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Fundamental Development

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Fundamental Development

Postby Shinichi » Wed Dec 24, 2014 7:28 pm

May wisdom guide your path,
and may this gift bring fortune to all who benefit from it.



The Practical Development
of Meditation Posture
In Two Exercises


In contemporary society, meditation practices of all kinds are becoming increasingly common. This is no doubt a good thing, generally speaking, but one of the most overlooked aspects of meditative training today is Posture. It is easy to find a hundred books on how to meditate, or what to meditate on, and all sorts of writing that is often as much nonsense as treasure. It is, as I have found, not quite as easy to find information on how to sit for meditation. This lack of information on such an important prerequisite is why the present chapter and its subsequent instruction on Posture Choice and Posture Control are offered here, since meditative training is also vitally important to future development.

Posture Choice


Before actually practicing the exercise of mastering a posture, one must naturally exert a certain effort on Posture Choice. It is difficult to call this an actual exercise, and it is also difficult to call it a simple set of rules or guiding principles. Posture Choice is very important because your Meditation Posture is the foundation of most progress henceforth; it is literally how you will sit to do the other exercises. By all means, the most important factor in choosing such a seating is the users own intuition to choose a posture that simply feels right. However, supposing that not everyone has this intuition or that most people want a more clear instruction, there are three fundamental principles to keep in mind when choosing a Posture.

1) The chosen posture must be comfortable, but not so lax that basic posture alignment (spine, neck, etc) is lost. This means that your posture can be anything from Savasana (laying down) to Padmasana (Full Lotus), depending on your individual flexibility and interests.

2) The chosen posture must not discourage Mental Discipline. For instance, if choosing an exceptionally relaxing posture like Savasana, it would be unwise to practice any exercise in a location where you would easily fall asleep. Likewise, a posture that is excessively uncomfortable and distracting should be avoided.

3) The chosen posture must never be painful. Mild discomfort is to be expected, since parts of the body that are normally unused in this way must be trained to endure a new form of exercise. But this sort of gentle strain and discomfort should never become truly painful, and if you do experience pain, stop until you figure out why and how to correct it.

Benefits
There are many benefits to choosing a dedicated practice posture. To begin with, mastering a specific posture will provide you with a physical foundation upon which to build your internal explorations later – the body, having been tamed and relaxed, will not distract you from your meditations. Repeatedly using the same posture to practice the same exercises can also develop a psychological “trigger,” where the posture itself will help you relax and begin meditating as soon as you sit down in it. Other benefits may be explored through experimentation and research. Much research has been done on Yoga and Qi Gong, both of which traditionally use static postures (Asana and Zhan Zhuang, respectively).

Notes
The chosen posture need not be the only posture ever used. For example, if you are particularly attracted to Padmasana and its benefits but lack the flexibility, it is perfectly sufficient to use more simple postures for your training while working through the flexibility development necessary for Padmasana. And once in Padmasana, other postures may also be learned for other situations. Do not mistakenly imagine that choosing a posture to begin your learning means that you will never use any other meditation posture. It may also be noted that a good resource for potential postures is the website for Yoga Journal Magazine, where (at the time of this writing) a list of Yoga Poses is presented and explained very nicely for the benefit of Yoga students. Those not familiar with common postures may find this list beneficial, and may find it with a quick Google search.

Posture Control


Choosing a posture is simple enough, and even without the advice offered previously many practitioners discover an intuitive understanding of how to choose a posture that just “feels” right. This intuitive understanding is far more important than any rules or advice. However, a common mistake that stems from that situation is that once a posture is chosen, very few people also possess the intuitive knowledge of how to master it. Many people simply sit down and begin trying to perform this meditation or that, and then find their body to be a horrible distraction. The cure for this distraction is the exercise provided henceforth, rooted in the traditional practice of Asana and offered here as Posture Control.

1) Before sitting in your Meditation Posture, it is helpful to stretch or perform simple calisthenics for up to fifteen minutes to prepare. The length of this step depends on the length of the following practice and experience, but in any case it is profoundly useful to loosen up.

2) Take up your chosen Meditation Posture, making yourself as comfortable as possible.

3) Observe. As you attempt to sit patiently in your Posture, observe your body and pay attention to every detail that you can. At first there may be nothing, but soon you will become Aware of many discomforts and urges to move.

4) Endure. Once you are Aware of the rising discomforts, attempt to endure them for as long as you can. When there is an itch, resist the urge to scratch it. When you wish to move, don't. Endure everything except real physical pain, which should be taken as a serious sign that something is wrong and that adjustments need to be made.

5) Conquer. After enduring the rising discomforts, willfully choosing to not give into them, you must then conquer each one in turn. It must be understood that “conquer” here does not mean something violent, but simply that you must relax each discomfort until it is gone – where there is an itch, focus on it and relax until it stops. Where there is a twitch, focus on it and relax your muscles until you are still.

6) Stillness. Having gone through every discomfort and conquering each one, you will slowly sink into the state of Posture Control proper – that is, Stillness. This is not a rigid state of tension, but is rather a state of complete relaxation and comfort. It is by reaching this state, after much practice, that you will be able to sit for hours at a time with no discomfort and no boredom. This is the foundation of all future meditative work.

Benefits
A studious and observant practitioner will find many benefits to pursuing the ends of this practice. Most importantly, the chosen meditation posture will become very comfortable and easy to sit in, and the body will thus not be a distraction while meditative exercises are performed. More than this, however, is something far more important. Having gone through this process with one posture, the process itself will be learned and other postures can be mastered as well. For those interested, these principles can also be applied to other pursuits like Yoga or Zhan Zhuang.

Notes
There are three primary phases of Posture Control. First, as soon as you sit down, it will feel pleasant enough and comfortable as almost any time you sit down. Second, there will be discomfort (there should never be harsh pain, but discomfort is normal); your body begins to adjust to the posture, muscles normally unused get exercised, itches and tingles pop up, and perhaps your legs will fall asleep as well. Each of these discomforts must be endured and conquered as described in the practice. Third, having conquered every discomfort over a period of time and relaxed into the posture, it will become even more pleasant than the first phase. At times ecstatic, even blissful as you sit relaxed and completely comfortable. Every individual will experience each of these phases differently, but the end result will ultimately be the same: the posture will become very comfortable and easy to sit in even for long periods of time. The reason for this achievement must be understood as relaxation, however, because attempting to sit rigid and tense in your Meditation Posture is a trait of Step 4. This is part of the second phase of practice, and you must work beyond it to achieve Step 6.

The Meditative Development
of Mental Discipline
In Two Exercises


Prerequisites
1) A chosen Meditation Posture and knowledge of how to sit for meditation.
2) A minimum of 15-30 minutes to dedicate to the daily practice of meditation.

Progression
The progression of Mental Discipline exists primarily within the meditation practice described below. Each step should be take one at a time, as part of a process, even if you must spend some days or weeks developing your proficiency with a given step (as may be necessary for steps 3-5 of meditation). This is important, because the vital key to successful Mental Discipline is quality of practice. It does not matter if you practice five minutes a day or five hours a day, as long as you practice with mindfulness and diligence. Once the mind has relaxed and you have found a sense of Center in meditation, then you should progress to practicing Centering in daily life as well in order to slowly cultivate a constant state of mental relaxation and mindfulness. This constant mental peace is the primary point of extended meditative development.

Meditative Mental Discipline


One of the most important and most universal introductory pursuits of all spiritual and metaphysical arts is Mental Discipline. This, if nothing else, truly is universal amongst all the old and new schools of thought, and everyone worth their salt agrees that the mind must be tamed before more complex exercises can be learned effectively and correctly. There are many ways to cultivate Mental Discipline because of this, since most schools have their own ideas of how Mental Discipline is best achieved. Some schools of thought rely on only one meditation, while others have a few which are used progressively. The following practice falls into the latter category where each step, even the first, is a meditative practice all on its own in some traditional art or another.

1) Take up your Meditation Posture, as learned previously.

2) Breathe slowly but regularly to relax and get in the moment. The common four-fold breath is good for this achievement, where you inhale for four seconds and exhale for four seconds in a smooth rhythm.

3) Turn your attention inwards, watching your mind. As thoughts and feelings come up, detach yourself from them and passively observe them. Do not get carried away in daydreams, just maintain a sense of detached observation and observe your mental activity as if it were something separate from you.

4) Once the mind has relaxed from your passive observation and there is less activity, turn your attention upon a single thought or focal point. Concentrate on this focal point, silencing all other mental activity until only the focal point exists in your mind.

5) Upon successfully concentrating on a single point without getting distracted or interrupted by other thoughts, begin to let go of the focal point. Relax your mind slowly into a state of Mental Silence.

6) After relaxing into the state of Mental Silence, where mental activity is relaxed and your mind rests in a state of void, sit and bask in this state for the rest of the session. This relaxed state of Mental Silence is the heart of Mental Discipline, and should be cultivated so that it positively influences your mind in daily life.

Benefits
The most potent benefits of this practice should be obvious. As the mind is trained to relax, the chaotic storm of mental activity that occurs in mind of most people becomes tamed. With this sense of mental relaxation comes a stronger clarity of mind, better concentration, and more mental energy over all – since the mind is learning to not wander around like a storm, all of the energy that would have been used on those passing thoughts and daydreams becomes reserved and focused on your concentration instead.

Notes
Go slowly with each step. As mentioned in the introduction, each step is a meditation in and of itself, put together and organized into this progression so that Mental Discipline can be cultivated somewhat more quickly and efficiently. Do not rush through steps 3-5 in particular, take your time and spend some minutes on each step so that you really exercise and discipline your mind. This exercise should become a daily habit, and once you develop Internal Awareness later on you will learn to deepen this practice infinitely – for in this, the mind is layered. Conquering the outer activity of the mind will seem easy, and then you will look deeper to find the inner mind and will have to start all over again. With that, you will find the greatest progress.

The Practice of Centering


Cultivating your Mental Discipline through meditation will have a great many benefits on your daily life, far too many to properly list. But as the process happens there will come incidents where you find it difficult to concentrate – having become more aware of your mind through the practice of meditation, you come upon the realization that your mind is a storm in your daily life. Since these moments occur while you are busy with some aspect of life, it is not practical to sit down and meditate right then and there in order to reign in the mind's activity. To solve this dilemma, there is a simple application of Mental Discipline that is known simply as Centering.

1) Stop whatever you are doing, taking a moment to yourself. At first this may take several moments, but later on you will be able to go through this process more quickly.

2) Turn your awareness inwards. Breathe if you like, using the rhythm of your breath as a quick focal point that is always with you. This opportunity should allow you to swiftly pass through the Observation and Concentration portions of Mental Discipline. How swift depends entirely on the skill and development cultivated in meditation – if you fail to develop yourself in meditation, you will not find quick success in Centering.

3) Relax the mind to Mental Silence, letting go of the mental stress and activity that abounds so that you are relaxed and calm. Recall the feelings, the mental peace that you acquired during your meditation practice, and focus on those feelings. Summon them and return to that state actively. Once Mental Silence has been achieved to the same state cultivated in the Mental Discipline meditation, you have successfully Centered.

Benefits
The primary benefit of Centering is gaining the capacity to silence your mind any time you need to, anywhere you need to, for any reason you need to. Life presents us with many challenges, and the untamed mind is happy to imagine and exaggerate all sorts of problems. By gaining the capacity to Center swiftly and easily, the mind will become shortly tamed and you will find yourself at an almost constant state of peace and concentration.

Notes
The most important thing to be aware of in regards to Centering is that your success with Centering is directly related to your success with Mental Discipline. If you do not practice Mental Discipline in order to find and develop your Center, then you will find it difficult to Center throughout the day. Likewise, the more that you practice and develop Mental Discipline, the easier it will be to Center. The second important thing to note is that with practice of both Mental Discipline and Centering, this peaceful state of Center or Mental Silence will slowly become your normal state of mind, and that is the true goal of Mental Discipline. Meditative states of mind are useless if they do not positively influence your daily life, so while you deepen your meditations, remember that those states of mind are meant to become your new "norm."

The Meditative Development
of Awareness
In Three Exercises


Prerequisites
1) Knowledge of meditation posture and how to sit for meditation.
2) Experience with meditation. In particular, the ability to relax the mind to Center or Mental Silence.
3) Understanding of the difference between and the relationship of Awareness and Consciousness.

Progression
These three exercises are essentially meant to cultivate one thing: Self-Awareness. By developing Physical Awareness, you begin to understand what Awareness is and how to directly control it. By practicing Internal Awareness, you begin to exercise true Introspection and you begin to understand how Awareness can be used to gain insight and understanding, as well as how you can gain Discernment of different things by paying attention to differences and similarities. And lastly, by practicing External Awareness, you begin to really pay attention to your surroundings and the relationship that "you" have to what is around you, and how Awareness (and also Consciousness, by extension) is something that is not restricted to the physical body.

Meditative Development of Physical Awareness


Of all the exercises presented here, this one may be the most simple and easy to learn. Although this exercise was initially picked up from a Psion community, later study of such things as Body Awareness as taught in Israel Regardie’s One Year Manual allowed for a better understanding and refinement of this particular exercise. It is from learning the simple principles offered there and expanding upon them that everything henceforth, that is the development of the following two exercises as they are presented here, came to be. This first exercise is particularly important, for it offers an easy and almost mundane introduction to what will slowly come to be a potent metaphysical skill if training is pursued to its natural end.

1) Take up your Meditation Posture. For this particular exercise, Savasana is especially beneficial if it is not your normal posture. Relax the mind to Mental Silence.

2) Relax physically and focus your Awareness on your lower body, starting with your feet. What do you feel? Simply pay attention. Wiggle your toes a little if you want, and be aware of everything you feel in your feet.

3) Shift your Awareness up from your feet, moving it up your legs. Be Aware of how your legs feel, the state of tension and relaxation and how your skin feels – every minute detail.

4) Continue moving your Awareness up your body one section at a time until you get to your head, paying attention to every detail that you can. Take notice. Pay attention to every minute detail – the tingling of nerves firing, tension, relaxation, itching, twitching. Be Aware of everything.

5) Move your Awareness back down your body, from head to toe, still paying attention to everything that you can. Repeat 2 through 4 several times trying to feel more with each pass up and down your body, paying attention to more, being Aware of more. This is a process of learning how to pay attention to sensation, learning how to move Awareness, and learning what your body feels like – which will help you discern the difference between common physical tingles and the more intense metaphysical feelings of energy later on.

6) Still maintaining your posture and mental Center, concentrate and focus your Awareness and then expand it over your skin to every corner of your body. Pay particular attention to anything you "feel," whether it is a tingle or an itch (do not scratch it, simply note the feeling and being aware of it). Be Aware of the feelings against your skin and the muscle movements under it as you breathe – the feeling of your clothes against skin, the feeling of your hairs, any air moving against you, the tingles of nerves firing. Try to remain still as you concentrate on your practice. Focus on your sense of touch, but be Aware of everything you feel going on with your body. When you can maintain this expanded Awareness without losing concentration or focusing too much on any one part, you've succeeded with this practice.

Benefits
There are two primary benefits to this exercise. First is that you begin to understand Awareness, what it is, how to move it and how to receive information through it – in this case the information is physical and can be verified easily, but later on you will learn how to receive information metaphysically from other objects and people. Second, here you are exploring your own body and learning of all the sensations and physical feelings that you have. This is thus an important practice, because doing this establishes the foundation of physical knowledge, and later on you will be able to more easily discern between what is a physically inspired sensation and what is a metaphysically inspired sensation. For working with energy, spirits, constructs, and any other metaphysical force, this capacity for discernment is vital.

Notes
That last bit of Step 6 sounds simple enough, doesn't it? "Focus on your sense of touch." It is that simple, but it is not a matter of simply feeling what you touch with your hands – though it is the same sensation. Do you feel with your hands? Now learn to feel with your entire body, and more importantly with your mind. This is an exercise in being Aware of the feelings of your entire body at the same time, from head to toe. This requires a fair bit of concentration at first, which is why I suggest it be learned after practicing meditation and centering for a while. Eventually, you will not need to spend much time on steps 2 to 5, as you will have enough experience and skill to simply expand your Awareness and practice full body Awareness from the start. But until you get to that point, practice diligently.

The Meditative Development of Internal Awareness


The development of Internal Awareness is actually a very old and classical practice of many spiritual and metaphysical traditions. Commonly known by the name Introspection, it is to this that the Oracle alluded when she spoke "Man! Know Thyself!" For it is by this practice, by turning the Inner Eye upon itself, that we come to understand ourselves as truly as we may think we understand other things or other people. It should be noted that there is no end to this exercise, no completion or end attainment. Even once proficiency has been gained and you move on, the depths of your soul are great and you are an ever changing person. It is wise to pursue this practice regularly.

1) Take up your meditation posture and relax the mind to Mental Silence.

2) Turn the Awareness inwards. With the Physical Awareness exercise, the mind was turned upon the body, so now turn the mind upon the mind. Even sitting in basic Mental Silence, thoughts still try to surface and disturb the mind. Thus, turn the Awareness inwards and observe them.

3) As thoughts rise, and sometimes emotions, observe them. This is a different observance than in basic Mental Discipline. Whereas in Mental Discipline the aim is to become aware of the mind so that it can relax and reach silence, here you explore why the thought and emotion is there in the first place. Suppose a song pops into your head – why is it there? Did you hear it on the radio, did you buy it on iTunes? Did you like it or dislike it? What about it did you like or dislike? Why? Explore what comes up, follow the trail and see where it leads.

4) As with Thought Observation, the more you watch the mind the more it shyly quiets down. As this happens with Step 3, and surfacing thoughts and feelings decreases, it becomes time to dig instead. Choose a subject from your psyche that you wish to explore – maybe you have a short temper and want to know why, maybe you wish to learn how you can become more patient. Choose something and turn your Awareness inwards. Mentally explore your past habits with the subject, why you feel or think a certain way about the subject. Dig deep and explore.

5) Having explored the thoughts and emotions of the mind, as well as the sensations of the body earlier on, you should now have a distinct Awareness of your own Mind and Body. With this as a foundation, you can push Internal Awareness a step further by paying particular attention to ones inner self before and after other activities, be it basic energy work or some complex practice. Knowing your self as a foundation, what your mundane mind and body feel like, you can turn your Awareness to the differences that pop up during a metaphysical experience. Is a particular sensation different than your ordinary physical feelings? Is a thought that pops into your head yours, or someone else's? Having explored what is your self, you can now explore what is not. Go slow with this, but do go with it.

6) There is a peculiar point with Step 5 of this exercise where you are distinctly Aware of sensations which are distinctly different from the nerve signals discovered in the Physical Awareness Training and distinctly different from anything mental as experienced in the earlier steps of Internal Awareness. This peculiar point of Step 5 marks the success of that step and the beginning of this one. Having successfully extended Awareness into the “Soul,” or energy system as such, it is time to explore it. Different physical and mental actions will influence this system in different ways, as all physical and mental actions exert metaphysical influence in some way. Having developed Awareness to this point, look even further within yourself to mentally discern the subtle nature of the “Soul” and all its parts. Cosmology helps greatly here, as different cosmologies have names for these different parts of the “Soul” or “Energy Body” and you can explore them each in turn directly. Lacking a preferred cosmology is not a problem though, just make notes of what you experience with as much detail as you can muster.

Benefits
The primary benefits of this meditation lies in the application of true Introspection, which in truth is what the whole pursuit properly is. As the layers of the mind and heart are relaxed and the Awareness seeps deeper into the Psyche, one finds the energy system. As the Awareness explores the energy system deeper and deeper, the educated student will be able to discern where metaphysical imbalances or blockages are, how to repair them, and many other pursuits besides. More immediately, developing this Awareness of energy system also allows for the correct practice of Energy Work, for the student will be able to discern what actually happens metaphysically when those exercises are performed.

Notes
Each step of the practice needs to be taken one at a time. It may take several sessions, even several months sometimes, to accomplish the work of one step. Remember to be patient and to explore each step as fully as possible even once you have moved on. It does not take long to gain basic proficiency in the principles offered here, but it can take a lifetime to gain proper mastery. Especially if you do not pursue the principles diligently, because it’s not just regular practice that counts but correct practice too.

The Meditative Development of External Awareness


This is perhaps the more natural extension of the first exercise, and is indeed where the transition begins from purely physical practice to an ever more metaphysical practice. While the first meditation is easily enough mastered, caution should be heeded with this third practice – as Awareness expands further and further, always verify your experiences to the best of your ability. In this transition from physical to metaphysical awareness, it is easy enough to imagine things even with strict mental discipline. But once progress is had the applications for this skill, both physical and metaphysical, are vast. This practice should thus be taken both seriously and be seriously enjoyed.

1) Take up your meditation posture and relax the mind to Mental Silence.

2) Extend the Awareness to cover the whole Physical Body, as per the final step of Physical Awareness.

3) Extend the Awareness beyond the Body in a growing sphere – do not visualize a sphere, just become progressively Aware of everything around you while favoring no one direction. This is easy enough at first when your Senses are used correctly – your sense of touch, your sense of sound. You can "feel," quite naturally, your immediate surroundings. What you need to do now is pay attention to this and actually become Aware of your immediate surroundings – the "space" immediately around you. The place where you are sitting, anything that is under you or above you or around you. Pay attention, developing a mental comprehension of the spatial relationship between you and your surroundings.

4) Expand the Awareness further, into the range of the Aura. Having developed a basic Awareness of Soul in the previous meditation, it should not be difficult with practice to be Aware of the Aura. Again, do not imagine a sphere, but extend the Awareness into the Aura itself and discern its shape and feeling on your own. This is may take time, but it is worth it for application in other areas. If you cannot or do not wish to feel the actual Aura, just consider “about one meter in every direction” your goal instead.

5) With the Awareness firmly fixed on the Aura or the spatial range of it, now turn the Awareness to everything within the Aura. In Step 3 of this exercise you expanded Awareness to discern the basic spatial relationship between you and the objects in your surroundings. Now, with your Awareness expanded to the range of the Aura, begin instead to study and observe everything within this space along with your relationship to it. Do not worry for minute details or metaphysical qualities yet, just pay attention and see what you notice. This, presently, is still an exercise in Physical Awareness, or Awareness of External Physical Things – the Aura is merely a medium for such, but it can be a useful medium for those interested in energy work later on.

6) Having studied the surroundings within the spatial range of the Aura to satisfaction, extend the Awareness beyond the Aura (distinction important: do not extend the Aura, but move the Awareness itself beyond it) to encompass the rest of the room or surroundings. As with the study of objects within the immediate surroundings, study also the objects in the rest of the room – where everything is in relation to you, the shapes of things, the sounds and movements and actions of any people. How far the Awareness is expanded beyond the body is a matter of practice and preference. Awareness is not strictly bound by Space, and one can be Aware of something on the opposite side of the planet with more advanced training.

Benefits
The primary benefit of this meditation lies in its nature as the development of the Awareness as something not bound to the Mind or Body but as a sort of Mental Sense (as Touch is a Physical Sense), and in the subtle transition from Physical to Metaphysical Awareness – what is learned here can just as easily be applied to Awareness of the metaphysical surroundings, discerning the metaphysical qualities and forces which occupy a given area. You can slowly develop a sensitivity to other people’s Auras or energy in general, and Martial Artists should notice many practical applications of this pursuit involving increased Awareness of one’s surroundings and also one’s opponent. When warrior’s speak of awareness, it is this to which they speak.

Notes
As the Awareness is developed through this exercise, as you actually become Aware of your surroundings and the objects within it, always verify your experiences at the end of the session. If in your Awareness, with your eyes closed, you discern a detail that you cannot credit to memory, get up and go look at the end of your session to see if it is there just as you were Aware of it in your meditation. If it was, make note of this and continue practicing correctly. If any of your experiences during the meditation prove wrong upon being checked, reel in your imagination with further Mental Discipline and practice more. Do this with all of your experiences. The more you are able to verify your successes, the more confidence you will build; the more you make note of your failures, the better you will be able to repair mistakes. This is also why the actual meditation focuses on your physical surroundings – physical surroundings can be verified easily, and once confidence is built as such, you can move on to metaphysical subjects with more skill and discernment later on.


The Meditative Development
of Psychic Discipline
In Two Exercises


Prerequisites
1) Knowledge of Meditation Posture and the ability to relax the mind to Mental Silence.
2) The ability to breathe in a calm, controlled rhythm.
3) The development of Internal Awareness, sufficient to discern different Qualities of The Psyche – stress, emotions, character traits – and how they influence you.

Progression
The progression of this practice may be a little different at first from some of the other exercises done before now. The whole of each exercise here is done easily, and is measured by the breath. The measure of progress here is thus quality over quantity. At first it may be difficult to exhale a Psychic Quality, such as nervousness or fear, but by focusing on the quality of each breath you will become better at the actual exercise. This means that although you may not be able to get rid of all of your nervousness with the full twenty breaths at first, with time you will refine this skill so that you may expel all of the quality with a single breath. With even further mastery of the exercise, you may learn to banish imbalances with a single thought, and this sort of skill is the purpose of this training. Through the meditative breathing exercise, the skill itself is refined while deeper Psychic Fortitude is developed – as there is success with this, Grounding is used throughout the day to deepen Fortitude even further and to maintain daily peace.

The Meditative Exercise of Psychic Breathing


Throughout the years, different circles of metaphysical practitioners have developed a plethora of different methods to practice Grounding. From simple thought control to elaborate and complex visualizations, the imagination and creativity of psychics and occultists have been long established. But for all of this imagination, many practitioners have overlooked the single most natural, almost universal method of Grounding. The one thing that everyone is told to do, even in daily mundane life: “when you are upset, breathe.” The following exercise will reveal a simple method of consciously breathing so that unwanted Psychic Qualities can be released through the breath, with no elaborate visualizations necessary. It is through this practice that the core principles of Grounding will be learned.

1) Take up your Meditation Posture and relax the mind to Mental Silence.

2) Inhale slowly, through the nose. Do not think of anything while you inhale. It’s important that you maintain Mental Silence here.

3) Turn your Awareness to an undesired Psychic Quality within. Focus your Awareness on it, and focus on the relationship that the Psychic Quality has to your breath. Do not visualize, just concentrate.

4) With the undesired Psychic Quality attached to the breath, exhale through the nose while concentrating so that the Quality is released into the universe upon being expelled from your system.

5) Repeat steps 2-4 for no more than twenty breaths, focusing attentively on the expelling of the Psychic Quality that has been chosen.

6) Upon the completion of Step Five, practice Internal Awareness to measure the effectiveness of the session – explore yourself and discern whether or not the Psychic Quality was influenced at all, and how so if it was.

Benefits
The most important benefit of this exercise is the active cultivation of what some call The Grounded State, but I refer to here as a state of Psychic Fortitude. This is very similar to, and somewhat related to, the mental Center state that is cultivated in Meditation. A key difference is that Center is mainly a calm mind whereas one’s state of Fortitude may be considered a calm heart, is related to the so-called energy system, and also to what some call the Soul or Astral Body. Emotions, deeper Qualities of the Psyche, and also the health and qualities of the energy system can all be regulated through the breathing exercise offered here. It’s just a matter of applying the exercise to your own paradigm of how such things work, because regardless of how you wish to explain the philosophy of this exercise it tends to work for everyone that knows how to breathe.

Notes
It cannot be stressed enough that you should not practice this exercise to excess. Focus on the quality of each breath, not the number of breaths that you are doing. Eventually, with Grounding, you will be able to exhale an entire quality (such as nervousness before a test) with a single breath, and this is what you should aspire to develop with your Psychic Breathing practice. Another warning that must be delivered is that you should not work on specific Qualities to excess, either. If you have an irrational fear that makes your life uncomfortable, you can use Psychic Breathing to conquer it by simply exhaling it a little each day until it is gone forever; but do not forget that fear in general is a warning signal, and those who completely lack fear are usually foolish in their behavior. Character Development of this sort is a powerful tool for personal transformation, but in all such pursuits you should strive for balance.

The Practice of Psychic Grounding


Although Psychic Breathing as a meditative exercise is good for learning the process of expelling Qualities of The Psyche, and it is especially good for overcoming deep-rooted qualities like irrational fear or addiction over a period of time, it is not especially suitable for on-demand use. And that is, naturally, where this skill of Grounding is most useful. Whether you are in a high-stress job or you just get spooked easily, the ability to stop for a moment, take a deep breath and actually get rid of your disturbance by doing so is profoundly useful. This on-demand application of Psychic Breathing is what is here considered Grounding proper.

1) Stop whatever is being done for a moment and turn your Inner Awareness to the Psychic Quality that is disturbing you.

2) Take a deep breath. Inhale through the nose, focusing your Awareness on the Psychic Quality you wish to release, and exhale slowly. This is the same Psychic Breathing practiced previously, just done on the spot instead of with the meditative depth exercised previously.

3) Repeat Step 2 until the Psychic Quality is released and you are in your Grounded State, a state of Psychic Fortitude. How well you can slip into this Fortitude depends on your skill in both Internal Awareness and Psychic Breathing.

Benefits
The primary benefit of Grounding is that it can be used on any Psychic Quality, just like your regular Psychic Breathing exercise, but it can be used quickly and throughout the day. As Centering is used to develop concentration and mental calm, Grounding is used to develop clarity and emotional calm. Whether it is mundane stress or emotional imbalance, or even a metaphysical energy disturbance, Grounding can be used to swiftly release the excess and return you to your state of Fortitude. This is important, because like Centering allows you to cultivate “Center” as a normal state of being, Grounding likewise cultivates your state of Fortitude throughout the day so that you slowly make it your normal state of being.

Notes
An important thing to note with basic Grounding is that, even with a more developed mastery of the fundamental skill, it typically does not conquer deep rooted Psychic Qualities on its own. Rather, it is more of an in-the-moment treatment of symptoms. If you are working against an addiction, for example, whenever you experience a desire to indulge you can pause for a moment and Ground that urge; but you will be exhaling the urge, not the reason why you had the urge. This is never the less a useful tool for personal transformation, but it must be understood that deeper and bigger things must be changed slowly and over a long periods of time, not instantly.


_____________________________________________________________________



The above is technically four articles in one (and what could have been more), but it felt right to keep it all together under the label "Fundamental Development." This is, in essence, the core and the foundation of my own practical development. In what has become years of metaphysical study and practice, these exercises, written and formulated in my own word and way, are what I have always come back to and what have given me more progress than anything else I have done.

Hopefully I caught all typos and errors, and hopefully all of my explanations are clear enough. If you feel there are mistakes, of any sort, please do point them out. I fully expect criticism and peer review, if anyone feels this is worth such effort.

Once everything is deemed in order and acceptable, I intend to finalize this as a PDF eventually that you can all download and circulate freely, should people find the information so useful. There is no copyright on this, though it is always honorable to place credit where credit is due when you share things.

As was said in the beginning: may wisdom guide your path, and may this gift bring fortune to all who benefit from it.



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Re: Fundamental Development

Postby corvidus » Wed Dec 24, 2014 8:14 pm

Very nice four-in-one post Shinichi. Gave me some ideas to think about to better help my practice.

Something I've been doing in order to 'conquer' my meditative position is to sit in it until my legs become sore, which is about an hour or so, and then stretch the ligaments/muscles that are the tightest. After sitting in the chosen pose for that long (for me), its pretty obvious which ones need to be stretched more.

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Re: Fundamental Development

Postby EternalReturn » Tue Dec 30, 2014 3:15 am

Wow great post Shinichi! [yay] There's a lot of useful things here written with great detail and understanding of the subject. You sure did help me to understand some basic stuff that I have failed to see. Thank you for this [thumbup]
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Re: Fundamental Development

Postby Rin » Tue Dec 30, 2014 7:59 am

Excellent article :) Hopefully it will be of great benefit to people who come here new to their practice.

Two quick thoughts: In the first section where you discuss posture, you could put in some tips on choosing and holding a posture which opens up the meridians to allow energy to flow freely through the bndy, especially when it comes to straightening the spine through tucking the chin in slightly and pulling the hips forward to tuck the tailbone in (eg. a lot of people don't tuck the tailbone in when using a seated posture, or need a pillow/rolled up blanket to hold their knees up and tuck their tailbone in in savasana). I've found this makes an enormous difference in the effectiveness of my meditation on the energetic level and wish someone had pointed it out to me when I first started.

Secondly, your section on psychic breathing, would it not be better to inhale the positive opposite of a negative trait instead of exhaling the negative trait, thereby putting the mental focus on the positive instead of the negative? In the same way that it's always suggested that auto-suggestion is positively worded and in the current tense (although I understand the parallel isn't perfect).

Just things that occurred to me while reading, hope you don't mind some constructive input, but it's a great piece. Going to add it to my list of bookmarks I link to people when they ask for advice on beginning meditation.
"The path of the Sage is called
'The Path of Illumination'
he who gives himself to this path
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cut by cut it is honed to perfection"

- DDJ, Verse 27

"It's still magic even if you know how it's done." - Terry Pratchett
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Re: Fundamental Development

Postby Shinichi » Tue Dec 30, 2014 5:11 pm

Rin wrote:In the first section where you discuss posture, you could put in some tips on choosing and holding a posture which opens up the meridians to allow energy to flow freely through the bndy, especially when it comes to straightening the spine through tucking the chin in slightly and pulling the hips forward to tuck the tailbone in (eg. a lot of people don't tuck the tailbone in when using a seated posture, or need a pillow/rolled up blanket to hold their knees up and tuck their tailbone in in savasana). I've found this makes an enormous difference in the effectiveness of my meditation on the energetic level and wish someone had pointed it out to me when I first started.


I considered adding some advice of this sort, but I realized two things. First, information about meridians and the like is really only relevant to those who follow that cosmology. For a beginner, or for anyone following a different path, such cosmological information is not really necessary for their growth. Especially in the beginning. Beneficial for those who use the relevant cosmology correctly, yes, but not necessary for everyone. Second, there is much information on posture-specific details available in other articles and textbooks on the subject (including the free yoga journal website I mentioned somewhere in there).

With this in mind, I elected to keep my advice as simple and base as possible and more focused on the practice than the posture, so that it may be useful to as many people as possible. I feel this is why many other writers, including Bardon, also ignore most of those minute posture details. Yes, they help, but they can easily be discovered with some study -- and more importantly, with some practice. In the beginning, it's much more important to simply learn how to relax and still the body so that it isn't a distraction. Once this is achieved and deeper meditation is possible (and greater Awareness is developed), fine tuning ones posture for better experience is usually easy.

Rin wrote:Secondly, your section on psychic breathing, would it not be better to inhale the positive opposite of a negative trait instead of exhaling the negative trait, thereby putting the mental focus on the positive instead of the negative? In the same way that it's always suggested that auto-suggestion is positively worded and in the current tense (although I understand the parallel isn't perfect).


It would certainly seem this way, but it must be noted that Grounding is not Autosuggestion, per se. For myself as well as the individuals I have directly instructed on this method of Grounding, focusing on the positive quality is often less effective than focusing on the negative quality at hand. This seems counter-intuitive to those who have studied other works, but consider the nature of the breath.

When you exhale, you are already exhaling much physical and metaphysical "toxic stuff," to pass over the formal names. What you are doing with this method of Psychic Breathing is adding a particular quality to that, not in the manner of Autosuggestion, but in the manner of metaphysically grabbing hold of the quality and forcing it from your soul while exhaling. There is a certain indirect utilization of Vital Force here that is not found in Autosuggestion. It is difficult to articulate the experience, and it requires a certain strength of Internal Awareness and Volition to really understand and observe it, but the practical process itself is simple and is explained in the article.

Perhaps what must be understood here is that the purpose of this exercise is not really the direct transmutation of ones character, as Bardon teaches and as others testify to. Rather, the primary goal is to expel any exaggerated qualities. For example, if you are so nervous right before a big test that you can barely hold your pencil -- exhale it; if you are so happy and intoxicatingly blissful after a meditation that you can barely walk straight -- exhale it.

There is no concern over virtue and vice, positive and negative. The only concern is Balance. As such, the aim is not moral refinement or virtue-vice style character development, but rather the cultivation of Fortitude. So that when you stand five feet from an evoked spirit, you do not throw up or fall to its seductions and intimidation; so that when you need to cast a spell in the moment, you are not caught by nerves and distracted by worry; so that when you can hear the thoughts and feel the emotions of the people around you, you do not get overwhelmed and have a nervous breakdown. This is a simpler (and albeit, a less sophisticated) way of achieving what Bardon called Equipoise. Same pursuit, just without the guidance and mapping of the Elemental Key, which is a useful tool for those who utilize it but not one that is necessary for everyone.

For me, rather than intuitively thinking "oh, I have a weak Water and excess Fire" instead I feel my imbalances, I directly experience them via Internal Awareness as a sort of "ripples in the water" experience. Equipoise, or Fortitude, is achieved when the ripples cease and the water is still, and to work towards that I just have to Breathe. When ripples pop up, I exhale them until they cease. When the big ripples cease, and my Internal Awareness deepens, then I can do the same with the more subtle ripples, and the more subtle ones after that, into infinite refinement. No fretting over moralistic virtues and vices, no worrying about what element a certain Quality is -- if it disturbs the still water, it's going to go.

I do still think that the development of a Noble Character and the cultivation of Honor are still important to long term magical development (those who think otherwise will not find much respect in the Otherworld and its denizens, who value such things), but that is not the only way to develop Equipoise. :)

Rin wrote:Just things that occurred to me while reading, hope you don't mind some constructive input, but it's a great piece. Going to add it to my list of bookmarks I link to people when they ask for advice on beginning meditation.


I appreciate the feedback, and you've given me a couple of things to think about. One of the reasons I posted this was to get constructed input, so thank you. What I have tried to offer is a fundamental practice, one that could be utilized by a student of Bardon as easily as a student of Gardner or Crowley and even solo practitioners. A daunting task indeed, but hopefully the end result comes close, and feedback certainly helps.

There will be a second edition and a PDF when I find time to edit the work appropriately, but until then I hope I addressed your thoughts well enough and I hope it's a benefit to anyone who follows your links. [thumbup]



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Re: Fundamental Development

Postby azwraith » Tue Jan 20, 2015 9:14 pm

Amazing. This has helped me greatly :)
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Re: Fundamental Development

Postby ulvfdfgtmk » Thu Feb 12, 2015 11:28 am

Thank you for taking the time of writing and posting this Shinichi. I recently got started with the practical side of occultism and find your post to be a nice addition to Bardons work, which got me started in the first place. However there is one thing that remains unclear to me.

3) Turn your attention inwards, watching your mind. As thoughts and feelings come up, detach yourself from them and passively observe them. Do not get carried away in daydreams, just maintain a sense of detached observation and observe your mental activity as if it were something separate from you.

When I sit in meditation and a thought arises I have the impression to be only able to do one of two things. I can either shut the thought down which gives me a moment of complete silence followed by another thought. Or I can give in to the thought and kind of follow it along.
So my problem here is that I can´t manage to "detach" myself from the thought. Is this something that naturally comes with time or am I doing something wrong here?
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Re: Fundamental Development

Postby Shinichi » Thu Feb 12, 2015 12:53 pm

ulvfdfgtmk wrote:
3) Turn your attention inwards, watching your mind. As thoughts and feelings come up, detach yourself from them and passively observe them. Do not get carried away in daydreams, just maintain a sense of detached observation and observe your mental activity as if it were something separate from you.

When I sit in meditation and a thought arises I have the impression to be only able to do one of two things. I can either shut the thought down which gives me a moment of complete silence followed by another thought. Or I can give in to the thought and kind of follow it along.
So my problem here is that I can´t manage to "detach" myself from the thought. Is this something that naturally comes with time or am I doing something wrong here?


Just watch your thoughts, or your Thought Train as Bardon calls it. Try to watch it and not day dream at the same time, and you'll get the hang of it. The point of that particular step is the same as Bardon's Thought Observation - when you watch the mind for an extended time, it naturally quiets down. You also become more Aware of your own mind, which allows you to dig deeper and calm the parts of your mind that you normally don't hear.

When you get to the 5th part of that exercise, you can shut down the thoughts entirely and bask in the mental silence, but spend several minutes on each part so that you actually meditate and explore your mind. It's easy to just shut down the Awareness of your thoughts, ignoring them. You don't want to do that. You want to learn how to pay attention to your own inner storm (the 3rd part that you quoted), learn how to focus the storm (part 4), and learn how to actually relax the mind and calm the storm or activity into true mental silence (part 5). You may get the hang of it after a week or it may take months, but it's worth the effort. :)



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Re: Fundamental Development

Postby ulvfdfgtmk » Fri Feb 13, 2015 1:43 pm

Allright, thank you for the clarification.
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Re: Fundamental Development

Postby Haelos » Sun Mar 22, 2015 5:48 am

Crap, I saw two typos but I forgot where they were. Really minor things though.
I really enjoy how clearly you've put these steps, and I would absolutely love a Pdf copy, if you were inclined to make one. (I don't have the current know how to do so.) As long as your name is under the title, I'll refer a copy to everyone I know whom I help set on the Path.

These are similar steps to those of which I followed (with very little guidance), but put in a good and proper order of development. You're a fantastic writer, and I would love to read some more of your personalized guides. This is an absolutely essential thread for anyone taking up the great work, and more people should know about it.
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Re: Fundamental Development

Postby Rin » Sun Mar 22, 2015 7:22 am

Haelos wrote:Crap, I saw two typos but I forgot where they were. Really minor things though.
I really enjoy how clearly you've put these steps, and I would absolutely love a Pdf copy, if you were inclined to make one. (I don't have the current know how to do so.) As long as your name is under the title, I'll refer a copy to everyone I know whom I help set on the Path.

These are similar steps to those of which I followed (with very little guidance), but put in a good and proper order of development. You're a fantastic writer, and I would love to read some more of your personalized guides. This is an absolutely essential thread for anyone taking up the great work, and more people should know about it.


https://online2pdf.com/
https://www.freepdfconvert.com/

Should do the trick. With http://calibre-ebook.com/ you can convert it to assorted other formats for e-readers.
"The path of the Sage is called
'The Path of Illumination'
he who gives himself to this path
is like a block of wood
that gives itself to the chisel-
cut by cut it is honed to perfection"

- DDJ, Verse 27

"It's still magic even if you know how it's done." - Terry Pratchett
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Re: Fundamental Development

Postby Haelos » Sun Mar 22, 2015 7:29 am

Rin wrote:
Haelos wrote:Crap, I saw two typos but I forgot where they were. Really minor things though.
I really enjoy how clearly you've put these steps, and I would absolutely love a Pdf copy, if you were inclined to make one. (I don't have the current know how to do so.) As long as your name is under the title, I'll refer a copy to everyone I know whom I help set on the Path.

These are similar steps to those of which I followed (with very little guidance), but put in a good and proper order of development. You're a fantastic writer, and I would love to read some more of your personalized guides. This is an absolutely essential thread for anyone taking up the great work, and more people should know about it.


https://online2pdf.com/
https://www.freepdfconvert.com/

Should do the trick. With http://calibre-ebook.com/ you can convert it to assorted other formats for e-readers.


Thanks a lot. Lmao. I thought it required some type of extended learning to do. Thank the wonders for the Internet. You can find an online converter for just about anything without needing to download or write a program yourself.
I actually use Calibre to organize my books, and to convert them all to epub whenever I want to put one on my nook, but it scrambles it right the hell up. Anything with pictures is too jumbled, with the pictures ending up several pages of text before or after where they're supposed to be. You thought Liber 777 was hard to read in it's physical copy? Try converting a pdf copy to epub, lmao.
I need to find a way to actually *create* epubs, but that's a project for another day.
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Re: Fundamental Development

Postby Shinichi » Sun Mar 22, 2015 2:55 pm

Ahh. Whoops. I thought I already uploaded the pdf, but I guess I forgot.

The one I made is on this post as an attachment, since it wont let me edit the first post now. I think everything is in order on this one, most recently edited and all that, but if you notice any mistakes let me know.

Also keep in mind that this is the first version of this, just the exercises alone. When I find time to finish it, I'm working on a more complete treatise thingy with an Introduction chapter and a Continued Development chapter at the end, which will explain how to progressively move through the exercises in order to complete the training program and also an explanation of what Analytical Overlay is and how to avoid it. I think I'll also included an Annotated Bibliography, to show curious people where I learned most of this stuff. It looks like it will take me a little while to get all that done, but yeah. The exercises won't be any different, unless I tweak them a little to better explain something here and there. It'll just be bigger. Eventually.

In the mean time, here's my pdf of it. Name and an email address included on the title page, in case it gets passed around and somebody has a question.



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Re: Fundamental Development

Postby cyberdemon » Mon Mar 23, 2015 6:01 pm

Thread pinned!
edit: Thread also copied into the Resources Archive.
on hiatus. contact via elsewhere.
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Re: Fundamental Development

Postby Shinichi » Mon Mar 23, 2015 8:33 pm

Um, wow. Thank you. [gz]



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Re: Fundamental Development

Postby Haelos » Mon Apr 27, 2015 9:24 am

I'm sorry, I need to post on here again exclaiming that I really freaking love this post. It saves me so much time in trying to explain things to people, and it's written like a professional quality book.
This is a perfect companion to go along with IIH, and at this point, they can only be recommended together.
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Re: Fundamental Development

Postby akimbomoss » Sun May 03, 2015 1:33 am

Is there any reason why an author can't change their first post? I just makes sence...

But yeah I meant to post here before. Really great book. I especially am waiting for the part about analytical overlay I think I suffer from that.
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Re: Fundamental Development

Postby Shinichi » Sun May 03, 2015 2:51 pm

akimbomoss wrote:I especially am waiting for the part about analytical overlay I think I suffer from that.


While you're waiting, I can suggest a few things.

For starters, be careful with imagination practices. Imagination is a very useful tool that allows you to mentally shape metaphysical forces the way that you want. It is a mental faculty, and although the mind is powerful, you can very easily imagine something that has no real metaphysical force behind it. Doing this consistently, yet believing that you are controlling a metaphysical force, is a big part of what leads to delusion in metaphysical practice. This is one of the biggest dangers for a neophyte, especially one that lacks a personal teacher.

Second, when you do certain metaphysical training, look for verifiable signs that what you are doing is working. If you are developing The Sight, then you can get a deck of cards and try to read the top card. You'll either correctly retrieve the information about the card metaphysically, or you won't. You can easily check by drawing the card and looking at it. If you are learning how to Journey, once you are out of your body, walk around your room and neighborhood and look for things that you can go back and verify once you return to your body. If you're working with energy cultivation and accumulation, look for the physical signs associated with that. If you cast a spell to keep your annoying little sibling out of your room, take note of what happens.

Everything we do metaphysically can be checked physically, one way or another, to verify that we either succeeded or failed. Learning how to verify is the single most important way to avoid analytical overlay, because you can simply check whether you were right or wrong. Once you have done a lot of verifiable training and you are confident in the accuracy of your skills, you can then be more confident in working with higher activities, like Journeying to the Otherworld and communicating with spirits, or other activities that are not quite as easy to verify.



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Re: Fundamental Development

Postby asterik » Tue May 05, 2015 7:51 pm

Thank you for sharing Shin, very nice, enjoyable and intellectual [happy]
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Re: Fundamental Development

Postby Maya The Generator » Thu May 28, 2015 9:39 am

I started to use your hints and perspective. Thank you Shin. Very good piece of work. Good Flow and Hard work. I approve. [thumbup]

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Re: Fundamental Development

Postby ulvfdfgtmk » Fri Jul 24, 2015 3:45 pm

Since this thread addresses posture I figured this might be a good place to ask.
I´ve been trying half-lotus position lately and have never (not even nearly) been able to place both knees on the ground. However I´ve read that this should be the case. After endless searching I finally found a post on the internet which states that it´s impossible to get both knees to the floor without a meditation cushion/bench. So my first, minor question would be: is this true?
My second, more important, question would be: is a meditation cushion necessary/helpful/useless or just personal preference?
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Re: Fundamental Development

Postby Shinichi » Fri Jul 24, 2015 7:01 pm

You get your knees to the floor by developing the flexibility in your hips. When you get into lotus, or half lotus, it's your hips that need to twist, not your knees or ankles (twisting them will damage them). If you watch this video and others like it, you can see how to stretch to get into it. If you skip to the end of this one, you can see her sit in full lotus with her knees on the floor. It takes time to develop your body like she has, though, so don't let it overwhelm you. Just stretch for a few minutes every day, and in a few months it will be easy.

Pillows are a nice convenience, but they are essentially a modern luxury. Use them if it helps with internal development, but I would caution against becoming dependent on them because you won't always have one available.



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Re: Fundamental Development

Postby the_spiral » Fri Jul 24, 2015 11:27 pm

Hey, I just wanted to give you a belated thanks for writing this. I'm at a point where I want to get back to the basics for awhile, so I'm focusing on strengthening my daily asana and meditation practice and I think this article will really help keep me on track [smile]
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Re: Fundamental Development

Postby Shinichi » Sun Jul 26, 2015 12:02 am

A recent realization led me to understand that if you think of progress in terms of Attainments, it's easier to actually progress - not because the actual work becomes easier, but because you have an actual goal which has specific markers that let you know when you have achieved that Attainment and can move on to the next stage. Yoga especially as Crowley wrote about it is like this, where you start with Asana. When you have that down and you can sit still, you start Pranayama. When the Prana is purified, the mind is calm, and the Attainment of Pratyahara lets you relax the mind to very deep states of meditation, then you're able to move on to things like Dharana, Dyhana, and Samadhi, working through each one at a time until you get to the even higher practices like Samyama.

This Fundamental Development article is like that. Each practice is a means of achieving an Attainment, which allows you to more easily perform the next exercise and work on the next Attainment.

For Posture Control, you want to pursue the same Attainment as traditional Asana. You want to be able to sit comfortably in your chosen posture for as long as you want, without your body distracting you with itching or cramps or a general boredom and desire to move. By relaxing the body completely, we achieve this Attainment here, and doing this first means that every other practice we ever do in this Chosen Posture will not be distracted by random physiological impulses.

Mental Discipline is designed to pursue the Attainment of Mental Silence. This does not mean that you have to completely silence the mind, for that is a much higher attainment. The total silencing of the mind, and the consequential direct experience of Consciousness, is something not done until much later. That is Samadhi. Rather, here, you want to just train the mind to relax all the mental chatter, both conscious and unconscious, so that you are more mentally calm and comfortable in daily life and so that you can more completely focus the mind on later training.

Awareness Development actually has two Attainments, the way this particular article is written. First, you have to develop the Awareness of Awareness. Sadly, most people simply don't know how to be properly Aware of themselves and their surroundings, and our modern society only encourages this disability. Therefore, one of the most important things for an absolute beginner to develop is the ability to be Aware, to not only pay attention to things but learn how to move that attention around consciously. This is what the Physical Awareness and External Awareness exercises are for. The second Attainment here is just as important, as it is the Attainment of Internal Awareness. This is the practice of True Introspection, being able to look inside yourself, be Aware of yourself, and figure out yourself. This is an important step to genuine major spiritual development. Before you can change and evolve, you need to understand yourself. How can you become who you want to be if you don't even understand who you are?

The next Attainment, and one of the most important, is Psychic Fortitude. This is your personal psychological stability. Your "presence of mind," in a sense, but more than that. It means that when the fit hits the shan, you're not going to freak out; you're going to be able to stay calm, make rational decisions, and act consciously instead of falling into an unconscious emotional reaction. This is incredibly important for a magician especially, because in higher training you will not only experience surges of energy and altered states of consciousness that are, to put it mildly, addictive, you will also eventually come face to face with spirits and other complex situations where you will have to keep your cool and doing so will not be easy. You need to stay grounded so that you don't lose yourself in deep states of meditation, and you need to be able to remain calm and polite when interacting with powerful spirits, or even just mortal occultists and saints with so much Power you get chills just standing next to them. To stand strong in those situations, a strong psychological stability, a strong personal Fortitude, is absolutely necessary. And the sooner you start to develop it, and the more completely you work to develop it, the better off you'll be in the long run.

In this particular work, each Attainment is built on the foundation of all the Attainments before it. To work on Psychic Fortitude, it's best to have a strong Internal Awareness, so that you can look inside yourself, understand your weaknesses, and balance them out. To develop Internal Awareness is easy if you have an Awareness of Awareness to begin with, and understand how to direct your Awareness consciously. To develop your Awareness is much easier if you've achieved Mental Silence, because without all your internal chatter, you can feel out your own mind and start figuring out what Awareness really is. And because developing Mental Silence takes a fair bit of Meditation, that practice itself is much easier if you've achieved Posture Control, and you can sit comfortably for as long as you want.

It all builds up, each Attainment leading up to the next, until by the end of this particular system of training you end up with a very strong foundation, a fundamental development, which can then be applied to almost any other work you are interested in.

Every system works kinda like this, especially Yoga and Qi Gong. It's important to know what it is you're working for, at least a general understanding, because that both gives you a clear goal to achieve and helps you better understand what's going on when you actually get there. Whether you use my collection of practices or someone else's, do some research and spend some time trying to understand the Attainments a practice is meant to develop. When you do this, it gives your training a much clearer perspective, and will hopefully make it a little easier to work through your training. :)



~:Shin:~
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Re: Fundamental Development

Postby magari » Sun Jul 26, 2015 6:05 am

Its a lot easier to get somewhere when you know where you're going.

This luxury doesn't last forever though.
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