MOD –– Meditation of the Day

Welcome Surprise

There may be trillions of possible experiences each moment of your life, and you never experience the same thing twice. In particular, when you are being aware in your senses, each moment may be startling.

During any moment of meditation, we are experiencing a combination of –

- internal conversations we are working on or remembering
- mental images and movies
- sensations that go with the images and words
- emotions that go with the images and words
- various sensations and emotions that go with the RESTING, HEALING, AND ACTING phases
- transitions between phases
- the natural elements of air, breath, fire, water, earth, space as a background for our experience

(and more, this is a simplified list)

With each experience, we are engaging with a STYLE of awareness, ranging from cold clinical noticing, to interest, to warm welcoming embrace. We are influenced by our mood, the time of day, where we are in our resting and acting cycles, how hungry we are.

So a simplified formula for experience could be

S x I x E x A

SENSES x INSTINCTS x EMOTIONS x AWARENESS STYLE


Let's compare this to a deck of ordinary playing cards. With your ordinary card deck, according to mathematicians, there are 52 different ways the first card of a deck could be. The second card could be any of 51. The third card could be any of 50.

So the total number of ways a deck of cards could be ordered is 52 x 51 x 50 x 49 .... and so on. According to various math geeks, this is a very large number. There are about

80,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000
80,658,175,170,943,878,571,660,636,856,403,766,975,289,505,440,883,277,824,000,000,000,000

ways to shuffle a deck of cards.

"Even if every one of the 7 billion men, women, and children on Earth played one billion card games every year for a billion years, they would not even make a dent in the number of possible shuffled decks of cards." -

This is a way of looking at freshness of experience and surprise during meditation.

Even though we seem familiar to ourselves, the more we notice the actual details of our sensory experience, the more novel and surprising is each combination of senses, instincts, emotions, and awareness styles.

The more you are perceiving the unique novelty of each moment of your experience, the more interesting and informative it can be. Each breath can feel different. Each repetition of your mantra can feel completely different. Each time you open your eyes and gaze at space, a different sensation.




reference:

http://ed.ted.com/lessons/how-many-ways-can-you-arrange-a-deck-of-cards-yannay-khaikin#review

https://thebigblogtheory.wordpress.com/2011/03/13/s04e18-the-prestidigitation-approximation/


Wild Chakras

In meditation, naughty is nice. It generally feels naughty, mischievous, taboo, to really be ourselves. Let's flow through the chakras - the metaphor of the chakras as energy vortices in the energy bodies.

Starting from the bottom:

SURVIVE. Do whatever is necessary to survive. A world of skills.

LUST and Sexual passion of all kinds.

POWER

LOVE Adoration cherishing gushing devoted

OUTSPOKEN

INSIGHT AND SEEING THROUGH TO THE HEART

COSMIC AWARENESS




Awareness is Rich

In meditation, we are attending to the flow of life in our bodies. Set awareness free to be driven by your instinctive needs. You can be hungry for air, desperate to feel the comforting embrace of gravity and to rest. You can crave the warmth of your inner fire. You can be filled with the sweet electricity of lust to feel the caress of the air flowing in and out of your body. Meditation can be so fun that it feels forbidden, like having an affair with the delicious elixir essence of life. Like you're sneaking off for a rendezvous.

Awareness is rich and varied. We learn from every perception. The brain continually is rewiring itself to perceive more and more the nature of the universe. During meditation, we are practicing being healthy – by cherishing every impulse of life, and letting the energies balance each other as they flow through us.

Love is a form of awareness, and thus awareness can be infinitely rich. With every experience we can be learning to love and embrace the universe more and more. In this way, even though life breaks us, we are also made whole in our welcoming and embrace of what is.

Caution: Religiousity can be deadly in meditation. Everyone wants to be good and virtuous, but in meditation you are in there and intimate with your vitality. It is your job to let each desire express itself and liberate its energies and become part of your wholeness. Because you are not acting out, you are safe and free. A desire that feels taboo or dangerous, such as sexuality or anger, is just a form of power and self-expression. When you allow internal expression, the desires can become integrated and part of your wholeness, your integrity.



Love The Elements

Elements Meditation

This is a format for flow of meditation that you can use as a general outline, and you can adapt it to your own preferences and needs.

Space

We can begin with space. With the eyes open give thanks for space all around. Notice spaciousness. Sometimes your experience may change from simple noticing, to enjoying, to welcoming space to feeling welcomed by space. Allow your eyes to stay open, enjoying spaciousness, until they feel like closing of their own accord. If you are vision impaired or blind, you can enjoy space all around you, simply use your other senses. When we are gazing with spacious creation we sense a field, a hemisphere embracing the left and right, above and below, around. After noticing the hemisphere for a while, sense backward and acknowledge that there is a whole world behind you.

Air

It’s always good to spend a minute giving thanks for the flow of breath. In your own way, appreciate the flow of breath from the outside world into your body, giving your life, and then our from your body, giving your warm breath to the world. Your warm and moist breath. There are sensations to enjoy, little tiny whoosh sounds, rhythms to perceive, motions to feel. Breath is our primary food, and a technical sense – we breathe pretty much continuously, around 20,000 times a day, and the air is substance. The body greedily absorbs the oxygen and spreads it everywhere in the body. The oxygen combines with the food that we eat to make life possible. We can live for weeks without food, days without water, but only a few minutes without air. So air is our primary food. And it’s instinctive to be appreciative of that which sustains life.

Earth

Notice gravity, the attraction of your body toward the ground – and this is actually inward toward the center of the world. We are attracted inward toward the heart of the earth. Whatever posture you are in – standing, standing and dancing, sitting, sitting and swaying, or lying down – gravity is a force of attraction between your body and the body of the world. We feel gravity our entire body. Noticing this attraction, noticing gravity, is relaxing, soothing, grounding. Centering. Gravity is centering because we know where the center of the world is.

Water

I give thanks for the flow and rhythm of life on every level. I give thanks for the flow of nutrition and blessing everywhere in my body. I give thanks for the rhythm of the heart, the pulsing touches everywhere in every moment. I give thanks for waves of thought and waves of feeling and waves of sensation.

Fire

I welcome the sparks of thought, the flickering light of my inner theater of the self. I give thanks for the self – sustaining heat of life, the capacity of my body to maintain its own temperature day and night, no matter what the outer temperature. I welcome the warmth of love from the fire of anger, the coolness of observation. I welcome fire and and every manifestation of temperature from hot to cold.


__________________________________________________________________

Attitude

Our awareness is informed by the elements and interacts with them. It’s a dance, it’s lovemaking, it’s alchemy.

The tone of awareness – the quality – can range from simple noticing, to vivid interest, fascination, bathing and pleasure, active welcoming, cherishing, celebrating. There is no particular reason to be cold and clinical with yourself unless you have a medical necessity in that moment.

In practice, in dealing with the outer world, we move between tones of awareness almost instantly – less than a second. In meditation, because you’re dealing with your own internal experience, memories, and simulations, you are free to have a warm and even humorous delight in how wild and intense life is, what an amazing movie you’re living.

Speed

In any given moment, you may find yourself delighting in your relationship with one or more of the elements, and may linger there, enjoying, absorbing nutrition, resting. Once you develop a relationship with an element you may find that if you simply touch it once with your awareness, light as a feather, that it’s enough. Welcome your speed, know that awareness moves at its own speed, and allow for spontaneity. Allow yourself to become fascinated as you engage with the elements.

__________________________________________________________________

For your own benefit, put this together into a five-minute flow, and a 10 minute flow. Explore and customize to suit your nature. You might write this out by hand in your journal. Or you might just go directly inside and put this in your muscle memory and your sense memory.


Love Your Rebel

MOD The Rebel

You never know where your spiritual self is hidden. We’re told to find it through the discipline of practice. Because this is meditation, and not the Army, your impulse to rebel against discipline is as important as your desire to change yourself for the better. You may have noticed in the past that when you try to get yourself to do a self-help program, you wind up tyrannizing yourself. Then you rebel against the tyranny. The rebel becomes a saboteur of your program because you left her out. The way through this is to embrace the rebel right from the start.

Welcoming the rebel may mean listening to the feeling, “I don’t want to meditate today,” and finding out what it wants. To honor such a feeling means taking it so seriously that you would be willing not to meditate in your usual way, but rather enter the feeling, explore it, let it teach you. Welcome the rebellion, then listen to it. The rebel is there to make sure you do not become enslaved in an external system that takes away your inner authority, your inner freedom, or oppresses you in any way. If you don’t start with freedom, you won’t end up there.

Meditating the rebel’s way may seem very strange. Once I was working with a schoolteacher, and she was getting restless just a few minutes into the first session. I asked, “What are your impulses?” She said, “I just want to be outside.” We went outside and since we were on a mountain we could see vast horizons. She breathed a sigh of relief.

It turns out that she prefers to be outside as much as possible, even in winter. She dresses warmly, and sits in the snow, and has a great time meditating. The rebel in her is her spiritual part. For another woman, her rebel insists she stay in bed and be cozy to meditate on certain days.

A man I worked with had an amazing Zen practice, he could close his eyes and enter The Stillness and stay there. But his body was through with it. His impulse was to jump up and dance wildly, then sit briefly and savor the combination of free-flowing passion supported by inner peace. That became his practice, and he began to thrive in his life as never before. The rebel can sound like an Ayurvedic doctor, prescribing just the treatment to balance your constitution.

The rebel in you is probably more useful, smarter, and healthier than your “spiritual” impulse to practice meditation. Many people, when they imagine meditating, conceive of it as some sort of confinement, an inner prison. Your inner rebel will immediately alert you if you start making up Odious Rules, such as, “You can’t think, you can’t feel, don’t wiggle, you can’t scratch if you itch.” The rebel will have none of this.

The way in which you rebel is your individuality. We are in human bodies, so the whole point of meditation is to explore and delight in the intersection of the body with universality. Individuality is heightened and illumined by contact with the vast forces of life.

So honor your inner rebel. As you practice any meditation, be alert for the voice of skepticism in you, the voice that says, “Hey, wait a minute, this is bull!” The rebel looks out for your individuality. Invite it in, no matter how much trouble it seems.

As you read and explore meditation notice anything you hate or don’t want to do. Always take your own side. Be willing to hunt to find your own path.





The Joy of Practice
Human beings have an instinct to practice skills. Sometimes we call this play. As you move through your world, observe cats, dogs, children, teenagers, athletes, practicing skills. Cats play with things, using the same motor motions they use in hunting and catching mice. Dogs patrol and sniff and run and fetch. Children can be immersed in play for hours. Teenagers practice their skateboards, guitars, code words, socializing, endlessly. Athletes such as we see on television or youtube are geniuses at motion. Animals and humans experience joy and exuberance at practicing their skills.

Is there any skill you enjoy practicing? Give yourself a little extra time to relish your enjoyment of this skill and notice how joyful this is.

In our Meditation Teacher Training, there are many little skills to practice: welcoming and embracing all our senses, emotions, sensations, desires, and perceptions. Learning to accept how quickly the brain processes data. Learning to ride the rhythms of rest and restlessness. These are all physical skills because the "mental" is also physical. When you imagine performing an action, your nerves and muscles run tiny bits of current as they visualize, rehearse, and coordinate.

Learning the skills of meditation is as fun as a yo-yo, or guitar, tennis, poker, or playing with a dog.


Previsualization
When a desire comes, it plays out in your awareness as a mini-movie or a little snapshot of experience. You may feel your skin tingle with excitement, which is an immediate gift, or you may spend several seconds or minutes visualizing the flow of experience the desire is inviting your awareness to savor.

Whenever a desire comes, and you can't live it out in that moment, or it is not appropriate in this moment, you can accept the energy inside the desire as a gift of immediate vitality and let the spark, the flash of desire, light up your body in the very moment.

Whenever you are meditating and find yourself visualizing an action sequence, enjoy the process.

If you have been doing enough SALUTE TO THE SENSES, then you will have available to you a whole set of senses and sensations that go WITH the visualization. Whenever you visualize an action, your muscles get tiny signals, just as if you were moving. So you may as well enjoy these sensations of motion as well as the imagery, and you may as well enjoy the sound track of your inner movie. Let it be beautiful.

This mental choreography has many names and is used in many fields to enhance creativity and effectiveness.

In the 8 R's, we give the name, rehearsal, to this process of "previsualization." The body-mind system likes to get relaxed and then visualize its favorite and necessary action routines, because this enhances performance.
Athletes know this, coaches know this, photographers know this, actors know this, directors know this, Special Forces soldiers everywhere in the world know this, business know this and use modeling techniques to game out scenarios.

Practice: When a desire comes, we can always say YES, NO, MAYBE, THANKS BUT NO THANKS, or I THINK I AM GOING TO JUST ABSORB THE ENERGY OF THIS DESIRE AND NOT LET ANYONE KNOW WHAT I JUST THOUGHT.
The more you welcome the flow of desire, the more you can instantly refine, redirect, recycle, or express the desire in the instant it occurs. Life is always about appropriateness, matching your inner energy to the outer world.

This leads to greater vitality and joy.

[One of the names for subjective choreography is PREVISUALIZATION. The term was invented by Minor White or Ansel Adams, photographers.


Unclutter Your Mind
The idea of meditation as "clearing your mind" has a bit of truth to it, but not the way people are using it.

The brain automatically does a LOT of sorting and clearing continuously, especially when we are resting.

As an exercise, go "clear out a closet," or "clear out all the drawers of your desk." You'll notice that you make a mess in the process. You take everything out and look at it.

During meditation, or any time we are sleeping, or resting, the brain gets into cleaning and doing maintenance. It takes things out and looks at them and decides what to throw away, or file away in the back room, and what to have "at your fingertips."
It is fairly rare in the scheme of things that we have to consciously attend to all the sorting. You can, actually, ignore most of this thought-processing.
You can HELP out before and after meditation, by doing things that uncluttered your physical life:

Get better at organizing your to-do lists.

---Actually physically organize your closets and throw away things ---declutter your physical life if possible
---declutter your computer
---streamline your chores
---clean out the glove compartment of your car
Practice saying NO to commitments that are not essential.

Note: the "uncluttering" process in meditation can feel painful, tedious. This is why actually cleaning a garage or closet or under the kitchen sink is such a great teacher. By comparison, meditation is a relief. Once you accept -- totally -- how natural the brain's spontaneous maintenance programs are, and welcome it, everything changes. Once you stop whining, there is more a sense of flow. And this is why the OLD LANGUAGE, that you are supposed to TRY to clear your mind, is so deadly and deadening. The old language, to the extent that you take it literally, teaches you to resist life and resist healing. Some people are immune to the old language, even as they repeat it –– inside themselves, they rebel and just say "F-k it, I am going to do my own thing." You never know what practice people are SECRETLY doing inside unless you listen to them for a couple of hours, and for that, they have to trust you and know how to be honest and report on their interior process. Some meditators are so far away from their real selves that for practical purposes, they don't have the capacity to sense what they are really doing, the thousands of tiny betrayals of their own intrinsic nature.




Desire Yoga
Wednesday September 7, 2016
Notice how desire connects you to your inner and outer world.
To fulfill or even sublimate a desire, you need to link up the area in your body where the desire originates, with all other areas of your body (all the chakras), and then link up an action sequence in the outer world. Thus, cherishing and honoring desire is yoga. It is a path of integration and adventure.


30 Any impulse


The Mandala of Desire
Sunday September 4, 2016

Cherish every desire as it arises and pay attention to the sequence - the krama - of desires as they flow, one to the other.

Consider that all desires are a part of your meditative experience, and that each one gives you its gift along the way. If you have a busy life and a regular meditation practice, you may find that your body-mind system flows through all desires like an asana sequence. For example, here is a sequence that is not uncommon:

Craving to meditate. The deep restfulness. Ahh.
The pleasure of deep relaxation and desire to stay there forever.
Feeling the ache of muscle tension being released and desiring to be healed.
Daydreaming about an assortment of unfulfilled desires, for love, being held, skin contact, and sex.
Desiring to let go, and then falling asleep.
Waking up feeling horny, with delicious tingling in the body.
Desiring to get up out of meditation and go do things.

These kinds of desires often come by surprise, tingle in your body and mind for 15 seconds to a minute, and then shift to the next desire.

You can look at desire as a mandala - a circle - and notice how awareness flows




28 Kama Krama


You can also look at desire as emerging from the hierarchy of needs (after Abraham Maslow)

Maslow Hierarchy Needs



The Beauty of Desire
Saturday September 3 2016

All day long, desires are streaming through our bodies, hearts, and minds. These desires are for everything: food, sex, a vacation, a beautiful home, attention, love. We don't have to live out a desire to be entertained and inspired by it. Some, like the desire for some water, can be fulfilled easily, unless we are camping in a desert. Most desires require some planning and work to fulfill.

Just for today, consider any desire as a tiny package of energy that is charged with intelligence about a movement you could possibly make. In each moment, you can accept the energy itself and use it as a power source. And you can accept the direction of the desire as useful information about life's impetus.

For example, if you have been working for hours and then suddenly find yourself daydreaming about a vacation, seeing yourself at that beach in the Bahamas, you can accept the gift of this desire as a mini-vacation in itself. Your mind is not wandering, it is journeying. You just went on a vacation-meditation for a few minutes.


Wilder than Wine

There is a wildness in each element that is the real wine we are seeking, the real psychedelic journey, the real high.
Each element gives an elixir.

Feel into your deepest craving for chocolate, sweets, wine, sex, wild dancing, freedom –– whatever comes to mind when you ask yourself, "What are my deepest cravings?"

Nature is wild and serene and so am I



The Call of the Wild

MOD Wild & Elemental

Just for today, just for this moment, play with the thought,

"I am at one with my essential nature
I am at one with all the elements of my being."

We breathe every few seconds,
so breathe with each of these thoughts:

I am at one with the element of Earth
I am at one with the element of Sky and Air
I am at one with the element of Fire
I am at one with the element of Space
I am at one with the element of Water and Rivers and Oceans

Linger for a few moments in each thought, cherishing it.

If you like, return to this every day for a week, and enjoy a very subtle alertness from the inside.

In this practice, you are simply honoring what is, your deepest nature.

Wild originally meant, in Old English,

wilde: "in the natural state, uncultivated, untamed, undomesticated, uncontrolled," from Proto-Germanic *wilthja- (source also of Old Saxon wildi, Old Norse villr, Old Frisian wilde, Dutch wild, Old High German wildi, German wild, Gothic wilþeis "wild," German Wild (n.) "game"), from PIE root *welt- "woodlands; wild" (see wold)."



Wild animals move serenely through their worlds like geniuses, supremely knowledgable.

Alternate language ––
Flirt with these words and the essence behind them:
I am at one with nature
I am wild and free
The elements out there are in me
I am a world
There is a universe within me
I am wild and free in my untamed essence.

This is a Minute Meditation, something you can engage in and explore for a minute whenever you feel like it.
These kinds of explorations are especially powerful if you delight in them for a minute or two every day for three months.

MOD Perceive Novelty and Surprise

The more you open your senses to perceive the play of elements in and around you, the more each moment will seem slightly different than the next and be engaging.

Our brains are wired to appreciate novelty. In your own way, feel into sensing the surprising, slightly different qualities to each moment. Whenever you are doing a routine action, or seeing someone who is very familiar, be curious about what tiny, almost unnoticeable differences you can perceive.

In this way, everyday life becomes fascinating.


MOD Make Friends with an Element

If possible be outside. If inside, you can still practice.

Be as naked as legal and practical, and expose your skin to the elements. Wind, sun, space, water, river, ocean.

As a body, make friends with an element. Realize, you already are friends with that element, so you are recognizing something that always is. Relax into this knowing. Simply be there and cultivate this simple experience.
This is a simple practice, and even a few seconds can change you. There is a relaxation and ease when we realize how fine-tuned the universe is, and how fine-tuned our bodies are to survive.

Gravity is my friend.
Light is my friend.
Water is my friend.
Space is my friend.
The Earth is my friend.

If you are more in love with the senses or with the instincts, fine. You can notice which sense connects you to an element, and which instinctive tone is inspiring you. For example "I love the feeling sensation of the sun on my skin, the nurturing quality of sunlight, and the way my vision takes delight in the golden sunlight."

Make notes and share with your meditation buddy.


Quiz for Friday August 12

1) What residual "old language" habits do you have in your thinking about meditation?
(For example, are you still judging your experience and grading yourself, "it is bad to be sitting here thinking of my to-do list."
Without looking at your notes)

2) what is the Triple Shakti Model? Or in English, what are the three loves of the life force?
3) What are the 8 R's?
4) How do you select a mantra or a thought to be with during meditation?
5) What is wrong, or misleading in using the word, "FOCUS" to describe the attitude during meditation?
6) What is wrong, or misleading, in the common expression, "I had to bring my mind back from wandering."

Write down your answers to the quiz as soon as you have time. Then check your notes or talk to your buddy and just go over your answers.

You're going to want to have the skills at your fingertips when you're teaching, so that accessing this knowledge is as natural and effortless as grabbing your phone and touching an app. Or petting your dog.
So have fun and make jokes.

Talk about it with your meditation buddies!

You want this knowledge to be part of your conversational world.

Levels:
You want to have a feel for the words and the rhythm of the language.
You want to have a sense of the impact of the radiance sutras style on your body. The relaxation, ease, and naturalness. The open style of attention and full-bodied sensuality.
You want to have examples from every day life that you can cite.

AT HOME and FREEDOM

In this tradition, we begin with the feeling of being at home, and we begin with A sense of freedom.

Freedom to choose a meditation style that you love. Freedom to be yourself while meditating. Freedom to not impose artificial constraints on yourself that are unnatural and harmful.
It's true that there are people who want to be punished, feel the need to be punished, and only think something is real and true if it is punishing. 50 shades of meditation.

This is not our main clientele.


GO AT YOUR OWN PACE

In this training to become a meditation teacher, go at your own pace and follow your own rhythm.

Don't feel that you are being left behind, if you can't do all of the exercises that I post almost every day.

Some of you are already teaching full-time and appreciate the hints. Some of you are studying full-time and what I am giving you is just barely enough. Others have full lives doing other things and just have half an hour or an hour a day to study.
All of this material will be compiled into a book that you can refer to it at your leisure, when you want to.


GAZING

Begin most of your meditations with your eyes open, simply gazing and enjoying the spaciousness of peripheral vision.

The practice is to simply rest your eyes looking for work and then allow yourself to enter peripheral vision in which you are welcoming light coming in from the entire panorama in front of you.
At first, use a timer and be there for 60 seconds. Then go longer three minutes, five minutes.

Being with peripheral expansiveness in this way gives attention permission to be spacious.

And then, let your eyes close whenever they choose to. Don't intentionally close the eyes - let them close spontaneously.

In this way, you carry into your inner world that same sense of spacious freedom you were savoring in the outer world.

How does this pertain to the elements? It is sometimes easier to appreciate the elements out there, in the "outer world."over time, we begin to appreciate that we too are composed of the elements of play.


LEGS

Mix up your postures.

If you are addicted to sitting cross-legged, explore what it feels like to sit with back support and your feet straight out. Just put a pillow behind your lower back, and lean against the wall.

Sit in a comfortable chair that gives you back support and put your feet on the ground. Get to know this posture because it's the best for quite a few people.

The overall principle is to be totally comfortable during meditation. And to not harm yourself in anyway on any level.

Here is a thought – It's never OK to "sit with the pain" of having your knees in a cramped position, that cuts off blood circulation, and overstretches the ligaments. But don't talk about this, just take it under consideration. Right now this simple observation is a bit too controversial for open discussion. It will just make people feel bad. Over the last 48 years, I've known a lot of people who have injured their knees meditating.


MOD Element-Sense-Instinct

Notice an element that you are attracted to, curious about, aware of for any reason, or amazed by.

Now notice what senses are informing you about this element?

For example, as I am sitting here dictating this I feel gravity pulling me inward toward the center of the earth, and this is a wonderful sensation of being held. As I let my body organize itself in response to gravity I feel my sense of balance being activated. I am not aware of my postural muscles specifically but the sense of what's down is also giving me an uplifting feeling and I feel my posture becoming more alert to what's up. I have a subtle sense of energy flowing up my spine. So there is a set a very subtle sensations.
Emerging from this I have a sense of being oriented with respect to the earth and I feel at home.

So for me in this moment The element is gravity, or the earth – the sense is balance, and the instincts activated are orienting and nesting. I feel at home.

Element
Senses
Instinct

You could do this with any element you feel attracted to lightning, which is electricity. Or fire. Or space. Take your pick.

If you want to play with gravity, then simply notice the attraction between your body and the earth. Notice that your body is always being attracted inward toward the center of the world. The senses are designed to notice change rather than that which is always steadily present. And gravity is always steadily present. To become aware of something which is always there, usually we need to invite ourselves. We need to invite awareness to engage.
Explore this while standing, sitting, lying down, or dancing. Take your pick.

Sometimes when doing an exercise such as this, nothing seems to happen. The senses don't know how to report to you what is happening. You have to give the brain a couple of days, weeks, or months, to rewire itself.
By even beginning an exploration such as this, you are inviting the brain to give you richer sensory experience of the elements. Give your body mind system time to make the necessary internal changes. And then revisit this exercise from time to time.

Be playful, exploratory, curious, and restful in your approach.

Remember everyone – have fun with the elements, play, delight in the elements in the senses and all of the instincts


MOD with gravity

Linger in this exploration for five minutes – you can be standing sitting or lying down.

Allow your attention to be attracted to the base of your spine and then below.

Explore the intention behind this thought:

"I am nourished by the flow of attraction between my body and the body of the world."

Feel free to change the words around to make them your own; "I am at home here on earth."


MIGRATION MEDITATION
MOD Migration

Meditate with the Instinct to Migrate

Here are some explorations in the realm of migration.

60 second meditation: think of a place you have traveled to that you love, and breathe with that love. Savor the feeling you had and still have for that land. Let your love refresh you right now.

60 second meditation. Savor the thought, "I love traveling." (if you do). Let that feeling infuse your meditation.

2-minute meditation. Honor the urge to leave, to get the hell out of that situation. Consider a time when your inner life was telling you, "Get out of here," and you got up and went. Honor that brave, daring, and desperate part of yourself. Say, "good work."

3-minute meditation. Think of all the homes you have ever had and then consider, "I am at home right here. The essence of all I love is right here." (it's okay to start crying and laughing).

20-minute meditation. Draw a map of the world from memory, and put on it all the places you have ever traveled to. Look at it. Then rest with the thought, "I am at home everywhere. This whole world is my home."

The Worldwide Migration

The urge to travel, to explore new places, and even move to another land, is strong in many of us. Never before in human history have so many people traveled so far.

I live 6 miles away from Los Angeles Airport, LAX. Just far enough away that when the wind blows from the South, I can hear the rumble of the jets. 37 million people flow through LAX every year, and the number has been steadily increasing. Worldwide, the total passenger numbers are over 3 billion.

When I walk along the beach, pelicans and gulls are flying up and down the coast, and whales are sometimes cruising north or south, depending on the season. The sealions, when they are not hanging out on the dock outside barking, migrate around to different islands and areas to feed and raise babies. People are speaking Italian, German, French, Spanish, Dutch, Russian, Japanese and Chinese, to name a few. People come from all over the world to hang out on our beaches, and they are welcome.

Birds, butterflies, seals, sealions, whales, humans, all migrating. Migration is everywhere, and it's awesome.

MOD - 15 seconds throughout the day with the instincts

When bathing, showering, jumping in the ocean, whisper, "Bathing."
When sniffing the air near a restaurant or bakery, "Hunting."
When grabbing someone you love and hugging them, sniff their skin or hair and whisper, "bonding."
When walking outside, look around, all around! Look up at the sky, look at the earth, look to each direction, and whisper, Orienting.
Make friends with all the instincts you can, and say to the others, that may be unfamiliar, "I'll see you soon." or even, "I am curious about you. Would you consider teaching me about yourself?"

SEX - don't forget sex and courtship. Give your partner more and give yourself more freedom

MOD change up your habits

Make TINY changes in your instinctive habits

BATHING
Make the shower water a bit COOLER than usual

EATING
Take longer to sip your coffee or tea

GROOMING
Put on your clothes in a different order or speed

SOCIALIZING
Listen more or speak while paying attention to your heart
... Keep inventing tiny changes

MOD - for late July 2016
LOVE THE INSTINCTS

If you have created your own Mandala of Instincts, gaze at it for a minute this morning or afternoon, and marvel at life's symphony of activities.

Now, if you like, consider each instinct name to be a kind of Bija mantra, a seed mantra, of life wisdom, and whisper or chant it to yourself lovingly.

Socializing Communing Expressing Hunting Homing Nesting Resting Dreaming Feeding Bathing Courting Bonding

Select from any list of instincts you like and whisper its name lovingly. Maybe you have five, ten, or fifteen favorites.

Homing . . .
Nesting . . .
Healing . . .
Feeding . . .

Cherish each instinct, practice loving it and being in awe of the motion of each.

Your task for this section is to make sure you have a love relationship with many of the instincts, at least half a dozen, so that you marvel at how these innate energies of life flow through your body, keeping you healthy and whole, and the same with everyone you meet.


LISTENING TO THE INSTINCTS
while teaching meditation

When people come to learn to meditate, they are following several instincts. It could be FOMO, Fear Of Missing Out, which is a social instinct. More likely they are hunting for a better way to live, and want to learn to REST in themselves, and be more successful at adapting. Survival is the ultimate instinct, and meditation is indeed a great tool for helping your body-mind to adapt to life's challenges, if you meditate in a way that goes with your nature.

As you are attuned to all the instincts, you will develop a sense of what is calling your student, and what instincts they may be neglecting.

Any student, any person you are listening to and talking to, has their own little map of the instincts, and what they think meditation is. Mostly people think meditation is like DOG TRAINING: "Sit! Stay! Don't bark!" In other words, SUBMISSION TO AN OUTER AUTHORITY. Which is an instinct, part of herd behavior.

In yoga, for example, there used to be entire groups of young women who had been brainwashed into thinking that yoga is all about PURIFICATION. They heard "purification" all day long. Ads for colonics and "30-day cleanse" programs were on the walls of their yoga studios. Their yoga teachers tended to have eating disorders and were obsessed over the purity and political-ecological correctness of food.

It was revelatory for them to hear, and experience, that meditation and pranayama can be deeply RESTFUL and NOURISHING, and that you can let purification take care of itself. It is often completely awe-and-delight inspiring for yogis to realize that meditation itself is an instinctive activity, that the body can just absolutely love to meditate, and that the whole system of body mind soul can roll through the Angas of Ashtanga effortlessly.

MEDITATION IS NOT ONE INSTINCT
Like "surrender." Or "suppression of all instincts." Or a sappy mood of devotion.

Meditation is a place and time when all the instincts can flow freely through your body and mind, in the guidance of your own innate life wisdom, to heal, revive, and fine-tune you. Meditation is a meeting ground.

Depending on where you are in your path through life, your meditation practice will be the process of adapting to that.

The overall tone of your meditation may be

SURVIVAL
SEX
POWER
LOVE
EXPRESSION THROUGH WORDS, THE POWER OF SPEECH
INTUITION, KEEPING THE INTUITION ACCURATE
THE BIG PICTURE, OVERALL PERSPECTIVE, WISDOM

Make friends with all of these powers of life. Each one is beautiful.

If you are a monk . . .
If your life situation is that you have joined a Hindu or Buddhist monastery or religious order, you are in luck, because almost all Asian meditation traditions are by and for male celibates. If this is your situation, stop reading now and go back to your authorized texts. If you love monks and even have an inner part of you that is monk-like, then wonderful - let him do his practices, that support that lifestyle, while you do yours. Get it?

Over the past few thousand years, the monks of the world than a fantastic job of creating and adapting meditation to suit their needs for detachment. As a gift from them, we have thousands upon thousands of different techniques, rituals, ceremonies, and also artwork and music. There are many thousands of meditation texts.

Our job is to receive that which is useful from this vast wisdom and adapt it to our needs––to the lifestyles we are living. Yoga and meditation are always to be adapted for the bodies of the people present. When people who live in the world practice in a style that was designed for monks, problems can arise. For example, many monastic teachings that we think of as part and parcel of meditation are actually techniques to suppress testosterone and its manifestation as sexuality, aggression and ambition. We tend to think of meditation as being just peace peace peace. But people who practice that way develop cunning and covert aggression and competitiveness that is particularly unethical. They smile graciously while they stab you in the back, and they deny even to themselves what they have done because it is a split off instinct. They have created a wall of self-dishonesty. For men, a celebration of testosterone is central, and balancing ambition and aggression and sexuality with all of the other instincts. That is a healthy approach to meditation.






MOD for July 28 Meditation of the Day - Orienting
BREATHE WITH THE DIRECTIONS

Take a Moment to Orient

Today, as you move through your world, take a few seconds here and there to notice the directions – East, North, West, South, above, below.

"Oriented" is literally, "to know where East is." (to know where you are in relationship to the Orient). In general, it refers to knowing your directions.

You might go for a walk and wander up a trail, sidewalk, path, or road you don't usually take, and then find your way home again. You might just pause for 15 seconds and breathe and notice your pull to the direction that is home.

Salute The Directions

Stand and face each direction for a few seconds, and breathe with it. "I am breathing with the North." --- an on and on.

Breathe with each direction, including Below and Above, for three breaths.

Orienteering is a fun word to know.


TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS
MOD for July 27 Meditation of the Day
Instinct Attunement + Salute Your Senses

Today, let your map of the world, your sense of how the world is, come only from your direct sensing. Take the attitude that if you are not seeing it in front of you, smelling it, hearing it, then it is not happening.

Your instincts rely on accurate sensing in order to be activated accurately. Be kind to your instincts today and give them only good, organic information, home-grown.

Begin your day, and throughout the day, be extra awake to your immediate environment and use your own physical senses to determine the state of your world:

"What am I seeing?
What am I smelling?
What am I hearing?
What am I feeling?

You may notice, if you do this, that your direct experience is that the world is amazingly peaceful. Except for a few dogs that bark because a leaf moved, or that one driver who honked his horn, everything is moving in harmony.


MEDIA versus the IMMEDIATE

Today, use your immediate environment, and your instinctive reactions, as your source of NEWS and minimize your contact with corporate news.

The job of the giant corporations that own the news media is to scare you, so that you will keep watching and be in a vulnerable state of mind, easy to hypnotize. Then, at strategic moments, they try to make you angry and tell you WHO to be angry at, so that they can manipulate you. That is their job. If they reported REALITY, that over 7 billion people got up this morning and had an average day, then no one would watch. They would go out of business.

Therefore for today, totally discount anything the media says, and regard as fiction anything that people who get their info from the news media say. They are consuming a weird kind of artificial information, designed to be both toxic and addictive.

The "news media" are corporations that want to MEDIATE between you and the world, and control your experience. "Media" is from the Latin 'medius' which means 'middle.' They want to get in the middle, in-between you and your world.

Immediate is, "relating to or existing at the present time. Nearest in time or space."

Today, live in your immediate reality, and give your instincts good and accurate sensing so that they can orchestrate their dance of life.

Immediate in the Oxford Dictionaries.



MOD for Tuesday July 26 *(or Wednesday for you Australians, New Zealanders, and Balinese)

FLOW

Meditate on flow for a minute or two here and there as you go through your day.

Flow is "to move smoothly with continuity. To stream, pour. To proceed steadily and easily."

When you are drinking water or tea or coffee, notice the flow down your throat. When you are peeing, enjoy the sensation of flow. If there is a breeze, notice that the air surrounding the world is flowing.

Anywhere you can perceive flow, notice it with wonder and even delight.

You can choose the word FLOW or FLOWING and whisper it to yourself when noticing

Breath is flowing
Water is flowing
Blood is flowing in my body
Ideas are flowing in my mind
Love is flowing in my heart
Electricity is flowing (in my phone)
Traffic is flowing
Light is flowing from the Sun to the Earth and into my eyes
Perception is flowing in my senses and nerves

When looking at a tree, wonder about the process through which the water rises from the roots, through the trunk, out to the leaves –– sap is flowing upwards.

If you are watching a dance, athletic performance, or skateboarders on the sidewalk, appreciate the way they flow with balance through their moves.

"An athlete must learn to forget the details of his or her training to achieve the instinctive sense of flow that characterizes a champion" ––-Rebirth of Value: Meditations on Beauty, Ecology, Religion, and Education By Frederick Turner, p. 124



What we call "life" is a self-sustaining flow. Life is flow.

Semantic suggestion––

In general, delete the word "stillness" from your lexicon and use flow-related words instead. Stillness doesn't exist and use of the word can set people at war with themselves.

Current
Streaming
Circulation
Rhythm
Fluid
Waves
Rivers
Tides

If you want to do a longer meditation than one minute, here is a format:

With eyes open, whisper or think,
"I give thanks for the flow of breath through my bodily form."

When the eyes feel like closing of themselves, savor this thought internally.
"I give thanks for the flow of breath."

Explore in your body awareness all the places where you can sense flow, feel tiny sensations of flow or circulation.

If you find yourself immersed in sensations, then continue to explore and enjoy sensations of flow, for up to 20 minutes.

If you want to add a flow of mantra-like thoughts to the mix, you can let these mantras massage your nerves:

"I welcome the flow of air everywhere."
"I welcome the flow of imagery in my mind's panoramic theater."
"I welcome the flow of internal conversations."
"I welcome the flow of life in me."
"I delight in the rhythms of life."

Sutra of the Day––44
Rivers of power flowing everywhere

Sanskrit word of the day––srotas "the current or bed of a river, stream, torrent, the course or current of nutriment in the body , channel or course for conveying food. An aperture in the human or animal body (reckoned to be 9 in men and 11 in women). The spout of a jar. An organ of sense. Lineage, pedigree."


MOD for Monday July 25
Buck
See this movie: http://buckthefilm.com





MOD for Saturday July 23 and Sunday for those in Australia and Bali
Breathe With The Instincts

Breathe Instinctively

Stand or sit easily, either inside or outside.
Welcome whatever cravings you feel for rest, excitement, or anywhere in-between.

As you breathe, chant inwardly the names of various instincts, your pick:

Homing
Resting
Soothing
Feeding
Nourishing
Purifying
Inspiring
Expanding
Thrilling
Centering
Orienting
Healing
Dreaming
Grounding
Nesting

Pick five or so of these instinctive motions of life, and whisper its name to yourself, in a very leisurely manner.

Be with each instinct for 3 to 5 breaths, or whatever feels leisurely to you.

Alternatively, you might choose to attend to just one -ING word, such as RESTING, or NOURISHING, or THRILLING, and be aware, in the background, that all the other instincts are quietly doing their thing.

Notes:

Technically speaking, breath is our primary food. We breathe 20,000 times a day. That's about a swimming pool in terms of liters or gallons (the dumb system of measurement we have in the US). The oxygen in the air we breathe is the basis of our metabolism.

For our subtle bodies, breath is also there, as subtle respiration of earthly and celestial energies. We are always in an ocean of energy and intelligence.

Sanskrit

If you want to meditate with Sanskrit or map the instincts onto the Pranayama map, you could then use the names of the pranas.

prana - propelling
apana - purifying
udana - upward flowing
samana - balancing
vyana - diffusing

For a richer experience, invent your own hand motions (mudras) that go with each prana.

The Monier-Williams Dictionary Definitions are as follows

prā is "to fill"
prāṇ - is "to breathe, to blow (as the wind). To live. To animate. Breathing."
prāṇa - is "the breath of life, breath, respiration, spirit, vitality. Breath as a sign of vigor, energy, power. Poetical inspiration."

apāna - "that of the five vital airs which goes downwards and out at the anus."

udāna is "breathing upwards. The navel."

samāna is "holding the middle between two extremes, equal. one of the five vital airs (that which circulates about the navel and is essential to digestion"

vyāna - "one of the five vital airs (that which circulates or is diffused through the body"

These descriptions are overly simplified, but simple is good, and any time we are in love with breathing, it's wonderful.

Every yoga school has their own catechism of what prana is and what the five pranas are, and only "believe" it if you like. There are more sophisticated definitions than I am using here - I just like to use the Monier-Williams Sanskrit-English Dictionary definitions. Other people like other dictionaries, or to use the description given by their favorite yoga teacher.


July 20 to July 27 (yes we are in the future)
The Welcome Process
Practicing generosity toward life impulses

You will be spending 30 to 50 % of your time in meditation thinking, because that is what quiet times are for - to catch up with yourself. The difference between welcoming your impulses and having a slight sense of resistance, is like having having shoes that fit really well versus having blisters to every step grates on your nerves.

Checklist for a Restful Meditation
If you allow meditation to be restful, it is often deeper than sleep, and therefore some of the same processes happen –– a rhythmic phasing between restfulness and dreaming. The body-mind system tunes itself up and coordinates all its functions. When you extend a warm welcome to life's wise energy flows, then your meditation can feel peaceful even when it is dynamic.

  • I welcome speed - speaking hearing reading thinking
  • I welcome all directions
  • I welcome all senses and combinations
  • I welcome coming and fading
  • I welcome the rhythms of my experience, restfulness and restlessness
  • I welcome photos and movies
  • I welcome panoramic vision and microscopic focus
  • I welcome conversations
  • I welcome sensations
  • I welcome sensations from all over my body
  • I welcome all my senses
  • I welcome all my emotions
  • I welcome all my instincts
  • I welcome the process of my bodymind system planning and choreographing movement
  • I welcome review thoughts
  • I welcome planning thoughts
  • I welcome thought fragments
  • I welcome thought impressions
  • I welcome insights
  • I welcome painful reflections of mistakes
  • I welcome the learning process
  • I welcome the inflow of creative inspiration
  • I welcome silence and harmony
  • I welcome peace


July 22 MOD
Flow of Instincts

Just for today, I am going to honor the flow of instincts in myself and others, because everyone needs to sleep, dream, eat, work, socialize, play, communicate with others, commune with nature, nest, explore the world, and bond with family and friends.

Noticing the instincts at play is a kind of "mindfulness," or "life-fullness," because life is always choreographing and synchronizing and coordinating the flow of impulses.

Instinct refers to "inborn patterns of behavior, powerful motivations and impulses." When we align ourselves with the instincts, we are friends with all life. Whenever anyone comes to learn to meditate, including ourselves, we are seeking to meet instinctive needs, to let the instincts operate in the service of life.

Any person you meet, on the street or in your session room, in a class, or over a cup of coffee, a sip of wine, a beer, needs to be able to rest within herself. They need to be able to feel at home in their skin and in the world. They need access to profound relaxation and safety so they can switch over to parasympathetic functioning, even to digest their food.

Everyone you meet is a composer struggling to make a symphony out of their instincts, so they can flow from resting to working to socializing to playing to mating to dreaming to eating and digesting and sleeping and doing it all over again.

"The instincts" is just a way of noticing the impulses of life itself. This language relates you to everyone, and all creatures.

EXTRA credit topic of the day: meditation therapy and conflicts between the instincts.

Sometimes the instincts conflict with each other, for example, we all have an instinct to belong to someone or something – to a marriage, to a friendship, to a tribe – we also have a desire for freedom. Sometimes we want to have sex and we are hungry at the same time. Which to do first?

One of the functions of meditation is to be a place where the instincts and talk to each other and work out their coordination of impulses and the timing things.

When people suppress this conversation among the instincts, and try to make their minds blank during meditation, they make themselves stupid. Or we could say "neurotic."

In yourself, notice any time the instincts conflict - you are hungry and sleepy at the same time, or restless and excited and tired, or lonely and wanting to socialize, but also feeling like you need to spend time with yourself.

And when you meditate, WELCOME any conflict between instincts and laugh about it. "OH! I really want to meditate AND I am totally restless AND I am hungry AND I am lonely."




July 19
Instinctive Combinations and Sequencing
Today's meditation is to notice the way the instincts flow from one to the other in sequence, and often combine into teams.

For example, early in the morning you might flow from sleeping and dreaming, to excreting, bathing, socializing (including Facebook and texting), to feeding, and then planning a Gathering expedition (going shopping). When you have dinner alone with family at home, you are Nesting and Feeding and Bonding with your Family. When you meet a friend at a coffee shop for a cup, it is slightly different, socializing and taking refreshment and exchanging information.

As part of your study, you might whisper the name of each instinct, just once, in the morning. The whole list might take 2 minutes to flow through in this way.

  • Homing
  • Nesting
  • Resting
  • Feeding
  • Sleeping Dreaming
  • Exploring
  • Orienting
  • Trail Blazing
  • Planning action, the actions of socializing, teaching, exploring, hunting, gathering, socializing, bonding, feeding.
  • Hunting
  • Communing with Nature
  • Gathering
  • Purifying, excreting
  • Patrolling Boundaries
  • Negotiating Boundaries
  • Negotiating Dominance
  • Migrating
  • Protecting Self, Family, Tribe
  • Mating Dances
  • Courting
  • Grooming
  • Bathing
  • Playing
  • Bonding
  • Socializing
  • Communicating
  • Teaching others your skills
  • Storytelling

Notice the play and flow and interplay of instincts in the outer world, and then in meditation, let go and enjoy. The acceptance will carry over. Sitting on the sofa at home watching a movie is Nesting + Socializing + Storytelling.

If you want to play with the instincts during meditation, you savor these delightful thoughts at the beginning. Just cherish each thought for 8 breaths or so.

  • I am feeding on this delicious air
  • The out-breath is purifying me
  • The inbreathe is inspiring me
  • I am resting in meditation
  • I welcome the brilliant flow of intelligence in my body mind system
  • I welcome the intelligence of my brain as it plans movement sequences
  • I delight in the restfulness of meditation
  • I welcome the surges of energy to get up and move
  • I welcome the rhythms of my experience



July 18
Surf Your Styles
Styles of Attention in Meditation

There are many styles of attention. Get to know them all.

  • curiosity
  • vivid interest
  • adoration
  • warm regard
  • welcoming
  • embracing
  • studying
  • evaluating
  • analyzing
  • criticizing
  • skepticism
  • cold distance
  • suspicion

You may want to substitute your own labels such as "loving attention."

In general, if you are on the path of intimacy, you want to stay on the warmer side of the qualities of attention. You are welcoming every thought and impulse. You only go to the cold and clinical tones of attention when needed.

Let's use the analogy of taking care of your feet and legs after a long hike. You might massage your sore muscles gently to improve circulation, and to speed healing. If you have a thorn, then you might study it, use tweezers to extract, and then apply an antibiotic. "Anti-– biotic" means anti-life. The use of an ointment can prevent infection.

In general, we only use anti-life attitudes when indicated, when necessary.

The meditation world is full of anti-life attitudes. We need to be alert to not impose these upon ourselves.

Practice: Make your own list of at least five styles of attention. Set a light intention to be friendly toward yourself and all your impulses in meditation. Intentionally practice being friendly and hospitable to every impulse, every sensation, every picture, every mini-movie, every mental conversation, every thought-fragment that comes to your attention.





July 16
What are your BUSY THOUGHTS

Theory: if you have responsibilities or love people, you will have thoughts during meditation. Therefore we may as well welcome and bless all of these thoughts in advance.

Insight: All my thoughts pertain to my connection to the world and the unfoldment of my mission here.

Practice: At the beginning of your meditation session, take 60 seconds to say, "I bless everyone I know. I bless all of my unfinished projects. I welcome all of the dreams in my heart. I welcome all of the plans in my mind." Rewrite this in language that suits you.

Writing practice: You might write out your recurrent thoughts, as a way of honoring them.

Love Your To-Do List. Meditators need to have good, really highly organized to do lists. It is worth the time that it takes to create good lists, and even lists of lists, because there are different areas of life.

Vocabulary: In yoga terminology, we are talking about the Angas. As in Astanga. aṣṭāṅga = "consisting of eight parts or members."
aṅga = "limb, member. A subordinate division or department, especially of a science. In drama, the whole of the subordinate characters.

In a "connected meditation" you are attending to all your connections to the world. Feeling the texture of those connections as they evoke energies in your body. Technically speaking, you are tending to the energies in your body, heart, mind and soul that pertain to your connectedness to other people, projects, conversations, and the life you want to live. Your body is concerned with mobilizing itself to meet life, the life you want to live. Your mind is not wandering, it is practicing its alignment. Your mind/body system is practicing staying centered and graceful in the midst of the challenges you are facing.










Let's Play This One Again:
Surf Your Styles
Styles of Attention in Meditation

There are many styles of attention. Get to know them all.

  • curiosity
  • vivid interest
  • adoration
  • warm regard
  • welcoming
  • embracing
  • studying
  • evaluating
  • analyzing
  • criticizing
  • skepticism
  • cold distance
  • suspicion

You may want to substitute your own labels such as "loving attention."

In general, if you are on the path of intimacy, you want to stay on the warmer side of the qualities of attention. You are welcoming every thought and impulse. You only go to the cold and clinical tones of attention when needed.

Let's use the analogy of taking care of your feet and legs after a long hike. You might massage your sore muscles gently to improve circulation, and to speed healing. If you have a thorn, then you might study it, use tweezers to extract, and then apply an antibiotic. "Anti-– biotic" means anti-life. The use of an ointment can prevent infection.

In general, we only use anti-life attitudes when indicated, when necessary.

The meditation world is full of anti-life attitudes. We need to be alert to not impose these upon ourselves.

Practice: Make your own list of at least five styles of attention. Set a light intention to be friendly toward yourself and all your impulses in meditation. Intentionally practice being friendly and hospitable to every impulse, every sensation, every picture, every mini-movie, every mental conversation, every thought-fragment that comes to your attention.