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Advanced Yoga Practices
Main Lessons
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Note: For the complete lessons, with additions, see the AYP Easy Lessons for Ecstatic Living Books.

Lesson 368 - The Solar Centering Enhancement

From: Yogani
Date: November 11, 2009

New Members: It is recommended you read from the beginning of the web archive, as previous lessons are prerequisite to this one. The first lesson is, "Why This Discussion?"



We'd now like to introduce a technique that can be used as an integral part of our deep meditation practice, without increasing our time of sitting. It is called the solar centering enhancement.

Since the beginning, we have picked up the mantra without any particular intention to physically locate it in the body. This has been the instruction. While this has been the case, we know that we may be inclined to repeat the mantra mentally somewhere wherever we happen to have localized our thinking in the moment. For many, this is often in the region of the head. If not there, then perhaps somewhere else. It is something we do unconsciously, and this is good practice with the procedure for deep meditation we have. We have not wanted to distract from the procedure of easily picking up the mantra whenever we realize we have gone off it. As soon as we divide the mind by doing something else, the effectiveness of our meditation practice will suffer. This has been a point made often in relation to incorporating other practices into our deep meditation session. Divided attention is a divided and less effective meditation.

However, there is a trade-off in terms of locating the mantra. By not locating the mantra when we think it, we gain in having a practice focused on the simple procedure for refining the mantra in deep inner silence. At the same time we may be unconsciously locating the mantra in the head or elsewhere, creating a slight angle in the body that may not be noticed. This angle of physically locating the mantra is in addition to the specific vibrational effects of the sound quality of the mantra when picked up in awareness, as we discussed in Lesson 59, and in other lessons where we have covered mantra enhancements.

Here we are making a distinction between the sound quality of the mantra resonating in our nervous system, versus where in the body we may happen to be thinking the mantra. It is for addressing the latter part of this that the solar centering enhancement is being offered.

We call this an "enhancement" because it is to improve our meditation practice. This does not mean we have been doing anything wrong. In fact, we may choose not to add this enhancement at this time. Like for mantra enhancements, the solar centering enhancement should only be considered by those who are stable in their meditation practice, whether it be with the I AM (AYAM) mantra or any mantra enhancement that has been added previously. In other words, the solar centering enhancement can be incorporated with any mantra we are using, assuming we are well-established with it. This would be after months or years with our practice, not days or weeks. The solar centering enhancement can also be used with the breath meditation practice we discussed in the previous lesson for over-sensitive meditators.

The solar centering technique is as follows:

When we easily pick up the mantra, we favor locating it at the solar plexus. This is the area just below the sternum (breastbone) and about three fingers width inside. That is the area about half way between the navel and the center of the breastbone, between the two sides of the rib cage. We just easily repeat the mantra there. When we realize we have drifted off the mantra, or the location of it at the solar plexus, we just easily favor the mantra at this location at whatever level of faintness or fuzziness (refinement) we may be at with the mantra and location at that time. All of the other characteristics of deep meditation remain the same the natural refinement of the mantra to stillness, the coming and going of thoughts, physical sensations, etc. Everything is the same, except we pick up the mantra favoring this location in the body.

With this additional aspect of meditation procedure, we may notice several things occurring:

  • An obvious shift in physical location from where we have been thinking the mantra, away from the head or other place where we may have had an unconscious habit to locate it. This does not affect the vibrational qualities of the mantra throughout the nervous system, which will still resonate as a tuning fork does when near another tuning fork of the same frequency.
  • A possible reduction in head pressure or other symptoms we may have experienced when unconsciously locating the mantra elsewhere in the body.
  • An initial increase in sensitivity in the heart and solar plexus region. This is purification and opening, and can manifest as emotion, vibration or the sensation of heat in this area. If any of these symptoms become excessive, we should first follow the procedure in Lesson 15 for handling strong sensations during deep meditation. If this does not dissolve excessive symptoms of purification, then we should self-pace the use of the solar centering enhancement, as needed. It does not mean we have to reduce overall meditation time if self-pacing the use of solar centering is sufficient to restore balance.
  • For those experiencing ecstatic conductivity in the nervous system, sensations in the solar plexus region can be used to locate the mantra. This may be experienced as a physical sensation, radiating energy or light, or expansive empty space. Due to the proximity to the heart, it is common to experience symptoms of expansion and spaciousness, which may be combined with the energetic symptoms of the solar region. This is the joining of emptiness with energy, the joining of the metaphorical shiva and shakti principles in this central region of the body. It produces a radiation of the joining that can illuminate the entire body, and beyond. At the same time, there is a centering effect. So this practice may be experienced in both ways radiating and centering. The place we will notice the practical results of this will be in daily activity, which is the true measure of any practice we are doing. If we find more inner stability and outpouring divine love in daily activity, we will know our practice is good.

As mentioned above, the solar centering enhancement can also be used with breath meditation. In that case, we easily favor the energy impulse of breath at the solar plexus. This is obviously a more advanced application of attention in breath meditation, and not for beginners. The same goes for mantra meditation. It is not recommended to use this enhancement until our meditation procedure is deeply ingrained and stabilized. We should regard it as similar to taking on a mantra enhancement.

It is fine to undertake the solar centering enhancement at any stage of mantra, but we should be stable with the mantra we are using, whether it be I AM (AYAM), or any of the enhancements.

Whenever we do undertake the solar centering enhancement, we should consistently favor the location of the solar plexus with the mantra. If the favored location drifts upward to the heart or downward to the navel (or elsewhere), we just easily bring the location of our mantra back to the solar plexus. No doubt some will be tempted to try the mantra in other locations. Remember that the consistency of our practice over the long term is the key to best results. So, as with any practice, it is suggested to avoid jumping around between alternatives. To the extent these are not covered in the lessons, the results cannot be predicted and it will be the practitioner's experiment.

The question may arise, if this is a centering technique, can it be of help to over-sensitive meditators? And if this is an energy radiating technique, can it be of help to under-sensitive meditators? We do not yet know the answer to either of these questions. In time we will find out. This technique is being presented as an enhancement for everyone to consider at the appropriate time on the path. It may or may not be appropriate for under-sensitive or over-sensitive meditators. It is a technique I have used with excellent results for many years, discontinuing it only during the formative stages of presenting the AYP system of practices, so as to be on the same page with everyone. During these years, your practice has been my practice.

Now is a good time to bring the solar centering enhancement into the AYP system, given the experiences we find across the broad spectrum of practitioners, and the possibilities for enhanced progress with balance. It is a technique that requires a certain level of maturity in the practitioner. For the first time, we are introducing a nuance in the central procedure of deep meditation. It is not done lightly. In offering the solar centering enhancement, we are also looking at the entire community of meditators in relation to the steady rise of world consciousness (see Lesson 365). So this lesson is for both individuals and the community as a whole, with the intention of providing a useful step forward in both inner stability and divine radiance for all practitioners.

It is hoped that the trade-off in benefits for well-established meditators will be found worthwhile. As with all practices, the solar centering enhancement should only be taken on when we sense that the time is right. It is a function of our bhakti, balanced with practical application. As always, the advice is to continue self-pacing practices as necessary to maintain good progress with comfort and safety.

The guru is in you.

Note: For detailed instructions on deep meditation procedure, see the Deep Meditation book.

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