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 Evolving Style of Meditation
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Jim and His Karma

2105 Posts

Posted - Mar 11 2006 :  3:08:18 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Message
Back in the days i did Zen, i sat ramrod straight, never moved a muscle, tried to cultivate "discipline" if back ached or I felt the need to scratch my nose. Go ahead, bee: sting me. I won't move! Very military. Got nowhere.

Then I got into asana. And when I meditated, I'd be extremely concerned with my sit bones being anchored to the floor, my shoulders back, chest open, spine straight, head aligned. Constant self-correction. Got nowhere.

Then I found AYP. I sat on a zafu (little cushion), started with good posture and alignment, but then just let go into mantra. I scoffed at Yogani's relaxed attitude about doing meditation in bed, with pillows for support. Deemed it for lightweights.

Then, on a day I was tired, I happened to meditate in bed, with my back against the wall. I had to worry less about my back, my posture, endurance, etc. My lower foot (I meditate in simple cross legs) didn't fall asleep from pressure on the hard floor anymore. Felt good.

One day I added a pillow between my back and the wall. So comfortable. No concern about discipline or alignment (though, at this point, after years of asana, I sit up pretty straight just naturally). Just feels nice and toasty. Felt real good.

Also, I scratch my nose whenever the hell I want. In fact, if I were to title this epoch of spiritual practice in my life, it'd be the "Nose Scratching Period." I yawn, moan, roll my head. Very un-Zen.

Finally, I recall times I was very young (8 or 9) when I would lie on the floor looking up, teaching myself progressive relaxation. I had no idea what I was doing, I knew nothing about anything. And I'm not sure I've yet gone as deep as an adult as I did back then. I keep learning things that I suddenly remember having learned as a kid (but lacking vocabulary and context to store/integrate at the time)) So all that intermediary stuff pretty much just screwed me up.

Just leaving breadcrumbs...

Edited by - Jim and His Karma on Mar 11 2006 3:14:38 PM

Sparkle

Ireland
1457 Posts

Posted - Mar 12 2006 :  6:02:34 PM  Show Profile  Visit Sparkle's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Jim, I can relate to that completely.
As a young boy I used to kneel at my bed and say my prayers. After a couple of minutes I would go into bliss and maybe half an hour or more come out and go to bed. This went on for years.

Now after more than 30 years of meditation including zen I am not in that place.
The difference as I see it is in the conscious awareness and in the grounding in mindfulness.
Its like Carl Jung says: you start life merged with unity, then you differentiate and then there is differentiated unity, unity with awareness.
I'm just starting the adventure of AYP and find it facinating.

Louis
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Jim and His Karma

2105 Posts

Posted - Mar 12 2006 :  9:59:51 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Be like a small child to enter the kingdom of heaven.
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Katrine

Norway
1813 Posts

Posted - Mar 13 2006 :  04:31:33 AM  Show Profile  Visit Katrine's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Sparkle wrote:

quote:
Its like Carl Jung says: you start life merged with unity, then you differentiate and then there is differentiated unity, unity with awareness.



This reminds me of one of my poems:


http://www.aypsite.org/forum/topic....TOPIC_ID=896


May all your Nows be Here

Edited by - Katrine on Mar 13 2006 04:33:04 AM
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Sparkle

Ireland
1457 Posts

Posted - Mar 13 2006 :  06:14:43 AM  Show Profile  Visit Sparkle's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Jim, I agree but think there is an added dimension to it, which Katrine's poem beautifully expresses.
Thank you Katrine.

To borrow also from someone elses words which are more elequent than mine, Eckhart Tolle wrote:

Thinking is a stage in the evolution of life. Nature exists in innocent stillness that is prior to the arising of thought. The tree, the flower, the bird, the rock are unaware of their own beauty and sacredness.
When human beings become still, they go beyond thought. There is an added dimension of knowing, of awareness, in the stillness that is beyond thought.

Nature can bring you stillness. That is its gift to you. When you perceive and join with nature in the field of stillness, that field becomes permeated with your awareness. That is your gift to nature.

Through you nature becomes aware of itself. Nature has been waiting for you, as it were, for millions of years.


I would see nature and the small baby as being in the same place.

-----------------------------------
Jim
On the AYP front, I'm just a beginner here, have never used a mantra before this. I am embracing it as I go but probably need to read more of the lessons, and keep reading them.
I sit on a chair myself ( gammy knee) and find, as you do, my back will straighten once I start spinal breathing.
I love the fact that the knoweledge is all layed out in front of you in such a clear and concise way with excellent direction. I find the forum a fantastic source of "here and now energy of discipline" (if that makes sense) as well as inspiration.
So rock on AYP, as I get into it more and integrate it with my other practices, I see myself becoming more disciplined and stable in my life.
Louis

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Katrine

Norway
1813 Posts

Posted - Mar 13 2006 :  06:37:13 AM  Show Profile  Visit Katrine's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Sparkle wrote from E.Tolle:

quote:
Nature can bring you stillness. That is its gift to you. When you perceive and join with nature in the field of stillness, that field becomes permeated with your awareness. That is your gift to nature.



How beautiful!

Thank you, Louis

May all your Nows be Here
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Jim and His Karma

2105 Posts

Posted - Mar 17 2006 :  7:27:00 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
quote:

Nature exists in innocent stillness that is prior to the arising of thought. The tree, the flower, the bird, the rock are unaware of their own beauty and sacredness.


Blissful unselfconsciousness. And then Eve bit that apple.

But, as Tolle says, even selfconsciousness has its place. Everything does.
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Manipura

USA
870 Posts

Posted - Mar 18 2006 :  01:52:24 AM  Show Profile  Visit Manipura's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Since I started meditating, my body position has always been to sit skewered on a cushion, without flinching and with as little movement as possible. Somehow I thought the discipline was good for me, and conducive to going deeper. Recently (since reading Jim's initial post) I've experimented with sitting on my bed and leaning against a pile of pillows. It's made an amazing difference. It's easier to let go when you're not holding on.
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Shanti

USA
4842 Posts

Posted - Mar 18 2006 :  09:33:02 AM  Show Profile  Visit Shanti's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
quote:
Meg said:
leaning against a pile of pillows. It's made an amazing difference. It's easier to let go when you're not holding on


Ditto...
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yogani

USA
5166 Posts

Posted - Mar 18 2006 :  11:30:48 AM  Show Profile  Visit yogani's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Secret Wisdom:

The road to enlightenment is paved with pillows.
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Jim and His Karma

2105 Posts

Posted - Mar 18 2006 :  2:12:04 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
LOL

Y'know, Yogani, you always observe that AYP was created via simplification, refinement, and integration of preexisting material. Is this an original aspect? I dont' know ANY other spiritual teachers who suggest such a relaxed approach to meditation.

Meg's line is so unbelievably dead-on right...why are 99.9% of spiritual teachers still teaching the ramrod, disciplined meditation posture? Is it because that's how they were taught, and nobody ever questioned the necessity?

Edited by - Jim and His Karma on Mar 18 2006 2:12:46 PM
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Cato

Germany
63 Posts

Posted - Jan 08 2020 :  08:32:44 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
quote:
Originally posted by Jim and His Karma

One day I added a pillow between my back and the wall. So comfortable. No concern about discipline or alignment (though, at this point, after years of asana, I sit up pretty straight just naturally). Just feels nice and toasty. Felt real good.



Just came across this old thread by Jim.
During spinal breathing pranayama, I realize that I tend to check the mudras and bandhas and also if the spine is still reasonably straight. I understand that this should be avoided in deep meditation (there aren't any mudras or bandhas to pay attention to, either). Would you say that it is okay during other practices (SBP, YMK etc.) to check mudras and bandas once in a while?
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Dogboy

USA
1702 Posts

Posted - Jan 08 2020 :  12:28:15 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
quote:
Would you say that it is okay during other practices (SBP, YMK etc.) to check mudras and bandas once in a while?


Absolutely. SBP for me is like stretching before the meet. It is the excitation and direction of prana, and my transition to the mantra and stillness. I use all the mantra enhancements, so by the time I reach the end of the first complete intonation, it is as if I have pushed away from the dock.

I, too, adjust as needed, touch my nose or tilt back my head, it does nothing to disturb my state; I am open to automatic movements, often lilting to and fro like kelp in a tidal pool. The mantra is a reliable tether in the currents.

No wonder this spills over into my asana class; often my fingers to flutter in outstretched poses. By scanning the body and encouraging it to open to serendipitous expression, one’s interior and exterior become harmonious. I endeavor to make my yoga as playful and unselfconscious as a child would, liberating my joy if nothing else! Like Jim AHK, I have vivid recollection of some play as a youth that could easily be labeled as ‘yoga practice’.


Edited by - Dogboy on Jan 08 2020 12:31:59 PM
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Jim and His Karma

2105 Posts

Posted - Jan 11 2020 :  8:29:21 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Computer people have a term, "cruft", referring to leftover, redundant, legacy elements in computer code that outlive their usefulness (or were never really useful to being with). Cruft gets in the way and weighs it all down and is superfluous and dysfunctional. It's sort of like "bloat".

Our practices inevitably pick up cruft over time, and it's not a good thing. Especially AYP, which is so pointedly simple, picks up complication like a paper cone accumulating strands of spinning cotton candy. We HATE simplicity, and are viscerally driven to complicate it. Human beings are incapable of just letting simplicity be. Complication and dramatization are what we're here for, and we even apply them to our yoga process of simplification and de-dramatization. We dramatize the simplification and complicate the de-dramatization.

When it comes to AYP, I have tricks to reverse this process (I reread the lessons, do practices in a very different setting, e.g. on a subway, or I take a week off and restart), and it feels like scraping barnacles off a boat hull. As with boat ownership, the scraping never, ever ends.

And the surprising thing is that the bright, cheerful super-positive and poetic and beautiful cruft is the most insidious. Dogboy, what a lovely picture you've painted! But I'm not gunning for loveliness. That, too, is cruft. None of that stuff is in the lesson; it's not part of the SBP practice. There are 10 billion other lovely perspectives and actions that aren't part of the practice. When you do the practice, part of the practice is to do the practice and not willingly add STUFF (aka cruft) onto it.

It's comparatively easy to let go of negative impulses. It's harder to let go of positivity, and most seekers will let go of their spiritual platitudes only when they're pried from their cold dead hands.

Cato, the mind has a billion strings to pull, and the super-yogic seeming ones ("straighten spine! Check in on mudras and bandhas!") are just more of that. To paraphrase Yogani, if, during practice, Patanjali roars past you on an iridescent stallion while the clouds part and Indra lovingly commands you to do this or that, deem it just another offramp - like an itchy armpit - and return to practice. Super duper yogic distractions are still distractions. Don't get punked.

Agreed that it's slightly more tolerable in spinal breathing than in meditation, but when you let cruft build up in certain zones, it has a tendency to backsplash. Yoga is a wanton holistic letting go, so beware of self-flattering spiritual-seeming modes of holding on.

Edited by - Jim and His Karma on Jan 11 2020 10:24:31 PM
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Jim and His Karma

2105 Posts

Posted - Jan 11 2020 :  8:51:28 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Cato -

Taking another take, in case it's clearer for you:

The practices facilitate letting go. If you're hanging on in order to facilitate the practices, you're backwards.
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Dogboy

USA
1702 Posts

Posted - Jan 12 2020 :  4:04:25 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Noted!
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Blanche

USA
603 Posts

Posted - Jan 14 2020 :  8:47:08 PM  Show Profile  Visit Blanche's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Or another way to put it: If you still worry about mudras, bandhas, and posture in the middle of the spinal breathing, you are not fully doing the practice. There is some part of your attention left outside the practice to get involved in distractions. It is not about avoiding distractions, as "avoidance" is just another form of distraction. It is about naturally paying attention to the practice, the same way you would pay attention to a movie or to a game, and completely lose track of everything else, not because you try hard to pay attention, but because your attention effortlessly flows to the most interesting thing.

You may check your posture, mudras, and bandhas before you start spinal breathing, and then completely give yourself to the practice. If in the middle of the practice a thought comes up, "what about my posture?," treat it as any other distraction, let it pass by, and simply come back to the practice.

Edited by - Blanche on Jan 14 2020 10:40:05 PM
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Dogboy

USA
1702 Posts

Posted - Jan 14 2020 :  9:07:33 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Well said Blanche
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Blanche

USA
603 Posts

Posted - Jan 16 2020 :  8:42:18 PM  Show Profile  Visit Blanche's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
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Christi

United Kingdom
3671 Posts

Posted - Jan 17 2020 :  05:16:39 AM  Show Profile  Visit Christi's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Cato,

quote:
During spinal breathing pranayama, I realize that I tend to check the mudras and bandhas and also if the spine is still reasonably straight. I understand that this should be avoided in deep meditation (there aren't any mudras or bandhas to pay attention to, either). Would you say that it is okay during other practices (SBP, YMK etc.) to check mudras and bandas once in a while?


As with all the AYP practices, there can be a "clunky" stage when taking on any new practice. During this period, we will have a number of things going on that we are not used to and so we need to be checking what we are doing. But this then settles down after a while and things begin to become natural and automatic, simply happening in the background.

With Deep Meditation, we can use mudras and bandhas, if they are happening automatically, and are not too distracting to the easy procedure of bringing the attention back to the mantra, whenever we realize we are off it. If they are causing too much of a distraction, due to the increased flows of ecstasy in the body, then they can be left out of the practice.

Christi
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Presence Light

Algeria
10 Posts

Posted - Jan 17 2020 :  08:34:43 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
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kensbikes100

USA
156 Posts

Posted - Mar 22 2020 :  09:55:53 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
quote:
Originally posted by Dogboy

[quote]... I am open to automatic movements, often lilting to and fro like kelp in a tidal pool. The mantra is a reliable tether in the currents.

No wonder this spills over into my asana class; often my fingers to flutter in outstretched poses. By scanning the body and encouraging it to open to serendipitous expression, one’s interior and exterior become harmonious. I endeavor to make my yoga as playful and unselfconscious as a child would, liberating my joy if nothing else! Like Jim AHK, I have vivid recollection of some play as a youth that could easily be labeled as ‘yoga practice’.





Meditate and become kelp! Cute and poetic, and an apt metaphor!

Since starting Iyengar asana classes several years ago, and failing to find a nice comfy chair to meditate i, I've been doing DM and pranayama (and now ª) in siddhasana on a small carpet with a wool pad for my sitbones and ankles, plus a small pillow between my sacrum and the baseboard of my wall. My back tends to become more vertical and abs to tighten as it goes on, and my awareness of the mantra decreases. I know if I am on it or off, but I'm often not sure which one I'm on, the ª one or ayam. I've decided it doesn't matter since I definitely have energy flow and sometimes complete zone-outs, and my sense of relaxation and refreshment afterwards is very strong.

But in my asana practice sessions, I sometimes spontaneously start pranayama breathing and even to raise energy up from the root, and to straighten my back as in pranayama. When I do, my core tightens more completely and I can go deeper in forward-bending asanas. I also balance with more stability in Tree Pose and other one-legged balance asanas.
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kensbikes100

USA
156 Posts

Posted - Mar 22 2020 :  10:03:36 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
quote:
Originally posted by Jim and His Karma

Computer people have a term, "cruft", ...



Aaaand I have to say I am moved by Jim's last post here to check my ideas and see if I am bringing forward my beloved cruft.
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Cato

Germany
63 Posts

Posted - Mar 23 2020 :  04:00:39 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks everybody for your valuable input.
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