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Actual oneness

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Actual oneness
Answer
9/30/14 9:13 AM
Hi DO-folks. Thought I'd drop this here, if someone is interested in such a topic. Feel free to comment.

Cheers,
- Baba


Actual oneness

 
On several occasion I have written and talked about the progressive stages of
the yogic path. The three main stages are: awakening/enlightenment,
liberation (skt. jivanmukta/arhat) and surpassed state (skt.
mahasiddha/paramukta/full buddhahood). In this article I will share
my casual thoughts about the energetic process of the tantric
meditator in regards to karmic purification, compassion and the
actuality of ”oneness”. I will look at the issue from all the way
from beginning of the practice to very matured states.


Prana and shakti


First, I have to clarify the difference between two kinds of energies so that
the reader will later understand what I am talking about.


In my experience the vital/breath energy (skt. prana) and spiritual energy
(skt. shakti) are two entirely different kinds of energy which are
cultivated by different techniques. Prana which is cultivated through
physical practices such as asanas and bandhas or through breathing
energy practices (skt. pranayama), is very gross compared to fine and
pervasive shakti. It is my conclusion based on my own experiences
with prana-practices as well as through being in contact with many
people who have had pranic problems, that these two energies are not
the same. I've often seen discussions of ”energy problems”,
”kundalini problems” or ”kundalini syndrome” but all that has
nothing to do with the actual
kundalini shakti
or with other kinds of shakti which are numerous
.
Such problems are caused by pranic energy altogether. I think this is
one the biggest misunderstandings in yoga today. To put it simply:
Cultivated in excess prana, can cause problems while shakti that is
cultivated mainly through mantra can only cause solutions, in the
sense of removing dualistic barriers from the bodymind of the
practitioner. So, prana and shakti are different.

Why I say this is because it is my observation that the energetic purification
can not be achieved by prana practices alone. In order to
completely
purify the karmic knots from the subtle nervous system, one
must
combine the methods of pranayama and mantra. Mantra means syllables,
words or sentences that are spiritually potential. Mantra does not
mean just any formula of words that are repeated. Mantra is shakti in
the form of spoken language. My point is that in order to finish the
karmic purification in the channels and centers, one is required to
learn an integrated practice that combines both the prana-aspect
together with the shakti-aspect.


Purification of the channels


Every beginner yogi is taught how to purify his or her energy channels
(skt. nadi). This is mainly done by practicing various forms of
alternate nostril breathing (skt. nadi shuddhi pranayama). This practice is concerned with the
three main channels of the energetic (pranic) body which in turn are
in contact with numerous other channels of the energetic body. The
idea is to purify and balance the pranic currents on the left and
right sides of the body. This has a clarifying and calming effect on
the mind and emotions of the practitioner. In addition, when the side
channels are put into balance with each other, the central channel
becomes active. The central channel in the spine is the most active
channel during meditation. In other words, if either of the two side
channels is more active than the other, it will be difficult for a
beginner to meditate. For these two reasons, purifying the side
channels and activating the central nadi, is why the technique of
nadi suddhi pranayama is so widely taught. Despite of it being
probably the most well-known of all pranayamas, I have met none out
of hundreds of people who knew this technique who were aware of the
purpose of the practice. I have neither met a person who had actually
dove deep into the practice to the extent of getting his channels
purified.


I usually require my students to practice nadi shuddhi daily for at least one
year. Some do it longer. What takes place with the practice is that
the yogi feels his body becoming very light and less obstructed
compared to before. Also, the nostrils remain open and the central
channel is mostly active which in turn keeps the bodymind in a close
contact with calm meditative state, awareness itself. People often
describe this as having more free space within them which allows them
to be more relaxed, healthy and focused in whatever they pursue in
life. This calm state is called calm abiding (skt. shamatha) or
establishing a calm state. It is a state when one can clearly
recognise pervasive peace and calm within that is permeated with
aliveness, bliss and love. That is good news for everyone, especially
those who are spiritually inclined. When a beginner achieves this
state it is sort of a first milestone in the practice. Most certainly
the benefit is felt.


Purification of the centers


Purification of the chakra-system (skt. chakra suddhi) in most cases requires much
longer time than nadi suddhi (we talk about nadi suddhi here having
the meaning of purifying the three main channels). It is a matter of
question what type of a chakra system is concerned as there different
kinds of them that different traditions use. The most well known
system of chakras are the 7 basic ones between the pelvic floor (or
the tip of the tailbone) and the crown of the head or the 6 between
the tailbone and forehead. However, there are literally hundreds of
other centers in the bodymind of man and most of them store karmas,
samskaras and vasanas. I often use only the word ”karma” of all
kinds of energetic grooves and knots which rule the psychological
operation of man's mind in his daily life and makes him spiritually
ignorant. Most people are completely unaware that their behaviour is
biased because of these subtle imprints in their nervous system. I
think that meditating and chanting mantras in the 7 basic chakras is
good to begin with. Quite soon, if not right in the first few
practices, one will see the effect of yoga sadhana.


In my master's teaching a 14 center model is taken up from the beginning.
The total number of chakras that are included in the system number up
to 150. All of these centers are not in the torso and head area,
though. There are many in the limbs. As far as I know, there are also
other systems of yogic meditation that employ more elaborate chakra
models in their teachings than the one with 6 or 7 centers. This is
very good because not all karmas can be released from the 7 main
centers. Not very effectively, at least.


It is my experience that if we talk about the
complete
karmic purification, then we cannot leave out the subconscious mind.
By subconscious mind I refer to a vast storage of karmic files that
are stored in each human's bodymind. I have sometimes compared the
subconscious mind into a large room that is filled with thin spider
threads. That is how an ordinary persons karmic situation looks like.
There are so many of these imprints that it is hard to imagine.
However, with a proper yoga method all of the karmas can be uprooted.
I know of people who have managed to attain this without tantric
means but they have been monastic meditators for long periods of time
who have had the opportunity to spend several years in intensive
retreat. I on the other hand am a tantric practitioner with a job,
family and many other obligations. This being the case, I don't have
even nearly as much time for practice than a monastic has. Therefore
I advocate tantric means that concern initiation given by a guru and
the tool of mantra and visualisation, in addition to pranayama. If a
person is inclined to practice tantric yoga, surely it is much faster
way to complete karmic purity than the classic/monastic way. This is
my personal opinion.


Body of a jivanmukta


As I implied before the subtle body (also called energy body or astral
body) of man contains hundreds of energy centers, of various sizes.
The classic texts give numbers like 72 000 or 720 000 for the total
number of channels. This complex of many centers and channels contain
all of man's dualistic ignorance. Specifically, it is below the level
of the forehead that the various karmas are stored. There are also
practices for the centers at the forehead and crown level but these
are not for their purification but just for activating them.


Let's try to figure out how this congregation of nadis and chakras looks like.
Imagine that you sit inside a big balloon that is 2-3 meters (6-9
ft.) in diameter. You are sitting in the center of the sphere. First,
imagine that there is one single line or thread (nadi), thin like
spider's thread, that travels from one side of the sphere to the
other side of it, going through your body. For now, it doesn't matter
whether it goes from top to down or from left to right etc. Just
imagine one line inside the balloon. Then add a second line. Then add
a third line, and fourth, and fifth and so on until the whole balloon
is filled with these single lines. This is of course a visualised
exercise but
actually there are so many nadis in your subtle body.
This information can be verified in meditation.


Consider the sphere, that is the aura of your personal bodymind, entirely
filled with thin lines. A non-yogi's aura is filled with numerous
karmic traces. It could be compared to the nadis being coloured with
shades of random colours. We can imagine how the whole complex could
be mixed with random colours making a non-harmonious whole. When one
advances in nadi and chakra purification, the whole complex becomes
more and more clear, until all traces are gone. When karmic
purification is brought to maturity, the nadis and chakras can be
perceived to be like hollow tubes, like thin tubes made of flexible
clear glass. When the nadis and centers become completely clear, the
nervous system can also transmit various spiritual energies (skt.
shakti) to others naturally.


How it might feel to have an entirely purified nervous system of a liberated
person (skt. jivanmukta/arhat)? You can, for example, find a picture
of old Ramana Maharishi and feel the energy that is emanating from
him. Of course, such people also exist today in physical form.


Body of a paramukta


Jivanmukta-hood or liberation means that all causes of dualistic delusion have been
rooted out or have been seen through in the bodymind of a person.
Here is a simple overall explanation for this.


There are two kinds of causes of delusion in man's mind: the primary cause of
delusion and the secondary causes of delusion. The primary cause of
delusion is the I-sense that sits in the place of a subject. When you
think or say, ”I am angry”, it is the ”I” in front of the
sentence that I'm talking about. It is the entity that can be called
a subject*. The secondary causes of delusion are the inner objects:
mental and emotional stuff . These objects are many and they spring
up from the subconscious mind, the karmic storage, that I mentioned
before. If you again say, ”I am angry” or ”I am happy”, it is
the feeling of anger or happiness that I am talking about. All
secondary causes of delusion have some feel of I-ness in them. These
two causes can be clearly analysed.


* Please, refer to free e-book ”
Awake! Stories of
awakening and dialogues leading to it” by the author to study this in detail.

So, a person becomes liberated, totally free from existential suffering,
when the primary and secondary causes of delusion are seen through.
Such a persons mind is lucid and clear at all times. It is just
freedom, whether or not there are thoughts or emotions going on in
the mind. The thoughts and emotions are not the same as before, they
are transparent, not solid entities with a sense of self anymore.
There are no existential confusion and mistaken identification. It is
just clear and pure. It is all very natural and simple, just as you
can see from Ramana's face.


There is progress after liberation as well. The path doesn't end up in the
liberated state. 
Often, when talking about full buddhahood (which is not limited to buddhism
by the way) or spiritual masters, words like omniscient, omnipresent
and omnipotent come up. A good friend of mine who is a disciple of a
living avatara, a master who has attained full buddhahood, once joked
that his master could turn the Earth into a cube is she wished to. In
regards to omnipotence, if I think of my own master and his peers who
are many, I am not sure if that is what it means, that the master
could actually do
whatever he wished to, for example turn Earth into a cube or change all the
salt water in the seas go sweet. I don't think that is what
omnipotence means. Here is another view into this matter.


In regards to channels and centers, there is indeed a further progress after the
attainment of liberation. Like I said, liberation means that the
persons own bodymind becomes fully pure and transparent. It is like a
single box that was earlier filled with all kinds of useless stuff
but has now been cleared up. Hence, the space inside the box is
unobstructed and ever connected. This could be called the
unification
of the microcosmic energy system
.

There is also a unification of the microcosmic energy system with the
macrocosmic energy system. By macrocosmic system I refer to
everything else, in various forms and dimensions that exists outside
the box, the persons own bodymind. Before, we imagined our bodies
inside the big balloon filled with thin nadis. You get a picture of
these nadis going through your body and extending to all directions
and various dimensions of existence, all at the same time. It is like
a massive bundle of threads connected to everything alse.


There are perhaps as many of those thin tubes, nadis, as there are physical
cells in the human body. The modern science is not uniform of the
number of the cells in the human body but nevertheless the most often
stated number is
several tens of billions of cells. It seems
to me that there are nadis for each of the cells in the body. Of
course a nadi is made of energy, not of physical matter. The nadi
begins from the energetic counterpart of the physical cell. There are
so many of those thin tubes of pure transparency and pure light, in
our bodies, that is more impressive than any fireworks ever in China.
And they do have amazing fireworks in Asia!


Question
rises: Where do the nadis actually go? What is there at the other end
of the lines? Here is where it gets absolutely beautiful.


The plot thickens


At the other end of the billions of nadis of each of our bodies are... all
other sentient beings. I have all those billions of channels, you
have them and all living beings have them. Of course, we as human
beings (can) exist simultaneously on a great number of dimensions
(which open up from each chakra) at the same time. Animals and
vegetation are not capable of this (some animals like dolphins can
be). The more advanced you are spiritually, the greater is the scale
of dimensions you are aware of. A liberated person can be aware from
anything from the very low level of insects and simple animals all
the way up to the bodhisattvas who are nearly buddhas.


It is a beautiful orchestration of oneness that is actually taking place
everywhere at this enerhgetic level. This is what oneness actually
means. When all causes of delusion have been uprooted from the
bodymind of a person, one can become aware of this oneness as an
actual experience. Then it is not an idea anymore but an actuality.


I know some people have the idea of oneness as some single Being that inlcudes
all life forms. Some people call it God or Self (skt. atman/brahman).
I think that is OK but I would like to clarify that the oneness that
I am talking about could be rather explained as ”interconnectedness”
that is devoid of self. From the absolute point of view there is no
one, no entity, that this oneness is. It is all an I-less, self-less
occurrence made of grace and compassion.


Prayer of compassion


As all beings are actually connected like this, through the subtle net of
billions of energetic threads, it is only natural for us to think and
act in terms of compassion, love and equality. Even hatred and other
forms of gross suffering are met with this pervaisve sense of love
and compassion. Along the centuries many masters have talked about
this. It is because of this why in many world religions there are
prayers and ceremonies fto increase happiness, harmony and liberation
within and among all beings. The underlying reason for compassion is
this interconnectedness.


For this
reason, I would like to conclude with a simple prayer.


Lokaha Samastaha Muktaha Bhavantu
Lokaha Samastaha Muktaha Bhavantu
Lokaha Samastaha Muktaha Bhavantu


May all beings attain liberation.
May all beings attain liberation.
May all beings attain liberation.


- Baba, 9/2014
Samadhi Path, www.samadhipath.com

The author is a professional teacher of non-sectarian tantric yoga in the
lineage of his teacher. He is based at Helsinki, Finland but has
students in Brasil, France, Singapore and Australia.

RE: Actual oneness
Answer
10/3/14 8:34 AM as a reply to Kim Katami.
Hello, Kim, kind regards.

The alternate nostril breathing interests me and I would like to incorporate it in with my other exercises.  Does this youtube video explain it well?


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WxEqooqgCEs

I
 haven't worked through it yet, only sampled it, and will let you know what comes up.

best,
colleen

RE: Actual oneness
Answer
10/3/14 10:24 AM as a reply to Karalee Peltomaa.
Yes, the vid seems all right.

RE: Actual oneness
Answer
10/3/14 4:18 PM as a reply to Kim Katami.
How would you explain this mantra idea to a materialis?  Is the reason magical - as in, the words themselves have power in the universe - or psychological - as in repeating a phrase embeds it within the mind and causes emotional changes?

Edit: Full disclosure - I don't really believe in spiritual energy, but I'm willing to try something if it seems to have a relationship to my interest in emotional liberation.  I hope my question doesn't start a flame war - these things seem to be touchy on this forum.

RE: Actual oneness
Answer
10/3/14 11:35 PM as a reply to Not Tao.
Not Tao,

I think it is a good question. I go for the practical explanation which is that different sounds directly affect different parts, in various degrees, of our psychology. I wish I had an English transcript of a speech (1 h 45 min) that I give a couple of months ago to make this clear. Certainly, mantras are a science directly connected with mans psychology and its various parts. Though, of course there are many who don't know/talk about this but rather talk about it in mystical light.

Baba

RE: Actual oneness
Answer
10/4/14 12:14 AM as a reply to Kim Katami.
I have considered that mantra may work as another form of concentration so in that way works similar to following the breath or any other form of fixated concentration.  Concentration seems to help tame the monkey mind at least for the duration of the concentration, which can be a form of relief for many and with a bit of luck, may also form better monkey mind  habits.  Mantra and repeated sounds have also been used through history to bring about altered mental states. 
-Eva

RE: Actual oneness
Answer
10/4/14 12:43 AM as a reply to Eva Nie.
Sure Eva.

RE: Actual oneness
Answer
10/4/14 4:57 AM as a reply to Kim Katami.
Interesting.  So, do you think listening to recordings would work just as well?  This makes me think of binaural beats, actually.  Music definately has a marked effect on the mood - but this is could be a cultural/learned thing.

RE: Actual oneness
Answer
10/4/14 10:22 AM as a reply to Not Tao.
Not Tao:
Interesting.  So, do you think listening to recordings would work just as well?  This makes me think of binaural beats, actually.  Music definately has a marked effect on the mood - but this is could be a cultural/learned thing.


Definitely yes if we talk in very broad terms. I don't know what binaural beats are.

RE: Actual oneness
Answer
10/7/14 6:46 AM as a reply to Kim Katami.
I didn't see your message for a couple of days but I somehow managed to get it visible. I still don't get why the messages don't open in consecutive pages...

Reg. the exercise. It is a simple exercise and everyone knows it. My article is not meant as an instruction to any practices mentioned. I also don't feel right to give you instructions in any practice without knowing anything about you.

Baba

RE: Actual oneness
Answer
10/7/14 8:03 AM as a reply to Kim Katami.
Kim Katami:
I didn't see your message for a couple of days but I somehow managed to get it visible. I still don't get why the messages don't open in consecutive pages...

Reg. the exercise. It is a simple exercise and everyone knows it. My article is not meant as an instruction to any practices mentioned. I also don't feel right to give you instructions in any practice without knowing anything about you.

Baba
Okay, my mistake and I deleted my post because it is irrelevant.  Yes, the "Home Message Board" no longer displays for me.   Only Daniel's "Dho..." message displays.