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Chakras and the stages of insight

Chakras and the stages of insight
Answer
4/24/15 1:07 PM
Hello.

I'm new to this path, but very curious.

As I understand it Daniel has put forth a clear and straight-forward path to SE and beyond.

I have in my possession a book called "Kundalini Tantra" by Swami Satyananda Saraswati http://www.amazon.com/Kundalini-Tantra-Re-print-Golden-Jubilee/dp/8185787158. He seems like a real scholar on his topics. Anyway, in this book he maps out practices for awakening the kundalini by cleansing and awakening chakras, from the bottom up.

My question is, how does these 2 paths (Ingram/Saraswati) relate to each other?

Will they produce similar results or are the two paths very dissimilar in the effects they will in the end result in?

For example, will entering SE and going beyond also purify and awaken your chakras?

RE: Chakras and the stages of insight
Answer
4/25/15 4:22 AM as a reply to Malte.
Energetic practice can be powerful and interesting practice and produce all sorts of effects.

It is in ways related to the progress and stages of insight, particularly as in the stage of the Arising and Passing away some people can see and/or feel and/or manipulate energy channels and chakras.

In the same way, Energetic practices can cause people to cross the stage of the A&P. The problem comes that in the later stages, such as the Dark Night and Equanimity, chakras and channels tend to not be as clear or as helpful a model.

Later on, however, as practice continues, there are still lots of things to be gained from thinking about things in terms of chakras and channels and the like.

As I hopefully say somewhere in MCTB, the energetic models are problematic in terms of mapping them to stages of awakening, particularly when conceptualized in terms of perfecting, regularizing, and aligning all the chakral centers and channels, as the energetic system is quite variable, it being a complex aspect of a very complex animal.

What energetic experiences and/or practices have you had and/or done?

Daniel

RE: Chakras and the stages of insight
Answer
4/26/15 10:40 AM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
It's extremely interesting to hear your take on this. I haven't had the pleasure to read your book yet, I'm looking forward to start doing so at the end of may this year. Do you have any preferred sources when it comes to learning about chakras and energies? This isn't for me just yet though, but it's always good to have good sources in memory.

I have very little experience with energetics or chakras, except for doing a few of Satyanandas Kundalini excercises a few years back. To be honest I don't think it's my main path, the practices are not intuitive to me, although I totally liked his lucid account of them. My main motivation for asking the question is that I really like getting an overview of things and how they relate to each other, and I find that hard to do in the spiritual field (so far), but the kind of answers I've gotten in this thread helps a LOT.

RE: Chakras and the stages of insight
Answer
4/25/15 7:15 AM as a reply to Malte.
4th nana commonly manifests as kundalini lower in the spine for me.. high equanimity commonly occurs as kundalini rising up through the skull, leading to fruition, where it passes behind the eyes, causing them to roll back in the head. this leads me to think 4-11 represents the chakras opening with rising energy.

i studied in an ayp tradition under stuart perrin, who was a top student of its founder, albert rudolph, rudrananda.  here are some paraphrased ideas  from "14 years with my teacher", a book about rudi by Johm Mann.  Around page 143 he explains that the first phase of a cycle is the third eye opening, with all the chakras allowing the energy to be brought down to the sex center.  once there, its transmuted into spiritual energy, at which point that energy rises up the spine, one chakra at a time.  the culmination of the process is the opening at the crown chakra.

based on a tradition I trust and my own experience, I would suggest that the initial third eye opening in which the energy enters and travels down is the 1st vipassana jhana, nanas 1 through 3.  vip. jhanas 1 through 4 then correspond to the rising energy.  When it opens, that is path.  When the energy settles down again (usually a month or so after path), it starts to reenter the third eye, signalling the beginning of another cycle.  Review is when the yogi is able to explore the mental territory corresponding to sections of the spine.  he is able to do this because the chakras have not yet reclosed.

RE: Chakras and the stages of insight
Answer
4/26/15 10:48 AM as a reply to Noah.
Very interesting that you make the connection of energy traveling through the body/chakras so clearly to the jhanas. That is quite direct. Is this interpretation common?

RE: Chakras and the stages of insight
Answer
4/26/15 12:41 PM as a reply to Malte.
Malte, the connection lies moreso with the nanas, or insight knowledges, which would refer to states of attention that are disembedded from their objects.  Although qualitatively separate, the nanas do correspond to states of embedded attention called jhanas, which are absorptions.  A clean cut way to group the nanas together to form this correspondance is to call them "vipassana jhanas", which I shortened to vip. jhana.  

The important difference is that the vipassana lense (nana-disembedded attention) would correspond to efforts in energy work that lead to permanent transformations, i.e. completions of kundalini circuits.  The samatha lense (jhana-embedded attention) would correspond to efforts in energy work that lead to greater stability and balance within the energy system, but not necessarily the type of jarring disruptions that transform the entire system, i.e. resting in the grounding nature of the 3rd chakra.

I have never heard anybody else connect these two ideas in this way.  Kenneth Folk has expressed parallel thoughts though, and I'd imagine that their are many DHO'ers who have similar ideas that have been expressed here or in their blogs, etc.  Being an obsessive person, I tend to doubt the truth of my conceptualization.  That being said, I truly believe in the general outline of this concept as actually being the way it works for humans.

RE: Chakras and the stages of insight
Answer
4/29/15 4:25 PM as a reply to Noah.
Sorry, I actually meant nanas, not jhanas. Anyway, it's clear to me that I need to read the MCTB to get the vocabulary and basic understanding right in order to participate in a more meaningful way in this forum, and I also to get my training aligned with the contents on here as well.

You guys (everyone who's replied so far in my threads) provide tremendously helpful and insightful things but I feel i can't make much use of it until I get a vipassana practice going and more experiential knowledge, myself.

I think your thoughts on kundalini and vipassana/samatha are very interesting and on a side-note, I'd love to be able to future ahead be able to connect neuropsychological, neurological knowledge with knowledge of the energy system - how do these interact and/or co-create each other? Very exciting questions, I think, hope some people will be able to work that out more up ahead. It would also be very interesting to hear other forumer's thoughts about your conceptualizations. 

RE: Chakras and the stages of insight
Answer
4/26/15 10:52 AM as a reply to Malte.
Ok so if I understand you, your view is that working with chakras is about strengthening and making connection between different regions or aspects of the nervous system, allowing them to integrate and to communicate effectively with each other? And that this 'purification' can be done either through working with chakras directly or through other means i.e. vipassana and samatha.

RE: Chakras and the stages of insight
Answer
4/29/15 4:44 PM as a reply to Malte.
Malte:

My question is, how does these 2 paths (Ingram/Saraswati) relate to each other?

Will they produce similar results or are the two paths very dissimilar in the effects they will in the end result in?

For example, will entering SE and going beyond also purify and awaken your chakras?

Chakras are points in the body where some muscles tense or relax in a more pronounced way depending upon what is going on in the mind. Those points of the body are more actively connected to our primitive parts of the brain. For eg., if there is a danger to one's life and limb and one is fearful, then the muscles around the lower spine region contract. If you have seen a frightened dog, you may have noticed that its tail goes down and the back end goes bit lower and they may pee a bit too. If the person remains fearful (which almost everybody is to a certain degree without even being aware of it), then the muscles remain contracted and that has harmful effects on the health of the individual.

One can start from either the chakra side or the mind side but for better results, both the systems should be practiced for more lasting results and understanding.

RE: Chakras and the stages of insight
Answer
4/29/15 4:48 PM as a reply to Change A..
Change A.:

One can start from either the chakra side or the mind side but for better results, both the systems should be practiced for more lasting results and understanding.
Do you have a source to recommend on how to get accustomed to the chakras and working with them, or perhaps if you know if the "Kundalini Tantra" book is a decent place to start? I'm more familiar with the mind territory. 

RE: Chakras and the stages of insight
Answer
4/29/15 5:36 PM as a reply to Malte.
Malte:
Do you have a source to recommend on how to get accustomed to the chakras and working with them, or perhaps if you know if the "Kundalini Tantra" book is a decent place to start? I'm more familiar with the mind territory. 

Anything by Bihar School of Yoga is good which is where the book you have came from.

I think the way to get accustomed to the chakras is to have some experience in meditation where you require to focus on the sensations in the body and also some experience with the meditation where you need to focus on the mind. When you have both, then you can find out for yourself as to how one affects the other.

RE: Chakras and the stages of insight
Answer
4/29/15 5:41 PM as a reply to Change A..
That's awesome, I've always wanted to plow through it but could never prioritize it. Would you say that it is a common opinion, that both systems (energy and mind) should be exercised properly for best results?

RE: Chakras and the stages of insight
Answer
4/29/15 5:59 PM as a reply to Malte.
Different schools put more emphasis on one aspect than the other and may start from one end or the other. Yogic schools put more emphasis on the physical part whereas the meditative schools obivously put more emphasis on the mind side. In Hinduism, they put more emphasis on the yogic postures. In Buddhism, they put more emphasis on the mind. But in Hinduism also, they have some meditation part to it. In Buddhism, different traditions have their own ways. Vajrayana has their physical practices towards the end. Theravada has its walking meditation. I thought that in Japanese Buddhism, they put way more emphasis on sitting meditation until I saw the documentary about the monks of Mt. Hiei.

RE: Chakras and the stages of insight
Answer
4/30/15 9:08 AM as a reply to Malte.
You can try the navel center meditation to get a taste of working with the chakras.

RE: Chakras and the stages of insight
Answer
4/29/15 6:56 PM as a reply to Malte.
Just some thoughts someone might find useful

From a certain POV all energy practices can be considered organic. From another POV all energy practices can be considered inorganic. Even so, be careful with doing energy work in a mechanical way. Prodding energy centers or energy blockages too much, doing too much bodywork, and particularly disregarding feelings, etc can cause serious instability. Super cereal

RE: Chakras and the stages of insight
Answer
4/30/15 3:15 PM as a reply to Malte.
Oh, one of my favourite topics.

The commonly known system of 7 chakras between the pelvic floor and the spine is a limited area of the whole energy-awareness complex of man. The method that I am involved with has two additional sets of 7 chakras: 7 centers in each limb which consists most of the subconscious mind and 7 centers above the crown. So you have 21 levels of chakras altogether. These can be chopped into much smaller pieces/deities if wanted. Being a tantric junkie of some sort, I have counted over 150 deities/awareness energies in relation to these smaller chopped chakra systems. Especially the spine can be chopped into really small departments. Anyway.

The 7 chakra system together with kundalini does enable significant progress in ones mental and emotional bodies as well as enable awakening/stream entry. My own exp, as well as my past teachers and Ramana Maharishi's is that when the channels are clear then kundalini can rise from the root, pass the crown and rise high above the head (reference to the third system of chakras that I mentioned before) and then settle back into heart again. At heart kundalini takes permanent seat and disappears for good. I am not fully convinced that stream entry and this kundalini dissolution always go together even though in my, my teachers and in many of my students case it has.

Talking of chakras and insight. There is a thing called bhumis or grounds known in vajrayana. Given number of bhumis differ. Bhumi refers to a ground of attained pure awareness.

One of the masters with whom I shave studied gave me a bhumi system that consists of 13 grounds. The first one is attained with stream entry/awakening. Center-wise this is at the level of the eyes in the spine. The next ones all the way up to 6th bhumi are between this eye level location and the crown. It is like small steps on top of each other. When you get to 6th bhumi, you have purified all your subconscious karmas and hence are a jivanmukta/arhat. So the deeper you go in subconscious cleansing, the higher the bhumi gets to.

A common misunderstanding among hindus is that if you hold your attention, get your energy or something vague like that to the crown or forehead, then one has attained God or something like that. But in practice it doesn't go like that because the subconscious impressions go wild as soon as you stand up and go about your daily stuff whatever it is. I am not very convinced of what hindu folks say about these things. Adi Shankara said something like "The seed of even old yogis become nervous upon seeing a young lady". This happens because they haven't cleared up their subconscious minds. And many teachers from many traditions have demosntrated this during the last several decades whether sex, money, power or whatever scandals.

When the whole of subconscious has been cleaned there are further bhumis, grounds, to go. This is the system above the crown. I think I have never seen anyone else than vajrayana lamas in these higher bhumis. Various people get to the 6th though which is also not common. The 1st chakra above the head is about 4-5 inches above the crown and it relates to bhumi number 7. The highest of the chakras above the crown is 5-6 meters/15-16 feet up from the crown. Bhumis until the 5th center above the head are still bodhisattva stages. 5th-7th centers above the head is the attainment of full Buddhahood.

Hope this helps.

Cheers,
Baba

RE: Chakras and the stages of insight
Answer
4/30/15 4:50 PM as a reply to Kim Katami.
Hey Baba, 
I'm very curious about the Bhumis above the head.  Where can I find more information on this map that speaks in a somewhat pragmatic or down to earth lense?  I'd like to know what techniques are used past 4th path to progress through the bhumis.  I'd also like to know how these 'ground' attainments manifest in terms of thought, emotional, and physical patterns, as well as ramifications for behavior.  Finally, what is the success rate of attaining them and how many 100's or 1000's of hours might be involved?
Thanks in advance!
Noah

RE: Chakras and the stages of insight
Answer
5/1/15 3:15 AM as a reply to Noah.
Noah S:
Hey Baba, 
I'm very curious about the Bhumis above the head.  Where can I find more information on this map that speaks in a somewhat pragmatic or down to earth lense?  I'd like to know what techniques are used past 4th path to progress through the bhumis.  I'd also like to know how these 'ground' attainments manifest in terms of thought, emotional, and physical patterns, as well as ramifications for behavior.  Finally, what is the success rate of attaining them and how many 100's or 1000's of hours might be involved?
Thanks in advance!
Noah
Bhumis are both in the head and above it, related to chakras on these areas. I have never seen down-to-Earth explanation of bhumis although you can find lots of information about it. I wrote a lenghty explanation of it but unfortunately it is in Finnish. The paradigm of paths is not so familiar to me but if you are asking what techniques are used to attain full Buddhahood from the bodhisattva stage or to get from "path of meditation" to "path of no more learning" (checked these terms from Wikipedia), then yes there are practices for these. In our system there are two distinct practices. In the first practice after complete karmic purification (6th bhumi) the chakra system above the head is incorporated with the chakra system in the body. This will bring about the 11th-13th bhumis or full Buddhahood. Then there are further transformational practices, if wanted.

As far as I can tell (8th bhumi at present) there is no change mental or emotional-wise from 6th-7th-8th bhumis. However between 1st-6th bhumis there is a great transformation taking place in one's psychology. The sense of non-suffering or freedom is the same. I suppose it is so all the way to Buddhahood. However, there is change in subtleness or wholeness, should I say. It's like a piece of fruit becoming more and more delicious with each bhumi. Check the vids I have documented so maybe you can sense some difference between them (6th-7th-8th): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9qqbtQjOiI&index=9&list=PLqTm9fV9DGhtMC0mMJXwEytpxTVbpX2Q-

How quickly all this is attained depends greatly on several factors: abilities and dedication of the student, all around-ness of the method, abilities of the teacher as well as the lineage. I would have never been able to progress so quickly or should I say comparatively quickly without the help of my teacher who had attained 6th bhumi/liberation/arhathood and most importantly without the help of several masters, fully blown Buddhas, in sambhogakaya/energetic form.

Whether we are talking about hundreds, thousands or tens of thousands of hours or in more broad terms liberation in this life or the next ones, depends on several matters. It seems various non-tantric people are able to get to arhathood which is great, though it is my observation that the ones who do are really hard core practitioners. Because of this I think that for people of our time tantric method is much more suitable. I said earlier that I have never seen any other than vajrayana lamas in bhumis higher than the 6th. Guru Yoga is indispensable when it comes to these higher attainments, together with the guidance of someone who has managed to get there. This is my personal opinion.

I have a handful of dedicated students who have practiced between 2½-5 years. Some of them have 5-10 years of previous practice experience while some don't. They are lay people with jobs and families who practice each day for an hour or two and occasionally join 2-7 day retreats. All of them are stream entrants and working their butts off get to the 6th bhumi. My estimation is that they all probably get there in 2-3 years but at this point this is just speculation.

Hope this is of use.

Cheers,
Baba

RE: Chakras and the stages of insight
Answer
5/1/15 7:30 AM as a reply to Kim Katami.
Thanks for the reply, Baba.  Based on the details that there isn't much down-to-earth technique or mapping info available, I don't think that such a practice would be highly relevant to me right now.  I suppose finding a good Vajrayana teacher to talk to might help.  I'm just sort of browsing for post 4th-path options.  

RE: Chakras and the stages of insight
Answer
4/30/15 9:51 PM as a reply to Malte.
Different groups divide the process in different ways.  However, I found that this one: http://www.swamij.com/kundalini-awakening-4.htm describes some things a bit similar to parts of the paths.  I would say their stage 4, first awakening the kundalini, has similarities to attaining1st path. After that, they describe that kundalini must make it past difficult points at the base chakra (second path?) heart chakra (third path?) and the crown chakra (fourth path?) for kundalini to unite with the crown and you reach full enlightenment.  Somewhere in there, i remember them talking about cycling up and down between certain points until you finally get past that point to the next, which sounds similar to aspects of path.  After stage 6, they talk a tad about higher chakras past the normal seven.  They also give a bunch of advice on mechanical activities (body work) that are said to help achieve various stages.  (no idea how well those work, but they have a long tradition in those circles) 
-Eva

RE: Chakras and the stages of insight
Answer
5/1/15 1:12 AM as a reply to Eva Nie.
Thanks for the link, Eva.  I think I've actually read those pages before.  They sort of fit in with my current understanding, which doesn't include chakras above the head.  Its definitely a valuable website for real yoga practices.