Introduction -- Short update on the work of the School
Thanks to the lovely end-of year contributions, a new breath has entered the work in the School of Integral Spiritual Psychology. I will post short updates at the beginning of blog entries when new work becomes available.
A new monograph has been published: "Contemplative Listening" - and is available on Amazon Books. Another monograph is in development, with the writing about to conclude: "Contemplative Action". When it is published, I will post a notice.
All the nine previously published monographs are being re-edited by Sharon Bailey. There are considerable errors in most of them -- not content errors, but I did all the work on most publications, including the formatting, book covers, and editing. Now, these aspects of the publications are being done correctly! The last two or three monographs are more error-free, thanks to the editing work of Scott Scribner, and the last published monograph was copy edited by Scott and Eric Hanson. But, there are considerable errors in formatting, due to my lack of design capacities. In the future design will be done by a wonderful design person, Ayeshabrun, in Bangladesh.
Then, regarding the blog. These first two entries are intended to bring about entering the body-changes necessary for "being here". I am sure there are other ways of doing so, and the two exercises can be experimented with to coordinate more closely with each person's individuality.
The blog will not consist of practice after practice, but what will be addressed in the blog will be felt rather than just intellectually understood if we work at being bodily "here".
A note on "Integral Spiritual Psychology" --
“Yoga is Spiritual Psychology”
“Spiritual Psychology is Yoga”
Integral Spiritual Psychology is an approach to humanness that takes into consideration all aspects of an individual’s life - physical, vital, mental, environmental, social, cultural and spiritual-that make him/her a human person. It is called ‘Integral’ especially because of its focus on the process of integration-into wholeness that goes on continually in all normal human beings.
Blog 2 – Where is Here?
The last blog entry focused on becoming aware that many humans are no longer bodily “here”, that is, existing as Earth-Creatures. We are not, though, spiritualized either. It is more like living in a suspended state, a prison of ‘no-where’, that goes unrecognized because the prison is filled with “goodies”, distractions, and fears. Memories of wholeness do exist, and those deep memories now serve as a locus of nostalgia, and, more importantly as providing a false sense that Earth is the same as it has always been --- things now are merely more complex. Or, Earth as we have known Her is in a process of dying due to climate change --- so the past is nostalgic and the future is dire. In addition, technological developments have riddled our home with EMF fields, resulting in radical changes of the human body, as have many, many other changes harming Earth and the human body --- such as agricultural chemicals, fracking, and an overwhelming increase in the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. The list of reasons we are not here is nearly endless.
In this suspended prison, body is not embodied, and the reason for the exercise in the last entry was to transform notions, beliefs, concepts and theories of body as a physiological, biological, conglomeration of biochemical processes, inside the form of the body which serves as a kind of “sack”, and the totality of which is lived unconsciously – transform living this kind of no-body into the bodying process.
Then, along with living abstract notions of body, there is the more immediate experience of body as a power and a form mysteriously connected with consciousness, the center of which is said to be the brain; or alternately, this material conglomeration is nothing more that the complex materials it is made of and consciousness is considered to be a kind of residual of cosmic, spiritual consciousness that can be directly experienced by leaving the body in various forms of meditation and contemplation for moments of bliss.
The exercise in the last writing opens a direct and immediate bodying awareness (to speak of it as awareness of embodying slides back into old subject-object consciousness) as vastness of perfect Stillness scintillating. If we could see this body, it would be something like the vastness of the semi-dark sky with the emerging sparkling of the stars. But the emphasis of the experience is the dark, perfect Stillness accompanied with rapid, felt tingling, and it is as if this scintillating Stillness acts as “repose-in motion”. This kind of picture is, of course, not seen but constitutes a pretty accurate translation of one aspect of the whole bodying experience happening --- the happening of the bodying of body. Another aspect simultaneously occurs. I did not introduce it last time as it felt important to begin to become accustomed to bodying through the first part of the exercise. In doing these exercises, the substance-body does not disappear, for sure. The experience of body-substance, though, becomes more pliable, far less isolated from the surroundings and others, a vibratory body rather than enclosed.
Contemplate the portrait of Sri Aurobindo by the Mother at the beginning of the blog for an immediate feeling of the bodying process happening -- the body as emerging from Earth and simultaneously receiving forces of the cosmos and beyond.
Now, let us complete the experience by doing the exercise as previously described, and then adding a significant dimension.
An Exercise of Bodying (Part 1)
1. Sit. Take 30 deep breaths. On the out-breath, breathe out regularly, that is, don’t expel breath all the way down to the stomach.
2. On the 30th breath – at the exhale, do not inhale, do not breathe, stay in non-breathing as long as possible without becoming uncomfortable. The moment discomfort arises, breathe out. (You will notice that you will be able to stay in the non-breathing a very surprising length of time.)
3. Then inhale. When you come to the top of the in-breath, hold that breath --- and while holding it, press outward, as if you are going to breathe, but do not breathe out for a few seconds. Feel what is happening bodily, inwardly; feel the movement of currents into the region of the head.
4.Then, go ahead and breathe out and continue regular breathing.
Bodying (Part II)
Now, keep going from #4 above, continue by closing your eyes, though it is not necessary to close them, particularly after undergoing the experience once – then this part of the practice can be done with eyes open – which suggests that it begins to be possible to live daily life as bodying. Allow consciousness to expand beyond the bodying-as-scintillating Stillness. Just let your attention notice expanding happening, at the sides, in front, back, above, below, all around, as if a subtle, expanding sphere without a boundary. As this expansion of consciousness occurs, the central bodying becomes more and more relaxed – and as if smaller and smaller, while the conscious expanding nevertheless continues to feel of the nature of bodying. “Here” becomes more like “everywhere”, which is a decidedly different experience than the “no-where” body.
As the expansion of consciousness occurs, “tingling” can be felt throughout the body, more intense at the periphery. And, if this part of the practice is done indoors, the things in the room, even the walls, everything, is no longer experienced as “over there”, inert, but rather as being intimately within the bodying process – as bodying encountering bodying in an intimate intermingling -- without losing the sense of their particularity. The experience occurs even more powerfully outside where the body feels entwined with earth and sky and trees and everything – also without losing the sense of bodying; that is, we do not go “out of bodying” into bliss, but rather notice that the primary experience of bodying as an earth being is joy as everything is experienced as consciousness configuring and reconfiguring itself into the Earth-world.
In relation, for example, with a tree, the tree bodying-process encounters the human bodying-process, intimately, as the intimacy of one consciousness that is also the two, without splitting into a body and a tree.
What is going on?
Consciousness is not in us, we are in consciousness! Everything is consciousness, there is only consciousness, constantly configuring itself into instances of particularity that we have learned to perceive as “over there”, as we, for ages, have been good students of consciousness as separated from the objects of consciousness.
The bodying process that we are never becomes something automatic, something that happens on its own. Noticing, attention is required – we are our attention. For a while, this attention, as in the exercise, must be acute. After a short time, we center as human beings, as beings of attention, the living self that we are. The embodying life is then lived with ease, but not forgetfully – and Earth retrieves Herself as we retrieve our self.
Divine Consciousness Emerging from the Unconscious
C. G. Jung once spoke of consciousness as being a continuum between unconsciousness and consciousness, pictured as the continuum of the spectrum from red to blue; red is what we call matter, blue is what we consciousness – but the full span from matter to consciousness-awareness is consciousness.