I see how I am continually in a state of reaction to everything around me. There is a shock that comes from outside that agitates the emotions and then a whole chain of mechanical happenings occur. It is chemical; like mixing substances together that results in a different compound. I rarely see how I simply just repeat myself over and over again. I do not want to face the fact that my life usually consist of a series of repetitions; the same attitudes, the same postures and the same negativities I love reveling in that slowly eat away my life.
How do I observe this? An effort is needed. A shift needs to take place. Perhaps I can try to be attentive to the body. I need to observe what is taking place at that moment without changing anything. I need to include and accept everything; all of my separate individual parts as a whole. I need to knit myself together. Can I just see myself as I am? What is my attitude? How are my emotions reflected in the body?
I must try to work in this way without expecting or anticipating results.
“Perhaps something needs to drop rather than to be added on to.”
Often I find that when I try to place attention on the sensations present in the body I approach it with the mind only. As a result, the exercise just remains in my thoughts; chewed over and not truly lived. So I go on like this for a while, thinking about it until a genuine feeling announces itself. These feelings usually come unexpectedly from efforts like pondering the inevitable fact that we will all die or from the emotion I feel when I face the fact that I am not connected to the life in and around me. These subtler emotions that surface can allow for a real effort that carries a certain living quality.
I came across this profound passage written by Lizelle Reymond recently which describes the “undiscovered country” of sensation:
All spiritual experiences are sensations in the body. They are simply a graded series of sensations, beginning with the solidity of a clod of earth and passing gradually, in full consciousness, through liquidness and the emanation of heat to that of a total vibration before reaching the void. The road to be traveled is long.
Each time a step is made on the ascending ladder, a sensation of expansion in space and of complete relaxation is experienced. This sensation offers a foretaste of what the experience of pure Spirit (Chit) might be, in which all things are transcended. How far one is from that! Yet at this moment spirit and matter appear to be one. This conception comes from an ancient theory of the purification of the elements which in the Tantras is called bhutta-shuddhi.
May your present discipline become for you this subtle gradation of sensations, a means for expansion and later for infiltration into everything around you, both beings and things. Become aware of the deep and strong sensation of passing from one element to another. There is no other means. Make use for this purpose of the solitude that makes it possible to interiorize many forces. Every contraction generates heat and heat expands. True personal discipline (tapasya) is nothing but this expansion of one’s being radiating warmth produced by inner concentration.
Always remember that any sensation of expansion you may experience is a radiation. Remain calm and radiate this warmth. Do not question. Ask for nothing more. Live these moments to the full. This radiation is in itself Shakti, an instant of living consciousness, that is, a direct experience that is ingrained in you. Your sensation is the proof of it, a certainty you cannot efface from your memory.
In meditation, the whole body is utilized to discover a sensation of expansion which for a long time, represents the final aim. Work on the body is a delicate attempt and has to be done according to very precise data, for each moment, voluntary or involuntary, is a search for stillness, that is to say, for a sensation of physical consciousness.
The first objective to reach is perfect solidity of the motionless body. To arrive at that all thoughts have to be brought back one after another to the body – to its form, its weight, its balance. There must be no other thought. This state is symbolized by the matter “earth,” in the heart of which, notwithstanding its heaviness and opacity, a vibration exists.
The attention will gradually be turned to the image of a vessel. The body is really that vessel made of heavy matter. It contains an effervescent wine. Concentrated on itself, attention will enter into the body; go down the length of the spinal column until there is an impression of a heaviness in the centre of gravity. The whole body has then become as hard as a statue with a pure form.
At that point, all the movements inside the vessel are perceptible: effervescence, agitation, ideas, images – all of them produced by the body. The stability of the body is a state in itself. This is why so much importance is attached to food and hygiene.
The second stage begins when the body, in its well established solidity, can become the matrix of energy in movement. Externally hard, the body internally becomes the pulsation of life that fills it. An intense vibration of energy throbs in it. This state is symbolized by purification of the element water, that is to say, by the transition from a heavier to a lighter density.
Then comes the discovery that a body of radiant and very subtle sensations is contained within the body of flesh. It is only when the body of flesh has a solid form that the nerve channels (nadis) can be perceived with all the sensations of the currents of life through them. As it is said in the Vedas, “A stream flows through a rock.”
The third stage is when all the currents of nervous energy flowing through the inner body become currents of light from which little by little a sensation of fire emanates. This state is symbolized by the purification of the element fire, so much so that the temperature of the body rises as in an attack of fever.
These three stages – that of solidity of the body, of sensation of the nervous currents, of the sensation of currents of light – are characteristics of meditation in depth. Up to this, point the individuality remains intact, expressed by the words, “one of the many.”
The fourth stage is that in which individuality is lost. The state of sensation of fire which consumes the body is a further transition from a heavier to a more subtle density. The fire that consumes the inner body consumes at the same time all sense of form, to the degree that the sensation of non-form becomes irradiant. This state is symbolized by the purification of the element air. The habitual impulse to resort to forms disappears. There remains only the Void, which is at the same time a precise and global sensation of multiformity. All is clarity and calm.
Meditation is in fact a laboratory work and an attack against prakriti to escape from her slavery.”
–Lizelle Reymond, To Live Within
Lizelle Reymond was born in the early part of last century in Neuchâtel, Switzerland. As a child, she traveled widely with her parents and enjoyed an extensive private education in art, music, and literature.
When she was twenty, she became a librarian at the League of Nations, a post she held until World War II. After the war, she left Europe for Calcutta to begin the long series of Indian experiences that have inspired so much of her writing.
Madame Reymond lived in Geneva when she passed away in the early nineties.
Photograph: Untitled by Kiarcher on Picssr