Third Eye & Sahsrar /Crown) the divine Mantra ‘OM’ is used.

So, in short, the Chakra Meditation, in its safest form, is the repetition of Bija Mantras related to the respective elements of 5 lower Chakras  which in turn helps in balancing the Chakras.

Technique of Chakra Meditation :

If you ask me to define the exact method of doing Chakra Meditation, it will be like this :-

(1) Sit in the lotus pose. Take some deep breaths.

(2)  We will be focusing on various Chakras of our body one by one, starting from the lowermost Muladhara to the uppermost Sahsrara. While we focus on the Chakra, we will recite the Seed Mantra associated with its elements. It will go like this:

a)      Focus your attention on the place where Muladhara the base Chakra (representing the Earth element) is located in your body. Now repeat thrice : LAM…. LAM … LAM ….

b)      Now bring your attention on the place where Swadhishtan the Sacral Chakra (representing the Water element) is located in your body. Now repeat thrice : VAM …. VAM … VAM ….

c)       Now bring your attention on the place where Manipura, the Solar Plexus Chakra (representing the Fire element), is located in your body. Now repeat thrice : RAM …. RAM … RAM ….

d)      Now bring your attention on the place where Anahata, the Heart Chakra (representing the Air element), is located in your body. Now repeat thrice : YAM …. YAM … YAM ….

e)      Now bring your attention on the place where Vishuddha, the Throat Chakra (representing the Akasha/Space element), is located in your body. Now repeat thrice : HAM …. HAM … HAM ….

f)       Now bring your attention on the place where Aagya, the Third Eye Chakra (representing the Supreme element comprising all the basic elements), is located in your body. Now repeat thrice : AUM …. AUM … AUM ….

g)      Now bring your attention on the place where Sahasrara, the Crown Chakra (Considered to be beyond all elements), is located in your body. Now repeat thrice : AUM …. AUM … AUM ….

(3)   Once you complete the above steps, you will be having two options: (i) Either repeat the above cycle by following all the seven steps mentioned above or (ii) Repeat any of your chosen Mantra of your liking (as explained in the Mantra section here).

I would advise you not to do the first option in excess. Instead please follow a combination of the 3 steps as below:

Suppose you have chosen the Mantra ‘OM Namah Shivay’ for repetition. Therefore, do the combination like this:-

(3.1)  Recite the cycle of 7 seed Mantras as explained above. Then recite the Mantra ‘Om Namah Shivay’ three times.

(3.2)  Repeat the above (i.e. one cycle of 7 seed mantras and 1 main mantra) two times more.

(3.3) Now stop the cycle of 7 seed mantra and only recite the main Mantra (Om Namah Shivay in this case) continuously for 5-10 minutes.

This, in nutshell, is the entire technique of Chakra Meditation.

Another Method of Chakra Meditation :

Another method of Chakra Meditation which is equally good but adopt a slight different approach is this:-

Instead of focusing on the seven chakras one by one and repeating their Seed Mantras one by one, you can focus on just one Chakra in one session. What you will be doing is to focus on just one Chakra in your body and repeating the Mantras related to its element. Apart from repeating the Seed Mantra of that Chakra, you can also visualize the colour related to that Chakra.

(Thanks to Giovanni Dienstmann from Liveandare for suggesting this method)

While you focus your attention on one particular Chakra, you must repeat one of the main mantras after this method. It will help in balancing any sudden force of energy that may arise within you. Main Mantras are important medium to control the power of Kundalini)

Important things to be kept in mind :

(1)    While repeating the mantras, the instructions as explained here should be kept in view.

(2)    While the main mantra should be repeated contemplating its meaning in your heart, the same will not be possible in the case of seed Mantras as they don’t have any particular meaning. So while reciting them you should focus on their respective chakras.

Correct Pronunciation of Seed Mantras

Watch this video by MC-yogi:

Then this one by Heart Alchemy Yoga

Watching carefully the way in which all the seed mantras have been pronounced in the above two videos. After browsing through numerous videos, I have selected the above two videos as in both of them the seed mantras have been pronounced correctly that is the way they should be pronounced.

Conclusion

This ends my detailed explanation of Chakra Meditation comprising the concept of seven chakras in human body, the three Nadis, the concept of Kundalini, dangers involved in the practice and the safest way to perform Chakra Meditation. I hope all people interested in the Chakra Meditation will like it beneficial for their practice.

Related:

Chakras and Supernatural Powers

Chakras

Root Chakra

The Seven Chakras of the Human Body

Happy New Year 2014!!!

floweryellow

Image

Do You Want to Experience the Bliss of Samadhi Without the Union of Shakti and Shiva

samadhi-3bDo you want to experience the bliss of Samadhi without the union of Shakti and Shiva? A state of altered consciousness in which you experience the presence of and a  connection to a higher energy. Where you experience a sense of unity and oneness with every living organism. And all you feel is utter joy?

You can very quickly and effectively experience a sliver of this bliss through Bhavana Samadhi. Again I want to be very clear.  You are not attaining Samadhi, you are experiencing it briefly.

Previously I had shared my experience of immense bliss and a feeling of union of my mind and spirit with the Supreme Spirit. You can read more about it in the article-The Unstruck Sound which I just updated after I came upon some very interesting information recently.

Below is an abbreviated description from that article based upon my first hand experience of divine bliss.

“In the summer of 2007, I experienced spontaneous bliss. Words cannot begin to describe the feeling. Emotions of intense love and compassion flooded every fiber of my being. I felt a connection to every living organism and the presence of a force bigger and stronger became intelligible. Intense bliss took over. The hollowness of the material world at once became clear. The esoteric finally made sense. The only thing I remember that led to this state of ecstasy was that I was in a meditative state (not sitting and meditating, but going around my daily activities while meditating and preventing any thoughts from arising in my mind (chitta vrittii nirodh-preventing the rise of thoughts (vrittis) in the mind (chitta).”

If the mind can be thought free for a few hours you can experience this Samadhi. For me it lasted 3 days.

This type of bliss or Samadhi is called Bhavana Samadhi and can be achieved through meditation that involves ceasing of thoughts; just a form of meditation in which thought forms (vrittis) are not allowed to arise in the mind (chitta). You don’t have to be sitting for this meditation. You could be going around doing your daily activities. If you can sustain this for a few hours (anywhere between 1-4 hours, depending on the spirituality quotient of the practitioner) you WILL experience bliss or Samadhi. This type of Samadhi called Dhyan or Bhavana Samadhi is different from the Samadhi that one experiences from rigorous practice of Kundalini Yoga. During such Samadhi bliss is experienced through the union of the Kundali Shakti (the serpent power) with Shiva. Such a practitioner is bestowed with various psychic powers called siddhis (like ability to fly, walk on water, make oneself large or small or invisible etc). This siddha (perfected being) also has control over his own death. Meaning he can choose his time and day of when he wants to leave his physical body. But this process of raising the Kundalini Shakti up to the crown chakra using yogic methods can be very dangerous for the practitioner. (Some people were reported to have gone mad, so please approach this method with caution and under the guidance of a qualified guru). The results are permanent while in the former (Bhavan Samadhi) it is temporary.

When I experienced Bhavana Samadhi (bliss through meditation) a few years ago I had a lot of questions that went unanswered. I knew I had experienced something extraordinary, but not sure exactly what it was. Finally (6 years later) I came across an article by Swami Sivananda that helped answer my questions and finally help me understand what I had experienced. I have shared that resource below:

By Swami Sivananda:

“ In the first place, there are two main lines of Yoga, namely, Dhyana or Bhavana Yoga and Kundalini Yoga; and there is a marked difference between the two. The first class of Yoga is that in which ecstasy (Samadhi) is obtained by intellective processes (Kriya-Jnana) of meditation and the like, with the aid, it may be, of auxiliary processes of Mantra or Hatha Yoga (other than the rousing of Kundalini) and by detachment from the world; the second stands apart as that portion of Hatha Yoga in which, though intellective processes are not neglected, the creative and sustaining Sakti/energy of the whole body is actually and truly united with the Lord Consciousness. The Yogin makes Her introduce him to Her Lord, and enjoys the bliss of union through her. Though it is he who arouses Her, it is She who gives knowledge or Jnana, for She is Herself that. The Dhyana Yogin gains what acquaintance with the Supreme state his own meditative powers can give him and knows not the enjoyment of union with Siva in and through the fundamental Body-power. The two forms of Yoga differ both as to method and result. The Hatha Yogin regards his Yoga and its fruit as the highest; the Jnana Yogin may think similarly of his own. Kundalini is so renowned that many seek to know her. Having studied the theory of this Yoga, one may ask: “Can one get on without it?” The answer is: “It depends upon what you are looking for”. If you want to rouse Kundalini Sakti, to enjoy the bliss of union of Siva and Sakti through Her and to gain the accompanying powers (Siddhis), it is obvious that this end can be achieved only by the Kundalini Yoga. In that case, there are some risks incurred. But if Liberation is sought without desire for union through Kundalini, then, such Yoga is not necessary; for, Liberation may be obtained by Pure Jnana Yoga through detachment, the exercise and then the stilling of the mind, without any rousing of the central Bodily-power at all.

Instead of setting out in and from the world to unite with Siva, the Jnana Yogin, to attain this result, detaches himself from the world. The one is the path of enjoyment and the other of asceticism.

Samadhi may also be obtained on the path of devotion (Bhakti) as on that of knowledge. Indeed, the highest devotion (Para Bhakti) is not different from Knowledge. Both are Realisation. But, whilst Liberation (Mukti) is attainable by either method, there are other marked differences between the

two. A Dhyana Yogin should not neglect his body, knowing that as he is both mind and matter, each reacts, the one upon the other. Neglect or mere mortification of the body is more apt to produce disordered imagination than a true spiritual experience. He is not concerned, however, with the

body in the sense that the Hatha Yogin is. It is possible to be a successful Dhyana Yogin and yet to be weak in body and health, sick and short-lived. His body, and not he himself, determines when he shall die. He cannot die at will. When he is in Samadhi, Kundalini Sakti is still sleeping in the Muladhara, and none of the physical symptoms and psychical bliss or powers (Siddhis) described as accompanying Her rousing are observed in his case. The ecstasy which he calls “Liberation while yet living” (Jivanmukti) is not a state like that of real Liberation. He may be still subject to a suffering body from which he escapes only at death, when if at all, he is liberated. His ecstasy is in the nature of a meditation which passes into the Void (Bhavana-samadhi) effected through negation of all thought-form (Chitta-Vritti) and detachment from the world—a comparatively negative process (I like to call it a passive process~pardon the interjection from Yachna Yoga) in which the positive act of raising the Central Power of the body takes no part. By his effort, the mind which is a product of Kundalini as Prakriti Sakti, together with its worldly desires, is stilled so that the veil produced by mental functioning is removed from Consciousness. In Laya

Yoga, Kundalini Herself, when roused by the Yogin (for such rousing is his act and part), achieves for him this illumination.”

As simple as it sounds, it is not easy, but it is not impossible either. Below are a few tips to help along the way. You can come up with your own. 

Pick a day when you know you have more control over your day.

Depending on your schedule, you might want to pick a day that is not very hectic or demanding of your time and energy and attention. Any regular day that involves spending passive/laid back time with your family will do.

First and foremost rule number one and the most important-Do not engage in any internal conversations with yourself.

Be clear on your intent. What you want to accomplish. You want to experience bliss. But in order for that to happen one has to be thought free. So be in the moment. You can only talk about and think about what you are doing at that time. Your mind and attention should be focused only on the task at hand. No multitasking, No ‘mutithinking’. So if you are brushing your teeth, you should focus entirely just on that act. Observe your movements, and don’t let the mind space out and think about other things. Same thing applies if you were cooking or talking to someone. You can only focus on that one and only person, or the topic at the time. You have to cultivate the will power and determination to not get ‘carried away’ by a chain of thoughts.

Be in the moment and that’s it. Each time you space out, don’t get angry because even though it may feel like it, you are NOT starting from scratch. You don’t lose it all. But you become more aware of how often and how quickly you space out. So if you can keep yourself from spacing out you are on the right path.

Be around positive people and avoid the company of negative people. No negative thoughts and words.

Slow down your physical movements. Make them more deliberate. Slow down your breathing. Take your time; Just slow and natural belly breathing. No raspy, jerky or choreographed deep breathing. Only silky smooth, slow breaths.

Check for tense spots every now and then to make sure your energy is flowing freely. The jaw should not be tight or clenched. Tip of tongue on the fleshy palate behind the front teeth, mouth closed and upper and lower jaws slightly separated.

Good Luck!

Root Chakra

This article has been contributed by Georgiy Onyschuk at www.mindvalley.com

 Root Chakra: the Foundation of One’s Life 

Many people fail to notice the significance of managing their chakra in order to for the body to receive the maximum energy needed to get the most out of their lives. Those who are focused on enhancing their upper chakras to achieve wholeness tend to overlook their lower chakras because they are scared that they might lose the established energy that they already have. It is vital that an individual enhances all his chakra points in order to have balance. Once a body has a well-balanced chakra, a person will feel peaceful, whole, and fulfilled in his life. 

Nurturing the root chakra will allow one to realize his way of life can be more pleasant and will prepare him in receiving more energy needed to survive. Before nurturing the root chakra, one has to understand what a root chakra is.

 The Basics 

A root chakra produces a Red aura and is located at the end of the spine. A healthy root chakra can work very well with the crown chakra in generating positive energies for the body. These energies can assist an individual in increasing his creativity and in communicating with his Higher Self. When there is balance from the root, there will be a feeling of security, protection, and ground; the communication with the external surrounding is also improved. Generally, one will learn to empathize, be sensitive and have self-awareness of things that do not belong to them.    

The root chakra is physically connected to our spine, adrenals, kidneys, immune and skeletal systems and sex organs. We may have emotions and diseases that are linked to it as well such as stress and fear, nervousness, high blood pressure, lower back pain, obsession, problems with the feet, legs, and hip, impotence, depression, and lack of control in one’s own life. It also promotes different rights such as the right of existence and protection. 

Connecting with and Analyzing the Root Chakra

The simplest way to connect to the Root Chakra is through breathing meditation. Concentrate on the location of your root chakra. Breathe in, feel the root elevate. Hold your breath for a few seconds and direct the energy to the root area. Once you exhale, release all the tension. Repeat the process until the right amount of energy is achieved and sealed on the root.

Once the Root Chakra has been opened, one may start the visual analysis. Study the color, the spinning movement, the direction of the movement, and the images it produce.

Viewing the images of the root chakra may not be good at first. Most of them are negative images that you might hate. Just remember that these images are from your mind and you have the power to control it. You can make them stop and try again some other time. 

Communicating with the Root Chakra

If a root chakra is imbalanced or blocked, one can heal it to restore the balance. There are recommended questions that can be used especially when one is doing guided chakra meditation. One has to calm his mind and let the chakra talk on its own. Listen to its voice and don’t contradict even if it’s saying something negative. The messages may not be clear at first but once you have listen very well, it will reveal interpretations that can be life-changing.

If you think you can’t take it anymore, you have the option to stop and calm yourself again. Allow yourself to absorb and understand what you have heard. 

  1. When you are young, do you feel protected? How about now?
  2. As a child, did you feel you are important? How about now?
  3. What do you feel about your body? What are your pains? (List all that are related to the root chakra.)
  4. Do you like what you’re wearing? Explain it.
  5. What are the beliefs that you have learned from your family? From other people? Are those beliefs able to protect you? Why and why not?
  6. Are you always seeking for appreciation?
  7. Are you showing the real you now? Why and why not?
  8. Do you think God loves you? If not, why?
  9. Do you have enemies? What stops you from being friends with them?
  10. Do you feel grounded in your body? If not, what makes you keep running away from yourself?

Healing yourself requires a strong will and determination. Love yourself and be proud if you’re able to create balance on your Root Chakra. The Root Chakra is part of your foundation from the day that you were born up to this very moment. 

Mindvalley is one of the world’s fastest growing online publishing companies. Through a unique blend of conscious marketing, technology and a fun and quirky work culture, the Mindvalley team spreads enlightened ideas across the Internet and beyond. 

EXPERIENCES ON AWAKENING OF KUNDALINI

By Sri Swami Sivananda

During meditation you behold divine visions, experience divine smell, divine taste, divine touch, hear divine Anahata sounds. You receive instructions from God. These indicate that the Kundalini Shakti has been awakened. When there is throbbing in Muladhara, when hairs stand on their roots, when Uddiyana, Jalandhara and Mulabandha come involuntarily, know that Kundalini has awakened.

When the breath stops without any effort, when Kevala Kumbhaka comes by itself without any exertion, know that Kundalini Shakti has become active. When you feel currents of Prana rising up to the Sahasrara, when you experience bliss, when you repeat Om automatically, when there are no thoughts of the world in the mind, know that Kundalini Shakti has awakened.

When, in your meditation, the eyes become fixed on Trikuti, the middle of the eyebrows, when the Shambhavi Mudra operates, know that Kundalini has become active. When you feel vibrations of Prana in different parts inside your body, when you experience jerks like the shocks of electricity, know that Kundalini has become active. During meditation when you feel as if there is no body, when your eyelids become closed and do not open in spite of your exertion, when electric-like currents flow up and down the nerves, know that Kundalini has awakened.

When you meditate, when you get inspiration and insight, when the nature unfolds its secrets to you, all doubts disappear, you understand clearly the meaning of the Vedic texts, know that Kundalini has become active. When your body becomes light like air, when you have a balanced mind in perturbed condition, when you possess inexhaustible energy for work, know that Kundalini has become active.

When you get divine intoxication, when you develop power of oration, know that Kundalini has awakened. When you involuntarily perform different Asanas or poses of Yoga without the least pain or fatigue, know that Kundalini has become active. When you compose beautiful sublime hymns and poetry involuntarily, know that Kundalini has become active.

Pranayam for awakening kundalini

Ancient Mantra/Prayer for Healing the Body

I stumbled upon this vedic mantra in the most unlikely of places.   I had never heard of this mantra before nor have I been able to find it online.   I guess it would be safe to say that this is the first online entry for this mantra.

What is this mantra for?

Done with faith, sincerity and devotion, the body soon becomes free of disease and affliction.

How to Chant this mantra?

Take some water in a vessel/glass.

Face East

Cover the top of the vessel with the palm of your hand

Chant the mantra out loud 7 times

Drink all of the water.

Below is the Sanskrit mantra followed by the translation.  (Translation Courtesy: Sarita Tyagi, PhD Sanskrit)

Mantra In Sanskrit

मां भयात सर्वतो रक्ष

श्रियं वर्धय सर्वदा

शरीरारोग्यम में देहि

देव देव नमो स्तुते

Mantra In English

Maam Bhayaat Sarvato Raksh

Shriyam Vardhay Sarvadaa

Shareer Aarogyam Maim Dehi

Dev Dev Namo Stutay

Translation

May I have no fear. Always protect (me) from fear,

May (my) prosperity always increase,

Bless me with a disease free body,

Salutations to you

Below is a short video to help you with the pronunciation of the mantra:

My Kundalini Awakening Symptoms

Kundalini awakening should not be confused with kundalini rising. Once the kundalini is awakened, the next step is to guide it up the sushumna (spinal column). This is not an easy task. There are several techniques (Pranayam, mudras, yoga poses) that aid in this process. This should be done only under the guidance of a qualified guru to avoid the dangers that may come from dealing with energy of this intensity. As the kundalini rises and pierces through each chakra it bestows upon the yogi certain supernatural powers.

In my experience, most kundalini symptoms almost always come about when you expect them the least. They don’t repeat themselves too soon. They usually seem to happen when your mind is at its calmest-during the early morning hours or just before you are about to drift into sleep. I have tried to give details about my experiences. Hope you will find this helpful.

Below is a list of kundalini awakening symptoms that I experienced in the past 7 years in, chronological order:

1. Saw very bright white light when I closed my eyes that I had to look away (had to open my eyes). This happened just before I fell asleep at night. At the time I was very confused and went to see an eye doctor. Everything was normal.

2. Heard internal sounds of Aum/Om. This happened early in the morning as I was just waking up. This happened only once. It was followed by a feeling of extreme peace. After this experience I did a search online on hearing OM sounds. That led me to kundalini articles and I learned for the first time that I was having some spirituals experiences.

3. Felt bigger than my body. This happened before I fell asleep.

4. Felt intense wet heat in my tail bone for several weeks, in the mornings that lasted several hours.

5. Experienced extreme bliss, peace calmness, ecstasy for 3 straight days. This occurred spontaneously. In this bliss you feel connected to every living creature- people, strangers, trees, animals and even a little insect. You feel love and compassion for every being. You see things clearly-the futileness of materialistic objects and the awareness of the Supreme that pervades through every living organism. Material objects appear dead and hollow in this state.

6. I got another scare recently which led me to halt all yogic practices temporarily. I experienced several times in the middle of the night what I believe is Uddiyan bandha. I woke up in the middle of the night to find my tummy completely sucked in. A couple of months ago, I awoke at night to a very intense Moolbandha. Experiencing spontaneous mudras is also a sign of awakened kundalini. This was the scariest experience of all after the bigger than body feeling. It was also very confusing. I also thought I saw fireflies when I opened my eyes and heard musical sounds in the dead of night, for a few seconds. But I have decided to dismiss the last two.

7. The last experience is one that I have experienced more often. A tingling sensation on my head. The feeling as though some of the hairs on my head were getting prickly-kind of like goose bumps.

You may want to read my article that details some of the above experiences in –The Unstruck Sound. Please feel free to share your kundalini awakening symptoms in an article for my blog.

Manisha Koirala

Knowing Me!

Divine Spice Box

Mix of Food, Art and Passion

srimadbhagavatamblog

one-pointed devotion is the easiest path to Narayan

Framed Recipes

- Tried, tested and framed

Cooking in Mexico

Cooking, eating, recipes and food happenings in Mexico

frugalfeeding | Low Budget Family Recipes, UK Food Blog

n. frugality; the quality of being economical with money or food.

PASSIONATE TRAVELLERS

It is not down in any map; true places never are. ~Herman Melville

%d bloggers like this: