Bulletproof Yoga

April 21, 2014

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Have you experienced nirvana? If not, I’m sorry to hear that, but the following short entry may help. If you have not, you may find it consoling to hear that it is only entirely your own fault.
Welcome to Bulletproof Yoga. I’m not referring to making you bulletproof in any way. I am describing a method of delivering yoga to others in a way so that nobody leaves feeling that they missed the point. It begins by my unmistakable delivery of yoga to you, through my words, and continues on indefinitely as you deliver these concepts upon yourself through movement, concentration, effortlessness, stillness, and the absence of thought.
Let me begin by stating (once again) that there is nothing in my solitary practice that ever left me looking for more. This means I have no desire to attend a yoga class anywhere, and although I am constantly being asked to teach yoga, I have no desire to teach in a class or group setting. This may change in the future, but only if a situation would arise where ego cannot be found in my intentions.

I’ve just completed a 65 minute sound file that can be used during your full yoga practice if desired, based on the previous 30 minute Theta wave binaural entrainment file that I created for relaxation at any time. You can stream the file here, or download the file for your personal use. The binaural and audible tones move through the frequencies attributed to the chakra points from root to crown over the length of the program material.

Let’s jump right in with the most difficult, the absence of thought. If with your first figurative step and your first actual inhalation you can stop all thought that comes from you, halt the mind, all else will be easy. Even in difficult physical movements under the banner of yoga, the mind will be your biggest obstacle. This leaving behind of all mind activity is the impossible for some, a great challenge for most, but everyone can do it nonetheless. Your mind is your greatest enemy, it is what will be the root of your undoing, and it is also where your idea of who you are is seated. Who you are is nothing. What you think is so high and mighty and amazing about anything you pin on your chest is just another dark spot on your being; any self-describing character trait that shines like the bright lights of vanity in the mirror of morals and virtues is actually the most disgusting thing about you that you could do well to lose quickly. When you are nothing, you are pure beauty. Only then do you become loving, and with that you can radiate unconditionally for all and everything like you did before your mind learned how to be deceptive, conniving, selfish, guarded and emotionless, conceited, and unable to see without the filters of “my world only” through dead eyes.
With these concepts you can breathe slowly in and out, aiming for 4-7 seconds for each. Eyes closed, or open if you are able to ignore visual distraction, with silent privacy or on a busy street, it won’t matter when your mind is appropriately calibrated to stop all inner thought. Here you will stay for a matter of minutes, up to about ten, breathing and not thinking, hopefully learning to be newly amazed and appalled at who you find you were up until just now, losing all identification with the ridiculousness of descriptions like “retailer”, “manager”, “CEO”, “athlete”, “businessman”, “entrepreneur”, “salesman”, “vegan”, “writer”, “creative”, “doctor”, “teacher”, “pilot”, “mother”, “husband”, or any other foolish word that is attached to who or what you may think you are. From here on out, you are nothing.
If you are familiar with yoga sitting poses and use a mat, do this while attempting to be as comfortable and relaxed as possible in what is called Lotus. The reason this is important is because your goal is to become the “lotus floating in the pond”. If you’ve never heard this before, it is a very powerful concept that cannot be overlooked. By beginning here, you still the mind like a lotus flower gently floating atop the stillest pond you can imagine, with a still air, but not a freeze frame like pausing a movie; you are in the living universe that is extremely calm and still, so much so that it may give the illusion that nothing is moving but you are moving with the movement of living and with your slow breathing only. By sitting with your legs apart like longish and slightly full petals in Lotus Position, you resemble that lotus flower, and seated on a flat surface you are floating on that unmoving water that delicately holds you up with its surface tension. Your spine moves gently into a straighter and more erect and comfortable posture with each breath, until eventually little by little you do finally become that lotus, perfectly still, effortless, in one short moment of extreme joy in being that an eternity has just come across you, not from within but by tapping into the “thoughts” of the cosmos beyond the confines of time and space once you got your horrible, petty, worthless mind-thoughts to stop, vacate, and make room for nirvana, where you can know without question that “the jewel is in the lotus”.
Quick enlightenment checklist:
1. Do you feel an overwhelming love and compassion not only for all living beings that you have encountered in your life with a personality you can perceive, but also for all those you have not met as well as every atom and particle that vibrates to the living frequencies of reality in you, around you, and furthest away from you? If the answer is no, I’m sorry to say you are not ready and have missed something very big in your ten minutes of alone time. Work on that.
2. Do you smile so openly and wide with joy deep from within your being that not only is your face clearly smiling, but so is every cell in your body as it functions in its daily living tasks? If the answer is no, then I’m sorry to say you are not ready and seem to have missed something very critical about what it means to be a human on this planet striving to understand the meaning of life. Once again, work on that.
3. Are you still having thoughts that come from your mind, things relating to you, your memories, your experiences from the past, material ambitions, socio-political goals, etc.? Sorry, try again!
4. Have you quieted your mind to the point that you’ve noticed something different and are amazed at what is happening because your mind is being flooded with experiences that are clearly not your own (that your mind can tell) and the grand truths of unknown intelligence have graced you for either a millisecond or a lifetime or more, and you’ve been disassociated from your physical body in any way? If the answer is no, try harder to work on yourself. Only you are standing in your own way, and anyone can do it without any outside assistance. The key is in your pocket, you just have to get it yourself.
5. Are you able to differentiate from your mind that distracts you by having useless conscious thoughts about yourself, your body that is a biomechanical vessel housing your blood, organs, and flesh, and your emotions that have nothing to do with your mind and body unless you mistakenly entangle all three into a knotted mess that sets you up for unlimited suffering and personal turmoil? If the answer is no, try harder next time, but always be effortless!
6. If you state the six words, “The joyful participation in life’s sorrows”, and feel you can answer all of the above 5 questions correctly, then I no longer need to speak or write on the subject.

Next I will continue by going into asanas that will deliver you to your final pose, savasana. But for now you can go and get into Lotus and reread this post while actually doing it. For help with Lotus, feel free to search it on YouTube, there are plenty of extremely fit women eager to explain it in thorough detail, along with just about any other yoga mat acrobatics. Please remember that I am nothing.

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Awakening The Serpent Power

December 20, 2011

If you’re going to get involved in Yoga, you’re going to have to do it right. Don’t lose sight of the ultimate goal, which is altogether waiting before you, here now in the present where you show up entirely (without resistance based on fears), and a redefinition of your past which is shed like the skin of a snake. Today’s entry is a basic movement with breath that is also the foundation of the power within all subsequent movements that build upon that power. This is the energy that lies dormant in many of us, ready to be awoken and identified as a process of vibrational spiritual development. The simple yet profound visualization needed for this movement is a coiling, spiraling energy that moves, or rises, up the spine beginning at its base from both the left and right sides. With your breath, you access prana, the vital life-sustaining force in the body, entering a state of pranic awakening. Kundalini in meaning refers to exactly this coiling like a snake.

To continue with stabilization training, Cobra pose activates the core with the intended purpose of strengthening this system. Keep in mind that core stabilization movements are less about sweeping action and more about sustained contractions of very specific muscles. These core muscles are the transverse abdominis, internal obliques, pelvic floor musculature, transverso spinalis, and multifidis. In stabilization exercises, there are other muscles that need to be activated to prepare for them, and this is done by drawing in the navel and activating the gluteals.

The Floor Prone Cobra, as it is called in ordinary gym-related workout terminology, has variations between exercise and yoga, and we will go over both just as we did with the Two-Leg Floor Bridge, or Two-Legged Table. For this exercise, instead of lying supine, you will lie prone on the floor with arms to the side of the body and palms facing toward the ground. Your arms are straight behind you, not bent in front of you.

Start by drawing in the navel, activating the gluteals, and pinching the shoulder blades together. Pinching the shoulder blades together can be done by lifting the straightened arms off the floor and imagining that the tops of your hands are moving toward each other in an effort to touch behind you. Lift the chest off the floor. Hold this position for 1 to 2 seconds. Slowly return the chest and arms to the ground. It is also important to note that keeping the chin tucked throughout this movement will help to keep the cervical spine stabilized.

The yoga pose is called Bhujangasana, or Cobra Pose. It is intended to work the spine, arms, and legs. This seemingly simple pose with little movement actually involves many complex actions which we can explain further in detail below for those interested in the muscular anatomy of what is happening. To combine the movement with the breath, lying prone with palms on the floor and under your shoulders, follow the previous instructions to begin while pushing up with the arms, but only in the slightest amount, allowing the muscles of the spine to do most of the work; inhale on the upward movement, filling the ribcage with a further expansion of the chest. Time the inhalation with the arc of the motion upward and release with an exhalation and come down. The intricate spinal movement starts at the cervical (head) and one vertebrae at a time comes up off the floor. The hips remain grounded and the belly can slightly rise off the floor. The exhale begins with the lumbar (base) region relaxing to the floor one vertebrae at a time until the chin or forehead comes to rest and there is no longer tension in the spine. The breathing pattern can be reversed if belly breathing restricts thoracic extension and rib cage expansion. Concentrate on the serpent energy moving up the spine from the top of the hips to the nostrils, and be the present force of your awakening.

The joint actions involved are sacrum counternutation, hip extension, internal rotation, adduction, knee extension, ankle plantarflexion, scapula neutral, glenohumeral joint external rotation, elbow extension, and forearm pronation along with spine extension.

The entire spinal extensor group of muscles work concentrically to create spine extension. There is a synergistic action in the serratus posterior superior which overlays the erectors, assisting chest expansion. The rectus abdominis and obliques work eccentrically, preventing overmobilization of the lumbar spine. The arms are engaged through various muscles: the infraspinatus, teres minor, serratus anterior, posterior deltoids, triceps, pronator teres, and pronator quadratus. The legs are required through numerous actions to keep the joints in alignment: the hamstrings extend the hips and maintain adduction and internal rotation. External rotation of the legs is a movement that must be avoided, along with abduction. The muscles responsible for extending the hips are the adductor magnus and gluteus maximus while the knees are extended by the vastus lateralis, medialis, and intermedius.

To keep breathing uninhibited, focus must be on the deep back muscles, the underlying core, instead of the larger and more superficial muscles that affect the scapulae and rib cage. Shoulders don’t elevate, but the spine is lifted. Elbows should not flare out and forearms should stay parallel with each other with the push of the arms.

Like Krishna dancing on the serpents’ heads to subdue them, so are you using your ego energy and then releasing it. By grasping your ego energy and releasing it you become the powerful enlightened manifestation of yourself that cannot be trapped or defeated. By awakening the serpent power within you, you free yourself from all suffering of this world and can take the first step of your journey in this life.

In Part I, we established that the mind controls the body, and that you have complete control of your mind. Whether or not you take responsibility for the control of your mind is up to you, and any and all results ultimately will rest upon the application, use, or neglect that you exhibit. Attitude is the arrow launched after the purpose has been decreed.

The next step takes us outside of the mind to bridge the gap between the intention and the enacted result. This is assessment, and the ideal is objectivity. This is a difficult and shaky bridge for many to traverse because it is fraught with manifestations of personal subjectivity that lead to destructive criticism, lack of confidence, pessimism, self-doubt, and ego battles. If you truly understand that one simple sentence you just read, then you can move on triumphantly over this bridge and watch the bountiful rewards of positive assessment grow to their ultimate potential in this step.

Assessment is a basic, dry, no-nonsense procedure that is ongoing and unweighted. If it isn’t that, it is ineffective. If your two first steps, attitude and assessment, or just one of them becomes inefficient or ineffective, you will be one of the majority of people that call themselves old and try to corral others into talking and agreeing about their collective oldness. So keep it simple, keep it unweighted with thoughts and judgements that are sabotage, and do the following with optimistic joy.

Forget your past history about your physical existence in this body. If you have historical precedents about  what you can’t do and will never be, throw them out now. These will weigh you down and are loot bags for the pity party. When you look at yourself in the mirror, take note of how much space your body occupies from the bones that hold you up to the outer layer of skin that you can see. Make realistic notes for yourself about what the next step is from here so that when you get to that next step and see yourself in the mirror you will be poised for making a new note about the next step after that. These incremental steps should be able to be met by you in timeframes no shorter than a week and no longer than 3-4 weeks. Any other steps that fall outside of this range are either unrealistic or impossible to keep track of and will prove ineffectual and a form of self-sabotage.

Your physical form in this world is a highly malleable one. There are more soft parts on our bodies than hard parts, and all the soft parts can change shape and can be under your control. If you’ve never taken control over your soft parts or never considered it as a power you have, now is the time.

Understand that you are what you eat. If you go about this with an eating disorder your body will look disorderly. After assessment you can now empower the direct results by being discerning with the quality of materials you use to build your structure, to create your physical representation of the art within. In the next part of this series, we will discuss being the gatekeeper of the entryway that makes or breaks your physical body.

Hair Metal

September 25, 2011

What’s more Metal than long hair to go with your black jeans, band T-shirts, and guitars and amps or drums? Yes, hair can be a source of power in Metal, and even though these days short-haired rockers are being accepted in all genres of Metal probably because they don’t look good in long hair (too curly, pouffy, frizzy, etc.) or they’ve simply just gone bald, I remember the days when you had the long hair or something just wasn’t quite right (you weren’t really Metal). Let’s face it, if your hair is anything like Justin Timberlake’s and you think you’re in a Metal band, and you may very well be, nobody is going to say anything but we all know it–you just don’t have the look.

Where am I going with all of this? Believe it or not, it goes back to Yoga, stressing not the physical, but the mental. Yoga is a mental discipline that allows you to lead the body with the mind. Through this, there is a spiritual awareness. Yoga brings strength to the practitioner.

In the biblical narrative of Samson and Delilah, Samson inevitably loses his strength after he mistakenly, probably with trust, tells Delilah the secret to his strength. What he didn’t know killed him. He didn’t know that Delilah was hired to win him over and find out exactly that secret. Samson was definitely not a Yoga practitioner.

I am a lot like Samson. My long hair is not the source of my strength. At this point in time, my hair is the longest it has ever been. My hair is exactly as long as I have been practicing Yoga. In that way, my hair defines my yogic experience without having to make it blatantly obvious to anyone. At the time just before I discovered Yoga, I had a haircut known as a Mohawk for three years. At the end of that hairstyle run, I had become deeply aware that those three years marked how fresh and exciting a Mohawk was when I first wore it, and then how ridiculously played out it had become, and I had to eliminate it from my persona. I shaved my head. Samson took the Nazirite vow of dedicating his life to the full-time service of God. One requirement was that his hair never be cut. I vowed to grow my hair as long as it would get. I started learning and experiencing Yoga.

My hair continues to grow. I’ve been told it is beautiful. Women are envious of my hair, its texture, its color, and other things I just don’t understand. I’ve had longish hair since about 20 years ago, and people who haven’t seen me in ten years say I haven’t changed a bit, not knowing I had regular, Non-Metal, short hair for most of that time. I always felt a spiritual awareness and peaceful understanding throughout my life for as long as I can remember. These Metal Yoga days are just a deliberate focal progression of who I was, confident in who I am. Yoga was not something I needed to find to heal me or guide me to the other side out of some crisis. Yoga was there, however, at a time when I decided to heal myself physically out of poor food habits and a high body fat percentage. I already knew how I was going to do what I needed, and Yoga was thankfully an added bonus that I could revel in and experience without any judgement or expectation. I am fully aware of everything that Yoga did for me then, and what it does now.

I attribute my great feats of strength and endurance to Yoga. When I was on a weight loss cycle (I am now on a weight gain cycle) I got down to 150 lbs. I considered this my limit and didn’t want to lose any more weight. My metabolism was running so efficiently, however, that if I worked too many hours and didn’t eat well enough to feed my body with healthy food, I’d end up losing weight. This is what happened when one week one summer I dropped from 155 to 150 lbs. Even so, at this weight I was able to do things like deadlift sets of 15 reps with increasing weights of 135 lbs., 185 lbs., 225 lbs., and finally 275 lbs. The really amazing part was that Yoga gave me this mental acuity of how and why we are all here, and an easily accessible dialogue with what some call the Cosmic Intelligence. Being very strong and therefore making my body physically thrive in every way (and I mean in every way) was just an unexpected extra. Let’s face it, there’s nothing special about lifting heavy things in a gym; lots of people do it all the time, and are better at it than I am. The difference is in what you don’t see.

People tell me all the time that they have found God, or Jesus is in their hearts. What they are actually saying is that they have realized how to be the best person that each of them could be. Religious rituals mean nothing when one makes such a statement. The proof is that if you haven’t had the realization, participating in the rituals of any religion will have no effect on fulfilling your life’s destiny. Samson’s destiny was to deliver Israel from the land of the Philistines. The more he strayed from his destiny, the more suffering he endured because of it, and his ego was the source of it. Delilah was the last harlot that his selfish lust brought him to before he had all sense of self taken from him. This, ironically, was what saved him and his destiny.

Luckily, if Delilah cuts off my hair or even obstructs my Yoga, I won’t be defenseless to my attackers who aim to put my eyes out and bind me with fetters of brass in a prison house. But if she aims to be in direct conflict with my dharma, life will be a detention facility where I will remain powerless, reduced to something I was never meant to be, criticized and demoralized for giving away my secret to the wrong person, the one person I thought I could trust the most. How Metal is that?

I took a self defense class in which the goal was to become water. This is not what the instructors taught, but this was one of the passing ideas I was told while trying to “get it” and at the same time acknowledging that if this was a real fight I would have been killed more than 10 times over. The most you could become water, the more you will both survive attack from an aggressor and also be in the right position to subdue a would-be attacker by always being in the right place for the deadliest blow to execute and end the fight in an instant. Unhappiness is the same thing. It is a fight that you suddenly realize you are losing because instead of being water, you are rigid like a board and every punch and blow is rattling you to the core. This “you” that is solid when it hurts and like water when when you are never in any danger is your ego. If you can keep your ego loose, unattached, liquid, and flowing freely, nothing can hurt you.

I am surrounded by people in constant fear. Fear is good, because it tells you something about your relationship to your environment, which is important to survive. Fear should be viewed as a dashboard gauge or alert light that turns on just to make you aware of something to make the best possible next decisions. If it becomes more than that, it paralyzes and rules your habits and behaviors, ensuring that you will make only poor decisions. Improper reaction to fear can bring on aggression, just a defense mechanism to protect the ego that is stiff as a board. Some people have learned to manage their fears so there is a baseline operation within fear that looks normal, even seemingly happy, but the angriest people I know are reactive fearing people that are not comfortable with knowing happiness, but more comfortable with experiencing pleasure and contentment in short bursts. This gives the illusion of happiness while it could simply be a majority depressive state with exceptional moments of coming up for air; not true happiness, but an attempt at feeling satisfaction with pleasure, and pleasure is just a selfish bandage. I know a few people that are somehow living most of their waking hours without this baseline of fear, and the fearful around them try to convince with logic everyone else that fear is the way of life. It’s the way of life because you need to be serious, work hard, and make lots of sacrifices if you want your just rewards, right? Otherwise you’d just be a dreamer who lived in a fairy tale, not real life. Also, if the unhappy see you happy, they tend to feel jealousy.

Let me pose the question to you: Are you happy? Here’s the good news. I don’t want to know the answer, and I’m not asking the question for you to answer out loud for any other people to hear it. I’m asking because I think it’s important for you to hear yourself answer the question alone, and honestly, to yourself; because if you can’t be honest with yourself, who can you be honest with? So, are you happy? If you haven’t immediately answered with a “yes”, maybe even the first time I asked the question, there may be some things you need to think about before you even try to answer. Questions like, “What is it that makes you happy?”. The answer(s) to this question will lead you down the path of understanding why it may be taking you so long to answer the first question. If you quickly answered “no”, what are the reasons?

If you had to step back and try to tackle the second question before the first, and maybe even can’t answer that one immediately, there is a third question to help you to get to the truth about yourself and living in eternal, unshakeable happiness. “Is happiness dictated by things that are outside of yourself?”, and are these things that you began to list if you said “no” to the question of your happiness?

After all this, there is a simplicity to happiness, and it has to be within you, thriving without dependency on what can stimulate you from the outside world. If you need something to be happy, you’re already the parrot of the physical and material world, trapped in a cage of habit and behavior. It has to surprise you at every corner; it can’t be a laid plan or list that tells you when it’s coming. That’s the recipe for certain disappointment.

Satanism Yoga

April 18, 2011

Are you one who believes in cultivating the self, the importance of individualism, enlightenment, and the enhancement and improvement of oneself by personal education, experiment, and initiation? If so, you could be a Satanist – or one who practices Yoga. Actually, no sane person believes that Yoga is Satanism or vice versa, but using these general, vague concepts that are born of human nature, a Venn diagram would look rather convincing, especially to Christians in opposition to both sets.

Satanism is a group of religions whose shared feature include symbolic association with Satan or similar rebellious, promethean, and liberating figures. That statement was taken from Wikipedia. So far, it sounds a lot like Hinduism. I mean, instead of Satan, you could say Kali, Siva, Vishnu, Narasimha, or any other deity that is characterized with frightening power. Theistic Satanism may include the usage of meditation and self expansion. Sound familiar?

Luciferianism is an auxiliary movement of Satanism that some reject, arguing that Lucifer is a more positive and easy-going ideal than Satan, considered as the “light bearer”, an illuminated aspect of Satan. Luciferians are inspired by the ancient myths of Egypt, Rome and Greece, Gnosticism, along with traditional Western occultism.

Laveyan Satanism, although widely popularized by The Satanic Bible and being overseen by the Church of Satan, is described by religioustolerance.org as a small religious group whose members exhibit kindness to their friends and attack their enemies, while feeling free to satisfy their urges responsibly. They are Atheists, Agnostics, and Apatheists who regard Satan as a symbol of man’s inherent nature.

In music, Pseudo-Satanism is used for shock value. This can be described as a casual, or adolescent satanism, using symbols like the inverted pentagram and demonic imagery to provide the impression of satanism. Authentic Satanists would call them cute.

Now let’s get to this thing called Yoga. Why even make this comparison? For starters, Yoga is taking the world by storm more than ever. Is this a threat to religion? No, not at all. Should you be skeptical of it? Absolutely! The point is that just because you carry a mat on your back like a gymnastic samurai and participate in classes that are built upon a philosophy that includes non-violence, non-possessiveness, purity, and restraint, doesn’t mean you won’t give in to habit and human nature at the smallest threat or attack on the ego outside of the yoga studio. Let’s face it, most people are doing asana because it’s physical activity in an otherwise sedentary lifestyle, and meditation, let alone enlightenment, is an elusive mystery.

Your identity, your character, is not defined by trends. You are not your yoga outfit. External gurus don’t exist. Serve your true nature. If you’re okay with being part of the pseudo-satanist movement of Yoga, what else will you be okay with?

Graceful Anger

March 1, 2011

Anger is an emotion. We all get angry, and as healthy people, we should allow for anger. Anger is a visceral, energetic emotion that sometimes evokes physical involuntary action. It is at this critical juncture where anger can be harnessed and transformed into a healthier, more useful mode of action. The rewards are unlimited amounts of happiness and joy.

The best way to describe this is by attempting to envision a concept called joyful anger. The best ordinary example of this would be in physical sports in which you strategically drive your physical energy toward a goal of winning. In times of anger and related emotions, it’s easy to envision losing, or feeling hopeless because of the fear of losing in the face of anger.

It sounds so simple, it’s difficult, so you will have to meditate on these ideas if they are hard to grasp. I would even suggest bringing up anger that you are harboring below your mask emotions that you put on every day to function in society. It’s ok, we all have them, but we are at our happiest when we can manage them down to zero.

Think of your life as a programmed destination in a GPS device. The moment your life begins, it’s like pressing “Go!” and the destination on the GPS is your death. You are by nature programmed to fulfill your life destiny as long as you follow your true nature and don’t take detours from it. You can think of anger and the situations that bring up anger as consequences of taking a detour from the shortest, truest path. The GPS will automatically recalculate a new route to your destination, but it is at least one step removed from the easiest, original route.

What are the tell-tale signs that you’re doing it wrong? Anger can lead to other emotions  when not transformed into joy. Simply, if your behavior doesn’t outwardly exhibit pure radiant joy and boundless energy, then you’re doing it wrong. Anger will sap your energy before you direct that energy into determined joy. Then it can sap even more energy once you allow it to manifest itself as hopeless depression brought on by self-doubt and a pessimistic view of the presence of anger.

On the contrary, anger is the driving force behind innovation, progressive action, and previously unrealized creativity. Harnessing an emotion that for some is the source of power behind lifting objects and throwing them, punching things, or yelling at the top of one’s voice, is one of the secrets to life few understand. Use this resource and you can open new, unseen modes of action that define who you are.

Destiny

November 9, 2010

We are each like a flashbulb going off for an instant in the field of time. We each experience our own personal drawn out perspective of time ever so slowly moving forward, equally quickly slipping away. Who says life is short? Who says it’s excruciatingly long? We can imagine both scenarios and both would be right. Even the light of the stars we are familiar with that make up constellations are but flashbulbs while we flash repeatedly over the earth, illuminating as brightly as we can for shorter instances. Therefore life is an incredibly magical place in which time is slowed down to such a crawl for us that we can become masters of our own destinies. This allows us to breathe deeply and slowly instead of quickly and shallowly, and we can think deeply on all that we have in and around our lives to fulfill destinies of our choosing, or the only one that feels right laying before us. This shifts focus to a determined view of time as something coming in to our lives as we anticipate it, without grasping the past and being distracted in our forward motion. If the past contains elements that repeatedly pull you away from now and have you repeating in loops like a movie you’ve already seen, it is an indicator that you have to let go, or you may miss your destiny. Also, if you are the progenitor of forward motion based on the past that needs to be released, you are still caught in a loop but it’s so big in circumference you cannot see it as anything but a line or an arc.
Consider time the next occasion you have in savasana as you breathe deeply, intent on the sun and other stars that do not warm us but fill the sky at night, and see your entire life as you would a day in your life where the sun is clear, the weather is comfortably warm, and light clouds sweep the blue above without interfering with the sun. When the day is over, your life that you know is over and after a short night, the day begins again with a new life and you are back again, a new person, completely new possibilities, new family, new friends, a life you haven’t experienced yet. Imagine the sun still strong and clear and the clouds sweep by quickly, as you are greeted kindly into this world. Night comes, and with it the bright stars that also greet you, and they are just as you remember them. Then a new day comes and yet another new life. Watch the cycle progress quicker and quicker as the sun and stars remain bright and you are still there as well. Try then to imagine these familiar stars and sun slowly go dark and fade as new ones come into being, and you are still there, observing, breathing deeply not with your body but with your energy while this body you have uses its lungs to take in that energy and exhale energy. Know that we are still here, there is no running away, there is no abandonment, and that eternity is not a measurement of time but a place we all know where we are not bound by time. When you open your eyes, experience the magic of your life as you are suspended in time the way we all share it together, one second at a time, new masters of our destinies, each new day reminding us of whole new lives.

 

Training or Torture?

Dharana is conditioning. It is the method of concentration in which you are conditioning what is called the mind, or generally what is called the thought structure, the psychological structure, that vibrational stuff in the body. So the question arises, how do we condition?

 

The two forks of conditioning are training and education. Training is repetition of movements, repeating patterns of behavior. Everyone is familiar with negative and detrimental patterns of behavior, which are trained as well. As infants we are born free and clear of any negative behavior, but the potential is always there in the environment we learn. In the repetition there is learning, the understanding why it has to be done. If you are aware of any negative behaviors of your own and ask why they have to be done, the answer is always pointing to ego. Understanding why stimulates the urge to learn or puts a stop to unwarranted actions by shedding light.

Conditioning is a mechanical repetition enriched by a new element. When the Karate Kid was sick and tired of painting the fence, sanding the floor, wax on wax off, he was given the knowledge that infused his discipline with the stimulating urgency he was looking for, and suddenly he could paint, sand, and wax to his heart’s desire with the education infused in his training. The mind can easily become diffused, running in different directions to different ideas (internally in the mind), to different words (externally by speech), and to different objects in our space (the telephone, the television, the computer, etc.). Conditioning brings you back from that diffused state to a collected, composed, concentrated state. It is your energy, and you are concentrating the diffused energy. You are making the mind steady. A mind that was wandering, scattered, running in ten different directions, that is no place for a mind anymore than the side of the road is the place for a car unless broken down.

The greatest difficulty with a mind that can’t be steadied or requires steadying is that the frenetic, scattered mind is operating within a belief system that it is hyperattentive, and working productively on many levels, multitasking. This may be true if focused on one process of work and indeed there is an overall calmness and steady workflow, be it painting, or building, or writing, etc. A scattered mind is one that is pinned across an immovable place and there is tension and conflict pointing inward, yet the ego won’t let go of the different things pulling the mind apart. Before Dhayana, the ego must be refocused to what is right for the self and a steadiness must be achieved.Allowing your attention to wander unnecessarily, unwarrantedly in an irresposible way, you allow your vital energy to be diffused.

The path of Dharana is yours to choose, and there are hundreds. Be it Mantra yoga, where you learn a conditioned way in which to use speech and all sounds, or Tantra yoga, where sex energy is directed upward in the body through postures to the crown of the head with the help of pranayama, utilizing its creative powers. Once again, sex, like the mind, is put in its proper perspective of joy, beauty, and divinity and sanctity for those who can understand and appreciate it, in contrast to the simple notion of dragging it down to only a pleasure level, projecting personal pleasure obsessions on it, pleasure mongering, and therefore missing out on so much that is available us.

Through Dharana, one can arouse the latent powers, the experiences contained in the subconscious and unconscious, all the experiences of the human race contained in all of us, sophisticating the mind.

I often hear people refer to their more virtuous behavior characteristics as something they own with pride. “I’m a nice person”. “I help people”. “I do yoga”. “I’m a vegan”. Ahimsa is non-killing, non-violence, and it is a dedicated awareness of the wholeness of Life, becoming a value of your life.

It isn’t just a physical level non-killing. If you are a vegetarian but kill the hearts of people with cruelty, cold glances and destructive, abusive words, you are a violent person and the vegetarianism does nothing for you in terms of ahimsa, in terms of all of Life. Attacking, invading the psyche of other people, most probably fueled by your “I-ness”, your own ego, you may not kill physically but you are killing psychologically, hurting by eyes, hurting by words.

Many people in the modern world addicted to smoking cigarettes, another ego weakness, somehow hypocritically choose to be vegetarian or vegan with a spiritual purpose. They carry their good deeds as badges toward validation of the goodness of their characters, missing the point completely. You don’t do one thing and then do another that is the opposite and take credit. These people may as well just eat all the meat they can and kill the animals themselves; the resultant action would be the same in terms of non-killing, but probably more in line with honesty. Ahimsa is one of the Yamas that are built upon wholistic living, an intelligent, harmonious relationship.