Friday, August 06, 2010
I have often described how I feel when I do my "practice," but I thought I would describe more explicitly what I do (at this stage of the journey.) You might like to try it.
First, I take a long hot shower--I find this "opens" the pores and makes you feel more alive (like a sauna or a steam bath).
Next, I go to my practice space, wearing as few clothes as possible--again, this allows the pores to "breathe." Be sure you have total privacy--and if possible, that no one will knock on the door or even telephones--this will interrupt your concentration.
Begin with no particular expectations--I start with simple (standing) stretching exercises I learned as the preliminaries for chi gong classes. These limber the body and provide various "openings."
When you feel the inner energies stirring, follow them--they will direct your movements. Do what feels good--do not try to imitate a pattern from a book or something the teacher taught in class (these can be good, but I am describing another approach here).
You may wish to move your arms or body in certain ways. You may wish to "stroke your aura." You may wish to experiment with totally new postures and movements.
Keep on doing what feels good, noting where the feeling are located. For me, the feelings are sweetly blissful, for this is the time of communing with the Beloved Within.
Today, I moved my hands (facing) about 4 inches from my body--mostly torso (especially chest) and head, circling gently here and there. I also did a few steps here and there (usually I stand rather still.) Today I moved in silence.
Other methods produce other results--much depends on how you are "feeling" that day--sometimes the bliss flows readily, sometimes not at all and the movements are simply stretching exercises--also good for you.
Let your body tell you how much and what kind of movement to do. Frankly, I don't do too much--others will move and stretch much more.
And be sure to do some kind of physical exercise later in the day--walking, swimming, whatever you choose to do. Your energy flows will be stronger, more alive, if you do this.
(Unfortunately, even after many of these blissful sessions, my upper back still hurts. I have a chronic problem there that seems to be exacerbated by some of the exercises, but it is well worth it to have the experience in the sessions.)
My form of practice has changed a great deal through the years. This excerpt from a poem included in "A Cloth of Fine Gold" describes some of the earlier forms of meditation.
THE STAGES OF BLISS
Once, yogi returned,
I sat on the floor,
did puja with bells and clasped hands--
asanas were the key--
heavy bliss flows stirring
like rivers of love,
everything for the god/goddess
who had come at last.
Then I became music--
kirtans, bhajans, Brahms,
honey in the throat, the hands.
to stroke the hidden
angels kissing me alive.
Who could refuse such favor?
Then it was Buddha
thongka on my wall,
image bringing ineffable joy.
I bowed and rapture
flooded my crown,
I withstood it to the edge of feeling
as I rose toward some other realm.
Was I still there?
Now I stand
in the center of silence,
soft wind stirring leaves,
moon stilling the waters.
I bow quietly,
Light flowing in gentle pulses,
a subtle sweetness,
the other telling me once more
who I am.