There are countless ways to arrive at openness. My favorite entry point is directly through the body. Keeping the five sense doors open, free from grasping, neither moving towards sense objects nor away. Abiding Sensing Openness. The mind, all thoughts, rest open, undisturbed. Thoughts arise like rain from the sky. Let them drop through space, Grounding in the Body. Fresh Present Wakefullness greets the display of reality, through taste, touch, vision, interoception, smell, hearing, the brilliance of lucid mind, and the warm embrace of an awake heart. Or through the dull thought dragging mind, distracted by the constantly changing complexity. Whatever arises is met with primordial acceptance. Now this response is actually neither acceptance nor rejection, but is response of the oneness of experience. Openness has the capacity to meet the display of reality with attunement to the needs of the moment, perhaps what is needed is to shout to warn someone, or to smile warmly, the response is spontaneous and if it arises out of openness is uninhibited and not habituated.
The Central channel, called Shushumna Nadi in the yoga and buddhist tradition, is a way of making conscious the movement of subtle energy up and down the spine and throughout the body. Gathering and channeling the stray energy in this way has numerous benefits, perhaps the most important is the way it settles the mind, preparing for deep meditation. In my practice I use the central channel as a way of coming to know the energetic core of the body. Sustained attention to the movement of Prana or Life Force that crests as waves in the energetic spine can eventually bring about periods of blissful illumination. In this state we can know the body as light, sensing the body of light somatically. The central channel is an entrance to states of complete embodied openness.
Breathing as a column of light becomes a great support for liberating insight into the nature of the self.
Consciousness is in Union with all that is manifest. Thou art that. There is nothing thou art not. Anything that arises in awareness is inherently not separate from you at this fundamental level. Patterns still manifest through the field of oneness, there may be distinction of the multitude of phenomena, a knowledge of detailed characteristics or qualities, but there are no actual separate “things”, this is proven in the many schools of Non-dual philosophy, and through direct experience of profound meditation.
In the beginning stages of meditation, we are primarily learning to focus the mind. We are developing the capacity to place ones attention one pointedly, without distraction, onto whatever object or task we choose. This often takes quite a long time to develop this capacity. Then as the mind grows stronger, we experience and learn from the spaces between thoughts, where there is just awareness arising. As this practice grows more refined, this spaciousness illuminates layers of subtle clinging to dualistic perception. At this point peak experiences of non dual perception start to set the stage for relating as/to the true nature of our being.
Each night we are all dipped into the experience of formlessness when we fall into deep sleep. In between dream states there are phases of deep sleep where nothing is arising. Neuroscience has mapped this territory in terms of brain states, with theta brain wave patterning being dominant in dreaming, and delta being dominant in deep sleep. In deep sleep there are no forms arising, just a void like deep empty space. We are usually not aware when we are in this state, as our consciousness is so habituated to understanding itself in relationship to forms, to one’s body, thoughts, feelings, and senses. However one can have a direct experience of clear lucid awareness during this deep sleep process, and this is a good way to understanding experientially the formless dimension of our experience. Brain researchers have followed the brains of meditators into these same brain wave patterns, previously thought only accessible through deep sleep. In these states sleep and meditation research shows there is important and profound healing that happens in the body. Through meditation we can come to know formlessness in our waking state, as the background radiation through which this whole display is arising. This is an extremely nuanced form of perception that is very difficult at first, precisely because it defies all of our ordinary dualistic habits of perception.
“The teachings of the world’s greatest yogis, saints, and sages, and their contemplative endeavors, were (and are) transitional through and through. That is, although all of the contemplative traditions aim at going within and beyond reason, they all start with reason, start with the notion that truth is to be established by evidence
, that truth is the result of experimental
methods, that truth is to be tested
in the laboratory of personal experience
, that these truths are open to all those who wish to try the experiment
and thus disclose for themselves
the truth or falsity of the spiritual claims- and that dogmas or given beliefs are precisely what hinder the emergence of deeper truths and wider visions.
Thus, each of these spiritual or transpersonal endeavors (which we will carefully examine) claims that there exist higher domains of awareness, embrace, love, identity, reality, self, and truth. But these claims are not dogmatic; they are not believed in merely because an authority has proclaimed them, or because sociocentric tradition hands them down, or because salvation depends upon being a “true believer.” Rather, the claims about these higher domains are a conclusion based on hundreds of years of experimental introspection and communal verification. False claims are rejected on the basis of consensual evidence, and further evidence is used to adjust and fine-tune the experimental conclusions.
These spiritual endeavors, in other words, are scientific in any meaningful sense of the word, and the systematic presentations of these endeavors follow precisely those of any reconstructive science.” Ken Wilber; Sex, Ecology, Spirituality, 273.
One of the best things one can do while receiving Rolfing Structural Integration is to practice bringing the mind again and again into the body. The visualization I often give people, is to imagine breathing light in through all the pores of your body. Create the feeling of all the cells, molecules, and atoms of your body becoming self-aware, the sensation of light knowing itself in all its manifestations. The cells are bathing and breathing in water and light. The molecules are bonded by electro magnetic energy. The atoms are bursting in and out of existence with nuclear power. Nurturing this type of sensitivity to one’s body is one of the most potent skills one can possess for structural integration as well as psychological well being. Studies on the neuroscience of mindfulness show this type of practice even produces structural changes in the brain towards greater health, memory, concentration and even happiness.
Rolfing sessions are a unique opportunity to take a good amount of time and let your body mind settle. Let go of compulsive thinking habits, let this be a time to really be present with all the physical sensations that arise in the field of your awareness. Simply being with sensation, with sound, with sight, with emotion and attitude in a nondistracted and relaxed way has countless benefits, including those of healing the brain, nervous system, endocrine system, emotional intelligence and larger integration of the many different aspects of one’s life. These findings have been substantiated by numerous scientific research papers, some of which are cited in my Embodied Mindfulness paper which you receive as part of the ten series.