July - 2011 - Meditation
We continue here a series of articles on different
aspects of the Ipsalu Tantra work. Here we describe a very specific
meditation practice taught in Ipsalu Tantra. The articles published
here can also be found consolidated on our website,
Along with the Cobra Breath, another key aspect of this
work is the meditation practice we recommend which incorporates the
Cobra Breath. This is an active form of meditation with the following
First: Activate energies in the body
Second: Still the mind
Third: Arouse sexual energy
Fourth: Transmute passion
Fifth: Enjoy the blissful state.
Activate energies in the body: We teach a number
of practices designed to activate body energy and to draw energy into
the body. These are simple but powerful yoga techniques, such as the
Rishi Isometrics. These are described in the recommended books and
taught on the level 1 weekend class. However, if you have your own
favourite practices for activating the body, this can also be used
Still the mind: With
the body activated, we focus on stilling the mind. A still mind
allows the ego to step aside and cosmic energy/ consciousness to
enter the body. Doing this practice with the body active, allows us
to go into a deep meditative state without leaving our body.
Practices such as watching the breath work here and we teach more
specific breath exercises on our various classes.
Arouse sex energy:
Within this infinite stillness, the rhythm of the earth is called
forth. In this context the juicy creative force takes on an
extraordinary quality. You feel the primal energy which manifested
the physical universe. We teach a series of practices including
specific yogic practices and more fun, playful practices.
Transmute passion: In
this step we lift and refine that creative force and blend it with
heavenly consciousness. The first level of the Cobra Breath does this
and the reference books contain other, simpler ways to do this.
blissful state we have created. This might include some grounding
exercises such as singing, dancing and drumming … or just moving
into our day in this state.
Further details of
this practice can be found in the book 'The Ipsalu Formula – A
Method for TantraBliss by Bodhi Avinasha.
Filaments of Light
I want to begin by thanking Bodhi, Sunyata, Ravi Sing Khalsa, Hunbats Men, Dr Wang, Siddhanath, Namkhai Norbu, head priest at Ekambareswarar temple in Tamil Nadu, Gopi Krishna, Dr. Jayadeva at the Yoga Institute in SantaCruz, Mumbai (conducting research in yoga and science since 1954), Geshe Kyelsang Gyatso, Abdul Mati Klarwein, Peter from Kashmir, the wise women of Lepenski Vir, and too many others. Thank you all, you helped me so much in accepting the experiences described below. It all could have been an overheated imagination, madness, or as Scrooge would have it, an underdone potato.
Bodhi recently called me about the pathways of key nadis and their relationship to the physical body. If you have read only a small portion of the work available on chakras and symbols or energy systems as described in a number of cultures it begins to seem boggling.
In the plethora of spiritual experts there is a pattern. First there is the person who has the experience. Then that person or someone nearby tries to intellectually describe the experience and inevitably uses a language of symbols
couched in meaning. An example is the seer Socrates and the explainer Plato. Socrates would be unknown to us were it not for Plato and Plato would be unknown were it not for Socrates. However, the bulk of the voices in the Platonic tradition have not had the experience nor know anyone who has. Yet their writing is prolific.
So it is with Tantra. It is in this light that I will do my best to reply to the question of what the nadis are and where they are located.
My spiritual journey, like many of you, began with extraordinary and unexplainable experiences and a quest to find the nature of these experiences. While this began in childhood, I will start with a kundalini accident that happened in my 20's. The event was terrifying and absolutely overwhelming. I thought I was going crazy and avoided all spiritually stimulating activities and switched to martial arts for nearly ten years. I had read about nadis and chakras but none of that mapped to what I experienced.
Then I read Kundalini by Gopi Krishna and found an experience like mine. He spent twelve years going from guru to pandit searching for an answer and came up empty handed. With his guidance I reentered yoga. After trying a few other yoga systems I found this system with the graduated Cobra breath series. This addressed what I thought was my key problem, I had raised the fire aspect of kundalini before the earth and water aspects. With great enthusiasm I did the practices and when I discovered that there would be a teacher training in 1991 I signed up.
Under Bodhi and Sunyata's coaching the internal events I was experiencing dramatically increased. They also diverged into areas that had no nearby answers. So I took refuge in the oldest Tibetan school, Nyingma, and began
studying with Dr Wang, a 9th generation chi doctor. My reading increased, looking to find answers to the internal evolution. Patterns of similarity began to form between Celtic tree practices and Chinese tree breathing, English stone circles, Egyptian solar breathing to find earth energy lines, techniques to locate sites for temples in southern India, and Mayan techniques to site pyramids. Many more experiences began to cross reference as well.
Having said all this, the following descriptions are from experience. I don't know what they mean but they are woven into all the communications with the guides and teachers along the way.
Lets start with the spinal cord and work our way out.
The filaments of light in the spinal cord, like the rest of the body are from three to about seven millimeters in diameter. In cross section, the core is void and it is continually coming into being. As it comes into being there is a rainbow corona formed that condenses at the outer edge (picture the walls of a tube). In addition there is a corona that fades in intensity to about six to ten mm outside the wall of the nadi, depending on the energy work you are
doing. These filaments of light are more alive than the physical body and more active. They are constantly moving and changing. The filaments of light, or nadis if you prefer, permeate the body and extend beyond the surface of the body. Alex Grey has paintings that show this.
Around the spinal cord these filaments are like viewing a city at night where all the streets are moving and changing. Unlike the city this is in three or more dimensions. At points along the spine there are areas of increased density. Probably chakras, again I don't know what this means I am just describing it. At the center of these concentrations there is a void that seems to spin without spinning when you look at it. The filaments enter and exit this
void from all possible directions. There is also a hint that many are coming into and going out of being. From other dimensions? I don't know.
Picture yourself as a yogi trying to explain this vast universe within. How would you do it? By simplifying. It is becoming more and more clear that the many if not all of the authors of the tantras are sincerely trying to describe
and explain the expanded nature they perceive.
The simplified instruction becomes a series of signposts. But a signpost is much simpler than the city it indicates. Lets consider the signposts Ida, Pingala, Sushumna, and Citrini. We instruct people to do exercises with the
mental constructs so that the perception that the body already knows will be easily discovered. We begin with a workable set of hints as to color, shape, direction, and meaning then use the practice to show us what the intellect is unable to picture. Now some will see, some will hear, some will feel the body knowledge, like the blind men and the elephant. Those who see will see with the third eye, those who hear will hear the unstruck sound, and those who feel will feel beyond the limit of the skin. Who has the best description?
We all do. As long as our focus is on seeing for ourselves and helping others to do so. The description that works best for one will not work best for all. When we get a description we use it until we have the perception. As a teacher, be ready to use a range of descriptions that all point the same way. Always be ready to set the description aside and let the perception happen. Then, if you want, find a way to confirm it. Be ready to know that nature is more than we can ever describe.
For this world of light extends beyond the body to all living things through a rainbow bridge of hearts from the mountains to the sea. And this living envelope of life that permeates the world is also connected to all the stones,
the ley lines, the nadis of the earth. And the nadis of the earth reach to the stars and planets and all their life. All this is a pretty big topic. Too much for now but you can try to find someone who knows tree breathing or breathing the sun and the moon. Or you can connect the third level Cobra with the North Star. Enough for now.
It connects all of us together. We have been lost for a very long time yet our generation is finding the way home. Through our breath, maithuna, jyotish, offerings of gratitude, and friendly conversations with the person at the cash
Let's do what it takes to awaken this rainbow bridge of hearts.
- Kirby Jacobson
PS: and even with all this I still have to pay my bills and sometimes wake up
cranky with a sore back.
This short piece is taken from the book 'Tantra Bliss' by Bodhi Avinasha. See if you resonate with it ...
When you are in your heart, your desires are not for personal
gratification. You want what is best for all, realising that you are one
with all. You make yourself available as an instrument by which changes
can be wrought, in service to the greatest good. True satisfaction
comes only when Ego subordinates its agenda to Soul.
When ego is in a state of surrender, when your heart is attuned to the
Infinite, you automatically find yourself in a magical place. On many
occasions your thoughts manifest, almost instantly. You think of someone
and they call you, or you encounter them in an unlikely place. You
become aware of the need for some item, and someone offers it to you.
Small miracles happen so frequesntly, you begin to take them for
granted. The 'magic' happens not because you are efforting to impose
your will on existence, but rather because you make yourself at one with
Existence and it totally supports you.
Surrender requires enormous trust, a
surety that Existence will always give you what is in your best
interests, even if it isn't what you thought you needed.
Dealing with Old Stuck Emotions
I have studied with and worked with Tantra for around 20 years
now. I have experienced many Tantra teachers and seen many Tantra
students. And one of the things that strikes me most powerfully is the
need in Tantra to deal with old emotional hurts and the almost equally
powerful resistance that people have to do this.
The appeal of coming fully into our bodies and really feeling fully
alive and filled with ecstatic energy is undeniable. Who would not want
such an experience? But our bodies, and particularly our lower chakras,
is the place where many old emotional hurts are stored. And if we don't
make the effort to deal with these, we can become uncontrollable
demons!!! I have had more arguments and disputes with people in Tantra
than in any other aspect of my life. It is not a pleasant expereince and
it is sometimes quite shocking to see very experienced teachers and
very experienced practitioners behave in very patterned ways, totally
unaware that they are running on old stored emotions from many years
back which do not serve them any longer. And if they are not aware of
this, they cannot do anything about it. We talk about opening the lower
chakras in the level 2 Cobra Breath and associated practices. Opening
these chakras does not prevent us from triggering old hurts. But if our
chakras are fully open, we should be aware that we have triggered such a
hurt and recognise where it came from .... 'oh, it's that old one
again'. We will still feel emotion and may feel an inclination to act
from that emotion but we are, hopefully, more able to act rationally.
Before I came to Tantra, I spent more than 10 years working with
emotional release techniques. I am very glad that I did. I once met a
woman who told me 'My next partner has to be a man who has been through
therapy'. We had a laugh about this. She didn't mean that she wanted a
man who was very disturbed but she did mean that she wanted a man with
the awareness of someone who has dealt with old emotional issues.
There are many ways of dealing with emotional hurts. And you may have
your own preferred methods. That is great. Keep using those tools. But
we do introduce you to 3 tools for dealing with old emotions on the
level 1 workshop. Two of these rely on movement of energy and one is a
dialogue method. The two energetic methods are the Osho Dynamic
Meditation and the Firebreath Emotional Flow. My favourite between these
is the Firebreath Emotional Flow. I find that it works very quickly to
clear emotional energy blockages. It works on the principle of
generating energy at the base of the spine and then using breath and
body movement to flow the energy though our bodies. When the energy
encounters blockages, it pushes through the blockage, creating an
emotional release. The key to this technique is sometimes to spend a
little time to get the technique right.
The third method is the 'What's present Now' dialogue. In this we work
with a partner, though we could do it alone, to explore what emotions
are present in our body, where they are stored and what message they
have for us.
If you have been on the level 1 class, I encourage you to experiment
with these techniques .... and if you have not, I encourage you to come
and experience them!
only remedy for darkness is turning on the light. The only cure for
memories recorded without the benefit of consciousness is to invite
those images and feelings into awareness while you are fully conscious
and present. Consciousness always has the choice of running away until
the storm is over or staying present and observing the process as a
Silent Witness. If you run away you miss the opportunity to learn an
important lesson. Then Existence has to create another similar situation
to give you yet another opportunity. If you stay present, you begin the
healing process. There simply is no other way. Every master has taught
the principle of Witness Consciousness.
From the position of witness, you see the limited mind for what it
is.You observe it in action and learn its patterns and agendas. Remember
why you chose to experience this particular illusion. Let your
compulsion to control give way to a deep surrender to Existence,
trusting that everyrhing is in Divine Order.
When emotions come to the surface, experience them to the depths, with
your Higher Self fully present. When you can be totally subjective and
totally objective at the same time, you are operating as a unified
being. - A Method for Tantra Bliss p.53.
This is a simple teaching, present in different forms in nearly all
paths and teachings. And it is one that I am trying hard to apply to
myself and this work in the face of some very trying times - see below!!
The Ipsalu Tantra Paradigm
This paradigm represents the core of the ipsalu Tantra work:
Self-realisation – honouring the divine in yourself and others
and understanding that separation is an illusion. Remaining connected to
your essence (soul) and distinguishing between the demands of the ego
and the soul’s purpose. All is in divine order.
Self –responsibility – view
life from the perspective that all your experiences are self created.
Change happens when you resolve your own issues and make shifts within.
View others as cooperative partners who are helping you to learn the
lessons that your soul has chosen. Note the difference from a focus on
the ego’s ideals and desires.
Be the Witness – disengage
from self defeating patterns and limiting beliefs. Maintain a non-
judgmental consciousness of your actions and process, accepting both
light and shadow.
that the desires of the ego are attempts to compensate for deep
feelings of inadequacy and unworthiness. Creative power comes through
surrender of the ego to the soul. Provide yourself with the love that
has been missing. When you live in the cosmic flow, your life becomes a
magical series of synchronicities.
Earth/body centred- celebrate
life on the earthly plane and embrace all aspects of your humanity.
Care for your body temple and honour the senses. Learn to create heaven
on earth. Live with presence to each moment.
Balancing Polarities – bring
Shiva and Shakti into balance and harmony. Shakti, the feminine
polarity is creative, dynamic life force (orgasmic energy). Shiva, the
masculine polarity is clarity and stillness consciousness). Balancing
these energies prepares the body for Kundalini activation.
Kundalini Awakening –
is an expanded consciousness marked by continuing Bliss, integrity,
access to deep, profound wisdom and genius. This higher vibration
requires preparation of mind and body through spiritual practice. The
Ipsalu Formula/Cobra Breath is designed for this.
changes in life style and practice lead to greater amounts of life
sustaining subtle energies cleansing the body and reorganising the DNA.
Service/Universal Love – anything
that is not love can come up to be healed. The greatest service is to
love unconditionally and make a difference to the lives of others.
Relationship – relationships
are the vehicles through which we come to understand the dance between
duality and oneness. Reconnecting love and sex in Tantric partnership
brings deeper intimacy and more satisfying sexual experience. Choices in
alternate styles of relating (mono vs. poly or hetero vs. homo) are
personal preferences and not a part of this paradigm.
Spiritual/sexual energy – learn
that sexual energy can be transmuted to accelerate spiritual growth.
Heal the splits between sex and spirit through Tantric sharing of
energies with a lover.
Ipsalu Formula – activate
the body, still the mind, arouse sexual energy, transmute, enjoy! The
frequent experience of Bliss is essential to the health of human beings.
Summarised from The Ipsalu Formula: A method for TantraBliss by Bodhi Avinasha