CHIDAKASHA DHARANA: Technique

Posture

Any comfortable sitting pose can be used.

Technique

Make yourself comfortable in your chosen sitting position. Adjust yourself so that there will be no need to move your body during the practice.

Make sure that your spine and head are erect, but without excessive arching or straining of the back; sit in a comfortable and upright position.

Close your eyes. Start the practice.

Stage 1: body awareness

Practise kaya sthairyam’.

Be completely aware of your body.

There should be a continuous flow of attention to the physical body.

The more you are aware of the body, the more steady will the mind become; steadiness of the body automatically implies steadiness of the mind and vice versa. Rotate your awareness throughout the different parts of your body. Then become aware of the whole body. There should be homogeneous awareness of the whole body sitting on the floor; not awareness of one part of the body, but the entire body, which you can feel as a totality. Remain aware and feel the immobility of the body. Feel that your body is like a stone statue. Eventually there will be no need to create the feeling, it will come spontaneously. Continue to do kaya sthairyam for about 5 minutes, or for as long as time permits. Then proceed to stage 2.

Stage 2: Aum chanting

Chant AUM seven times . . . slowly. Feel the vibrations resonating, reverberating throughout the whole body. Be completely absorbed, aware of the sound of Aum. Feel that nothing else exists except Aum. When you have finished, proceed to stage 3.

Stage 3: breath awareness

Be aware of your breathing process; if you wish you can practise anuloma viloma and prana shuddhi. Fix your attention on your own breath. Let your breathing be natural. Don’t force or try to control it. Be aware of the breath as it flows in and out of your nostrils. You breathe in . . . You breathe out . . . And when you breathe in, know that you are breathing in; when you are breathing out, know that you are breathing out. Total awareness of the effortless, natural breathing. Usually, the breathing occurs without your awareness – it occurs unconsciously. Now you must feel it, know that it is continuously taking place within you. You must be aware of it, as though you have never breathed before. Imagine that this is the first time you have ever breathed; feel and experience the bliss of breathing. There must be unbroken and unceasing awareness of the breathing process. Listen to the sound of the breath. Feel the breath flow in and out of the nostrils. Continue in this way for a few minutes. Then tiy to feel the air entering each nostril separately. As you breathe in, the two flows of air move upwards and meet at the eyebrow centre. As you breathe out, the two flows of air diverge from the eyebrow centre and move downwards in the shape of an inverted V. The air flow in each nostril forms a triangular pathway, with the top of the triangle at the eyebrow centre. Continue to experience this alternate convergence and divergence of breath flow as you inhale and exhale respectively. Feel the air being sucked in . . . Feel the air being gently forced out. Be aware. Imagine that you are merging with the breath. Then after some minutes, leave awareness of the breath and proceed to stage 4.

Stage 4: chidakasha dharana

Look at the space in front of your closed eyes – chidakasha. Be relaxed; don’t strain. Merely watch. Be a witness to anything that may appear, any visions or whatever. Don’t try to interpret or analyze. Look into the cave of your mind. Look deeply. It looks very dark . . . oh, so dark . . . but look deeper. You may not see anything, but don’t worry, just continue your practice. Expect nothing, only watch. Be an observer. After some time you may see colours, streaks of light, visions, strange forms, vivid memories and so on; however, more than likely you will continue to see only an empty screen. Whatever occurs, remain a disinterested witness. Let things happen. Don’t anticipate anything. Look into the ether of your being. Peer into the darkness as though you are trying to find something in a dark room. Look at the totality of chidakasha; don’t confine your attention to any one place . . . Let your vision take in the full extent of chidakasha in the same way that you would take in the whole screen of a television or cinema. Survey the whole screen of the mind. Observe . . . observe . . . and continue to observe. You don’t have to do anything, only watch. This is so simple, but can bring incredible experiences if you persist. So persevere, and find out the multi-dimensional activities of the mind. But don’t expect . . . the less you expect, the more you will see. Continue in this way for about 5 or 10 minutes; more if you have time to spare. Then proceed to stage 5.

Stage 5: concentration or trataka

This stage is for those people who can mentally create and easily visualize an inner symbol on the mind screen3. Visualize and concentrate on your chosen symbol created on the mind screen. You can choose any symbol that suits you . . . But you must be able to visualize a clear, steady image. Be completely aware of the symbol. Try to imagine that there is nothing else but the symbol. Your whole awareness is channelled towards the symbol. This will make your whole mind one-pointed … This will lead into the deeper realms of the mind. This symbol will be your rocket into the internal depths of space, into the ether of consciousness. Continue this practice for as long as you are able. Then proceed to stage 6.

Stage 6: Aum chanting and chidakasha dharana

Slowly repeat Aum 7 times (more if you have time). Try to be simultaneously aware of the sound of Aum and chidakasha. Then at the end of Aum chanting, once again become aware of chidakasha, the space in front of your closed eyes. Remain a witness to anything that takes place there. If subconscious fears or suppressed feelings surface to your awareness, try only to watch with detachment.

If you see extraordinary visions, don’t become excited for there is much more; there will come a time when you will see impossible things, so impossible that you will be totally unable to be emotionally excited. Continue for a few minutes. Be aware of your body and of the surroundings. Then open your eyes. This is the end of the practice.

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