"We should become aware of internal, subjective, sub-verbal experiences, so that these experiences can be brought into the world of abstraction, of conversation, of naming"
I have been practising meditation in various forms for several years. Since the last seven odd years it has more or less become a way of life. The main practise consists of self-enquiry - of being witness, whether in vipassana, or hatha yoga or in relationships. I have also learnt and experimented with several other methods, including kundalini and chakra meditation, centered breathing, focusing, pranayama, yoga-nidra, being still, rebirthing breathwork, past-life regression etc.
So what has this journey given me? It has introduced me to the world of energies. It has taken me into the realm of the subtle and given me experiences that I could not have imagined possible.
Ever since I've started meditating I've become extremely sensitive to sensations esp. physical sensations that indicate where the energy in my body is located and the feel of it. Often I experience a sensation like a cool breeze around my heart chakra. This goes together with a feeling of detachment, of being witness to whatever is going on, without being identified with it, simply being aware. This was followed by subtle sensations at the crown chakra, and the experience of no-thought and tremendous stillness in the head. Since the Vipassana meditation I've been feeling the energy at the third eye or Ajnya chakra. The other energy centers are also occasionally experienced eg. the throat chakra as I'm writing now. After the pranic healing workshop I've become even more sensitive to the quality of energy - gross or subtle, warm or cool, pleasant or unpleasant, smooth or sticky etc. All of this fascinates me.
The other major exciting discovery that has
happened more or less on its own is the increased sensitivity to smells, that
seem to accompany different emotions. When a person is feeling good, and genuinely
appreciating oneself \ another \ life \ being she emits a very pleasant fragrance,
a kind of a natural perfume. The energy at such times seems to be centered in
the Manipura chakra or the Hara center below the navel.
When a person feels inadequate, afraid in a passive way she lets out a kind of foul smell that would spontaneously evoke repugnance\aversion from the other; and I guess that is what happens at an un\sub-conscious level. And thus the self fulfilling prophecy gets fulfilled.
The smell of a kind of dry burning as in an incinerator (i.e. not a live fire) seems to go together with resentments, dark thoughts, but somehow rationalized. It's like energy getting burnt-up kind of negatively, but usually without awareness.
And then there is the smell of first rain on mud, a cleansing that goes together with the letting go of grief, as when someone weeps, spontaneously and naturally expressing sadness. It's a feeling of dissolving, soft and tender.
Somewhat similar to it is the smell that people have when, after a spell of being down they pick themselves up and get back on their feet. It's a renewal of spirits.
But when people cry in self-pity it is not a pleasant smell at all.
Staleness, a kind of murky smell hangs around dull, sluggish persons, or people who have just woken up but are still carrying the night's energy field around them. Or people when they sit around watching television have a peculiar stagnant smell. Those who sit for hours in cyber cafes have a somewhat different smell slightly acrid and sharp, as with people who are feeling horny. I am still discovering the nuances of different smells. So much for smells!
Then there is the seeing of auras(?), I began
to see a kind of a silver glow around trees (that was the easiest), mountains,
hills i.e. nature and later people, buildings and objects i.e. anything and
everything. It is most difficult with persons mostly because it is difficult
to find someone who is being physically still and also not trying to engage
my attention in any other way! The seeing of auras has been for me a kind of
an anti-climax, because I wanted it for so long and had heard so much about
it that there was a lot of expectation around this so called spiritual feat.
However I am glad it is possible for me and now I am wanting and waiting for
the colours to happen!
And yet another discovery (although it hardly
feels like a discovery any more, but rather a given fact and a very logical
one at that) is realizing the connection between one's breath and one's thoughts,
or rather state-of -being. Just the simple observation of one's breath brings
profound insights into the mind-body-heart connection. With the observation
of the breath has come the awareness of various autonomic functions in the body.
The internal bodily changes induced by the sympathetic and the para-sympathetic
nervous system have become tangible, as also previously unconscious movements
of body-parts. The relationship between jaw movements and aggression/tension,
eye-movements and restlessness, twitching toes and agitation are some of the
more obvious instances of the body mind continuum.
At different points of time I have seen lights glowing, sometimes just behind me, at times in my head or just above my head. The first time this happened I thought there was a car behind me that was blaring its headlights and I turned back to look, but there was no car or any other thing that could account for the light source. Yet when I turned back to walk on the path I felt the strong glow behind! I was both scared and thrilled! But since I had heard of such things happenning to other people I did not flip out completely! i had been practising the art of breathing consciously even when one is afraid. For that i had been sitting at the edge of a forest around dusk and consciously calling to mind all my fears and then attempting to breathe fully while retaining awareness of the frighteneing thoughts. it is an extremely valueable exercise and one that can be practised anywhere given the load of anxieties we carry around with us in our times.
And once there was a very special experience, and since that time I consciously and or unconsciously am always longing to be forever in such-ness. It was special in that it was ever so simple and so direct. There were no lights, no auras glowing, no smells, nor cosmic sounds, just the everyday walk down the Anand Park lane with no thoughts, no efforts at being aware, but just being aware sans effort, everything just as it is and yet incredibly beautiful and still and clear, pure perception that was all. In the experience there was peace and harmony, beauty and clarity, love and oneness, expansiveness yet a complete sense of being here and now. All this and more and yet beyond the ideas of 'beauty' 'simplicity' etc. It is so very special and oh so ordinary.
I believe, being on 'the other side' is perpetually being in this simple, direct mode without effort. But the other side is not out there somewhere, it is right 'here and now'. One can invite it and be open to it, but one can't guarantee it's presence. One can practise any one or more of the various disciplines of meditation, but at some stage one also needs to transcend discipline.
These glimpses of the other side come off and on, but do not endure for long. I am however aware of a constant revolving of some energy ball inside, located at any of the chakra centers. When I succeed in letting my awareness penetrate into this energy-ball, which is surrounded by a dense boundary there is a profound silence, complete stillness, and everything that is going on is encompassed by it. But my awareness soon gets sucked into some content or the other of the awareness and the revolving continues. This revolving seems to accompany the constant churning of thoughts, which is also the constant creation/construction of the world as Maya. At rare times my awareness permeates the boundary between the energy ball and myself, then the inner and the outer no longer remain separate and I feel fully present in my body in a warm and loving way. To feel such an acceptance within is highly welcome.
Somehow my boundaries seem to have become very permeable. Whenever I give my attention to some other person, I can feel their energy inside me. It is often discomfiting, though that may be because I have not become accustomed to the reality of all of us being connected and being One. I mean, as an idea it is wonderful and beautiful, but as a living reality in one's day-to-day life, when it comes to experiencing any other person under one's skin it takes some getting used to(!) and a constant remembering to not identify with the little self.
Of late the psychic connection is particularly strong with my husband and I feel his energy almost always. When I give attention to it, it becomes magnified and fills my entire awareness. at other times it remains in the background. Often times there is a marked shift in perception in terms of clarity. It is as if the world were suddenly being brought into sharp focus. All sights, sounds, sensations become more vivid and acute. When this awareness is relaxed, without any holding and without any reaction there is an increased sense of alertness, of being more fully in the present, of being wide awake.
Although this recounting of internal states is nowhere near complete, it does cover the salient changes in perception. It is also not possible to isolate any given cause for any given effect, but I believe it is still important to be aware of the whole and to articulate it the best one can and to bring it into the field of investigation, an enquiry into consciousness with humanistic values.
And the journey of discovery continues......
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