This post is a continuation of my last blog entry. A good friend and reader left insights and comments regarding my last entry that I feel are very important for any spiritual seeker to consider. The following is from Scott, (a fellow ex-monk from the same ashram we once lived in) from Skeptics Meditation followed by my response:
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this topic. Having thought about this myself too, but somewhat differently.
I’d go further than the harms of “mental constructs of meditation”.
How about these unprovable “mental constructs”? Aum or chakras, Third Eyes, or Spinal Currents (kundalini serpents).
Failing to ever know for ourselves whether we really experience these we rely on the gurus, texts, and spiritual traditions which implanted the concepts in our minds in the first place. It’s a perfect recipe (dished up by the teachers) to never trust oneself, one feelings or sensations.
Thanks Scott, for your thoughts and insights. My approach and thinking around the “mental constructs” of Aum, chakras, third eye, etc is this: I have my physical body that is able to feel sensations. I also feel emotions like sadness, joy, anger, etc. I also know that I have what I call the “mind” that wants to make sense of the world. Concepts, such as “Aum” has a very different meaning for me now.
When I sing/tone Aum, I feel for the sensations that go from the back of the throat and ends at the lips. I tone it in a way that vibrates my nasal cavity. This has a particular sensation that feels really good. That “feel good” sensation expands the more I allow myself to feel.
It wasn’t always this way. Chanting Om had no real affect on me, at least not in a deep way. It wasn’t until I started throat singing, gutteral singing that I started to feel in a deeper way. Still, no real big shakes.
One day, for no reason that I can remember, I noticed how sensations had “underlying” sensations, very fine vibrations that I could feel. Not in my imagination, but really feel. This opened the way for me to explore subtle vibrations. In exploring fine vibrations in the body, I also came to feel exquisite “feel good” sensations.
Attributing any special “spiritual” meaning to this visceral experience would just get in the way, as the act of thinking about it seems to cut off the deeply felt “feel good” feelings. I describe this as the “Bliss Resonance.” I use the term “Bliss” because in my experience it is a visceral experience, just as intense as sexual orgasm, just in a different area of the body, higher up in the spine. Ascribing otherworldly, spiritual meaning to the experience is not necessary, but words are required in order to convey the process.
Take the words, “Kundalini serpents” for example. Just words, concepts describing an energetic state of the body/mind…along with a lot of “spiritual connotations” that may or may not be scientifically provable.
For me it would remain just stuff of the imagination, heavy mental baggage if devoid of the somatic feel, the visceral experience of what feels like (to me) a coiling, serpentine movement of vibration/energy in the spine.
Now, to me, there is a very fine and interesting point that can be made here. Inquiring minds might say, “It’s all made up stuff in someone’s imagination! It’s not real. At most, it is just a sensation/vibration/feeling that is exaggerated to be something way more than what it really is. So f***n big deal!” And they would be correct in their assessment. The Kundalini energy is just a vibration, a sensation, a feeling.
Here’s the thing though…and I can only speak from my own experience of the sensation…and that is all anyone really has that can be of real significance: our own experience. From my perspective as an artist, it is as if my palette of paints went from a dozen colors to more than a thousand.
Likewise, it is as if my “palette” of perceived sensations in my body (especially the spine) went from a dozen to over a thousand, with the underlying and significant sensation being that of the Bliss Resonance, an extremely pleasurable and activating vibration that comes with an “Oh my f***n God!” exhortation. In other words, the experience leaves no room for conjecture, “Did I imagine that? Was that real?” Etc. Etc. It is like, if anyone wonders whether or not they had an orgasm or not, they definitely did not!
Anyway, that’s it for now. Thanks again Scott! Your comments, questions, insights are always welcome here!