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351 Posts

Posted - Jan 21 2010 :  12:17:12 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
From Roy - Anandatandava, Posted - Jan 06 2010 : 9:43:28 PM

5468 from Roy - Anandatandava

As mentioned earlier I must stay on strict non-gluten, non-dairy diet to keep my Asperger's and Epilepsy symptoms at a manageable level. The prison provides me with special meals for which I am very grateful but they are a little shy of calories. In the past 2 years, I have gone from a 200lb body builder to a 150lb ascetic yogi. This dramatic change in lifestyle and mindset has had its challenges but due to the blossoming of my yogic practice, the net result has been an infinitely calmer and happier life. The crowning glory has been the discover of Yogani and AYP, through the book buying of my niece, a true Sarasvati.

There is one impish fly in this Eden and it prompts the following question: What Yogic techniques might help keep hunger from interfering from my spiritual practices? With no possessions to speak of, I identify with the Saddhus so I am wondering what they do in the dry spells between alms?

The fly can't follow me into ecstasy but when I return the samadhic roar is replaced by his pesky buzzing. I can stay deep enough to avoid him, but even my life has its servicing demands and I do have to maintain some semblance of normalcy. (laugh) Besides I love to write and that takes periods of half normal consciousness.

If I could afford to buy new food, Mr. Fly would encourage me to eat, but as things stand, I must seek alternative solutions. Celebacy was easy compared to this and I am beginning to resent the survival instinct of my own body.

I know this can be mentally overcome but I am casting about for ideas before tackling this head on. Wait... One answer lies in patanjal's yoga sutra (31) by making Sam Yama on the tube in the throat one stills hunger and thirst.

Any inputs would be appreciated. From Roy - happily surviving in prison.
--------------------------

From yogani, Posted - Jan 08 2010 : 11:12:19 AM

quote:
I know this can be mentally overcome but I am casting about for ideas before tackling this head on. Wait... One answer lies in patanjal's yoga sutra (31) by making Sam Yama on the tube in the throat one stills hunger and thirst.


Hi Roy:

You might try adding that sutra to your core samyama practice, if doing. It is covered in the AYP Samyama book appendix in the research section.

The common translation from Sanskrit is "Trachea," which is the windpipe. If that seems not to be working, you might try "Esophagus," which is the gullet (behind the windpipe). There are specific instructions on doing sutra research in the mentioned appendix.

Also, some self-inquiry when those feelings come can help a lot. Byron Katie's book "Loving What Is" is recommended.

The self-inquiry is not for during other sitting practices though. If the sensation of hunger comes with accompanying thoughts and emotions during our deep meditation or spinal breathing pranayama session, we just ease back to the mantra, or the procedure of our spinal breathing.

You may come to view hunger sensations as symptoms of purification and opening, which they are. It is the "fasting effect," discussed in the AYP Diet, Shatkarmas and Amaroli book. So it is not necessarily a bad thing, assuming you are not experiencing ongoing malnutrition. It is part of your spiritual practice. Hello, friend Mr. Fly.

Of course, millions in modern society struggle with the hunger thing every day. You may have an advantage, in that you do not have a refrigerator filled with food close by.

All the best!

The guru is in you.
----------------------

From Etherfish, Posted - Jan 13 2010 : 7:27:28 PM

Roy -
I assume you are somehow getting this.
I don't know if you have any say in what they get you to eat, but if so, you might request "Quinoa"
instead of rice. It has to be rinsed, then cooked exactly like rice. You can use a rice cooker. But it contains no gluten, and is high in protein.
It's my new favorite as it is good for blood sugar problems because it doesn't dump sugar in your system (low glycemic index). It is the only grain to contain all amino acids necessary for humans.
It was a staple food of the Incas for 6000 years.
--------------------

From Akasha, Posted - Jan 13 2010 : 10:18:39 PM

Hey Ananadantava,
Or Roy, if you prefer,

I was goiing to make a gift through Amazon for your personal library :),but because your email adress was hidden on your profile i could'nt write one out ( i did try emailing the adress given though also)

You suggested your place does'nt allow books to be sent direct. Yeah they want to throw away the key and forget about folk on the inside . That is society's idea of 'retributive justice' for you. That is how behind we really are in our evolution as a humanity..Yes,these institutions reaally suck.

Good to see you back though. You were sorely missed and trust you will get any help you need here. Your presence and personality is very warm and convivial one.And ever so polite and humble.

You reallly light up this place with your contagious bhakti :)

Regarding your Q- in my view and it may sound silly but uddiyana bhanda is a really good digestive tonic, if you can resist any desire to eat that might arise immediately after doing it. You cn feel the surge of prana so hopefully that can keep hunger at bay.

Also if you look at times when food is short as an opportunity to fast,that can be psycholgically really helpful. Fastiing is a powerful method or tool and does actually work. You feeel alot better for it. The say advisable for uddiyana before, i think, and avoid food ( immediately) after. The doctors of old 19th century and beyond always knew about the healthy effects of it-somehow it seems to have been lost with the pharmacy approach to medicine-putting something in your system. Very ppurifiying, although the first day is by far the hardest;if you can get through this you can go to 4 days. Then wean yourself back on with all thhose fresh carrots in your fridge. Just like you see in 'Goodfellas' ( giant pheasant,venison and so forth). Or was it 'Goodfellas'? Wise-guys they were. I can just picture you doing youor yogic excercises with all the Big Dogs from Hell's Kitchen...Only kidding :)

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351 Posts

Posted - Jan 21 2010 :  12:17:51 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
From Roy - Anandatandava, Posted - Jan 18 2010 : 9:31:00 PM

"Sexual Trauma - Mulabandha"

"Prison Monk" Anandatandava here - I dunno--the following might help some others overcome PTSD/samskaras concerning sexual trauma.

Due to childrood sexual abuse, I couldn't quiet my mind while applying mulabandha, so trained ecstatic conductivity with no lower energy lock. But Yogani got me curious if I could fina a workaround, especially since I am now a far less anxious person (due to yoga). I considered the fact that I have had an ecstatic response to urination for years, the traditions predict this even during the calls of nature(due to stimulation of the vagus nerve) and so why not trying vajroli (constriction of urethra) during meditation. Success! In fact, I found that I can immediatly expand and move contraction to the perineum and even lightly include the anus, all without mental unrest. This is a great breakthrough for me! It's like recovering contact with parts of my body that have been "missing-in-action" most of my life. Women too may find that the sensation of a frontal sahajoli "urethra, clitoris" allows the subsequent inclusion of other areas without eliciting visceral flashbacks. In this way mental scar tissue can slowly be smoothed away.

Now the problem is getting used to the incredibly intense pillar of energy/sound that appears in me when I cork it off botom and top with mulabandha and knit-brow sambhavi mudra. Gads! What a dramatically different flavor of a dish I thought I knew so well. And here i was already having trouble staying upright during deep absorption (or whatever I should call where I go).

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351 Posts

Posted - Jan 21 2010 :  12:22:21 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
From Roxy for Roy, Posted - Jan 17 2010 : 4:54:32 PM

From Prisonmonk--The power of Ahimsa

Prabhavananda, in a commentary on Patanjali 2:35: "Through ahimsa (harmlessness), the yogi creates an atmosphere around himself within which violence and enmity must cease to exist because they find no reciprocation." (See also 3:32 and 4:17)

In truth, liberation from fear and the compassionate smile it plants on my face have protected me from harm many times. Once, an inmate who had earlier attacked guards with a homemade sword was coming at me with a pipe. He got within five yards before my complete equanimity stopped him as softly as an angel's wing. Emotions played across his face: amazement, confusion, consternation. He looked accusingly at his pipe, as if it had betrayed him. So, he put it down and replaced it with alarger one. Confidence renewed, he continued his advance, but within three steps, faltered to a stop once again. We were face-to-face, but an unconquerable impasse had formed in his mind. How could he attack something he couldn't comprehend? I watched aggression drain from him, and he seemed to grow visibly smaller, like all demons that deflate along with the ego that supports them (both his and mine.) Serenity filled the room. We could easily have burst out laughing together, and the situation melted away.

Is the passive warding off of attack a siddhi? That thought expands the ego, so I prefer to consider these incidents a function of the higher "awake-ness" that comes with a rising tide of spiritual energy. Acting as neither threat nor prey throws a cloak of invisibility between oneself and danger, be it human, animal, or any other external or internal source. (What a predator cannot conceive, he cannot perceive.)

So, I face all demons as a reflection of my self that can be overcome with love and compassion. This would also apply had I been killed, for even that most terrible of all demons--the fear of death--has been completely tamed within me. What greater freedom and happiness can there be? I can no longer feel the victim of ANY fate. And, since this freedom stems from the yogic path fully opened to us by Yogani, ANYONE can now have it!

I'm not saying that mine was the best response for all people under all conditions. I could have run, but it never crossed by mind. It just seemed that all was remarkably well and as it should be. A fountain of kundalini was roaring in me and I seemed merely a witness to events. Is this lack of a self-preservation instinct taking one's spirituality too far? I think not. People have "sacrificed" themselves for an ideal since time immemorial. What would I be saving myself for anyway? Perhaps a few years of ignominious human infirmities before I dissolve into the infinity of Brahman? Is that a meaningful choice? Not for one who believes he experienced the other side of the veil in a new-death vision, and, now returns to it, in Samadhi...again...and again...and again. I may have spent my life in prison, but have missed nothing of importance, for I and the Universe are One.

There is also an "under the hood" explanation for my response to danger. It flows from the "mammalian threat response," which actually runs: FREEZE-fight-flight. This response is heavily influenced by the vagus nerve, which becomes particularly sensitized by AYP yoga (just one of many effects.) This, in turn, fires up the parasympathetic nervous system's love-making response (from S. Porges' Polyvagal Theory), which makes those "scared stiff" moments composed to outright pleasurabe. So, through yogic training, all of one's experiences become much more tranquil. You can even love your attacker, as in Christ's pleas: "Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do."

Thus, Yogani's statement "the guru is in you" is indeed true, not least of all in the physiology of your nervouse system. As I've said before, modern science is slowly verifying the ancient knowledge presented by Yogani, but is entirely too compartmentalized to ever fully tap the potential already available in AYPs 8-limbed yoga.

As always, these are only my opinions.

Anandatandave
---------------------

From adamantclearlight, Posted - Jan 17 2010 : 8:31:11 PM

I'm a criminal defense attorney. I would like to share your writings with my in custody clients. In fact, I feel you should write a book about your experience. It would be transformative and healing for so many. I will help you if you like.

Adamant
-------------------

From Roxy for Roy, Posted - Jan 17 2010 : 10:32:48 PM

To Adamantclearlight: I respond in behalf of my brother, who because he is in prison, has no access to computers. I will relay your message to him when he calls. I have set up a Google-voice telephone number for him to use, which allows him to call me free of charge, and which, for people who don't know about it, is totally free for me also. Thank you for your reply. Being able to share his experience and the peace he has found through AYP yoga would bring him great satisfaction.

Roxy
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Posted - Jan 21 2010 :  12:24:45 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
From Roy - Anandatandava, Posted - Jan 19 2010 : 1:55:03 PM

More on Mulabandha - Number 2

few days later; okay that double corked energy pillar is smoothing out now. at first it semmed to split the intensity in my crown between the anja in the front and the bindu in the top back, but now it's back to the feeling of a tight shower cap with a gas stove burner at the top- all its little flamelets dancing,tingling,and singing ecstatically away (moar like a roaring). years after this blossom that drapes like a cap, but whose petals stand upright when kundalini straightens "like a snake struck by a stick". that is just what it feels like! so this begs the question: what is that state? if samadhi, what level could contain that all encompassing,roaring,pulsating,divine flame, and nothing else? no thought, no image, no mantra can follow me in, but is this still "with seed"? subjectively, these states are unity with God, but realizing that they may merely be a quirk of my faulty brain wiring, i claim no spiritual merit. but they have nevertheless completely reshaped who i am, and for that i am grateful!

(This description is an oversimplification, for there are several distinct levels i enter via different routes over the course of the day: everything from a quick "zing" while heating coffee, to an absolutely overwhelming,thundering ungh! that can easily knock me down. i cant wait to describe them all, if you can possibly bear it for i'd like to understand my current position on tha path and determine how best to proceed with my peculiarities. perhaps no course correction is needed.

one of the changes that continues to occur is my backing away from seeking always greater intensity of experience. i used to be a hope to die addict, and had to learn the hard way that continually trying to push the envelope with kundalini truly does have its hazards (more on that in future postings). but as yogani predicts, ecstasy becomes more and more effortless and steady, blending seamlessly with an ocean of bliss that sneaks in like a slow tide, and then stays. where is the high watermark, if not here? how could life get any better?

I now only use intensification techniques to iniatially " kindle" tha flame on the days when i seem to require them. but i find i need to do less and less "pursuit" as time goes on. Here i quote Prabhavananda: " there is a saying of Sri Ramakrishna that one needs to continue fanning oneself on hot days, but that it becomes unnecessary when spring breeze blows. When one attains illumination, the breeze of grace is continually felt, and the fanning is no longer needed." Though i make no claims of such attainment, desires have fallen from me like sweaty clothes, and i now stand naked and refreshed in coaxing breezes, an innocent child again,barefoot in midsummers meadow.

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adamantclearlight

USA
410 Posts

Posted - Jan 21 2010 :  12:44:56 PM  Show Profile  Visit adamantclearlight's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
I love this guy.

Adamant
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Roxy

USA
30 Posts

Posted - Jan 22 2010 :  07:08:41 AM  Show Profile  Visit Roxy's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
This is Anandatandava's sister writing for him: "Concerning a previous response about the "knitted brow" technique," the author of that response is the neice that bought me my first AYP book, opening a vast beautiful world to me. Blessings to her, a true Saraswati.

Incidently, I learned that knitted brow method from Yogani, so I am interested in what Yogic school it came from.

I apologize for my difficulty in responding to people's individual comments in a reasonable time frame (or at all!) It can take a very long time for me to know that someone has responded, but please trust that all comments are appreciated more than you can imagine.

Akasha (and others), I need an eduation on what books to target. For example when will the next Big Book come out?
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yogani

USA
5188 Posts

Posted - Jan 23 2010 :  2:10:26 PM  Show Profile  Visit yogani's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Anandatandava:

"Knitted brow" is an aspect of Sambhavi Mudra (Lesson 56, plus others in the Topic Index), which is ancient and found under various names in many traditions, including in the Bible. It came to me from several sources and was integrated into the overall mix of the AYP system of practices on the basis of results.

As we know, no practice stands alone. It is so much about how practices are integrated together and optimized for good progress with comfort and safety. The AYP system is a baseline for this, and "self-pacing" is the means by which anyone can customize a daily routine of practice for best results on the individual level, as you are doing.

All the best!

The guru is in you.

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Roxy

USA
30 Posts

Posted - Jan 24 2010 :  08:06:41 AM  Show Profile  Visit Roxy's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
From Anandatandava, entered by his sister:

KEVALA KUMBHAKA

“Nothing in the three worlds is hard to win by one who masters Kevalakumbhaka” The Hatha Yoga Pradipika

Yogani warns against the untutored use of external Kkumbhaka, and I can testify directly to his wisdom. Prior to having a teacher, I tore an area of lung from the ribcage – twice – before caution overrode enthusiasn. (Pulmonary reports available.) Never said I was very bright!
So I learned to avoid creating a strong vacuum in my lungs under any condition, and won’t apply a locked throat, yoni mudra, ujjayi, brahmari, or any other restriction after exhalation. On the other hand, years of weight-training had conditioned me to avoid a fully locked throat after inhalation too, because it can increase intracranial pressure under heavy load, and I had hypertension before starting yoga. So I’m paranoid about locking up yet.
Thus it was that from the beginning I fell spontaneously into the use of a form of Kevala Kumbhaka, allowing the bandhas to hold the breath midway naturally. I can then forget all about it, relax my mind into some other point of focus, and wait expectantly for Kundalini-Shakti to reach Shiva explosively in my sahasrar.
For self-indulgent variety, I can choose to keep their interaction spread more richly through my body in the form of transcendent movement, in essence, “dancing with the gods”. For this to happen, I don’t stay fully immobile beyond the first wash of flame, but allow micro-movements to express themselves. (Bless you, Yogani, for informing me that others experience this wonder!) This “unlocking changes brainwaves, incidentally, but for once I’ll restrain my scientific proclivities.
I usually combine these approaches in a session, and less intensely in daily activities, changing the nature and depth of inner experience as befits external circumstance.
With no hard lock on the breath in Kevala Kumbhaka, I can restrain the prana forever, while micro-movements of my trunk “bleed” adequate air in and out without intent (I’m lost in sensation!). Sensation also leads me to go very low into the abdomen, even feeling my lower back ribs float outward. (It takes some effort to overcome longstanding social inhibition over pooching the tummy out like that.) I picture myself becoming a chubby Buddha (he was full of prana!) and quickly burst into a cask of flame in body and mind.
Paramedics call that downward push the Valsalva or vasovagal maneuver, using it to halt tachycardia by instructing the patient: “Push down like you’re going #2.”
I usually cycle between this and the upward pull in uddiyana, compressing and releasing between the two in instinctual manner, massaging the vagus nerve and generating serpentine writhings appropriate to Kundalini. This often explodes into irrepressible convulsive movement as I become lost in the full throes of love-making with Shakti on the inside! (Forgive me, Yogani, but is this love affair an attachment, experiences to be moved beyond, or is it a goal to be further developed, as I hunger to do?)
As befits my Sanskrit name, a lot of flowing hand mudras, hastas, shoulder rolls, trunk twisting/arching, head and eye movement appear even when I am seated. These, and the luminous fluidity that appears within, could never be taught to this clumsy dork who never engaged in anything involving coordination. As I’ve mentioned before, these types of motions distinctly “shape” the energy sensations in my crown and beyond – marvelous! More on that later.
Yes, and now Yogani has given me many more ways of interacting wish the Divine…..
When I first read about yogic stopping of the breath I was aghast and disbelieving, having a deep personal affinity for breathing. But with patience and the right methods it becomes effortless, even automatic, and what a payoff! Have no fear, for we are born with a CO2 sensor set for more sensitive than we need for safety. Besides, the body will breathe when it absolutely must. It gives false alarm signals at first, but you may be approaching things too aggressively. Just stay fully relaxed and loving, like training a puppy, for that in itself slows the body’s metabolism and reduces oxygen demands.
But I am a simple prison monk, so defer to Yogani in all things.
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Akasha

421 Posts

Posted - Jan 24 2010 :  11:06:40 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Anandatandava:

I can send you copies of books i have found useful, am finding useful on my path,and perhaps a few other resources herre & there.I suspect you may find them useful also.AYP , of course is a real treasure chest and a great portal for anyone.It is great that this stuff is all online and interactions are possible with other practitoners etc,ecstatic devotees :)

The knitted brow technique does sound like a refinement or aspect of sambhavi mudra to me, like Yogani says.

As i say, i can send you practical manuals, obviously for awakening conciousness in a systematic progressive and balanced manner.I am less interrested personally right now in obscure treatises on metaphysics or abstruse schools of philosophical thought, as interesting as they might be. As i am sure you are too- You want the meat, not the fluff, so to speak.

So i can send you a few books and/or photocopies( i hope your prison accepts the latter as you suggessted at one point you might have been constrained by obscure over-drakonian rules . nothng surprises me about these places)

i can email you some of the titles i recommend beforehand(or suggest) unless you have clearer ideas of what you would like to receive or there is abook you want but don't have and feel it would help yoou on your path.It is entirely up to you as it should be,but if you don't know what is out there then i'll send you what i think you should find helpful. As Yogani says all yoga practices are interconnected as is all of yoga but, i don't know, you might benefit from other tools in your toolbox. Every new practice is like a gift; it is how we integrate them that can make the difference.

But i need a postal address of a recipient who can pass them along if your place forbids a direct post.I would be very happy to do that. No big deal. The benefactors or friends/family that are posting your contributions here will need to email me a postal adresss.Just click on my profile and send these details to 'Email Akasha'.

Sounds to me like your Kundalini is in full swing.........

Thanks,

& enjoying your contributions and poetic descriptions of ecstatic experiences...

Yours sincerely,

Love Akasha

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Roxy

USA
30 Posts

Posted - Jan 24 2010 :  1:45:57 PM  Show Profile  Visit Roxy's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Anandatadahva’s sister here, writing for him:

On the issue of prison, I am painfully aware that many in this community have been the victims of crime. Some surely question my right to be here, and I share that uncertainly. My only security is to cling to Yogani’s feet in gratitude and wait for opportunities to serve those that suffer.

They say that to understand is to forgive, and that this should also be applied to oneself. But I carry a truly wincing burden--the sour fruit of a profligate life. The Gita demonstrates, however, that lemony karma can be squeezed into potable nectar, if one allows, for it provides the raw ingredients for both a clear duty and the desire to quaff it down gratefully, Indeed, it is the elexir of a meaningful life regardless of what came before. Besides, this duty cannot be avoided, for to not act is still an act: in my case allowing the current balance between harm and healing to stand, and this I will simply not allow. That healing must begin somewhere, and why not include here?

So, dear heart, if in the midst of my word play you sense an element of redeemable humanity in me, I hope my presence might ultimately provide a small measure of catharsis for your pain. I’ll return to this topic at a later time to share some words I sincerely hope might help. I’ve had a lot of years to think about it, obviously. But for now, know that I feel oceans of compassion for you.

Of course, no words are necessary for the healing you will find automatically in #8232;AYP practices. Even in complete isolation, I found this to be true for myself.
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Roxy

USA
30 Posts

Posted - Jan 31 2010 :  8:02:45 PM  Show Profile  Visit Roxy's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
From Roy - Anandatandava

"The mind is a place in itself, and can make a heaven out of hell."

After months of struggle, I have again been finding occasional ways back to this community. I hope you'll still have me! Only recently did I get to read a relatively complete printout of this topic--sheesh, I'm quite a handful! Being inspired by Kundulini-Shakti is like trying to control an excited stallion with elastic reigns--it's pointless trying to enforce my own will. I can only provide subtle suggestions as we rush headlong down the path of least resistance in a landscape of love. Whoa! As Nietzche observed: "One must harbor chaos to give birth to a dancing star."

Gosh, this absence has seemed like forever! I've had no one to share my little triumphs with. Fortunately, a niece bought me some root texts of yoga and books on Vedanta--such beauty! But my little robot mind still repeats its mantra: "Input!" for its databanks are insatiable. Judicious selection is important, however, as I'm an itinerant monk who must carry his dharma on his back over distinctly foreboding roads.

I've found Yogani's set of essential asanas to be well-suited to my still limited flexibility and balance, plus buzzing with ecstatic fire. Stretches that used to be unpleasant necessities now generate wave after wave of intense pleasure. I release each asana just as a sob of gratitude rises from the achingly beautiful sensation of Shakti moving within me.

To my happy surprise, I can now sit in full ecstatic siddhasana on the cell floor, and write with the paper tablet perched on a bed or toilet stool. (Apparently my writing is well suited for the crapper...!) This is a great relief to a hypergraphic in a prison with few chairs. Incidentally, I never thought I'd feel in a hurry to get down on the floor (it's not something you willingly do in prison), but Yogani's prediction concerning meditative eagerness has come true. I owe him my life.

"So what if the pool has borders; the water inside is deep and inviting."
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Roxy

USA
30 Posts

Posted - Feb 03 2010 :  10:49:03 AM  Show Profile  Visit Roxy's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Anandatadahva’s sister here, writing for him:

Transcendence (Do Not Read Before Eating)

In prison, as in normal life, disasters large and small occur over which one has little control. The big ones in here are always like tsunamis, wiping out one’s “home,” meager livelihood, and contact with long-term friends with whom a “brothers-in-arms” bond has developed through shared dangers.

Whereas in the past, I relied on gang involvement to re-establish life in new circumstances, or, if blocked, collapsed toward suicide, I have, in recent years, been in a rush to gather the spiritual tools to weather the next big storm. Well, I found Yogani and AYP just in time, for the landscape has indeed been swept away. So, how do I feel? *laugh* Here I am, just days away from a parole board hearing (after waiting 7 years), having lost all the trappings and accoutrements of an already puny life, and moved into the roughest part of the prison--squalor at its best.

But, thanks to Yogani, I have lost nothing of importance, for the Gem lies within me, and cannot be stripped away. All alone and circled by predators? I am not my body or possessions. No toilet paper or ability to wash hands? Mere cultural veneer. Nothing touches me. I do my asanas and take my meditation seat on the floor, as oblivious to the noise, grit, grime, and dried food, sputum, phlegm, boogers, urine, blood, and semen as a languid dog. But, does the juxtaposition of gray not make color all the more brilliant? Do we ever really appreciate pleasure before knowing pain? But to truly grasp the beating heart of this musical ecstatic, you MUST read the following superior words, not mine:

Joyn Heydon (1629-1667): “What the ignorant call evil in the Universe, is but the shadowy strokes in a fair picture; or the mournful notes in Music, by which the beauty of the one is more lively and expressive, and the melody of the other more pleasing and melting.”

F. Dalberg (1760-1812): “Harmony consists of consonances and dissonances. No light without shadows. Pain and displeasure are as necessary to creation as joy. The harshest dissonances cause the sweetness of their resolution into consonances to be felt more strongly.”

Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860) believed the universe is Hindu maya, that escape is possible through an “aesthetic attitude,” and that music “a ‘rerum concordia discors’ (discordant concord of things), is a true and perfect picture of the world which rolls on in the boundless maze of innumerable forms, and through constant destruction supports itself.”

What possible response is left to me but the dance, the anandatandava? So here I sit, 15 hours a day, day after day, eyes hooded in bliss and ecstasy, in my own idiosyncratic way, the flowering of Yogani’s teachings. If you know of anyone who struggles with life for whatever reason, tell him to pack his bags and run, RUN to him! For most other schools enrich themselves by stripping yoga down to cater to the west’s Narcissistic desire for a flawless body, at the expense of the mind and spirit. Of what use will perfect form have when it begins to fall away? Impermanence is in all things, so turn from the mirror on the wall to the one within. Yogani’s full 8-fold path will polish you inside and out, preparing you for all eventualities. I offer myself as evidence: flawed root stock, polluted soil, adverse growing season, fowl water, decaying stem; yet this lotus basks blissfully in the sun.
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Roxy

USA
30 Posts

Posted - Feb 03 2010 :  9:16:44 PM  Show Profile  Visit Roxy's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Anandatadahva’s sister write's:

To those who have responded here and in email, Anandatadahva thanks everyone and is sending return responses via mail for me to disseminate. He points out that it would greatly facilitate communication if he could call directly via Google Voice at no cost and with anonymity to you, should you prefer. If Google Voice is not yet international, there are low-cost alternatives. Vonage worked well for us. Skype? It would do him a great deal of good to hear a liva "yoga" voice now and then.

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Roxy

USA
30 Posts

Posted - Feb 05 2010 :  7:03:43 PM  Show Profile  Visit Roxy's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Anandatandava's writing for him:

Dearest Akasha,

From the beginning, you have been there to encourage me, my friend. Words cannot express how much it has meant to me. And , now you come with this offer. Oh! I’m excited, for we share the same intense interests. Do I also sense a little bohemian in you, just enough to overlook my rogue status? (Apologies to any Bohemians present.)

At any rate, to quote Dr. Pangloss in Voltaire’s Candide, “This is the best of all possible worlds!”

Please send a list of your recommendations with short descriptions, if you could. Think about how information might be compressed--smaller type, double sided--as I have precious little storage space.

I’m primarily interested in adding to my collection of physical techniques to corral the body energies flowing from my Asperger’s and Tourette’s. I find that through these I can instantly corral my mind.

Remember in all things the Aesculapean rule: “First, do no harm,” and I mean do not spend money on me you cannot afford.

Anandatandava

P.S. I’d also like to explore Shaktism and Shaivism looking for imagery and ritual.
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Roxy

USA
30 Posts

Posted - Feb 06 2010 :  6:02:21 PM  Show Profile  Visit Roxy's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Anandatadahva’s sister here, writing for him:

Adamant,

I appreciate your feeling I might have something to offer the incarcerated. As a dramatic ecstatic, however, I don’t feel qualified as a stand-alone product. See me instead as a reverberant body, echoing songs better sung by saints. Of what use is a violin without its stings?

The saint your clients need is Yogani, who lays out a safe path into a profoundly changed life. Since most of them are chemically or adrenalin-addicted, and many also have neurological disorders, I can then, in adjunct, be used as an example of someone for whom the path has proven a miracle. The greater their current suffering, the greater the blessings that will flow. Life long curses will convert to spiritual energies and forces. I speak from direct experience.

I confess that the most powerful enticements into the path were stories by ex-junkies who claimed to have found something even better that posed no legal, financial, or health risks. What better words to perk up an addict’s ears? What I didn’t understand at the time was that this natural path to altered states of consciousness brings with it a profoundly altered character. It is an irresistible seduction, for if you act outside spiritual principles, the blessings are withheld from you in meditation. So, like any good junkie, you rush off to right your wrongs so you can get your “fix.” With this kind of motivation, you learn quick who you have to be! *laugh* Of course, over time this new way of acting becomes a new way of being, and is done for its own sake.

P.S. If I accidently say something that might benefit others, please use it in any way you see fit. But, look from my ecstatic finger to the crescent moon on Yogani’s crown.
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Roxy

USA
30 Posts

Posted - Feb 06 2010 :  7:34:00 PM  Show Profile  Visit Roxy's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Anandatadahva’s sister here, writing for him:

Humor (eventually)

In this oft-menacing realm, my preferred raison d’etre is to be a friend to the friendless. I like to make new inmates feel safer in an unknown environment. Guards don’t give informational tours, and knowing nothing is trouble. I take special care with mentally-ill inmates (with whom I surely share much affinity! *laugh*) This also helps others rationalize my odd happiness and “dreamy” ecstatic states (if they only knew!) Guards notice me supporting vulnerables and their changed perspective towards me makes my life easier. It escapes no one that I used to be...”difficult.” but, now we kid and converse compassionately, veterans from opposing camps who later meet as old friends, glad the conflict is over.

But, returning to the mentally-ill: I feel honored to walk this path of love, even when it leads to ostracization by “neuro-normals.” When one is momentarily depleted, yoga provides a rich Source to draw from.

“Whatever you do unto the least of my children, you do also unto me.” John 15:13

If I can help in no other way (often the case), I consider my smile a reflective buoy, a channel marker dancing in the endless chaos of life, ringing out, “This way to Liberation!” For when we smile in the face of adversity, we sever gravity and soar in empyreal bliss--it’s mouth yoga! Besides, of what importance will our momentary concerns have in 100 years, much less infinity? Good or bad, “This too shall pass.”

So, do not assume that my laughter and light-hearted self-derision are mere surface effervescence. No, they serve a much deeper purpose. For just as the tandava is performed in the cremation grounds to dispel attachments and free the soul, I too dance among the ghats, through the smoking death of life, youth, health, hope, logic, sanity, relationships, privacy, property, kindness, trust, pride, safety, and dreams. In (how many?) decades of prison, I’ve witnessed more brutality toward the defenseless than is fit for any mortal eyes. I used to rail angrily and futilely against these injustices, but eventually learned that, for me, there is no better approach to the world’s absurdity and suffering than the Buddha’s reassuring smile. “Ah yes,” it says in compassionate recognition of all parties, “now let’s get to work.”

Others, knowing the white-hot crucible I have tempered in, look to my smile as proof that all can be transcended. And, they can accomplish this too, for I am nothing special, but simply reflect a venerable truth: “The road to heaven is washed with tears.” The greater the suffering, the easier transcendence becomes, for the necessary desire is present--you’re desperate, and no amount of effort feels like a sacrifice. William James astutely observed that “Mans’ extremity is God’s opportunity.” If you think you’re already happy (but by who’s standards?) you won’t put down your drink long enough to look further.

It is for good reason that Yogani urges us to turn love toward action in the world. We first discover that love flows naturally from our practice. Also, like sobriety, we keep and strengthen what we have by giving it away. And, of course, the constant companion of love is the smile. It signals our loving intent even better than an abhaya mudra, promising protection. Approached with love, the world becomes miraculously more accommodating to our goals and ideals, similar to slipping our hand gently into water versus striking it aggressively. Ouch! The maxim: “Smile and the world smiles with you...” goes beyond the interpersonal into metaphysical truth.

There are other profound spiritual aspects to smiling, laughter, and all the other harlequin arts. The playfully receptive attitude of a child damps down the ego, opening a broad path to social ease, learning, inner freedom, meditative depth, and ecstasy. You must empty yourself of you to make room for greater truths to enter. In fact, surrendering your ego is the key, creating a powerful vacuum that pulls blessings in by its own accord--everything becomes effortless! So throw off those self-limiting chains of pride; make of yourself an abyss! (But post a Cheshire grin in it...)

Thus it is that opening oneself to uncertainty, even foolishness, is often seen as a form of wisdom itself, or certainly a doorway. For how do we find truth if we’ve already decided what it is? Seem counterintuitive? Here’s a few expert witnesses:

“Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment;
cleverness is mere opinion, bewilderment is intuition.” Rumi

“Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3

“If a man could only pass empty through life, who would be able to injure him?” Chuang-Tzu

“Do not seek after the true; only cease to cherish opinions.” Zen

Do these not also echo Yogani’s emphasis on inner experience over philosophy, mere “castles in the air”? Don’t draw maps, actually go there! Don’t endlessly discuss the recipe, make the dish! Don’t juggle the fruit, savor it!

Finally, it is simply true that what you can laugh at you can live with, including yourself. (Especially yourself!) This becomes an art form in prison--”gallows humor”--where laughter breaks the tension of intolerable situation. (It can be misread by outsiders.)

So, all things considered, I embrace eccentricity and reserve the right to look foolish, so long as it serves love. It matters not whether others laugh with or at me, as long as I can spread a little pixie dust and briefly lighten hearts.
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Roxy

USA
30 Posts

Posted - Feb 17 2010 :  9:25:11 PM  Show Profile  Visit Roxy's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Anandatadahva’s sister here, writing for him:

Contentment

Having now “survived” my parole board hearing, perhaps I’ll expand a bit on the relatively impenetrable serenity that has flowed into me from AYP practices and practitioners.

Waiting in my cell that morning, I stayed in a state of joyful amazement at the power of sambhavi at even such a time. Moving transcendently about, I even laughed at my idiocy when I spilled coffee (sorry, Yogani!) on what few clothes I have (2nd-hand at that), and had to borrow some from my bemused but amused cellmate. Then, when called to the admin building, I almost got thrown in seg for arriving without a pass (wasn’t given one!)

Making to the waiting area, I dissolved gratefully into whole-body mudra, but was soon interrupted by the arrival of another inmate, a leader in his respective spiritual tradition. Fidgeting about, he express the turmoil within him with, “Man, I’m stressing!” and “I’m a nervous wreck.” I felt badly for him, and tried to set an example of calm.

I thought back to a time when my spiritual grounding was based on words alone. It was like building my refuge upon sand, and every storm that came washed it all out of sight. For when we allow ourselves to stay mired in anger, depression, or anxiety, we do in truth lose sight of God and become like unto atheists. (And, this applies whether God is, for us, with or without form or attribute.)

Gratitude for my new options flooded me: drop to the body, “Feel the force, Luke!” and let the body lead the mind to transcendence.

When the other inmate sighed, “I wish I had my (religious item)”, I considered the danger of growing dependent on external objects, and was again grateful that my breath and body are my temple, for they are always there! (Given the vagaries of this environment, perhaps I shouldn’t get mala beads and a pendent after all.)

The board was understandably mystified by me--perhaps “spooked” is a more accurate term. How often do they see profound gratitude and bliss in their presence? More than once came the comment, “You’re too content!” and not in compliment. In the end, I was told to come back in 4 years with some kind of “release plan”--I guess to include what I would do on the streets. (Saying, “Serve God,” was definitely not sufficient...ehhh, I’m such a child...) But, I don’t know anything about the streets, except that I’d prefer to go directly into a spiritual community.

After the hearing, I still felt contentment glowing warmly within--what a weirdo! But should we not accept life on life’s terms? To not do so would invite suffering. That’s the 2nd Noble Truth, pivotal to my awakening. The student asks: “Master, if you had a magic stone that would grant one wish, what would you wish for?” Master: “To stop wishing.” So, if the cure for institutionalization is deemed to be yet more time, well, far better minds than mine have skidded off the road trying to out-compete the experts.

I felt more concern for the case managers present, who seemed disappointed and concerned for me. I paraphrased Thich Nhat Hanh: “When a storm rages around you, don’t stay up in your head, where the branches may be tossed about; drop to your body, your stable trunk.” One replied, “Oh, you mean ‘take a deep breath’ .” I left it at that, for you can’t really explain in words what must be experienced.

And so it is that Yogani leads us via a direct route to the spiritual summit, where we do experience the unceasing and immediate fountainhead. Our refuge becomes built upon bedrock and cannot be shaken, for we palpably taste of the heaven that surrounds and permeates us.

“The proof is in the pudding,” not in recipes we so easily forget or doubt. A prepared body forever recalls the savory solace that has crossed its palate, and where to return for more. Blissful amrita endlessly drizzles down; we need merely extend our alms bowl and take our fill. Ayi! It’s a charmed life to lift one’s eyes in sambhavi and have that magic chalice dumped on our heads!

I’ve greatly simplified the hearing to illustrate the spiritual principles at work in me. The board is not to be faulted for its perspective and decision, for many factors came into play. Besides, how does one communicate across such dramatically different worldviews? On one point we were in complete accord, for there is no greater contentment (even pleasure) than that which follows the sudden cessation of severe lifelong suffering, be it physical or existential.

“Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.” Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet.

My deepest gratitude to Yogani for making my life possible.
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Roxy

USA
30 Posts

Posted - Feb 26 2010 :  10:25:41 AM  Show Profile  Visit Roxy's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Addictions, Anger, Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar, Autism, Tourette’s, Epilepsy, and Spiritual Transformation through AYP

Please read this not for me but for the many who suffer.

My activity here has generated enough private contact with people touched by the above list to prompt me to provide more details concerning my theory of the superiority of the AYP approach.

If you Google many of the neurological disorders, you’ll see “vagal pacemakers” as a treatment option (of last resort since it involves invasive surgery.) Well AYP is vagal yoga, and much more! Plus, there are no batteries to replace!

An overview follows, but I can provide research citation or expand on anything. I also urge you to challenge me on the science or direct me to other sources, because I’m eager to learn.

First, a major element of spiritual transformation is in our automatic response to stressors, essentially the switching of the arousal dominance from the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) to the parasympathetic (PNS) in our autonomic nervous system (ANS). The SNS is our fight-or-flight button, and it dumps harmful stress hormones into our bloodstream and harmful emotions into our minds. The PNS is our love-button and needs to be in charge, allowing just enough arousal from the SNS to handle the stressor appropriately and then calming things immediately down.

Continued strengthening of the PNS is a major player in our rich subjective experience of pure bliss consciousness and ecstatic conductivity. (Development of left prefrontal, insular and somatosensory cortices; pleasure and other brain centers; plus cognitive and behavioral processes are also involved.)

Speaking from the “front lines,” the change in one’s reaction to stress has to be experienced to be believed. It is a state of constant amazement over where the “old me” went.

There’s plenty of information out there on how pure meditative approaches and hatha yoga (Yoga Jrnl, Nov. ’08) can bring you towards the goal, but AYP is superior: faster, deeper, more assured, more stable, more immediately accessible under real-life conditions, and much more pleasurable. This increases your practice and application of the methods, which in turn increases their power and facility.

Secondly, AYP works its magic by zeroing directly in on the PNS, the key to all the rest, by exercising its “muscles” from every angle: physiological, psychological, and cognitive.

Direct physical routes to the PNS run through many of the twelve pairs of cranial nerves, so-called because they drop from the base of the brain (in the cranium) rather than run within the spinal cord to emerge later. AYP bandhas, mudras, pranayama, mantras, and samyama precisely stimulate those nerves, to an incredible level of completeness and detail. And, because the PNS is the commander-in-chief of all forms of love, from child-rearing, to romantic pair-bonding, to the erotic, to compassion for our fellow beings, etc., this the direct strumming of your heart-strings! One of the juicier tidbits is this: just bringing your consciousness to the breath, even without changing it, stimulates the PNS (this is incredible.) The control of the breath over the mind also works through these mechanisms! So, the traditions and our own experience of pranayama, and, especially kumbhaka, are born out by science! (Study the body’s orientation response to novel stimuli--see Dr. Porges below.)

This is real science, not imagination (which has its place, granted.) It has been honed over thousands of years, and now Yogani lays the banquet out before you. So feast yourself upon your true spiritual heritage!

Now for some specifics, so grab the nearest neurophysiologist or a current cranial nerve function chart that ideally shows efferent (upstream) flow to the PNS. My pen steps lively in dangerous times, so errors of commission and omission are inevitable here. But, don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater! Scientific understanding of the nervous system is increasing all the time. Plus, as we train, a process called neuroplasticity expands overall functionality as relatively dormant areas kick in through constant stimulation (neurons that fire together wire together,) and active neurons immigrate into and colonize quiet brain neighborhoods that don’t suspect Kundalini is taking over. This explains why it takes time for conductivity to develop and why the experience of it continues to evolve and remain “programmable.” It is a clear example of your consciousness, through focused intent, having a direct impact on the physical realm of you brain.

Mantra: Even mental “listening” to an unspoken mantra in meditation or samyama in Yogani’s approach tenses middle ear muscles, stimulating cranial nerve VII, and from there the PNS. Auditory input goes to VIII, but the PNS impact probably varies depending on mantra “frequency,” the topic of a later posting. (Yogani is a genious!)

Also, even thinking of a word prepare the body to speak or gesture it, the latter a possible foundation of “ecstatic hands,” although a greater possibility is primate feeding “hand-face” referral kindled into flame by Kundalini. This would explain the distinctly different “feel” of moving the palms upward vs. downward here and in chi traditions.

Anyway, mental “speaking” probably hits the PNS through some combination of V, VII, IX, X, XI, and XII.

Sambhavi: likely fires III, V, VII (Yogani’s knit-brow enhancement.) For fun, try throwing in a very subtle Buddha smile with it too. I also sweep my eyes upward on each inhale.

Kechari: V, VII, IX, XII

Jalandhara: IX, XI. The dynamic chin-pump intensifies the effect, plus stimulates baroreceptors and vestibular functions, the reason why autistics rock and rocking chairs and waterbeds exist.

Uddiyana: X (the vagus nerve, the trunk of the vagal network.) Nauli is a supercharged X.

Mulabandha/Asvini: X

Vajroli (Sahajoli for female) mudra: X.

The Vagus (X) explains why, as the traditions say, “even during calls of nature,” felicitious sensations may arise. Dare I call them “divine”? *laugh*

This is a working document, so feel free to beat me up. But, let’s not leave things entirely to the “experts,” for how many of them have tasted the nectared fruits of AYP? And, remember that the word “amateur” comes from “amore,” meaning “lover,” and you know the sovereignty of bhakti.

And, how many professionals still retain their original passion? It is up to you to reinfect them with exuberance, and the best way is to approach with a firm theory they can get their teeth into.

Has anyone considered the AYP/cranial nerve lines of inference I’ve drawn above? There is a man who would immediately know if this carries merit:

Stephen W. Porges, Ph.D.
Director, Brain-Body Center
U of Ill at Chicago
sporges@uic.edu

He wrote a magnificent synthesis that provided the foundation for my AYP-specific thoughts in Love: An emergent Property of the Mammalian autonomic Nervous System.

You’ll see that even a shaky personality like me can still stand on the shoulders of giants who came before! *laugh*
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Roxy

USA
30 Posts

Posted - Mar 01 2010 :  07:25:43 AM  Show Profile  Visit Roxy's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Anandatadahva’s sister here, writing for him:

Please be aware that it can take me two weeks to respond to an email. Never assume that I'm not interested just because of the delay in my response.
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Yonatan

Israel
849 Posts

Posted - Mar 01 2010 :  10:56:34 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Dear Anandatadahva,

Thank you for sharing.

Keep up the good work.

LOVE,

Yonatan
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Roxy

USA
30 Posts

Posted - Mar 06 2010 :  1:51:50 PM  Show Profile  Visit Roxy's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Handling Frightening Experience in Meditation

Epictetus: “Man is not disturbed by events, but by the view he takes of them.”

Mark Twain: “i”m the victim of 1,000 disasters that never happened.”

Ghost Buster: “I ain’t aftraida no ghosts!”

You may have a fearful response to certain imagery, memories, thoughts, or sensations, or a fear you won’t be able to come out of trance, a fear of going crazy, a fear of having lost access to peak experience and/or God, or simply a fear of these things maybe happening. None of these fears can harm you. Just don’t stay stuck, wallowing in unease without learning some easy techniques to do some “ghost-busting.” It’s actually fun once you see what empty sheets these things are--little Caspers donning goblin masks to look though. Hah! Remain proactive in seeking out the best solutions for you. Be confident. And, above all, focus tightly on love, the strongest shield against these impressions that arise solely in the mind, and they will pass by like waves. Then get back to the good stuff!

You’ll find that these challenges almost exclusively occur in the early stages on the path, when your body and mind are still overly tense. This explains Yogani’s initial emphasis on mantra meditation and gently self-pacing. Knowing that you are in charge of the pace, and are ultimately in control (“the guru is in you.”) makes a huge difference.

I’ve used all the techniques here at one time or another, sometimes several in a row until I found what my mind was in the mood for that day. Experiment. Study the science and you’ll find that they work for even the most traumatized soldiers and victims. And, keep in mind that I experienced a very challenging 6-year Kundalini ascension in almost complete isolation from proper teachings, doing only spinal breathing for hours a day, straight to the crown! I experienced about all the potential side-effects and outcomes, becoming panic-stricken and extremely depressed a million times. Yogani understands the wild up and down cycle that can come from progressing too quickly and improperly. Thank God! But, I didn’t have him then, so I compiled this list to save my butt.

Fear of insanity: Since everything might boil down to this, I’ll start here. Distinguishing between sacred and psychotic experience deserves a separate essay, and I’ve got a lot to say. It could be summarized, however, in this way: where is the ego? If it is self-aggrandized, it is psychotic. If it is humbled and grateful, it is sacred. Most people enter a serious meditation practice (or heavy drug us) about the same time as serious mental illnesses tend to become visible--late teens through the 30s. This is due to final maturation of the brain (frontal lobes come fully “on-line), chemical changes of puberty, increased social demands (college, jobs, romance, loss of close parental nurturing), erratic sleep patterns, etc. Many people think or feel themselves right off the road! Although meditation helps quiet the mind, the tires may already be spinning too fast to easily catch, ‘tho Yogani has the best guidance. In fact, yoga makes for powerful therapy, and it’s to “crazy” people I make my strongest pitch, knowing from personal experience that this is the best way to channel all those wayward energies towards a supremely positive end.
Remember that these are common and temporary experiences: Most meditative traditions speak of an initial period of considerable imagery, et., so you’re not alone--it’s a good sign! Despite the occasional scary image, I enjoyed this period, for the universe came to me (it comes in a deeper way now.) For a long time, vivid, surprising imagery leapt up every time I closed my eyes, sometimes even breaking into actual vision-like transparent overlays. It seemed to follow an ultradian rhythm, the same that causes cream cycles and the switching of nostrils and hemisphere dominance.
Paradoxical Intent: That is, facing your fears directly, lovingly, welcomingly, for they are in you, a part of you, and when you nurture that inner child, the boogyman evaporates from under the bed. This is a very powerful technique, used in many Western therapies. It is a major emphasis in Tibetan Buddhism, and is also in many stories of how Buddha handled the demon Mara. Great a demon (your own primitive fears!) as a long-lost friend, in a sincere and heartfelt way, and that is what he’ll become. Assume the best and that is what will happen, because you’re ultimately the director on that inner stage. Melting love--that’s the key. Trust it and it will always work.
Affect labeling: When something unpleasant occurs, just consciously label it for what it is (e.g. “emotion,” “thinking”) and continue. It works by shifting activity from emotion to cognitive centers in the brain temporarily, providing distance and breaking the cascade of unpleasantness. What you can name reduces its power over you. Consider it the “Rumplestiltskin Effect,” where the magic word breaks the evil spell. This technique is broadly used in PTSD therapy. Over time, it wears down the visceral sharpness of traumatic memories because of the way memory works. Remembering something is not like opening a book, reading a paragraph, and then leaving the paragraph the same when you close the book. No, the memory gets laid down again, along with your current emotional and physiological state, which, if you’re meditation, is calmer than during the original precipitating event. The goal is to reach a point where you can experience the memory without eliciting the visceral response. This way, the trauma isn’t being continually reinforced, and healing can begin.
First fear/Second fear: Recognizing the following biochemical response in you will help you overcome sudden-onset fear. Let’s say a scary image pops up. Your body’s instant response is to release a shot of adrenaline into your bloodstream. You have no control over that reaction--first fear--although it continually lessens as you progress on the path. You do, however, have control over how you subsequently react to the residual adrenaline left in you--second fear. You could continue to be tricked by fear, creating more, but you willing to be a slave to a mere chemical, and wimper at its feet? Hell no, for you now know it to be an unsubstantial illusion. Become its master, learning to recognize when it’s present. Then, turn you back on it, “float and let time pass,” until it dissipates sufficiently for you to get back to the fun stuff. Or, you can be more proactive, breathing so low in your tummy you feel your lower back ribs float out. (The lower lung lobes are rich with parasympathetic nerve fibers.) Or, you can take advantage of the fact that the very same adrenaline that causes fear can also create enjoyable excitement--it’s just a matter of context and interpretation. In fact, isn’t the awe we feel for a wrathful visaged deity a combination of these emotions? So, let’s co-opt and jiu jitsu it for our own purposes. Focus on Kali, for example, and breath Her up your spine! My experience of Kundalini is indeed intense after I’ve encountered some frightening experience in here. So, just shift over to some spinal breathing and reinterpret/recast that inner demon as the actor you want--you are charge of the play! Be confident! Once you see that you have the power within you to re-establish control, you can go on to other things. “The guru is in you” indeed.
Non-attachment: Whatever you believe about the nature of reality and illusion, this principle has tremendous psychological power. It’s application toward the “bad” in life is self evident, but towards the “good” is perhaps more nuanced. It was a skill I had to learn, however, to reach, hold, and live with the most intense Kundalini experiences. Of course, Yogani has changed the paradigm by teaching a safe approach that builds pure bliss consciousness simultaneously to handle the fireworks.
Consider that this is just a random dream image thrown up by your subconscious. Up to a point, the deeper your meditation, the slower your brain waves, which can reach down into the theta range present while dreaming. So, have no fear--these are simply waking dreams, mere chimeras. Incidentally, as your powers of concentration build, brain waves speed up into the gamma range of ecstasy. This is why the incidence of imagery drops away, except for perhaps an initial burst while your brain ramps up. The tighter the focus, the higher the frequency, the more intense the ecstasy.

Random aphorisms:

Sleep on it and come back tomorrow. Things always look different the next day.

Remember that the strength in a muscle (or your mind) depends on the confidence with which you use it. This applies in all areas of practice.

Rear has no more power than what you give it. Be its master.

The ego is what fears, not you. Discard it.

Don’t give all your power to your emotions.

The sensations you feel are sacred energy awakening in you. Rejoice!

Your perceptions are only perceptions.

Get up and do something you enjoy, especially giving of yourself to others.

Switch over to some other practice: pranayama (low in abdomen), asanas, etc.

Choose to focus on love, God, or other chosen ishta. You can choose!

Change negative to positive internal dialogue.

Judge nothing as good or bad.

You cannot become trapped in trance. You may choose to stay, but just let someone shout “Fire!” and you will pop out.

Images usually appear early in a session. Relax and keep sinking.

Remember: everything is just a wave on your consciousness; just let it pass--no shrink-wrapping yourself around it, no contracting, no withering, no pulling your pucker string, no, no, no! For, you are the universe, infinitely open and spacious, and all for you is YES!
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Roxy

USA
30 Posts

Posted - Mar 10 2010 :  09:38:12 AM  Show Profile  Visit Roxy's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
AYP and the Endocrine System

Just a brief but important addendum to my cranial-nerve posting:

Ramping up the PNS causes a love response in the endocrine system. Fast acting endorphins (natural opioids) are the principal pleasure chemical, but oxytocin (the love and nurturing neurotransmitter) is a big, slow-acting molecule that strengthens and lengthens endorphin’s effect by locking habituation. In other words, the pleasure stays fresh, as opposed to what happens with drugs and alcohol. Oxytocin gets released in huge volumes at the peak of love-making and, in my view, the higher reaches of samadhi--like kicking the afterburners and leaving all dualism in the dust.

Dopamine, classically considered the pleasure chemical, is really more like a pleasure accountant, offering its critical appraisal of whether the pleasure received was up to expectations. Management of its drama-queen (or king) effects deserves a separate posting, because it causes most of the broad swings in mood that can come with an improperly paced practice. (Thus Yogani’s initial emphasis on meditation.) The critical elements, however, are to not compare your peak experiences against each other, or anyone else’s. Relax, be patient, be consistent in your practice, and be grateful for what you do receive.

Experts on the endocrinology of love include:

Dr. C.S. Carter, I believe with Dr. Porges at the U of Illinois/Chicago
Dr. K Uvnas-Moberg
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Roxy

USA
30 Posts

Posted - Mar 12 2010 :  4:32:20 PM  Show Profile  Visit Roxy's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Relapse and Recidivism

“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.” Louis Carroll

“If it makes you happy, then why the hell are you so sad?” Cheryl Crow

In a decade of living in treatment units, I’ve heard countless relapse stories in therapy, recovery meetings, and anecdotally. Three primary reasons for disaster have consistently emerged: resentments, overconfidence, and cravings.

Resentments: In here, I’ve certainly seen every form of resentment, and its ultimate wages paid out. Resentments may be the fattest flies in our cerebral pudding, the worst bane of everyday existence, the most malevolent ghosts to haunt our solitary moments, relationships, and they stalk us from kindergarten to the nursing home. They are the most destructive human foible, the dry-rot of hearts. Recognize their terrible nature and refuse to collect them.

Resentments are also a very sneaky enemy. Have you ever found yourself unconsciously worrying a resentment like a sore tooth, biting down on it just to change (sharpen!) the pain? Or, continually running your mental tongue over a resentment like you would over a missing tooth? Yeah, it happens to most everyone, so don’t be ashamed to honestly inspect yourself regularly, for resentments easily stick unnoticed like ticks and burrs as we traverse life, and we must often strip ourselves naked of denial to pick them off. The best curative tweezers are the blessings that flow from a spiritual path like AYP, primarily the non-judgmental, unconditional, universal love that shields us better than words.

But, while you’re learning to fly, below are some verbal “skyhooks” to cling to. Many became my personal mantras, pivotal to condition me out of my serious resentment problems, primarily by convincing me how stupid they were, always hurting me and rarely their supposed causative agent (thank goodness.) I could literally feel the wash of relief the moment I let go of a grievance, so the counterpoint is that even before love became firmly established in my heart, I saw that resentment removal was so good and pleasurable for me. I could even consider it a selfish act. In this, perhaps backward way, certain important moral habits were firmly established, to blend seamlessly with the real wonders to come.

I hope you find a few of the following maxims sufficiently pithy to recall in time of need, because resentments make good concrete to harden the heart, and you gotta hose ‘em out before they set!

Resentments are an acid that eats its own container.
Resentments are like taking poison and hoping someone else dies.
Build a resentment gun and I only end up shooting myself.
Only in forgiveness can I find peace.
Harboring a resentment wastes my time and energy.

Oh heck, here’s just a few more:

Never attribute to treachery what can be explained as misunderstanding.
Any conflict is at least half my own fault, even when I don’t clearly see it.
Be the first to apologize, even when you don’t see why. It cost nothing and pays off big.
Other people have bad days too.
My attitude shouldn’t entirely depend on the attitude of others.
Don’t assume you know the whole truth of a situation.
I have way too many faults to judge others.
Don’t take things so personally.
Accept what I cannot change, including organizations and other people.
The problem is in me, not them!

A separate word to parolees: I’ve seen many tripped up over these resentments:

Parole Restrictions: The best attitude to carry is that you are still incarcerated, but just with a few added privileges (could be just enough to hang yourself with!)

Why aren’t I happy? Don’t expect freedom to automatically bring happiness. No matter where you go, there you are, and you’ve likely carried misery with you for a long time. Countless times, I’ve told someone, “You were in such a hurry to get out, worrying about nothing else, and then got in an even bigger hurry to get bak in.” Happiness has to be found within yourself, my friend, and that can be worked on, and achieved, wherever you happen to be, even on death row (I’ve seen this!) So I feel some authority in recommending AYP as the way to find inner freedom and bliss.

And, a related thought for current inmates: to the extent consistent with actual survival, avoid getting involved with prison politics, grievances, and litigation. Almost no one wins these battles, but it is, of course, the exceptions to this rule--the statistically very rare win--that people remember. As a result, delusions and “hope springing eternal,” but instead of hope, your mind will spin endlessly with anger, frustration, and disappointment, while your finances and the time you could have spent on something productive burn up like dry leaves. The only thing you can assuredly improve on is you, so get busy. Otherwise, you’re witnessing your future.

Overconfidence: It’s unbelievable how many times I’ve heard something to the effect, “Just when things were going so well.” That’s exactly when you need to watch your judgement, when you’re getting cocky, and when your guard is beginning to drop. Just because you’ve been sober a good spell doesn’t mean you should do a “little research” on your “newfound strength,” or even just start letting the wrong people, places, and things back into your life. Especially if you’re on parole, where the sword hangs a hairbreadth away.

As sobriety stretches out, we tend to gorget the suffering of the past (even prison), and just how slippery the slope of addiction is. Remember the adage, “One drink is too many, a million not enough”? How many times do you have to relearn it? The next time you think how good an ice-cold beer would be, well, that’s the whole point! It’s too good to you, and you won’t stop! There may be social users out there, but that ain’t you. But don’t despair, thinking your life is over. No, it’s about to get far better than any drug could deliver. I was once an extreme addict, but now AYP gives me something so wonderful that I walk right by the prison equivalent of the corner liquor store like it wasn’t there.

Researchers actually have a name for the thinking distortion that inflates our sense of impulse control, causing us to overexpose ourselves to temptation: “restraint bias.” Next time you feel the slightest itch toward that stinking pothole, cast your mind forward in time and see where the lure lands you--plunk!--snagged in the weeds of disaster once again. You need to start fishing in the open water of the spirit, my friend.

Cravings: Carl Jung said that alcoholism is a spiritual disease that requires a spiritual cure. The same applies to all addictions, so please read on.

Don’t assume you can just quit doing chemicals and blithely go on as if nothing has happened. There is a big bottle--or drug-shaped--hole in your soul that you must quickly fill with something positive or the vacuum is guaranteed to eventually suck in exactly what you don’t need.

Fresh out of treatment, you may be feeling strong, but one morning, you’ll wake up not loving yourself enough to stay straight on your own. At that moment, there better be something else in your life that you love so much that you won’t risk throwing it away with stupid behavior.

The best anchor-point is a spiritual path like AYP, because it changes the whole paradigm, making everything a sea of love--there’s nowhere to fall because what soft little egos people retain on AYP (just enough to function in the world) bob gently around in that warm sea like luminous jellyfish. (Oops! Pardon my tentacle...)

Other things people successfully center their lives around include family, safe friends, career, hobbies, sports, charity, diploma-bearing education, life-long learning, etc. The possibilities are infinite and bright, so don’t throw your life away in darkness.

And, if all else fails, remember Mark Twain’s advice: “There are several good protections against temptation, but the surest is cowardice.” Given what is at stake, perhaps we shouldn’t laugh that wisdom off.

Finally, a comment on support groups. Don’t look at them as a burden or waste of time. Think you can stand on your own? Didn’t your own best thinking land you in hot water countless times? You need the continued reality-check that groups give you. Even just hearing others’ disaster stories reminds you how bad things can quickly get. Plus, groups are the best source of clean friends who understand your struggle and will drag you out of a slump.

If this whole “higher power” thing throws you, just consider that a higher power can be anything that helps you think better. The most amazing wisdom flows from the most unlikely support group members, if you just listen carefully. When the group is the higher power, it brings Thich Nhat Hanh’s prediction that the next Buddha will come in this form.

Similarly, Sri Yogani lives in AYP, incorporated into these lessons, books, audios, and forums, making him my buddha and Ramakrishna and Caitanya. This explains my worshipful, if unlikely presence here, against all odds, busting my incompetent buns to give back in some small measure all I have been given.






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Roxy

USA
30 Posts

Posted - Mar 13 2010 :  11:56:45 AM  Show Profile  Visit Roxy's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Belated response to Etherfish! Thank you for your note concerning quinoa. It's interesting for having a complete protein and being low glycemic. I actually avoided candy as a kid because of the unpleasant "buzz" sugar gave me.

At first the DOC said they wouldn't get any special foods for me. later, they asked what I'd like stocked in the canteen for purchase. When I asked about cost, however, they answered "Twice." Twice what, I'm not sure, but that pretty much closed off the topic for me.
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Roxy

USA
30 Posts

Posted - Mar 18 2010 :  07:12:16 AM  Show Profile  Visit Roxy's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hunger Redux

Sri Yogani, your posting concerning hunger a while back was very loving and informative, as always. You were correct to point out the millions who go hungry every day, and, by extension, the less fortunate in a multitude of other ways. I am surrounded by such unfortunates here, who are, in fact, mostly tormented by inner demons. In comparison, I have nothing to complain about, and actually feel very blessed, for you have given me a gift beyond measure, and one that grows ever more radiant.

Even when eventually swaddled in my deathbed, my thoughts will be on those who die in trepidation and bitterness. Perhaps this is a little selfish, for gratitude for what one has, particularly within one's self, is functionally synonymous with happiness, and I like that feeling. (Is that naughty?)

And, yes, at least I don't have a fridge nearby to torment me. There are snack machines in the rotunda, but such is the severity of my protein allergies, and the aversions created thereof, that those machines merely blend into the wall. But, this is not cause for lament, no, for I am glad to have transcended those coin-hungry chrome yonis. No Creme-filled centers for Mr. Sannyasi, that you!
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