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Manual of THE NEW YOGA
The New Yoga of Breathing
to the breathing of awareness
“As the mighty air which pervades everything, ever abides
in space, know that in the same way all beings abide in Me.”
“The soul (psyche) is an exhalation that perceives.”
“When we can feel awareness as something that pervades our bodies like the air around us in space, we expand the breathing space of our awareness – freeing it from each and every element of our experience, and breathing the pure air of awareness that is prana.”
Awareness of breathing is the key to the breathing of awareness – its emanation and reabsorption through flows of awareness that form the very air we breathe. Through awareness of our respiratory musculature we can learn to modulate and unite these flows of awareness - the very breath of the soul. It is these flows of awareness that unite the realms of our own inner and outer awareness space - the realms of soul and spirit, psyche and pneuma, the ‘air within’ and the ‘air without’, the ‘Kingdom’ inside and the ‘Kingdom’ outside (Gospel of Thomas). It is such currents of awareness breath, and not currents of ‘bioenergy’, which are the very life of our awareness body as a psychical, pneumatic or pranic body. Our awareness body is thus a breathing body in the deepest sense. Its felt boundary is a breathing membrane or ‘soul skin’ through which we both absorb all that we are aware of without, and emanate all that we are aware of within.
Ordinary people breathe eighteen times a minute. Less than ten are sufficient for those who practice seiza [seating breathing in the abdomen]. But if one can manage with three it is really good.
Modern psychologists and psychotherapists attend exclusively to their client’s experience of themselves, other people and the world, to their ways of reflecting on this self-experience or reacting to others from it. They may seek to help them to ‘cognitively’ reflect in different ways on their experience, thereby altering their way of reacting to or ‘behaving’ towards others. Alternatively they may prescribe medications to alter an individual’s inner self-experience and outward behaviour. Yet in all such modern psychologising there is no understanding that psyche – the breath of awareness - cannot be reduced to an experienced phenomenon or complex of phenomena of any sort. Awareness, quite simply, is not an experience in the form of anything we are aware of - a perception, sensation, desire, impulse, emotion, thought or action. Nor is it mental or ‘cognitive’ reflection on experience.
The Old Yoga had no place for any concept akin to that of modern ‘psychology’ because it was psychology in the deepest sense – a science of the soul’s innate kinship with breath - prana or psyche. This was a ‘psychology’ in which our pre-reflective awareness of experiencing was likened to invisible air that surrounds things in space, and in which the all-pervading and flowing character of awareness was correctly understood as the living and vitalising essence of air and ‘breath’ – as ‘life-breath’ or psyche. That is why, in order to revitalise what we call ‘psychology’ a ‘New Yoga’ is called for - one which, by cultivating awareness, prevents us from reducing the human psyche to an experiential object of lifeless ‘scientific’ knowledge. For no true insight into the human psyche can be attained by any form of psychological knowledge or psychotherapeutic training without first of all deepening and expanding the psychologist’s own bodily, breathing awareness of themselves and others. This is the function of their awareness body, understood both as a psychical or pranic body through which we can breathe our awareness of all that we experience within and without.
The different air-like flows of awareness that make up our pranic body are what make us sensitive in a bodily way to the atmosphere or quality of the spaces around us and to all those winds or draughts of awareness (pneuma) that flow within us and between ourselves and others. These flows of awareness can draw us towards or away from one another, deeper into or further out of ourselves. They can also draw us into and out of one another - allowing our own soul or psyche to flow like breath into the body of the other, or their soul to be drawn like a draught into ours. The German word for ‘relationship’ – Beziehung – derives from the verb ziehen – to pull or draw. It is easy for someone’s awareness to be ‘drawn’ or ‘sucked’ so deeply into a set of ideas, a pattern of relating, or any element of their everyday activity and experiencing, that they are drawn out of themselves – sometimes to the point of feeling sucked dry and depleted, lacking a sense of their whole self. The natural reaction is then to ‘withdraw’ back into themselves, temporarily or permanently closing themselves off from the world and retreating from the pull or draw of relationship as Be-ziehung - being overly ‘drawn’ by someone or ‘drafted’ into doing something. To not be ‘drawn out’ of ourselves to the point of losing ourselves in the world however, does not require us to close off and ‘withdraw’ from the world. For the opposite of letting our awareness be passively drawn out or ‘sucked in’ by something or someone is not to close off but to open ourselves and to actively draw in and absorb our awareness of all that we experience, inwardly and outwardly - to breathe awareness.
The psychotherapeutic relationship is ordinarily thought of as one in which the therapist ‘draws out’ the client’s thoughts and emotions, draws insights from the ‘material’ presented by the client and/or helps the client to independently draw insights from their own experience. Then again, we speak of people feeling more or less ‘drawn’ to one another, being ‘drawn to’ particular ideas, places or people, or being ‘drawn into’ discussions and endeavours. And yet neither in psychotherapy nor in everyday life do people either think or feel the ‘draughts’ that draw them hither and thither in a bodily way, as flow currents of awareness comparable to draughts of air. A psychotherapist may be aware of ‘drawing out’ a client verbally, but this is quite different from attending to the atmosphere or ‘aura’ of their bodily presence and actively drawing it towards us – feeling it as a tangible ‘draught’ of awareness that we can then absorb or breathe in with our whole body. The psychotherapist who claims to perceive but does not breathe their awareness of a client’s feelings cannot truly absorb and understand those feelings. Such a psychotherapist is no true psychologist – no true scientist of the psyche.
In the Indian wisdom tradition, knowledge in the form of ‘seeing’ and intellectual ‘ideas’ was understood not as the starting point but as the end-result of the cognitive process – a process that was understood as beginning not with seeing but with breathing. In the West intellectual theories and theoretical knowledge are still thought of as the foundation of practical disciplines and achievements. In the East, on the other hand, those practical disciplines known collectively as yoga were understood to be the very foundation of theory – of all intellectual ideas and insights. At the heart of yoga was an understanding of the bodily foundations of all intellectual knowledge. Together with this went an understanding of the human body as a breathing body and not merely one equipped with sense organs. That which was blindingly obvious to all – the fact that the human body could survive without seeing but not without breathing - was taken as a vital clue to the essence of the human being. Indeed it was taken as a clue to the essence of reality, truth or ‘being’ as such. The ‘old psychology’, which existed long before the term ‘psychology’ was coined, was one in which the word psyche still retained its root meaning of ‘breath’. In India this old psychology led to an understanding of the inner human being or ‘self’ as atman – a Sanskrit word echoed in the German for ‘breathing’ – atmen. Breath was named prana and the yoga of breathing called pranayama, meaning the ‘extension’ or ‘elongation’ of the breath.
Today such terms as prana, chi, qi, or ‘reiki’ are interpreted as
referring to some form of universal life force or vital ‘energy’. This
interpretation accords with the fundamental dogma - shared by both modern
science and New Age pseudo-science alike - that ‘everything is energy’. The New
Yoga challenges this dogma, which stands in basic contradiction with the
tantric understanding that ultimate reality is not energy or matter but
awareness. It is not through clearing or intensifying or ‘raising’
vital ‘energy’ that we reach a state of expanded or ‘enlightened’ awareness.
On the contrary, it is through the inward and outward expansion of our
awareness that we feel more ‘energised’. It is not energy that makes us aware.
It is awareness that energises. Energy is simply the ‘-ing’ of things –
the action of things happening in awareness. As such, ‘energy’ can entrap
awareness in experience in the same way that meaning can get entrapped in
speech – draining the innate vitality of awareness that is prana.
The Indian, Greek, Latin and Chinese languages all reflect a common understanding that awareness itself has the character of ‘air-ness’ – being something that surrounds, permeates, fills and flows between all things. The words prana and psyche have a common root meaning of ‘life’, ‘breath’ or ‘life breath’. Similarly, the Greek word now translated as ‘spirit’ – pneuma – also meant ‘wind’, and the word ‘spirit’ itself comes from the Latin spirare (to breathe) - as do such words as respiration, inspiration and expiration and spiral. The terms chi/ki or reiki, like the Greek horme (from which the medieval medical term ‘humours’ was derived) have a common root meaning which is not ‘energy’ but simply ‘that which flows’ – like blood and breath, water and air. The ancient Greek word for body (soma) meant precisely that – a corpse from which the life-breath had departed – and could be seen to do so rather like a wisp of smoke. Both Indian, Greek and Chinese philosophers and physicians understood the life-breath (psyche/prana) as a vital or ‘animating’ principle of the body (anima being Latin for soul).
When we get tired or sleepy our breathing slows down. When we die our physical
breathing ceases. The intake of oxygen through ordinary physical breathing on
the other hand helps wake us up and maintain our alertness. This everyday
‘scientific’ fact however, disguises the deeper truth recognised in the ancient
yoga of the breath – namely that awareness is vitalising in itself, and
that breathing in the innate vitality of awareness that is prana can
actually be intensified by elongating, slowing and stilling it to a point of
almost complete suspension. In contrast we have today’s identification of
health with ‘aerobics’ and ‘aerobic’ breathing - the oxygenation of the blood –
a belief that stands in outright contradiction to the promotion of
‘anti-oxidant’ vitamins and dietary supplements.
Among body psychotherapists there is also a belief
that the inhibition of aerobic breathing necessarily goes together with
the inhibition of vitality, and emotion - independently of its relation
to the anaerobic breathing of awareness – a belief in contradiction with
the tendency to hyperventilate and over-oxygenate the brain that is actively
encouraged by ‘release’ psychotherapies such as ‘rebirthing’.
These contradictions, together with the whole New Age identification of
prana with a form of ‘bioenergy’, all stem from a basic confusion between
physical breathing – the breathing of air and oxygen - and psychic or
pranic breathing. The New Yoga of the Breath understands prana as the
life-breath of awareness as such, and pranic breathing as a
breathing of awareness.
When someone suddenly comes across an ‘inspiring’ or ‘breathtaking’ landscape or vista the first thing that happens is that their physical breathing is suspended – taken away. This is in order that they can fully take in their experience of the landscape into their awareness - quite literally breathing in their awareness of it. If they then gasp in awe at the landscape or vista, this is not simply to resume physical breathing. The gasping physical in-breath is a way of bodying what preceded it – inhalation of awe-struck and inspired awareness that has been literally ‘in-spired’ – breathed in. Conversely, when someone sighs deeply as an expression of sadness, this is simply a way of physically embodying a deep exhalation or out-breath of awareness. Something sad or tragic having been taken into their awareness, the sighing allows it to ‘sink in’. The physical outflow of air goes together with a sinking psychic down-flow of awareness - one that lets the person find an inner ground in which their awareness of a sad or tragic experience or event can come to rest.
Today it is increasingly recognised that asthmatic attacks can be prevented by a focus on slow abdominal breathing. The slowing of physical breathing is by no means an inhibition of awareness breathing however. On the contrary, it is the individual’s feeling that they cannot fully breathe in their own feeling awareness that interferes with their physical breathing – leading them to gasp for air as a compensation for a deep inhalation and exhalation of awareness. By its very nature, awareness breathing does not inhibit but intensifies feeling awareness, allowing us to fully breathe intense emotions in and out of our awareness. This is something that the asthmatic individual may have been brought up not to do, particularly if dis-encouraged to speak their own feelings. For what is speech except a vocally expressive exhalation - not just of air but of a person’s awareness of what they experience, think and feel? Feeling one has ‘no room to breathe’ is no mere metaphor. Nor has it anything necessarily to do with absence of air. “The soul (psyche) is an exhalation that perceives.” (Heraclitus)
The New Yoga is yoga reborn as true ‘psychology’ and true psychology reborn as
yoga. What distinguishes the New Yoga of the Breath from the old is a
fundamental distinction between awareness of breathing and the
breathing of awareness – and the practical knowledge of how to transform our
awareness of breathing into a breathing of awareness.
The New Yoga of Breath is designed to explicitly transform awareness of breathing into a breathing of awareness. The key to this lies in an intensified awareness of our body surface as a whole, allowing us to experience it as a porous and breathing membrane - filled with an inner space of awareness and surrounded by an outer space of awareness. The other key lies in recognising that the transition ‘points’ of the ordinary aerobic breath cycle (the transition from physical in-breath to out-breath and vice versa) can be elongated (pranayama) in such a way that within it a second breath cycle takes its course – the entirely non-physical and anaerobic breathing of awareness. If the meditational methods of the New Yoga are followed, aerobic breathing with the physical body is slowed by progressively elongating the periodic intervals of the breath cycle. This does not require artificially holding our breath - instead our very need for air is progressively diminished by a pure breathing of awareness in the intervals of the breath cycle. Diagram 1 shows the normal model of aerobic physical breathing, this being conceived and experienced as a single cycle of in- and out-breath, inhalation and exhalation through which we draw in and expel air from our lungs.
Many traditional yogic meditational practices focus on the suspension of the breath at the turning points of the breath cycle – elongating the intervals between out-and in-breath or vice versa. The New Yoga understands these breath intervals as transition points between two distinct breath cycles – one of these being the cycle of aerobic physical breathing and the other a cycle of anaerobic or psychic breathing – awareness breathing. Truly ‘deep breathing’ is anaerobic – a psychical or pranic breathing of awareness of a sort that slows down our physical breathing to a point of almost complete suspension. Diagram 2 shows how by ‘suspending’ breathing during the interval between our physical out- and in-breath we can experience this interval as a transition point to a second breath cycle – one in which we feel ourselves continuing to exhale and inhale pure awareness breath or prana.
To understand the difference between aerobic physical breathing and psychic or pranic breathing – ‘soul breathing’ or ‘awareness breathing’ - one needs to distinguish the respiratory anatomy of the physical body from that of our soul body or ‘awareness body’. This awareness body is a unified field body uniting three fields of awareness – a field of exteriority manifest as our awareness of the physical space around us, a field of interiority which we feel as the spacious inwardness of our own soul - and the field of unbounded interiority into which our own inwardness of soul leads. This field of unbounded interiority is also the all-surrounding field that constitutes the soul world as such – that which lies behind all that we perceive in the exterior space around us. Our awareness body, as a unified field body, is the singular field-boundary of awareness uniting all three fields. As such, it is also a psychic or pranic body, being a ‘breathing body’ or ‘body of awareness breath’ (prana). For it is through its surface boundary that we both emanate or ‘exhale’ qualities belonging to the bodily field of our inner self-awareness and its qualities (soul or psyche as the ‘air within’), and also absorb or inhale our field awareness of the outer world around us and its ‘atmospheric’ qualities (spirit or pneuma as ‘the air without’). Like our skin - itself a vital and principal organ of physical respiration - the breathing boundary of our awareness body can be felt as more or less open and porous or sealed and self-containing, more or less loose or tight, spacious and roomy, and more or less restrictive or expansive of both our awareness, our breathing and our capacity to breathe awareness.
Just as there are flows of air between and around bodies in space so are there flows of awareness. Just as we breathe air into and out of the inner spaces of our bodies, so do we breathe in and breathe out awareness. Just as the air we breathe in circulates through our bodies so does awareness. As bodies we inhale the oxygen released by plants and breath exhaled by other beings, human and animal. But in what manner and at what point does this air we breathe in become a part of ‘us’ rather than the world around us? And at what point or in what manner does the air we breathe out cease to be part of ‘us’ and become part of the world? These questions cannot be answered except by suspending our ordinary notion of what we ourselves are – by acknowledging that like air that circulates between and within our bodies in space, our awareness is something that flows both within us and between us and the world. It does so both within and through the breathing psychic skin that constitutes the inwardly felt surface of our body – essentially a field-boundary of awareness uniting the three spatial fields of awareness that make up our awareness body: the field of exteriority, the field of interiority and the field of all-surrounding inwardness. It is this very field boundary of awareness that constitutes our awareness body as such, being that which both unifies the three fields of our awareness and allows flows of awareness to circulate within and between them - like currents of air and breath.
Prana is a general tantric term for ‘awareness breath’. But The Old Yoga identified five primary flows of prana as flows of awareness or ‘awareness breath’. These were:
1. PRANA – a centripetal in-flow of awareness breath to the inner ‘heart’ centre or hrdaya, situated in the region of the diaphragm between navel and heart.
2. VYANA – a centrifugal out-flow of awareness breath permeating throughout the body from the ‘heart centre’ or hrdaya.
3. APANA – a grounding vertical down-flow of awareness-breath from our upper body to our entire lower body below the diaphragm.
4. UDANA – a vertical up-flow of awareness-breath from below – into our abdomen or hara and/or right up to the inner awareness spaces of our chest and head.
5. SAMANA – an even balance of in- and out-breath, and the centering and sealing of awareness breathing in the inner space of the abdomen or ‘hara’.
In the Old Yoga and its New Age counterparts there are many accounts of the multiple nadis or channels along which prana, conceived in a general sense as a form of ‘bionergy’, flows and can be ‘raised’ as kundalini or ‘serpent power’ from the base of the spine through different ‘energy centres’ or chakras up to the crown of the head and beyond. The spine is understood as the central channel or sushumna along which prana flows. In contrast, The New Yoga understands the chakras as ‘soul centres’ - centres of awareness in the body’s inner awareness space or ‘soul space’. The sushumna is not identified with the central channel of the spinal column but with a central axis of awareness running vertically from a centre of awareness in the head through centres in the regions of the heart and diaphragm, to the centre of awareness in the lower abdomen or hara (Japanese) that was known in Taoist and Buddhist tantra as the tan tien (Chinese) or tanden (Japanese). The equivalent of hara in Indian tantra was the ‘navel centre’ and karnika (womb), understood as a ‘bulb’ (kanda) within the pelvic bowl (kunda) and reaching from the perineum to a point a couple of inches below and behind the navel. Besides the central channel or sushumna, the most important nadis referred to in the Old Yoga are ida and pingala. In The New Yoga these are understood as intertwining channels of physical aerobic breath on the one hand, and anaerobic or ‘awareness breath’ on the other, whose nodes along the sushumna are the chakras.
Centering one’s awareness and breathing in the heart chakra or hrdaya allows a full expansion of our awareness into the exterior field of ‘physical’ space, and with it a full experience of that all-surrounding exterior space as no less a dimension of psychic space or soul space - awareness space - than the space of our dreams. Prana, as one of the five modes of awareness breathing, is a centripetal in-breath of our outer sensory awareness of the space around us, centering itself in the heart centre or hrdaya. Letting one’s awareness breath flow down (apana) into the womb-like inner soul space of our abdomen or hara, on the other hand, allows an inner expansion or ‘inspansion’ of awareness – the expansion of inner awareness space. From the hara awareness breath can flow even further down into the field of unbounded but all-surrounding awareness that is the very womb of cosmic space itself. From this a pranic up-flow of awareness breath (udana) can be drawn up and either sealed in the ‘hara’ (samana) or allowed to rise up to the head centre and beyond.
Diagram 3 represents the principal chakras and nadis in terms of The New Yoga of Breath, showing the turning point of the double breath cycle at which the metamorphosis or transubstantiation of aerobic breathing into awareness breathing takes place and vice versa - the transubstantiation of awareness into ‘airness’. Ancient and contemporary accounts differ in the anatomical location they give the ‘heart’ centre or hrdaya, which is variously associated either with the region of the anatomical heart in the upper chest, or with a central point in the diaphragm. That is because it is within the bowl of the diaphragm that we can sense the centre point at which the up-flow of awareness along the sushumna begins to rise in our inner chest space towards the heart, and to transform itself into an aerobic in-breath of air. Conversely, it is also the centre through which the aerobic out-breath of air can be felt to transform itself into a down-breath of awareness (apana) towards the hara and muladhara (the ‘root-support’ centre at the base of the spine). At the same time, the hrdaya is also the ‘heart’ or centre of the gathering in-breath of awareness (prana) and its radiating out-breath (vyana).
In Occidental culture people’s bodily identity and self-experience stems from a one-sided identification with their upper body awareness, and with it a tendency to breathe with their upper body alone. In contrast, Oriental culture emphasised the importance of centering both awareness and breathing in the lower body – in particular the abdomen or hara. The hrdaya on the other hand, is a centre of perfect equipoise between upper- and lower-body awareness, upper- and lower-body breathing. Feeling a centre of awareness in the mid-point of the diaphragm and actively centering our awareness there - in the hrdaya – we can not only unite our upper and lower body awareness and breathing in a singular flow of awareness breath. We can also unite the spaces of our outer and inner awareness, feeling the surface boundary between them diffusing as it becomes a more open, translucent and breathing surface (Diagram A).
Diagram A Diagram B Diagram C
As this happens we can also diffuse the larger field-boundary, soul-skin or
“tissue capsule” (Seth) that separates the exterior field of our sensory
awareness from the soul world - the field of all-surrounding interiority
in which our inner soul space leads (see Diagram B). As a result, we experience
the hrdaya as the singular centre of a unified field of awareness
(Diagram C). Like the Sun itself, which shines light out into space, the
hrdaya first gathers the light of awareness to a centre from the
space all around it. The boundary between all three fields of awareness that
constitutes our awareness body having become diffuse and translucent, the light
of awareness stemming from the soul world can be experienced as both shining in
through the sensory world around us, being absorbed through our diffused body
surface and concentrated in the hrdaya. This is the fulfilment of
khecari mudra – an identification with both the inner and outer spaces
of our awareness of a sort that can diffuse the felt surface boundary between
them and allow us to experience unified field awareness.
Giving yourself Outer Breathing Space
1. Letting your eyes shift and the focus of your gaze wander, use all your senses to attend to the space around you, its light and atmosphere, and the objects within it – but without focussing on one particular area, feeling or object.
2. Opening your eyes as wide as possible, concentrate on sensing your facial, chest and body surface - and from it, the entire space around you.
3. Feel how keeping your eyes open wide helps you feel your whole body surface as wide open in all directions to the space around you.
4. Now unfocus your gaze so as to attend simply and purely to your awareness of featureless, empty space (whether the indoor space of a room or building, an outdoor environment or your awareness of the infinity of cosmic space).
5. Mouth closed, take a few deep breaths, and then suspend your breathing entirely. Instead feel yourself breathing through your body surface – breathing your awareness of space and absorbing it through that surface like air and invisible light.
6. Centering your awareness at the mid-point of your diaphragm, feel yourself breathing your awareness through your body surface towards that centre.
7. Sense that centre (the hrdaya) as an inner sun that is gathering and concentrating light from the space around you – or the entirety of cosmic space.
8. Feel the light of awareness concentrated in the hrdaya radiating outwardly to permeate your entire body and shine out through your body surface and eyes.
9. Now allow yourself to resume breathing but in the slowest way possible – taking in only to the exact extent to which you feel you are taking in and absorbing your awareness of space through your body surface.
10. Feel every incremental in-breath of air as nothing but the physical expression and embodiment of an in-breath of awareness through your entire body surface.
· Take a few breaths, then suspend your breathing, and attend to your body surface.
· Feel yourself breathing in directly through your entire body surface – as if it were absorbing your awareness of the entire space around you.
· Feel yourself concentrating the light of awareness that you breathe in through your body surface at a centre in the mid-point of your diaphragm (hrdaya).
· Resume slow and elongated physical breathing (pranayama), feeling this stage in your in-breath of air as the expression of an in-take of awareness through your surface.
Giving yourself Inner Breathing Space
1. Close your eyes or simply withdraw the focus of your gaze to a point just in front of and between your eyes. Doing so, become fully aware of your head and the surface of your face. Now feel the top, sides and back of your head. Feel your whole head as if it were a hollow vessel with its own inner space. Sense a centre or locus of awareness in this space, just between your eyes and behind your forehead. As you inhale air through your nose, feel the inner space of your head filling with awareness. As it does so allow your eyes to open wider. Feel your awareness coming fully into your eyes and fully upfront to the surface of your face. Allow the focus of your gaze to reach forward again into the space in front of you, and feel yourself looking out at the world from the centre or locus of awareness in your head.
2. Close your eyes and bring your awareness down into the region of your chest. Feel the front surface of your chest, the surface of your back, the sides of your ribcage. Feel your ribcage and chest as a whole as a hollow vessel. Breath entirely with your chest muscles and feel the rise and fall of your breast as you inhale and exhale. In your own time gradually open your eyes, stay aware of the surface of your chest and at the same time become aware of the surfaces of the objects and walls around you. Feel yourself absorbing your awareness of these surfaces through the surface of your chest. As you breathe in, sense your inner chest space expanding and filling not only with air but with light – the light of your awareness of the space around you.
3. Close your eyes and become aware of your entire lower body below the waist. Feel your legs and the contact of your feet with the ground. Now bring your awareness fully into your abdomen. Feel a warm dark space of awareness opening up within your abdomen and feel yourself breathing into that space rather than into the inner space of your chest. Feel the surface of your abdomen swell and expand like a balloon as you breathe in and sense it filling with a dark, fluid warmth as you do so. Sense a centre of awareness a few inches below and behind the navel. In your own time, half open your eyes, keeping your lids low. Feel yourself looking out from the centre of awareness in your abdomen. Now focus on an object in the space in front of you and feel yourself inwardly connected to its own withinness from the centre of awareness within your abdomen and through its own aware withinness.
Giving yourself Inner and Outer Breathing Space
1. Feel the inner space of your head as a hollow filled with awareness, and feel a centre of awareness in this space, above your eyes and behind your forehead.
2. Feel the inner space of your chest as a hollow filled with awareness, and feel a centre of awareness in this space in the region of your heart.
3. Feel the inner space of your abdomen as a hollow filled with awareness, and feel a centre of awareness below and behind the navel.
4. Feel the inner spaces of your head, chest and abdomen as a singular space of awareness.
5. Breathing with your mouth closed, feel each out-breath of air as a downflow of awareness from the hollow inner space of your head to that of your abdomen.
6. Bring your awareness to your body surface as a whole, feeling your skin as totally porous and your chest surface as entirely open.
7. Feel each in-breath of air as an inflow of pure awareness taken in through the open space of your chest and diffusing right through your body surface.
THE SUPREME MANTRA OF THE BREATH
The Sanskrit word ‘AHAM’ means ‘I am’. It is also the Mantra of Supreme Identity – identification with the absolute awareness field - realised through breathing awareness. The mantra begins with the phonemes A and H – the first and last phonemes of the Sanskrit alphabet and thus their alpha and omega. The phoneme H is also associated with the term visarga which refers to a diacritic mark used in Sanskrit and constituted, like a colon, by two vertically separated dots - in contrast to the single dot or bindu associated with the nasalized phoneme M. The ‘A’ in the mantra is associated with the absolute (anuttara) - a sound of perfect astonishment and wonder at the infinite awareness field that is Shiva - whereas the ‘H’ represents his inseparable consort Shakti. The phoneme H can be experienced as a hovering point of perfect equipoise in the intervals of inhalation (AH) and exhalation (HA) – AH being felt as the absorption of outwardly experienced reality into the divine awareness field, and the HA as the emission or expression of awareness in that outwardly experienced reality. The mantra AHAM is the very sound of that second breath cycle that is the breathing of awareness. When we can silently hear, feel and experience our every breath cycle as this mantra, we unite the breathing spaces of our outer and inner awareness into a single cycle of awareness breathing. The mantra is itself a cyclical mantra, which is to say that its letters permutate as a continuous ‘round’ of two syllables (an inhaled AH, exhaled HAM), four permutations of its phonemes, (AHAM, MAHA, AMAH, HAMA) and five sounds (A-AH-H-HA-M) centred in the hovering suspension of breath that is the soundless visarga (H). Through this cycle a surface in-breath (prana) of outer awareness (AH) transforms itself into a descending out-breath (HA) or down-flow of awareness (apana). Through the phoneme M this down-flow is experienced as an elemental transformation of awareness - a condensation of the air-like substantiality or ‘ether’ of pure awareness space into a compact bodily mass of awareness breath or prana, now experienced as a fluid warmth permeating our inwardly felt body. Transliterated, the mantra is the Supreme Mantra of Shiva that reads:
“I am SHIVA (A), of compact mass of awareness-bliss (HAM)
entire universe (AH) is my body (HA)”
The most important psychological application and benefit of The New Yoga lies in the way it can teach us to meditate others, and come to ‘know’ other human beings in a different way – not simply through visual perception, emotional empathy or intellectual insight but through attending to the body of the other and in this way taking them in as ‘some-body’ - not just as a ‘talking head’, a set of mental-emotional processes or cognitive and behaviourial patterns. What distinguishes the New Yoga of the Breath from the old is an emphasis on using the breathing of awareness to not only meditate the self (atman) but to meditate the other. By this I mean switching from a mode of relating based on perceiving another person’s body as a mere visual ‘body-object’ to one based on feeling it as a sensory image of their soul. By feeling our body surface as a sense organ of our own soul we can both breathe in our perception of the sensory outwardness of another person’s body - and through this begin to sense and breathe their bodily inwardness of soul. Awareness breathing is both sensory breathing and soul breathing – enabling us to breathe in our own sensory awareness of a person’s body and their own inwardness of soul.
Through our own sensed body surface and the exterior field of our outer spatial awareness surrounding it we breathe in our sensory awareness of objects and people, thereby giving us a sense of their inwardness of soul. From the inner field or soul space of our own body we can intend to directly draw a flow of awareness from the soul inwardness of these objects and people – directly breathing the soul of another into our own body. On the other hand, we can also let our awareness flow like breath into the sensed inner soul space of another person’s body – in this way directly breathing our soul into the body of another. Alternatively, we can simply intend to feel the surface bodily boundaries separating our own inwardness of soul from that of another diffusing and dissolving – allowing our own soul to directly merge, meld or ‘commingle’ with that of another. All these modes of soul breathing are conditional upon feeling and visualising the inwardness of our own and other people’s bodies as hollow spaces. Only in this way can we feel ourselves either breathing our soul into the body of another or breathing their soul into our body - through flows of awareness breath or prana.
In the presence of others, whether in a social situation or group, or in a one to one encounter, use the opportunity to engage in the following meditations:
Meditation 1: breathing in the sensory outwardness of the other
1. Become aware of your body as a whole through your own breathing and respiratory musculature, and attend also to the body of another person.
2. Breathing with your mouth closed, feel your chest surface as a physical boundary separating you from the other person.
3. Now imagine your chest surface as entirely open - as if a huge hole had been cut in it. As you breathe in, feel yourself as fully open – and as fully taking in your awareness of the other person’s body through your open chest surface or hole.
Meditation 2: breathing in the soul inwardness of the other into your body
1. Use whole-body awareness of your breathing to sense the inner spaces of your own head, chest and abdomen respectively, feeling each of them as clear, hollow spaces of awareness.
2. Attending to your sensory awareness of another person’s head, chest and abdomen, intend also to feel the quality of awareness inwardly filling the inner space of their head, chest and abdominal spaces respectively.
3. Feel the qualities of awareness filling the inwardness of their ‘head’ space in your own head space, the qualities of awareness filling the awareness space of their chest and abdominal spaces in the inner spaces of your own chest and abdomen.
Meditation 3: breathing your soul into the body of the other
1. Use whole-body awareness of your breathing to sense the inner spaces of your own head, chest and abdomen respectively, feeling them as hollow spaces but also sensing the air-like pranic substantiality of the awareness that fills them.
2. Attend to your sensory awareness of a particular region or regions of another person’s body, whether head, chest and/or abdomen, both visualising and sensing its inwardness as entirely hollow.
3. Visualise and feel the hollow inwardness of those regions filling with the air-like or pranic substantiality of your own inner bodily awareness, as if you were breathing it into them – either by feeling your inner chest space merging with theirs, or by directing a flow of awareness down from your abdomen and then up into the entire hollow inwardness of the other person’s body.
The sacred symbol of Shaivism is the phallic lingam. The symbol of Shakti is the yoni – representing both vulva and vagina. Yet the shiva-lingam is itself always sculpted on a base representing the shakti-yoni. Thus it is also called the yoni-lingam. This is not simply an archaic symbol of human sexual organs. It is the other way round. Our sexual organs are themselves fleshly symbols of our inwardly felt body in its bi-sexual character – which is a phallic invagination of our soul body as a whole.
In the diagram above the soul body is represented as a spherical field boundary (red). Its interiority (white) embraces the entire space-time universe, i.e. the entire field of our outer, sensory awareness of the world. Intruding into this spatial field is a phallic formation – the lingam – corresponding to the felt boundary of our physical body. This phallic lingam however, is at the same time that which is symbolised by the female sexual organ or yoni, being an ‘invagination’ of the entire field-boundary that constitutes the soul body as a whole. Together they constitute the Shiva-lingam or yoni-lingam. This is the principal symbol of Shaivism, representing as it does the inseparability of male and female aspects of divinity, of Shiva and Shakti.
Tantric soul-sexuality is not dependent on ordinary or special forms of sensory stimulation, nor does it even require sexual desire (kama), bodily contact or physical intercourse – instead it brings to expression the innate sensual bliss (ananda) of soul-body intercourse. So much then, for the titillating nonsense taught as ‘tantric sex’ in workshops all over the world by teachers who know nothing of the historical meanings of the word ‘tantra’, let alone the refined philosophies and practices described in the tantric teachings or shastras. As a result they are completely ignorant of the distinction between kama (sensory pleasure) and (ananda) spiritual awareness bliss, so central to tantric practices, in contrast to those of the kamasutras.
Soul-Body Intercourse (maithuna)
Soul-body intercourse or maithuna is in essence a coupling of flows of awareness between sexual partners. This is based on the mutual exhalation and inhalation of awareness breath through both mouth and nose, and through uniting four of the principal modes of awareness breathing (see diagram above):
1. A down-flow of awareness (apana) within the soul body of the partner (male or female) embodying the ‘masculine’ bearing of SHIVA.
2. A phallic up-flow (udana) of this down-flow of awareness into the soul-body of the partner (female or male) embodying the ‘feminine’ bearing of SHAKTI, drawing it into and letting it penetrate and fill the soul inwardness of their body from below.
3. An in-flow (prana) of the masculine partner’s heightened awareness of the fleshly outwardness of the female partner’s body.
4. A consequent out-flow of awareness breath permeating the flesh of the female partner (vyana), and emanating from it as the shining fire and light of awareness.
‘CHAKRA’, ‘SHAKTIPATA’ AND ‘KUNDALINI’
Awareness has an essentially non-local or field character. Space itself is not a coordinate grid of localised points but a non-local field of awareness. Ultimately all the spatially and anatomically localised centres of awareness that are conventionally identified with the chakra are expressions of a single centre or non-local singularity of awareness. The word chakra means ‘wheel’. What distinguishes one ‘chakra’ from another therefore, is ultimately not its felt anatomical location, but rather the specific wheel or ring, circle or circumference, sphere or ‘field’ of awareness which it links us to. The arrangement of chakras therefore, is best represented not by a vertical series of points each of which constitutes a separate locus or centre of awareness ‘in space’, but rather by a single point that serves as the common centre of concentric circles or wheels (chakra). It is this singularity of awareness that is experienced as having different anatomical and spatial locations according to the specific wheels, rings, spheres or fields of awareness that it links us to.
The head centre links us to the inner circle, ring or field-boundary of awareness that is the inwardly felt surface of our own eyes, skull and body as a whole.
The hara centre is the centre of the inner awareness space bounded by our bodies. It is also what inwardly links our own inner awareness space and inwardness of soul to that of the bodies around us - whether things or people – and the field of all-surrounding inwardness that connects them - allowing us to experience inner flows of awareness between ourselves and others.
The hrdaya centre links us to the larger ring or field-boundary of awareness that is the circumference of our outer awareness space and of cosmic space as such. As the centre of this larger wheel or chakra it can be experienced as the centre of a singular field of awareness embracing both the inner and outer spaces and fields of our awareness. Through it we experience outer flows of awareness breath or prana between our own bodies and those of others – whether things or people.
The muladhara centre at the base of the spine is a fourth centre linking us to a fourth field of awareness - and to that fourth state of consciousness and of prana named in the tantras as turya. This fourth field has no spatial extension in the way that the other fields of awareness do. It is a purely ‘intensional’ field, a non-spatial space, a space of pure darkness or ‘non-being’ – not because it is nothing but because it contains no actual ‘thing’ to be aware of. Instead it consists purely and simply of all those unactualised potentialities or potencies of awareness – Shaktis. That is why Shiva himself, as a personification of the divine awareness field, is portrayed as prostrating himself beneath the feet of Ma Kali, herself a personification of the pure potency or power of awareness that is kundalini – a power that can only be released - raised into actuality - through Shiva’s quiescent awareness of it. The essential principle of kundalini and of the ‘The New Kundalini Yoga’ therefore, has nothing whatsoever to do with any actual energy but rather with ‘potential energy’ – understood as the pure power of potentiality. Its guiding words are:
…from the awareness of pure potentiality to the pure power of awareness
The pure awareness of potentiality is felt as a descent of awareness through the muladhara into the ‘fourth field’ of turya - the dark womb of pure potentiality - attuned by devotional submission or grace of Shiva towards Ma Kali. This devotional descent of grace is known as Shaktipata. For through it Shiva descends into the source of all potencies or powers - all Shaktis. In this way too, the yogin or yogini who embodies the supreme awareness of power that is paramshiva can release the supreme power of awareness that is paramshhakti. This pure power of potentiality is then felt to rise from the womb or yoni of Ma Kali as kundalini – taking the form of the black shiva-lingam worshipped by Shaivas all over the world. But in order for the rise of prana as kundalini to occur the devotional descent into power – Shaktipata – that leads us to a pure awareness of potentiality must first take place – through an elongation of our out-breath as an ever deepening down-flow of awareness. The starting point of this descent is the muladhara centre of awareness at the base of the spine. Only by feeling as if we were literally sending down an in-spiralling, serpentine tap root of awareness from this ‘root-support’ centre can we tap into the pure power of potentiality and let it rise up through the muladhara and fill our soul body with the black lingam of serpent power that is kundalini. Turya is that fourth field and fourth pranic state (black) that finds expression as a singularity or ‘point of power’ at the core of every thing, every being and every body – every bounded body or pranic ‘particle’ of awareness (red).
In the meta-psychology of The New Yoga, the three main fields of awareness (the field of exteriority, the field of interiority, and the field of all-surrounding inwardness) correspond to the waking, dreaming and sleep states respectively. The point of power linking us to the fourth state - turya - constitutes that singular centre of awareness through which the yogin(i) can ultimately achieve aware or ‘lucid’ experiencing of the waking, dreaming and sleep state. In the case of the latter this means learning to literally slip or ‘sleep into’ their own infinite inwardness - and that of any other bounded body or unit, atom or particle of awareness.
The hara centre leads us through our own bodily inwardness of soul to
that of all other bodies through the field of all-surrounding interiority that
unites them – the soul world. The hrdaya centre leads our
awareness outwards to the infinite circumference of our outer awareness
field - a ‘circumference at infinity’. The muladhara on the other hand,
leads our awareness infinitely inwards to a ‘centre at infinity’ - the
inexhaustible inward infinitude of potentiality that is the Divine Mother (Mahadevi)
of all actual worlds and all bounded souls (jiva) – the black womb of
Ma Kali from which they emerge into the light of awareness that is Shiva.
In ordinary social contexts, the single biggest obstacle to a true yoga of the breath is speech. In ordinary ‘spontaneous’ speech a felt meaning we wish to communicate has no sooner arisen within our field of awareness than it is instantaneously given vocal and verbal form through whatever words happen to come to mind. Such acts of instantaneous un-premeditated speech are acts of instantaneous identification with what we say. Instantaneous and unaware speech may be ‘spontaneous’ but it is not free speech. Truly free speech arises from first giving ourselves time to listen to ourselves and others. For only then can we freely choose words whose ‘senses’ are in true resonance with our wordless awareness of all that we sense. What actually takes place when we speak in this instantaneous and unaware way is a type of involuntary and premature ejaculation of words based on an uncontrolled spastic seizure of our muscles – not only those of our vocal organs but of our entire respiratory and bodily musculature. Only through a sustained awareness of breathing and breathing of awareness can we also become aware of those muscular impulses, subtle or strong, that precede every act of speech – and prevent them from seizing our respiratory musculature in the speech act and resulting in a premature ejaculation of words. Restraint of breath, speech and semen was the pre-eminent principle of both Hindu and Buddhist tantrism. Just as the practice of tantric sex as soul-intercourse (maithuna) requires the restraint of seminal ejaculation, so does any truly meditative and meaningful verbal intercourse require that we use evenness of breathing to muscularly restrain impulses to speak and instead rest in meditative silence.
The physical body is our speaking body in every sense – not only because
speaking is itself a physical activity, but because the physical body is itself
a language, constantly communicating. The psychical body on the other
hand – our soul body or awareness body - is essentially not a speaking body but
our listening body. What unites our felt body and our physical body, our
listening body and speaking body, is the activity of breathing. What unites them
is a listening speech in which we give ourselves breathing space to fully
take in – breathe in - our awareness of all that we sense, feel and
think, before exhaling it in words. The mantra that links speaking and
breathing is not ‘think before you speak’, but ‘listen before you speak’ – we
give ourselves breathing space in which to meditate our words and tune
our voice tone and tempo. Only through maintaining such breathing spaces of
listening silence between thought and word, impulse and utterance, can we be
aware of (a) how and where we feel the impulse to speak in our
muscles, and (b) whether our words are or are not in true resonance with
our felt meaning, felt body and felt self as a whole – our bodily
awareness of all that we sense and wish to convey to others. It is in
this way that aware breathing can transform itself into aware
speaking - turning our every act of speech into a true expression of
awareness - rather than an ejaculatory act through which we pre-empt and
pre-empty ourselves of awareness.
· Every time you feel on the verge of saying something in response to another, feel the muscular impulse to speak and restrain it through evenness of breathing – thus extending the breathing space between the words of the other person and giving yourself time to take them in and to feel your response before speaking it.
· Instead of instantaneously speaking, mentally hear the different words you are on the verge of uttering - and the tone of voice in which you would have uttered them – but without identifying with this inner voice, its tone and its words.
· Instead of being drawn into expressing one or other particular stream of thoughts and feelings, attend to your awareness of all that you sense within yourself and in the other person – only speaking when you find words in resonance with this.
· Utter the words “I’m all right, thank you” - or any everyday phrase or question - as you would do naturally.
· Silently make a gesture with one hand that matches the exact manner in which you made the utterance – its tempo, amplitude, starting tone, intonation pattern, and breathing intervals, if any.
· Now make a silent hand gesture (or ask your partner to make a gesture) that embodies a completely different manner of uttering the words, and then utter the same words again exactly in the manner of that new gesture or mudra.
The modern term ‘psychiatry’, like ‘psychology’ is of Greek origin. It refers to the healing (iatros) of the psyche. But long before the word soma came to refer to the living body and psyche to the body’s inwardness of soul, soma meant simply ‘corpse’ and psyche meant only the life-breath that had departed from it. The association of the life of the body with breath is an obvious one. Its association with the very life of the soul or psyche is one which psychiatry has forgotten.
The psychiatric term ‘schizophrenia’ is also of Greek origin. The root meaning of schizo-phrenia is not ‘split personality’ but rather ‘split breathing’ - for the Greek term phrenes from which it derives referred to the organismic experience of our breathing - in particular as it is affected or disturbed in different ways by our experiencing. The division or splitness of breathing is not in any way acknowledged by modern psychiatry as having anything to do with ‘mental illness’, and yet it is basic to it. The split can be understood in two ways – as a split between upper and lower body, chest and abdominal breathing - and as a more fundamental split between the root meaning of psyche as ‘breath’ and its meaning as ‘soul’ or psychical awareness. The split between these two most basic meanings of the word psyche itself makes Western ‘psychiatry’ an inherently schizophrenic science. In contrast, the Eastern scientific understanding of prana transcends this duality. Prana being the basic bodily substance of soul or awareness, pranic psychiatry makes nonsense of current interpretations of psychiatric or ‘mental’ illness. Indeed it makes nonsense of the very division between psychology, psychiatry and psychotherapy on the one hand, and ‘somatic’ medicine on the other. For the soma is indeed a corpse without the life-breath of soul or awareness - which is not its by-product but its basic substance.
Whilst modern medicine and psychiatry acknowledge that changes in blood circulation, hormonal flows and breathing can affect our mental-emotional state and be affected by it, they ignore the more fundamental reality that it is flows of awareness that determine both our bodily condition and mental-emotional states. Thus a ‘low’ mood persists, deepens and endures as ‘depression’ only because people no longer know how to give in to it – to let their low mood literally lower both their awareness and breathing to the abdomen (through a down-flow of awareness breath accompanying and following each exhalation). Similarly states of extreme anxiety and panic arise because people no longer know how to expand the breathing space of their inner and outer awareness sufficiently to encompass and contain elements of their experience within it that they sense as threatening. This is because they have narrowed both their idea and experience of psychical awareness to something bounded by their own head (‘the mind’) or body (‘the soul’) - ‘narrowing’ being also the root meaning of the term ‘anxiety’. Medicine and psychiatry treat the body as a mere womb-cum-tomb of the mind or soul – itself reduced to a function of a single organ, the brain. Similarly, the fact that people feel their psychical awareness and identity as something bounded by their own skins, means that they also cannot feel their body surface as an open, porous and breathing membrane uniting self and world, allowing a dynamic exchange between the space of their inner-bodily self-experience and all that they experience in the awareness space of their outer world.
The greater the attempt to maintain a fixed bodily boundary between self and world, inner and outer awareness spaces, the greater the tendency to alternate between a paranoid rigidification of this boundary, or a sense of its complete breakdown – of having no boundaries whatsoever. Alternatively, and more ‘normally’ the bodily split or division between self and world takes the form of a division or alternation between ‘introversion’ (dwelling in one’s inner awareness space) and ‘extroversion’ (dwelling in the outer awareness space of one’s world). All the so-called ‘mental’ illnesses labelled by psychiatric medicine are experienced by the individual in their awareness - subjectively – and not as ‘objective’ or ‘organic’ disorders of the body or brain functioning. And yet they all find embodiment in the individual’s breathing and way of speaking – both of which are bodily ways of expressing their subjective experience of themselves, other people and the world. Without learning to distinguish awareness and experience however, neither can the individual learn to expand the inner and outer breathing space of their awareness in such a way as to safely encompass all elements of their experience. A true ‘psychiatry’ on the other hand, would overcome the schizophrenic split between psychical awareness and bodily breathing. Such a pranic psychiatry would acknowledge the freeing of flows of awareness breath, and with it, the expansion of breathing spaces of awareness as the key to both mental and physical health.
In the ‘animistic’ wisdom of all cultures we find a more or less explicit understanding that awareness is the very inwardness or ‘soul’ of all things – in particular that it is the aware inwardness or soul of the elements – of space and light, of fire, air, water and earth. Conversely, soul or awareness has its own innate elemental qualities (tattvas) of spatiality and light, warmth and coolness, airy diffuseness, watery fluidity and earthly solidity. Put these two primordial truths together and we end up with the type of dialectical principles or ‘chiasms’ that form the basis of a new pranic science and psychology - precisely that ‘science of soul’ on which The New Yoga is founded:
· the air of soul is the very soul of air - its aware inwardness
· the water of soul is the very soul of water – its aware inwardness
· the fire of soul is the soul of fire – its aware inwardness
The New Yoga is not a yoga of the physical body but of this psychical or soul body – itself essentially a breath body – a psychic or pranic body. In the West this body has gone under many esoteric names such as ‘subtle body’ (Jung), ‘astral body’ and ‘etheric body’. It was called an ‘astral’ body because it had ultimately the same unbounded spatial dimensions as cosmic or astral space.
The terms ‘space’ and ‘ether’ are both Western translations of the Sanskrit word akasha. The awareness body used to be termed the ‘etheric body’ because it was thought of as composed of the same ether that was supposed to fill the apparent emptiness of space. This is not some mechanical or quantum-dynamic ether, nor some fine material substantiality. The true ether is soul substance - the primordial substantiality of awareness as such, permeating all space. The term ‘etheric’ is derived from the Greek aether, meaning the upper atmosphere that surrounds the earth. It was the relative thinness and pureness of the air at higher levels that led to the association of Lord Shiva with mountainous heights and the heavenly blue sky above them – the vaulting ‘sky’ of Shiva or shivavyoman.
The type of pure and blissful awareness (citanananda) we can experience through identification with the upper atmosphere or pure aether of space can also be permeated or contaminated by the more-or-less healthy psychic and emotional ‘atmospheres’ in which people dwell – whether economic or political, familial or institutional, domestic or public, cultural or religious. To speak of the ‘climate’ of an encounter, the ‘aura’ of a person or object or the atmosphere of a place or institution is no mere metaphor. Such psychic atmospheres have as much reality and substantiality as the very air we breathe in them. In reality they form that very air and imbue its physicality with their own psychic qualities. Mass psychic and emotional climates are also the true basis of changing weather conditions. It is psychical pollutants and ‘psycho-smog’ and not air-borne chemical pollutants, ozone holes in the upper atmosphere, or industrial smog that are the primary source of those ‘allergens’ held responsible for conditions such as asthma. And each individual’s awareness body, as a psychic or pranic body, also contains its own ‘micro-climate’ of emotional weather patterns – including calm or stormy emotional seas, rising emotional moisture, more or less cloudy emotional atmospheres, emotional droughts and floods, rainstorms and monsoons, whirlwinds and tsunamis. The particle-like pranic units of awareness from which they form are described in the Seth books of Jane Roberts in the following terms:
“These units….are basically animations arising from consciousness...the consciousness within each physical particle, regardless of its size, of molecular consciousness, cellular consciousness, as well as the larger gestalts of consciousness with which you are usually familiar. They are emitted by the cells, for example, in plants, animals, rocks, and so forth.
“They would have colour if you were able to perceive them physically”.
“These emanations can also appear as sounds, and you will be able to translate them into sounds long before your scientists discover their basic meaning.”
“The emanations are actually emotional tones. The varieties of tones, for all intents and purposes, are infinite. Intensity governs not only their activity and size, but the relative strength of their magnetic nature. They will draw other units to them, for example, according to the intensity of the emotional tone of the particular consciousness at any given ‘point’.”
“…let us discuss [these units] as they are related to a rock. The rock is composed of atoms and molecules, each with their own consciousness. This forms a gestalt rock consciousness. These units are sent out indiscriminately by the various atoms and molecules, but portions of them are also directed by the overall rock consciousness XE "consciousness:units of" . The units are sent out by the rock informing the rock as to the nature of its changing environment: the angle of the sun and temperature changes, for example, as night falls; and even in the case of a rock they change as the rock’s loosely called emotional tone changes. As the units change, they alter the air about them, which is the result of their own activity. They constantly emanate out from the rock and return to it in a motion so swift it would seem simultaneous. The units meet with, and to some extent merge with, other units sent out, say, from foliage and all other objects. There is a constant blending, and also an attraction and repulsion.”
“These emanations arise as naturally as breath and there are other comparisons that can be made, in that there is a coming in and a going out, and transformation within the unit.” “The air…can be said to be formed by animations of these units…”
Our perception of all physical objects, whether rocks or plants, animals or human beings, is not a passive process of receiving sensory impressions and transforming them through nerve impulses in the brain. It is an active construction of our perceived reality making use of pranic substance – units of awareness. We each quite literally materialise an ‘objective’ body image of each other using the prima material that is prana – the primordial substantiality of awareness or subjectivity as such. We can do so only because we are in resonance with the ‘morphic fields’ or patterns of awareness through which other people materialise their own body image. The physical body as we perceive it is just that – a “materialised body image” (Seth) of the individual’s awareness body – their psychic or pranic body.
When we feel awareness pervading our bodies like the air we breathe – that is prana.
When we feel our awareness sinking within us like an inner exhalation – that is prana.
When we feel our awareness rising like a fiery flame - that is prana.
When we feel it condensing like dew, moistening like mist or tears – that is prana.
When we feel it chilling like a cold or wet wind – that is prana.
When we feel it as a warmth of soul in the womb of our abdomen – that is prana.
When we feel it drifting like a cloud or ghost – that is prana.
When we feel it as a cloudy, grey sky – that is prana.
When we feel its radiance like a sun – that is prana.
When we feel it as something filling the vast expanse of space – that is prana.
When we feel it as the fine substantiality of our flesh – that is prana.
When we feel the ‘atmosphere’ of a place – that is prana.
When we feel the ‘aura’ emanating from an object or person – that is prana.
When we feel the ‘air’ between people thicken or thin, warm or cool – that is prana.
When we let our soul flow into and fill the hollow awareness space of another person’s body – that is prana.
When we let the inner space of our own felt body be filled by the soul of another – that is prana.
When we come close enough to scent the very soul of another through the exhalation of their nose – that is prana.
When our awareness can flow with a wind or a river, rain or thunder - that is prana.
When we experience the aware inwardness or soul of the elements – the soul of fire, air, water and earth - as the fire, air, water or earth of our own soul – that is prana.
…from awareness of breathing to the breathing of awareness
Questions to ask oneself:
How aware am I of my breathing?
To what extent can I continuously breathe with awareness?
How much breathing space do I feel, within and around me?
Can I alter the locus of my breathing from head and chest to abdomen,
and feel myself breathing in through my entire body surface?
Summary of Principles:
The way we feel affects the way we breathe.
Conversely, changing the way we breathe can change the way we feel.
We can sustain whole-body awareness through awareness of our breathing muscles.
We can shift the inner locus of our awareness by shifting the locus of our breathing.
We can breathe awareness itself through the entire felt surface of our bodies.
We can experience breaths as flows of awareness within our bodies.
Summary of Practices:
Staying constantly aware of your breathing, and breathing with awareness, feel
yourself breathing in your awareness of the space around you, and feel
each out-breath as a down-flow of awareness within you.
Breathing my awareness of space, inner and outer
I give my awareness more breathing space
To absorb what I experience.
A New Yoga Siddha is an adept - a yogin(i) capable of great psychic accomplishments (siddhis). These are ‘psychic’ or ‘soul’ powers in the root sense, for their essence lies in the capacity to intentionally direct and transform the life-breath (psyche) of awareness that is prana.
1. intentionally direct and re-direct prana - flows of awareness - within and around their own body, within and around the body of another, and in the awareness spaces between the aroundness and inwardness of their own body and that of another.
2. intentionally alter the emotional, sensual and elemental qualities of their own awareness - and impart such qualities to another through directed flows of awareness breath.
3. intentionally shape and tone flows of awareness breath through the use of the inner voice and inner sounds – mantra - in the same way that we use our physical voice to shape and tone audible sound flows when we speak.
4. intentionally ‘ride’ flows of awareness within and around themselves and others, feeling them like inner and outer flows of breath imbued with specific qualities and feeling tones.
5. intentionally transform ‘e-motional’ awareness qualities into actual motions or flows of awareness, felt as having purely tonal and musical, sensuous and elemental qualities.
6. intentionally embody and intensify different qualities, flows and transformations of awareness through mudra – using subtle gestures and changes in breathing, physical posture, facial expression and gaze to communicate them.
7. intentionally impart the experience of divine awareness qualities to the felt body and felt self of another - giving the other an experience of their own awareness body as a divine body.
8. intentionally breathe in and feel their own body filled by the awareness breath of another and its qualities, and – conversely – intentionally breath into and fill the hollow awareness space of another person’s body with their own awareness breath and its qualities.
· With your mouth closed, attend solely to your awareness of your head surface and all its muscles, in particular the muscles of your mouth, nostrils, eyes and brow.
· Intend to use only the muscles of your nostrils to draw in breath.
· Now feel yourself breathing directly into your sensed inner head space, clearing it with the light of a translucent awareness that widens and brightens your eyes.
· With your mouth closed, attend solely to your awareness of your entire ribcage, in particular the upper front surface of your chest.
· Intend to use only the muscles of your chest and ribcage to breathe.
· Now feel yourself breathing directly through your chest surface - sensing that surface as entirely open to the space around you.
· Mouth closed, attend solely to your awareness of your abdominal muscles.
· Intend to use these muscles alone to draw in breath – slowly but firmly and fully pushing out and expanding your abdomen like a balloon to inhale.
· Now feel yourself breathing directly into the sensed inner space of your abdomen – as if drawing a warm up-flow of awareness that fills it out from below.
· Attend to your awareness of your facial, chest and abdominal surface.
· Become aware in turn of the muscles of the eyes, face and nose, of the chest and of the lower abdomen.
· Feel how you can move your awareness between its spaces and centres in the head, chest and lower abdomen simply by becoming aware of your breathing and shifting its centre between the respiratory muscles of head, chest and abdomen.
· Breathe out through your nose with your mouth closed, drawing your chest and abdominal muscles in as you do so, and feel your out-breath as a down-flow of awareness through your chest to your belly and abdomen.
· Breathe in through your nose with your mouth closed, pushing first your abdomen and then your chest out as you do so, and feel your in-breath as an up-flow of awareness to and from your abdomen, through your chest, to your head.
· Breathe in and out using only your abdominal muscles, feeling your out-breath as a down-flow of awareness from your abdomen through your lower body to an underground space beneath the ground, and feeling your in-breath as an up-flow of awareness filling and expanding your abdomen – but not rising above it into your chest or head.
· Breathe in such a way as to feel your breath cycle as an up- and down-flow of awareness in your entire upper body above the waist (between chest and head).
· Breathe in such a way as to feel your breath cycle only as an up- and down-flow of awareness in your entire lower body below the waist (between feet and abdomen).
Centering your awareness in the mid-point of your diaphragm (hrdaya)
freely alternate between feeling the up- and down-flows of awareness breath
running through your upper body, in your lower body, or your body as a whole.
A-H(A)M – ‘I AM’, the mantra of supreme identity felt as a cycle of breath (in-breath ‘A’, out-breath ‘H(A)M’)
ANANDA – sensual bliss in contrast to erotic pleasure (KAMA)
APANA – the out-breath experienced as a downflow of awareness
CHAKRA – ‘wheel’, the centre of a wheel or sphere of awareness
HARA – the inner awareness space of the abdomen
HRDAYA – a centre of awareness at the mid-point of the diaphragm
IDA – the upflowing ‘channel’ or NADI of PRANA or awareness breath
KAMA – erotic pleasure
KAMASUTRA – teachings on the intensification of erotic pleasure
KUNDALINI – ‘black serpent power’, the power of pure potentiality felt as rising through and up from the MULADHARA
LINGAM / YONI LINGAM / SHIVA LINGAM – the inwardness of the physical body experienced as a vaginal or womblike space (YONI) that can be pentrated and filled by KUNDALINI as by a phallus or LINGAM
MAHADEVI – ‘great goddess’ the field of pure potentiality (TURYA) that is the womb of all worlds
MAITHUNA – tantric intercourse
MULADHARA – the ‘root support’ centre at the base of the spine
NADI – a flow channel of awareness breath or PRANA
PINGALA – the downflowing channel or NADI of awareness breath
PRANA – the inhalation and exhalation of awareness or ‘soul breath’
PRANA – awareness felt as something breathed in through one’s entire body surface
PRANAYAMA – the elongation of the breath cycle and through it, the transformation of ordinary breathing into awareness breathing
SAMANA – a balanced in- and outflow of breath and awareness centred in the abdomen
SHAKTIPATA – the descent of awareness through the MULADHARA
SUSHUMNA – the central vertical axis of awareness linking the spaces and centres of awareness in head, chest and abdomen
TANTRASHASTRA – the teachings of TANTRA
TATTVAS/TANMATRAS – sensual and elemental qualities of awareness and awareness breath (PRANA)
TURYA – a ‘fourth’ state of awareness beyond the waking, dream and sleep state – the awareness of pure potentiality that is at the same time the pure power of awareness that rises as KUNDALINI
UDANA – the in-breath felt as an upflow of awareness from the abdomen towards the head
VISARGA – A Sanskrit diacritic mark /:/ representing the phoneme /H/ and symbolising also the elongated interval of in- and out-breath
VYANA – awareness felt as entirely diffusing and pervading the body like breath and air, and radiating outwardly from it as light
YOGASIDDHA – a yoga adept with the psychical power to direct and transform the ‘life breath’ of awareness (‘psyche’) that is PRANA