- A series of outrageous ideas based on observation.
- A series of observable and testable principles.
- Anubhava - perception, apprehension, fruition, understanding, impression on the mind not derived from memory, experience, knowledge derived from personal observation or experiment, result, consequence. (also) cognition, consciousness.
- Svanubhava (svānubhava) - one's own personal experience or observation. Your own experiment.
- Svanubhavananda - the bliss of experiencing, experimenting, exploring, adventuring with your authentic self.
Just rest your awareness lightly on this series (krama) of ideas. They are interlinked. Although they are based in tradition, you can perceive them for yourself and learn to utilize them in your practice, your life, and your teaching.
Meditation happens naturally. What we call meditation is a spontaneous, full-body response.
The skill of how to cooperate with this inner wisdom can be learned, and taught. There are general principles that can be followed and adapted to the needs of each individual.
The techniques are invented by people spontaneously. The body-mind system invents these practices as needed. Most people seem to have discovered one ore more of the 112 basic meditation practices on their own. These spontaneous practices come so naturally that people don’t often notice them as techniques. People usually forget their natural gateways as quickly as they invent them.
Meditation is effortless. Attention naturally flows inward, to tend to your inner life, and outward, to tend to the world. Pratyahara happens naturally, in seconds.
Meditative experience is rhythmic. Because life is rhythm. There are pulsations happening every second (the pulsing of the heart), every few seconds (the flowing of air in and out of the lungs), and over several seconds (cycles of restfulness and restlessness.)
Meditative experience is sensuous. Touching, balancing, motion, listening, sensing subtle flows of blood, breath and energy – meditation practice utilizes the senses as doorways into the inner world.
Meditative experience is emotional. For those on the Path of Intimacy, with friends, lovers, desires, passions, houses, pets, jobs, partners, kids, much of meditation time is spend just feeling emotions, tending to the heart. Meditative experience is moody.
Meditation is often painful - because when you relax, you can feel whatever exhaustion and tension is in your body. With experience, you learn to discern this good pain - which is like receiving a massage - from pain that is to be avoided, as when you are abusing your system or working too hard.
When the muscles let go of held tension, there are sensations like pins and needles as circulation is restored. When the flow of attention enters any area of our feeling that has been stressed, we hurt as we re-experience what we were stressed about, and the sensations are like that of receiving a massage on sore muscles. Ouch is a form of OM.
You don’t have to make your mind blank. Your brain has a hundred billion cells, and a hundred billion times a hundred billion interconnections among cells. It is not going to shut down. All the sensations, emotions, inner conversations, mental pictures and movies, are part of the brain’s natural functioning and you want to give free rein to all of it. All these thoughts are already there, humming inside you. As you learn to not fear, not resist, not block, the hum of sensation, emotion, and thinking becomes a form of the hum of life, the hum of the mantra.
You can accept the longing for stillness as a desire for rest. Once you do this, you transform repression into longing, and the longing itself is a mantra that calls you inward. Acceptance is a magic power of attention that transforms obstacles into blessings.
You don’t have to concentrate. Just the opposite. Meditative attention is open attention, accepting. You attend to what is interesting to you, in your own natural way. In meditation, pay attention in the way you do to your favorite things, such as music, good food, nature, art.
Meditation is instinctive. Our inner wisdom guides us within, and leads us back again to orient to the outer world. We can give a name to the inner wisdom – pranashakti. And notice as it flows through our bodies continually. As the life energy flows, it alternates through the tones of feeding, homing, gathering, digesting, distributing, resting, dreaming, socializing, bonding, lovemaking, communing, exploring, playing.
Our passion is the built-in power source for meditation. You can call it shakti, the power of life, call it anything, but meditation is a way of cooperating with life’s ability to renew, heal, and evolve itself. You don’t have to give up your passions. In meditation, passion leads us inward to the source of this energy.
Each meditation is a journey, a yatra. Attention ventures inward, and encounters obstacles - fatigue, stress, to-do lists, worries, plans, and lots of unsorted emotions. There are sensations to tend to. As you notice each of these, the obstacle dissolves and gives you a gift of some kind, energy, relief, surrender, restfulness, release. Then you move on to new adventures, rejuvenation, and more obstacles. Then you return to your everyday life, refreshed.
Meditation happens in increments of 15 seconds or so. In spontaneous pratyahara, attention often dips into essence for a few seconds, then checks to see that the outer world is still there, then goes back inside. This alternation is natural, all you need to do is ride the wave. There are times when the rhythm gets longer - a few minutes inside, when the body and mind feel safe to stay there. Rhythm is not a problem or an obstacle in meditation.