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Season 1 - Episode 4

Attention Without Tension

20 min - Practice
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Description

Awareness is the mechanism of transformation. In this meditation we tether our awareness to the body in order to quiet the mind. We focus the mind along the vertical axis of the body, allowing it some movement up and down the axis with our breathing, and gently and affectionately bringing the mind back when it wanders. Through this exercise we may also begin to sense that we intake subtler substance from the air, and thereby we may connect to the subtler levels of reality. It is said that Without God it cannot be done, but without human beings it will not be done. Together, we seek to find the connection between divine energies and human effort.
What You'll Need: No props needed

Transcript

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One of the serious requirements for any practice in meditation is quieting the mind. And by its usual nature the mind is jumping around and running around. So to assist it to be a little quieter, it is helpful to connect it with the body which is much more stable. So let us try right now. We try to connect our mind with the vertical axis in the body. Try to sense this axis from the top of the head to the base of the spine. Traditionally this is called the world axis along which subtle energies move in the body. So I connect the mind with this axis but not at any fixed point because not being accustomed to being completely quiet, it will rebel. So let the mind move up and down this axis, but not away from it. And if it does move away, not to be resenting it, but with affection bring it back. And I allow it to, this movement to coordinate with my breathing. As I breathe out, the mind can move down the axis. As I breathe in, it can move up the axis. Again a reminder not to hold your breath outside or inside, but just because I pay attention to my breathing, the quality of my breathing deepens and therefore the movement of the mind naturally slows down a little. Also a reminder that the present use of the word breath does not convey the richness still conveyed by the Chinese word Qi and the Sanskrit word prana. Very strong suggestion that prana is the connecting link between all levels of reality. In fact an ancient Upanishad says prana is Brahma, the highest reality. And this suggestion is that if I can breathe with more awareness than I usually do, then from the same air that I am breathing always, I can take in subtler substances or all chemical substances, that enhance the quality of my consciousness. So with that theoretical background now I see if I can try to breathe with more awareness than I was doing usually or earlier. And here it is important to question myself what is the difference now as I wish to breathe with more awareness than earlier, when I was just breathing without obvious more awareness.

Because a simple reminder that awareness is the mechanism of transformation of the quality of my breath. Perhaps to assist us try to watch the trajectory of in-breath. As the breath enters the nostrils, where does it go? Here I invite you not to rely on whatever we have usually read in a physiology book, but to actually watch. And how do I know where it goes? Along the trajectory one can experience a change in humidity or change in temperature, as if it is touching the body. So take a few moments now to simply watch the trajectory of the in-breath, because that will assist me to breathe with more awareness. Now we add to this also watching the trajectory of the out-breath. Only by external knowledge we know that the in-breath and the out-breath have different chemical composition and different functions in the body. Do they have the same trajectory or different trajectories? In all spiritual practice, never to conclude that I know the final answer, I search, I understand something, I know something, but not the final solution. So now I'm watching the trajectory of the in-breath as well as the out-breath. They clearly coincide in the beginning and the end, but do they have the same trajectory? The reason for suggesting this little exercise is that it will assist me to breathe with more awareness than I usually do, and then it can assist me to take in subtler substances from the same air than I usually do. And if I succeed it will connect me with subtler levels of reality, at least temporarily. Also more interest I have in watching this trajectory actually assists in quieting my mind or staying connected with my body. Again a reminder not to hold my breath outside or inside and to maintain the right posture, sort of a verticality without rigidity, remaining relaxed.

Always a reminder to myself that ultimately my whole life is not wholly led by me, it's not created by me. Everything in the universe, a helpful reminder, without God it cannot be done, but without human beings it will not be done. So trying to find a subtle connection between divine energies and human effort, not simply to accept what I'm saying but to watch carefully. If the in-breath does not take some oxygen or subtler elements into our head, our brain will atrophy. So it doesn't go directly into the lungs. Just watch it carefully. And after taking three more breaths then again return to what we started with, watching the movement of the mind up and down the vertical axis in my body. The last opening to close after the birth of a baby is the opening at the top of the head, which seems to bring a barrier between subtle energies coming from above and connection with my body. So if I now watch carefully this vertical axis along with which my mind moves, as if some energy can enter into my head, as if I was breathing through my skull, not taking any of this literal-mindedly, but depending on my attention and intention, breathing in through my skull and placing my out-breath into the whole of my body. Also to watch carefully. Every time we bring some attention to something, naturally some tension also accompanies. So remaining relaxed and bringing attention without tension, breathing in through my skull, placing my out-breath into the whole of the body, right down to the toes.

Now without rushing, take three breaths. Nourishing the whole of the body and then we'll stop. Thank you.

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