Thursday, December 5, 2013

Kriya-yoga: The Science of Life-force

Swami Nityananda Giri has written an excellent book on the Kriya Yoga of Lahiri Mahasaya called "Kriya Yoga The Science of Life Force". This book contains very comprehensive information on the background theory of Kriya Yoga prior to delving into the practices themselves. It includes many scriptural references and a deep view of the preparation required for Kriya Yoga. Here is an excerpt from the start of the book.

The breath-based meditation "Kriya-yoga" is a familiar name after its reintroduction by Mahavatara Babaji to Lahidi Mahasaya and subsequent work of Paramahamsa Yogananda in the western world. Though many literatures are available but the lack of clear exposition on the philosophy and practices of this ancient spiritual science is still felt. The book, Kriya-yoga: The Science of Life-force tries to fulfill this want. This work vividly explains "the Knowledge of Life-force" known as Pranavidya, which forms the basis of Kriya-yoga citing from Vedas, Upanishads, Srimad Bhagavadgita, Yogasutras of Patanjali and many other ancient scriptures, and analyzes how the breath technique quiets the mind, brings equanimity and results in development of discriminating intelligence that answers the questions and purpose of human life. This also gives an understanding on our inner reading, the principles and practices form auspicious resolves, noble faith, self-effort and austerities from righteousness, yama, and observances, niyama, up to the transcendental state, samadhi, those form the appendages of this treatise, and describes how the breath-based practices and meditations described herein are necessary for a seeker to remain healthy and attain the Knowledge. The body principle, sarira tattva, is also anatomized using both biological and spiritual sciences to accelerate spiritual practice and to facilitate the understanding on life and death, gross to causal bodies, five sheaths, five vital breaths, three knots, seven energy centers and their working. The most important aspect for readers and seekers is that for the first time they will find the secret techniques of Kriya-yoga, viz., Nabhi Kriya, Khecari mudra, Guru Pranama, Hamsa, prana viksana, Mahamudra, Isvarapranidhana Kriya, Thokar Kriya, Jyoti mudra, Sambhavi mudra, and different techniques of meditation, e.g., Aum, twelve-lettered Vasudeva mantra, inner-matrka and outer-matrka meditations, etc. are revealed, and explained in details citing their illustrations in Upanishads and ancient yogic scriptures and enumerating the rationale and scientific approach behind such practices and benefits involved.

As you can see, the techniques described in this book are somewhat different from the techniques described by Ennio Nimis and J.C. Stevens. Below is a list from the table of contents.

Preparing the Gross Body Energization Exercises, Kriya Hatha-yoga, Suryanamaskara, Sithilikarana Vyayama, Yogasanas, Yoganidra
Nabhi Kriya
Khecari Mudra No Need to Cut the Frenum, Talavya Kriya
Guru Pranama
Hamsah Sadhana
Vyana Viksana
Om Technique, Om Kausalah

Kriya Proper I The Kriya Technique, Kriya Meditation, Subtle Manifestations of Light, Sound and Vibration, Kriya-breath and Meditation Quickens Evolution, Arousing Prana/Kundalini by Kriya Practice, Paravastha, Experiencing a Breathless State
Jyoti Mudra
Sambhavi Mudra

Kriya Proper II, Thokar Kriya Meditation with Vasudeva mantra, Matrka Dhyana, Antarmatrka Dhyana, Bahirmatrka Dhyana, Jyoti Mudra in Second Kriya
Third Kriya Techniques
The Fourth Kriya

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Kriya Secrets Revealed

J.C. Stevens has written an excellent book on the Kriya Yoga of Lahiri Mahasaya called "Kriya Secrets Revealed: Complete Lessons and Techniques". It is similar to the free book by Ennio Nimis except that it presents the practices in an easy to follow lesson format. I share many of JC's views regarding spiritual development. Here is a quote regarding the importance of inner guidance.

For me, breaking the secrecy and leaving organizational attitudes behind was the key to my new found spiritual successes. I have often said that it was at this point in my journey that I started to grow up (spiritually). I was more willing to experiment with practicing different meditation techniques, and more able to discover which methods brought out the most satisfactory results for me as a unique individual. I also let my intuition guide me and tailor my practice of Kriya Yoga. It is in these moments that I feel the invisible hand of my Inner Guide. I trust that by breaking free from organization-imposed limitations, and by listening more to your intuition, you too will experience heretofore unimaginable spiritual progress.

Below are the lessons given in the book.

LESSON 1 - Find Your Meditation Seat
LESSON 2 - Nadi Sodhana Pranayama
LESSON 3 - Ujjayi Pranayama
LESSON 4 - Concentration
LESSON 5 - Talabya Kriya
LESSON 6 - Locate the Chakras
LESSON 7 - Om Japa in the Chakras

First Kriya Initiation

LESSON 8 - Kriya Pranayama I
LESSON 9 - Maha Mudra
LESSON 10 - Navi Kriya
LESSON 11 - Yoni Mudra
LESSON 12 - Mantra (Japa Yoga)
LESSON 13 - Mental Kriya
LESSON 14 - Kechari Mudra
LESSON 15 - Kriya Pranayama II
LESSON 16 - Short Breath Kriya Pranayama
LESSON 17 - Shambhavi Mudra
LESSON 18 - Kriya Pranayama III

Additional Practices

LESSON 19 - Mula Bandha
LESSON 20 - Jalandhara Bandha
LESSON 21 - Uddiyana Bandha
LESSON 22 - Bhastrika Pranayama
LESSON 23 - Sushumna Sodhana
LESSON 24 - Basic Walking Techniques

The Higher Kriyas (Omkar Kriyas)

LESSON 25 - First Omkar Kriya
LESSON 26 - Thokar Kriya
LESSON 27 - Continuous-Thokar Kriya
LESSON 28 - Gayatri Kriya
LESSON 29 - Tribhanga-Silent Kriya
LESSON 30 - Tribhanga-Mantric Kriya
LESSON 31 - Tribhanga-Thokar Kriya
LESSON 32 - Micro-Tribhanga Silent Kriya
LESSON 33 - Micro-Tribhanga Mantric Kriya

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Soul Integration

I just finished reading Sal's new book Soul Integration. It is an interesting book primarily focussed on enlightenment and channelling. There is also a small update on the results of December 21, 2012. Basically, that day was a spiritual event where none of the more visible prophecies occurred. The Earth transitioned from 3D to 4D and people have been feeling the effects of that all year. The next shift is coming on May 5, 2017 which will help advance the Earth to a 4.5D vibration which will then produce more visible results. Here is a quote.

The average vibration of humanity is about 3.55. The vibration of the Earth, at the time of this writing, was about 4.05. As the Earth is ascending, there is the possibility that some human souls will be “left behind,” making it harder for them to remain on the Earth. Once the Earth reaches 4.50 in vibration (the mid-range of fourth density), souls that are still vibrating around 3.50 will not have enough compatibility with the Earth to remain here.

It is anticipated by this channel and his spirit guides that a large number of human souls will exit the Earth over the next 20 to 30 years, due to the diverging vibrational levels between humans and the Earth herself. A significant percentage of humanity is accelerating in evolution and will keep pace with the Earth as she ascends. It is this group of souls that will bring in the new Golden Age.

Less than 1/10th of one percent of humanity has a vibration in the sixth or higher densities. Although the consciousness can reach as high as 12.00, the human body can only vibrate up to 4.99 before it undergoes a radical shift in composition, becoming the fifth density crystal light body.

Due to the low density of the Earth, it has been difficult for souls to bring their physical bodies with them while going up the density scale. You have yogis, gurus, sages and avatars vibrating well above 6.00 in consciousness, while their bodies might be maintained at about 4.99 in vibration. In addition to the difficulty in raising the body above this point, another reason they maintain this level is because they need a human body in order to communicate with their students.

As the Earth continues to ascend, it will become much easier to maintain a physical body that has a vibration above 5.00. As stated in this channel’s earlier works, several million souls will be entering into physical ascension in the years to come.

At the present time on Earth, there are about 300 souls whose physical bodies are vibrating above 5.00. They have attained a state of immortality while being in a body, and their bodies are impervious to most, if not all, environmental factors.

The main part of the book is devoted to soul integration, which is essentially spiritual development in more technical terms. Plenty of lifestyle recommendations and meditation practices are given to assist you in raising your vibration to above 5D as required for achieving physical ascension.

What really stands out though are the clear and simple descriptions of advanced spiritual concepts. Here is an excerpt on enlightenment.

How does becoming One with God work when a soul is engaged in worldly activities? One of the characteristics of someone who is in a God-conscious state is that he or she “sees God in everyone and everything.” There is no longer any “make-wrong” or judgment. The God-conscious soul takes delight in every person, place or thing, and sees the inherent beauty in everything. The ego, with its bodily needs and preservation instincts, etc., is quiet. The focus is on what is actually taking place around (and within) the soul. There is no interpretation or evaluation involved.

A God-conscious soul may be an outer teacher, or may stay in a very private realm, depending on what he or she is guided to do, but every person the soul meets becomes part of a Divine encounter, a sacred meeting, an opportunity for merging and Oneness. There will be a natural and easy form of communication present, if need be, that does not depend on identification with the ego. This is because everything is coming from the perception of union. There is no separation. Out of this state, a natural loving compassion is born.

Souls in this Divine state of grace will naturally be giving and considerate of others, without trying too hard to be spiritual. There is nothing to prove, and nothing to achieve, but to simply act spontaneously in ways that increase the Divine grace of Being.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Placebo Effect

Everyone has heard of the placebo effect, but as a reminder, here is the definition from Wikipedia.

A placebo is a simulated or otherwise medically ineffectual treatment for a disease or other medical condition intended to deceive the recipient. Sometimes patients given a placebo treatment will have a perceived or actual improvement in a medical condition, a phenomenon commonly called the placebo effect.

Up until recently, it was assumed that deception was required for the placebo effect to work, but new research is showing that not to be true. Here is an excerpt from an article at The Verge.

In 2010, researchers from Harvard Medical School and other institutions did a study on patients diagnosed with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). One group received no treatment, while the other patients were told they’d be taking inactive drugs and told that placebos can have healing effects. To drive the point home, the fake drugs were placed in bottles labeled "placebo pills."

The patients who knew they were taking placebo pills reported twice as much relief as the control group. The placebo had healing effects comparable to some of the best real IBS drugs. "Our results challenge ‘the conventional wisdom’ that placebo effects require ‘intentional ignorance,’" the researchers wrote.

If placebos could be effectively prescribed without the need to lie to patients, it would be revolutionary. Placebos are cheaper and safer than many treatments. Studies have shown placebos to be 75 percent as effective as antidepressants. Fake surgeries have been shown to be just as effective as real surgeries in treating Parkinson’s. Today placebos are used to test treatments, but in the future they could be the treatment.

Daniel Jacobs believes he knows how the placebo effect works and has founded the startup company "Plecebo Effect" to bring that knowledge to the world in the form of a phone app. The video above is a demo of the app, and I know I certainly felt better after viewing it, for the placebo effect is in fact a spiritual effect resulting from simply turning the mind inward on a daily basis. However, given the widespread scientific validation of the placebo effect, perhaps this app has the potential to get a large number of people starting a daily spiritual practice.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The Physics of 9/11

I would like to commemorate the twelfth anniversary of 9/11 with a simple physics lesson using the collapse of the south tower (WTC 2) for our example. The equations for a falling body are below.

distance = (1/2) * gravity * time(squared)
velocity = gravity * time
gravity = 9.81 metres per second squared

If we were in a vacuum at a height of 415 m and dropped a bullet it would hit the ground in 9.2 seconds by the first equation, and reach a speed of 90.24 m/s or 324.8 km/h by the second equation. Now let's say we are standing on the roof of the south tower at a height of 415 m, there is no wind, and we drop our bullet over the edge. Will it still hit the ground in 9.2 sec? No, because we have now introduced air resistance into our problem which means our bullet will experience drag and eventually reach a terminal velocity. However, the terminal velocity for a bullet is around 320 km/h which is close to our vacuum speed of 324.8 km/h at impact so we can perhaps estimate an additional 0.5 seconds would be required for our bullet to hit the ground or 9.7 seconds.

In chapter 9 of the official 9/11 commission report it states:

At 9:58:59, the South Tower collapsed in ten seconds, killing all civilians and emergency personnel inside, as well a number of individuals-both first responders and civilians-in the concourse, in the Marriott, and on neighboring streets. The building collapsed into itself, causing a ferocious windstorm and creating a massive debris cloud. The Marriott hotel suffered significant damage as a result of the collapse of the South Tower.

According to this report, the south tower collapsed in ten seconds and from our previous calculations, that is essentially the same amount of time as it took our bullet to reach the ground when dropped from the roof of the south tower. So how is it possible that the roof of the south tower could reach the ground in the same amount of time as our bullet when there were 110 floors of building below it and not just air?

There is a well understood technique known as a "controlled demolition" or "building implosion" that would make this possible.

...the technique weakens or removes critical supports so that the building can no longer withstand the force of gravity and falls under its own weight.

Numerous small explosives, strategically placed within the structure, are used to catalyze the collapse. Nitroglycerin, dynamite, or other explosives are used to shatter reinforced concrete supports. Linear shaped charges are used to sever steel supports. These explosives are progressively detonated on supports throughout the structure.

So a possible theory for the collapse of the south tower is that explosives allowed the roof to collapse, but before the roof hit the top floor, explosives caused that floor to collapse, then before that floor hit the next, explosives caused it to collapse. This would need to continue in rapid succession such that every floor is falling through air and experiences nothing more than air resistance all the way down.

Of course, the official explanation for the collapse doesn't involve explosives and has been summarized at Wikipedia as follows:

Once the collapse initiated, the mass of failing floors overwhelmed the floors below, causing a progressive series of floor failures which accelerated as the sequence progressed.

According to this explanation, each floor did provide resistance to the collapse. So it should be obvious that something doesn't add up. How could 110 floors of steel and concrete resistance produce the same result as only air resistance? The answer is it can't.

The video below has been produced by Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth. It provides all of the evidence that supports the theory that the WTC towers were brought down by explosives in a controlled demolition. At the 1:16:00 point is a clip of the 10 sec collapse of the south tower that I explained here.

If this is your first time at my blog and are interested to know who I feel is actually responsible for 9/11, then I highly recommend you view the movie Thrive.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Ayurvedic Diet

In a previous post, I described a diet for ascension which spoke in very general terms about gradually evolving your diet from omnivore to vegetarian to vegan. To assist with making these transitions, Ayurveda can be a big help.

Pretty much all diets give little consideration to the individual, and assume that if one person benefits from the diet then all will. Ayurveda on the other hand acknowledges that each person is unique, therefore the optimal diet for each person will also be unique.

Ayurveda starts by defining three broad categories of people from a psychobiological point of view. These categories are called doshas and are named vata, pitta, and kapha. Each person is some combination of these three doshas. The following description of each dosha is taken from "The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Home Remedies".


Dry skin, hair, lips, tongue; dry colon, tending towards constipation; hoarse voice. Light muscles, bones, thin body frame, light scanty sleep, underweight. Cold hands, feet, poor circulation; hates cold and loves hot; stiffness of muscles. Rough, cracked skin, nails, hair, teeth, hands and feet; cracking joints. Subtle fear, anxiety, insecurity; fine goose pimples; minute muscle twitching, fine tremors; delicate body. Fast walking, talking, doing many things at a time; restless eyes, eyebrows, hands, feet; unstable joints; many dreams; loves traveling but does not stay at one place; swinging moods and shaky faith. Clairvoyant; understands and forgets immediately; clear, open mind, experiences void and loneliness. Dry choking sensation in the throat; gets hiccoughs, burping; loves oily, mushy soups; craving for sweet, sour, and salty tastes.


Good digestive fire; strong appetite; body temperature tends to be higher than normal; hates heat; gray hair with receding hairline or baldness; soft brown hair. Sharp teeth, distinct eyes, pointed nose, tapering chin, heart-shaped face; good absorption and digestion; sharp memory and understanding; irritable. Light/medium body frame; does not tolerate bright light; fair shiny skin, bright eyes. Soft oily skin, hair, feces; does not like deep-fried food (which may cause headache). Loose liquid stools; soft delicate muscles; excess urine, sweat and thirst. Pitta spreads as rash, acne, inflammation all over the body or on affected areas; pitta subjects want to spread their name and fame all over the country. Sour acid stomach, acidic pH; sensitive teeth; excess salivation. Bitter taste in the mouth, nausea, vomiting; repulsion toward bitter taste; cynical. Heartburn, burning sensations in general; strong feelings of anger and hate. Fetid smell under armpits, mouth, soles of feet; socks smell. Red flushed skin, eyes, cheeks and nose; red color aggravates pitta. Yellow eyes, skin, urine and feces; may lead to jaundice, overproduction of bile; yellow color increases pitta.


Heavy bones, muscles, large body frame; tends to be overweight; grounded; deep heavy voice. Slow walk, talk; slow digestion, metabolism; sluggish gestures. Cold clammy skin; steady appetite and thirst with slow metabolism and digestion; repeated cold, congestion and cough; desire for sweets. Oily skin, hair and feces; lubricated, unctuous joints and other organs. Congestion in the chest, sinuses, throat and head. Smooth skin; gentle calm nature; smoothness of organs. Dense pad of fat; thick skin, hair, nail and feces; plump rounded organs. Soft pleasing look; love, care, compassion and kindness. Loves sitting, sleeping and doing nothing. Viscous, sticky, cohesive quality causes compactness, firmness of joints and organs; loves to hug; is deeply attached in love and relationships. In early morning, mind is cloudy and foggy; often needs coffee as a stimulant to start the day. The anabolic action of sweet taste stimulates sperm formation, increasing quantity of semen; strong desire for sex and procreation; abnormal function may cause craving for sweets. Salty taste helps digestion and growth, gives energy; maintains osmotic condition; abnormal function may create craving for salt, water retention.

If one of those descriptions resonated with you, then that is likely your dominant dosha. Every food item has either a pacifying or aggravating effect on a given dosha, and by following a diet of mainly pacifying foods you can greatly reduce the negative qualities listed for your dosha while enhancing the positive ones.

The recommendations can be very subtle, for example: raw apples aggravate vata while cooked apples pacify, sour apples aggravate pitta while sweet apples pacify, and apples of any type and in any form pacify kapha. I used to eat a raw apple every day, but when I switched to cooked along with other "heating" recommendations it greatly reduced the vata problem of coldness I used to suffer from. I also used to eat raisins daily which aggravate vata dryness, another problem I had, but now I cook them with my oatmeal so they become soft and moist, and when combined with other "moisturizing" recommendations I eliminated all of my dryness problems.

The most important thing that Ayurveda taught me was to eat with awareness; to not only be aware of the sight, smell, touch and taste of the food while I was eating it, but to follow it through my digestive system. How does the food feel in my stomach? How does my mouth feel? Is the aftertaste good or bad? Did my tongue remain clean or become coated? How does the food feel as it passes through my intestines? Did it cause any burping or flatulence? How did it feel and what did it look like as it left my body? By following this practice you can quickly arrive at your optimal diet and be bursting with health and energy in no time.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Kriya, Kundalini and Tantra

This is the transcript of a talk given by Swami Satyananda in Austrailia and published in the February 1977 issue of Yoga Magazine.

We have been hearing about kriya yoga for many years. We have heard and also experienced that there are many yogic and tantric techniques which can be practised without having to fight very much with the mind in concentration and meditation.

When you try hard to concentrate your mind against its current, then there arises a conflict and a split within it. The mind which is wavering is the same mind which is trying to get itself unified. Therefore the mind has a double tendency, and this causes the split. Both tendencies of the mind are very strong. The sensual tendency of the mind which is given to fluctuations is just as strong as the other tendency of the mind that wants to achieve unification. Therefore a split is imminent.

It is in this context that tantra developed a system by which you didn't have to worry much about the fluctuating tendencies of the mind. You just went on with your tantric or yogic practices and found that, through certain techniques, the mind became quieter and exhausted all its potentialities. This set of methods is known as kriya yoga, the basis of which is tantra.

In the tantric system they feel, they believe, the mind is not something against which you should start a war. There are religions in the world- including my own religion, Hinduism- which teach you as the first thing to fight with the mind, to start a war. Tantra teaches just the opposite. It says, don't fight with the mind because the mind is power; the mind is full of potentialities and if at all you do start a war with your mind, ultimately this will lead you to regression in the process of spiritual evolution. Therefore the tantric philosophy and belief is to let the mind be, for what it is and where it is; do not interfere. Rather, follow the mind for some time. Get to know the whole mind.

You are presently trying to control the mind without knowing its mysteries, its potentialities, its idiosyncrasies. Do you know whom you are controlling? Have you any idea of the person? Have you any idea of the object? Have you any idea of the mind, which we are trying to control in yoga? You are only controlling your thought, and your thought is not the mind, though you understand it to be. In meditation, in any meditation taught by a guru, including myself, when you are trying to control your mind you are actually controlling your thought and not the mind. What you know about the mind is just nothing. What I know about the mind or what I can say about the mind is nothing. Just as when you see an iceberg, most is below the waterline and only a little is above. So we only talk about thoughts; we talk about emotions and passions, greed and sensations, but they are nothing so far as the homogeneity and the infinity of the mind are concerned. The mind is infinite. And yoga aspirants must behave very cautiously with this infinite mind. Therefore in tantra they advise you to please be friendly with your mind, follow your mind for some time - that is the advice.

In kriya yoga there are the practices of pranayama, mudra, bandha and so on. I am not going to deal with all of them at this moment, because I have written plenty of detailed material specifically on kriya yoga, and of course those of you who would like to dive deeply into the subject should not miss out on this material. Now, however, I'm only trying to draw your attention to a method which does not require you to go in for fisticuffs with the mind. In these practices you don't even have to close your eyes; you do not even have to maintain steadiness constantly in the lotus or the adept pose. There are about seventeen to twenty practices which you should follow in sequence. You don't need to worry about what your mind is doing or how it is behaving, but just go on practising. By the time you come to the end of the practices, you will find that the mind is comparatively relaxed and equipoised, that its fluctuations have been comparatively minimized, and you are now in a position to concentrate on the symbol. Whether it is kriya yoga or any other form of yoga, the important thing is the symbol. The inner vision has to become clear. And in order to purify the inner vision, in order to clear the obstructions from the inner vision, all these practices are prescribed.

So this kriya yoga has been one of the most important subjects of people's attention all over the world for centuries. Even in biblical times and before that, in the vedic period, kriya yoga was very popular. One of the practices I can cite here and now is mahamudra. I do not regard this as a secret practice which can only be given to those who are prepared for it. Everybody can do kriya yoga; everybody is qualified. After all, please tell me, what qualifications do you really need for kriya yoga? An imperfect mind, an imbalanced mind, a fluctuating mind, a depressed mind, a mind which is completely broken and torn into pieces is the qualification you need for kriya yoga. You don't need an emancipated mind, you don't need a calm, quiet and transcended mind, you need a mind which has to grow, which needs to grow.

So in the practice of mahamudra, you first sit in vajrasana. Then stretch one of the legs forward, keeping the knees together and place your hands on the knees. Do jalandhara bandha, concentrate three times on mooladhara chakra. Then draw the breath in with ujjayi through the frontal passage right up to bindu, and hold the breath there for three seconds.

Hold your toes, do shambhavi mudra, focusing your eyes on the eyebrow centre. Also do khechari mudra by folding your tongue up against the palate, and moola bandha, contraction of the anus. Rotate your awareness alternately through these three centres - shambhavi, khechari, mool; the eyebrow centre, the place where the tongue touches the palate, and the completely contracted anus - a maximum of twelve times. Then bring your hands back to the knees and draw the breath back down to mooladhara. This is mahamudra. Do it four times, and then see how your mind is.

The mind is an element, and it can be controlled through the nerve-reflexes by pranayama, kriya yoga, mudras and bandhas. Just sitting quietly doing japa of aum or soham, and then trying to push back the mind, is not a scientific method; it is the method of a person who has no guru.

Now we come to kundalini yoga, which is a very important subject because it is a part of tantra; it is also a part of kriya yoga. In kundalini yoga the important thing to remember is that by awakening some of the psychic centres in the body, you can transcend the levels of the mind. For example (I do not suggest that you try this) when someone takes hashish or LSD, no matter how vacillating their mind is, within a moment it becomes unified. In the same way, in the practices of kundalini yoga, you have certain centres in the spinal column which you should try to awaken, and if one of these centres wakes up, then the whole mood changes. The mind begins expanding or you might say disintegrating, and you no longer feel your pangs and difficulties. You see that you are at one with yourself.

Out of these, the first centre is mooladhara chakra at the bottom. In the masculine body it is located in between the urinary and excretory organs, above the perineum and below the coccyx. It is a small nerve, like a gland, which is physiologically something, but its potentialities are dormant. It is located differently in the feminine body, inside and behind the uterus. In order to awaken this mooladhara chakra, there are certain definite methods: mudras and bandhas such as vajroli mudra, maha mudra which I just taught you, and moola bandha. These are very important practices for the awakening of mooladhara.

When any psychic centre in the body wakes up, the whole consciousness of the mind changes. When you take spirits or wine, they do change the state of consciousness a bit in one way or another. Likewise, the awakening of mooladhara chakra may not be able to alter the state of your consciousness to the supreme degree, but it will definitely alter your consciousness to a point where you can start meditation easily, without having trouble with the mind.

From mooladhara upwards, you have many other psychic centres - please study them thoroughly. One of the most important is anahata chakra, which some people prefer to call the heart centre. Its location is near the sternum in the spinal cord. The awakening of anahata chakra does alter the normal state of consciousness. You feel different and you feel very different. What has been said about love, light and unity, you can actually feel at that moment. In this state of consciousness where we are now, love, unity and light don't really mean much to us. But when this normal state of consciousness is altered, and the higher, deeper or more expanded state of consciousness is achieved, then love, light and unity are a matter of experience, not only of understanding.

Another centre, called ajna chakra, is behind the top of the spinal column. Ajna chakra is our symbol for the International Yoga Fellowship Movement. When ajna chakra is awakened, then the psychic powers begin to flow. You are at one with the deeper realms of the universe. As you already know and so I need not prove it the universe is not only matter, it is also force. In this universe you have force-fields like electromagnetic fields and thermonuclear fields; these are the material fields, and you know many of them. The universe is not only that which you can see with the naked eye. In this universe there are subtle vibrations, but we are not able to plug ourselves into those subtle vibrations, those higher messages, or higher realities. With the awakening of ajna chakra the mind expands; the consciousness changes; the voltage is different; everything is innovated. At once you are plugged into the universe, you are connected with the great cosmos. At this moment we are disconnected from this cosmos. We are far, far away from the vision of the cosmos because we have no such mind, we haven't got that consciousness. So, with the awakening of ajna chakra by any method, the vision of the cosmos takes place, and this is just an example of how kundalini yoga can help you to attain transcendence over the mind.

Please note well how careful I have been in expressing my sentiments about the mind. I am one of the greatest friends of the mind. My mind is always my friend, and I have never fought with it. It has been turbulent at times, but I haven't minded, because after all, he is me and I am he. Talking for myself, and hoping that you too will think the same way, I must say that I have never been guilty or ashamed about the behaviour of my mind. My mind has been thinking hopeless things for years and years together, but still I know that I am he and he is me. How can I abuse my mind? How can I be scandalized by it? How can I criticize my mind- I thereby criticize myself.

I believe that we must transcend the mind rather than kill the mind. I sometimes even believe that we have to jump over the mind rather than transform it. In many of my books, I have spoken about the transformation of the mind, but now I feel that rather than use the word 'transform', a better expression would be to 'transcend' the mind. How can you transform the mind? Mind is mind. The nature of the mind is to jump, to think, to feel, to act, to react, the mind is always dynamic. When you soar high in an aeroplane, the big skyscrapers below look like matchboxes. You don't have to pull the skyscrapers down to make them small; you just go up to thirty-six thousand feet in your jumbo jet and see them as matchboxes, if you see them at all. That is transcendence. Likewise in spiritual life and in yoga, all of you have to find a method for yourself which doesn't require you to come to blows with your mind; a method by which you don't have to kill the mind, but by which you will be able to transcend the mind. Kundalini yoga teaches exactly the method of transcending the mind. And I can assure you that in all the tantric texts which I have read, I have never come across one sentence anywhere in which we are asked to control the mind.

The picture presented to us of kundalini yoga seems to be very frightening at times. Many people have vague ideas about it; they think that if kundalini wakes up, god only knows what will happen. You are so afraid of the effects of kundalini, but have you ever thought about what's going to happen to you when you drink too much? Man always talks about the negative effects of spiritual life because he wants to stick to the lower plane, so sometimes the picture seems very discouraging. There are many books which warn aspirants, saying that kundalini yoga is dangerous. They would never say that cortisone is dangerous, or that LSD is dangerous, that alcohol or smoking is dangerous. Everything else is all right, but kundalini yoga is dangerous.

This kundalini yoga is the only means by which you can really expand your consciousness, by which you can alter the states of your mind, by which you can control the hormones and the reflexes of the nervous system. The practices of kundalini yoga, the mudras and bandhas, have a direct bearing on the endocrinal functions, and nervous balance and imbalance. How do emotions arise? Where do they come from? Why do I feel? Once you are able to get the right nerve, you are going to transcend all of these problems. It can be done, but you must have the key. There is a particular centre which you have to tackle and regulate.

Attachment and detachment, nervous welfare, nervous imbalance, nervous breakdown, everything is subject to the state of human consciousness. The moment you change your consciousness, everything is gone. All of these things are experiences, they are not permanent realities. Love, sympathy, hatred, jealousy will remain with you no matter what you do, no matter how many doctors you go to, no matter how many psychiatrists you visit. They will be with you, unless you have transcended that state of consciousness. I am here and you are here, so I must see you; I can't help it. If I don't want to see you, the best thing for me to do is to leave this hall. Thus, in kundalini yoga and in kriya yoga we emphasize very much that this state of consciousness, personal consciousness, must be altered. And it can be altered to the ultimate degree when the consciousness becomes aware of itself. This is called nirvana, samadhi, self-realization, god-realization or kaivalya. There are various names but this is the highest state.

This consciousness can be altered temporarily. For instance if you are unhappy, open a bottle, drink a little bit nicely, and you will be all right for a while. But the next morning, again depression, the same thing. Momentarily influencing the material edge of consciousness does not help. Neither hashish, nor LSD nor any other drug can permanently change the structure of your consciousness. The subject matter of kriya yoga, kundalini yoga and tantra is to change your consciousness. This change of consciousness can be effected very slowly by prayer, by japa and other such practices, but that is a very gradual path. It is like going to India first by walking to Darwin, then taking a raft over to Indonesia and so on. The practice of kundalini yoga and kriya yoga is like taking a jumbo jet from Sydney to Calcutta and being there the next morning.

This is the path, and our generation today is ready. We have had enough of sensual food, haven't we? We have had enough of life- we have fed our senses, we have fed our mind, we have fed our emotions. Plenty, plenty, oh, we are overfed! So a generation, a civilization or a culture which is overfed with sensuality's is qualified for kriya yoga, kundalini yoga and tantra. But a generation or a civilization which is underfed or unfed in the sensual life is not fit for kriya yoga, kundalini yoga or tantra.

In addition to what I said yesterday about meditation, I am today adding another point. If you want to reach the higher stages of meditation, please fix up the mind first. It will not allow you to pass beyond it, it is a very big barrier. No matter what you do, whether you practice bhastrika or Rajanishaji, or the transcendental meditation of Maharishi, or the ajapa japa of Swami Satyananda, or any method of any Swamiji, the barrier shall stay there, and no one can break this barrier. This is my experience, and this is the experience of all those who have been treading this path for decades and decades. You have to first fix the mind, and the way is through kriya yoga, kundalini yoga and tantra.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Anita Moorjani: Dying To Be Me

Anita's story provides an excellent example of the power of spiritual awareness as she cured herself of cancer in a matter of weeks after having it take over her body and put her in a coma. There are also medical records validating her story. She communicates in the most clear and simple manner I've seen the truth of our spiritual existence. Below is an excerpt from her book "Dying to Be Me: My Journey from Cancer, to Near Death, to True Healing".

Synchronicity and the idea of attraction have been given a lot of attention in recent years. The thought of things falling into place effortlessly because we’re attracting them is alluring, but I prefer to think in terms of allowing, rather than attracting.

As I’ve said, we’re one with the universe, our purpose is to be our magnificent selves, and the external world is only a reflection of what’s inside us. The breakdown in my life came from my focus outward, the comparisons I made, and the competition this creates. I used to have the feeling that there wasn’t enough for everyone, which causes greed and competitiveness. I needed to convince others to believe and think the way I did, instead of embracing our uniqueness and differences.

All these feelings came from a view that the universe is lacking and limited, when it’s actually infinite. It’s capable of growing and encompassing as much as we are. It’s up to us to expand and allow in as much as we want, but it has to be done from the inside out, not the other way around.

Once I realized that there’s nothing outside my infinite self, I could begin to focus on viewing myself as an ongoing work of perfection—but in a way that’s dynamic, not static. Like a kaleidoscope that turns from one exquisite image to the next, perfection is constantly in motion. To me, this means seeing beauty in the journey and in the apparent mistakes as they take me to another level of understanding. My aim is to feel good enough about myself to get to a point of trust, and in that state, to let go of the outcome. When I began observing my own flawlessness, I started to notice my external world reflecting this. I was attracting what’s best for me, which is also the best thing I can do for the universe.

Going out and changing the world doesn’t work for me, as I’ve said before. It only feeds into the same judgmental energy that’s causing problems in the first place since it stems from the opinion that something is wrong and needs to be changed. Instead, letting go of attachment to any way of believing or thinking has made me feel more expanded and almost transparent so that universal energy can just flow through me. More positive coincidences happen in my life when I’m in this state of allowing.

We always attract the perfect results, and like calls to like. So the kinder I am to myself, the more outward events will reflect that. The harder and more judgmental I am toward myself, the more my situation will match it. The universe always proves me right in my opinion of myself!

Previously, I used to pursue, feeling as though I had to do, get, and achieve. However, the very act of going after something stems from fear—we’re afraid of not having what we truly want. It keeps us stuck in duality, because the focus is on the inherent separation between the hunter and the quarry. Now, however, I no longer chase anything. Instead, I allow.

For example, when I feel an incredible desire for where I want my life to go, I know that if I were to pursue it aggressively, this would only cause me to fight against universal energy. The more effort I have to put into trying to attain it, the more I know that I am doing something wrong. Allowing, on the other hand, doesn’t require effort. It feels more like a release, because it means realizing that since everything is One, that which I intend to get is already mine.

The process of allowing happens by first trusting, and then by always being true to who I am. In this way, I will only attract that which is truly mine, and it all happens at the rate I’m comfortable with. I can keep focusing on what worries me or what I think I need or find lacking, and my life won’t move toward what I’d like to experience. It will just stay the way it is now, because I’m paying attention to my fears and what upsets me or leaves me feeling unfulfilled, instead of expanding my awareness by trusting and allowing new experiences. So I can let the picture materialize slower or faster, depending on how quickly I want to let go of my worries and relax into the process. The more attached I am to certain ways of thinking or outcomes or the more fearful I am of new adventures, the slower the development will be, because I’m not open to the process. I’m not allowing universal energy to flow through me naturally.

Having said all that, I don’t actually sit and ponder every choice or possibility. All I really do within each moment is to consciously live in that space, which is done internally, not externally. Outside, there’s nothing to pursue and nothing to attract. And since the universe is within, whatever I experience inside myself affects the Whole.

Since the tapestry of all time has already been woven, everything I could ever want to happen in my life already exists in that infinite, nonphysical plane. My only task is to expand my earthly self enough to let it into this realm. So if there’s something I desire, the idea isn’t to go out and get it, but to expand my own consciousness to allow universal energy to bring it into my reality here.

Pursuing what I desire only reinforces separation, whereas allowing means realizing that since we’re all One and everything is connected, that which I desire is already mine.

Below is the youtube video that introduced me to Anita.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Steve on the Breathless State

Steve goes by the username "umunhum" at Yoga Forums. Above is the view from his balcony in Panama City. As a fellow practitioner of Swami Satyananda's Kundalini Kriyas, he was excited to discover that I had combined Maha Mudra (kriya 6) and Maha Bheda Mudra (kriya 7) into a single kriya just as he had done. In my case, this is Step 3 in my Golden Age Kriya. In Steve's experience, he believes that it was by combining these two kriyas that he was able to achieve the breathless state. Below is an excerpt from one of his posts at Yoga Forums.

I also had an experience that I touched on in my last post but I will elaborate on it. I was doing Kriya #6 listed on page 291 of Satyananda's book Kundalini Tantra. Basically what this involves is sitting in Siddhasana (this is very important) taking a spinal breath up to Ajna. While retaining the breath you put your focus on the Ajna and mentally say Shambhavi (I say sham mentally), then you put your focus on your tongue and mentally say Kechari (kech), then you put your focus on Muladhara and mentally say muladhara (moo) – again it is important that your heel is pressed into your perenium so sit in Siddhasana. You keep repeating this cycle as many times as you can – sham kech moo until you have to exhale. The book says work your way up to 12 cycles for each breath. I have never came close to 12 cycles. I would do a few cycles and around the 4th or 5th one I would go up to Sham from Moo and then try to put my attention on my tongue and I couldn't feel my tongue. The first time this happened I got so freaked out that opened my eyes and pushed my legs out of Siddhasana and opened my mouth thinking where is my tongue? Of course my tongue was right in my mouth where it should be. I remember thinking you dork! You were about to have an experience and you blew it. I then looked out at the ocean for a few minutes and then went back into it.

Again around the 5th cycle I started to have a really strange feeling around my tongue. It felt like some magnetic force from Ajna was pulling on my tongue very firmly. I mentally thought Sham and then went to Kech but there was no Kech! Sham and Kech had become one and something was pulling my tongue back and up very firmly but not painfully. I freaked out and immediately opened my eyes and said My God what is happening to me. There was nothing but a blanket of dazzling prana dancing over the ocean. And then I had a vision of a large archway made of large white blocks of stone with a large wooden door. The door was shaped like the arch at the top. I immediately prostrated myself and said “I am not worthy. I am a sinner” and started sobbing. A few minutes later I composed myself and noticed everything was so much brighter and had a beautiful aura. The only message I can take from this experience is the devine was telling me that I made it to the door. Now do you want to come in?

I told this experience to my friend and yoga instructor the next day. I tried to do the Kriya the day after and my tongue kept gagging me from being pulled to the back of my mouth. I quickly realized that my frenulum was preventing my tongue from doing what the Kriya was designed for and that is to pull the tongue up the nasal pharynx to Ajna and instead was activating my gag reflex. And so in my mind a little piece of skin is preventing me from Yoga.

Two days after this event I decided to practice a different Kriya to experiment with because the constant gagging from this one was disrupting my practice. I then learned Kriya #7, the Nas, Udd, Moo exhale and on a whim decided to combine it with the gagging Kriya #6, did three cycles, turned on my kundalini and went breathless. My life has never been the same since.

Yoga is not a religion! It is a science! - Swami Satyananda Saraswati.

So let's go over what happened in my body. I was sitting in Siddhasana with my heel firmly pressed up against my perenium sending prana up my sushumna. My tongue was in kechari stage 1 as far back as it could go sealing off the throat. (this is very important – I don't think this will work without the tongue completely sealing off the back of the throat – If you haven't felt like your tongue is like a snake, this method will not work for you) With the breath outside, I did 10 moos (10 mula bandhas or anal squeezes) sending more prana up. I then took a spinal breath up to bindu. While retaining the breath I practiced ashwini mudra, with each moo squeeze I would mentally say the word bindu and place my concentration on my bindu. This sends more prana up and the first time I concentrated on my bindu instead of my ajna. On the exhale I went into Maha Mudra which is a combination of Jalahandra Banda, Uddiyana Banda, and Mula Banda. I placed my mental attention and look at the tip of my nose (Nasakagra Mudra) with my eyes open mentally saying Nas, then put my attention on my stomach mentally saying Udd, then my attention on my Muladhara mentally saying Moo.

There are many things going on here. Jalahandra locks out the throat, Uddiyana locks out the stomach and I go 100% when I do Uddiyana – every cubic millimeter of air is pressed out of my stomach and it is slightly lifted up. Mula Banda is pumping prana up, Nasakagra is opening up the muladhara. Right away I knew this was a powerful exercise and I thought lets go into the gagging inhale exercise. So on the inhale I started with my concentration on Ajna with the mental thought Sham, to concentrating on my tongue with the mental thought kech, and finally to my muladhara chakra with the mental thought moo. I first started seeing a light at my Ajna, then a light at my Vishuddha, and a light at my Muladhara. After a couple of rounds of this, the Ajna and Vishuddha lights started coming together like somebody was flicking a laser pen back and forth from two points close together very fast and then occasionally flicking the pen down to Muladhara. Then all three became one and this happened on my third cycle of switching from Kriya #6 to Kriya #7. Another effect of this switching is my diaphragm was being stretched one way on the exhale as I brought my head down into Uddiyana and Nasakagra and another way on the inhale as I moved my head up and looked straight ahead - similar to going from the cat and cow pose in yoga.

I've read that the kundalini is activated when you mix apana with prana. The Uddiyana Banda causes this to happen. Then I provided electricity with my thoughts activating Ajna and Vishuddha starting up some sort of magnetic attraction that eventually involved Muladhara too. So the electricity with the gases mixing turned my kundalini on? Something turned on inside my body that literally sounded like a jumbo jet passing over me. And the reason it was so loud is because the noise came from inside me and I heard it internally like I was under water. Our body is similar to a bag of water.

Try this Pranayama tonight and let me know what you experience from it.

Once again sitting in Siddhasana and practicing Kechari Mudra sealing off the back of the throat. Start with 10 moo squeezes and take a spinal breath up to bindu. Practicing ashwini mudra saying bindu with each squeeze. On the exhale go into Jalahandra bandha, Uddiyana bandha and mula bandha doing cycles with your attention on the tip of your nose, your stomach and muladhara. Do as many cycles as you can until you have to inhale.

Inhale into your Ajna putting your attention there and then go to Kechari and then to Muladhara saying sham, kech, moo mentally as you do this for as many times as you can until you must exhale and then go into the exhale of Nas, Udd, Moo. Do three cycles of each until you finally exhale. **this is important** When you finally exhale from sham, kech , moo on the third cycle you should inhale about half a breath naturally and then exhale immediately about half of what you inhaled. Then sit quietly in Siddhasana and Shambhavi mudra waiting for your body to tell you it is time to start breathing again.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Ennio on the Breathless State

A major milestone as you advance in your spiritual practice is the attainment of the breathless state. Below is an excerpt from Ennio's book on this subject. He begins by first talking about Japa.

The teaching of Swami Ramdas regarding how to practice Japa is extremely simple. You utter Rama's name (Om Sri Ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram) any time, amid all of life's distractions, whenever there is a momentary return of your consciousness to Self-awareness. When this happens you feel the ensuing joy and you concentrate on it as long as possible, while repeating your Prayer. In this way you perfect your surrender to God. This is to be practiced when facing every event, every day, and in every circumstance. At Night, when free from worldly duties, you devote yourself to intense practice of Japa. Swami Ramdas stuck to that practice and was actually rolling in a sea of indescribable happiness.

"Repeat the one name ‘Ram’ at all times of the day and at nights when you are awake. You may be sure that you will not feel lonely or miserable as long as you are uttering that glorious name. Where this name is sounded, or meditated upon, there resides no sorrow, no anxiety – nay, not even death." (Ramdas)

Helped by a mala (rosary beads), I started to practice reciting Japa aloud 108 times during a walk (the number of beads in a mala), and mentally during the remainder of the walk.

Even though the oriental traditions recommend doing Japa mentally, I know for certain that it should be done aloud – at least for about a hundred times. The sound of that Mantra, which I had already heard in a spiritual audio recording, was very pleasant. I loved to prolong its vibration, make it vibrate in my chest and invest it with my heart's aspiration. My attitude was not that of a supplicating and sobbing devotee, but that of a man who rejoices, being one step away from his goal.

Since I observed while doing it an irresistible impulse to put everything in order, I thought that the Mantra could work in a similar way by cleaning out my mental stuff and putting my "psychological furniture" in order. Even though sometimes I felt a bit dazed, I maintained the determination never to discard this practice.

I practiced Japa every morning and Kriya every noon in the open countryside. One day during my Kriya session while relaxing with the mental Pranayama (placing my awareness in each Chakra for 10-20 seconds each), I distinctly perceived a fresh energy sustaining my body from inside. I realized my cells were breathing pure energy which didn't originate from the inhaled air. The more I relaxed, the more I simultaneously became aware both of the Chakras and of the body as a whole. The breath, which in the meantime had become very short, eventually reached immobility, like a pendulum gently reaching the equilibrium point. My mind settled down. This condition lasted a few minutes without any feeling of uneasiness; there was neither the least quiver of surprise nor the thought, "Finally I have it!" The event was enjoyable beyond words: in a bluepainted profundity, I was mercilessly crushed by the beauty of nature and, at the same time, situated above the whole world. All was incredibly beautiful, beyond imagination! I was not breathing and I did not feel the need to.

In the following days the same event happened again – always during mental Pranayama. Before starting my routine, I looked at the surrounding panorama and wondered if I would again experience that state. I did! I was astonished; it seemed impossible that Japa, one of the simplest techniques in the world, could produce infallibly such a valuable result! Compared to the breathless state (which was "solidity" itself), my past experiences during Kriya practice seemed vanishing, elusive, like luminous reflections on water. Where my best intentions had failed, Japa had produced the miracle! There was a perfect association between the practice of Japa and the attainment of the breathless state. Every day I experienced it for myself.

This reliable result created a moral strength in me that turned into a calm euphoria permeating my entire day. While talking to others I remained effortlessly centered on the feeling of unchangeable calmness, without being involved in the images arising from the words. This new way of living was like walking out of a dark stuffy room into sunlight and fresh air. The magic of this bright dazzling Prayer which spread into each facet of my life confirmed in me the belief that Japa was the only tool capable of extracting "something perfect and sublime" from my life.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Ennio on Kechari Mudra

The above video of Kechari Mudra is from Ennio's Video Downloads page. He has many other videos you may want to check out which augment the information given in his book. Below is an excerpt relating to this particular video of Kechari Mudra.

Kechari Mudra: This Mudra is carried in one of the two following ways:
  1. By placing the tongue in contact with the uvula at the back of the soft palate.
  2. By slipping the tongue into the nasal pharynx touching, if possible, the nasal septum.
According to Lahiri Mahasaya a kriyaban should achieve it not by cutting the tongue Fraenulum but by means of Talabya Kriya [see video]. Kechari is literally translated as "the state of those who fly in the sky", in the "inner space". Kechari is compared to an electrical bypass of the mind's energetic system. It changes the path of Prana flow causing the life force to be withdrawn from the thinking process. Instead of allowing the thoughts to jump like frogs here and there, it causes the mind to be quiet and allows focusing it on the goal of meditation.

We do not realize the quantity of energy we squander away when we get lost in our thoughts, in our plans. Kechari turns this pernicious way of exhausting all of our vitality into its opposite. The mind begins to lose its despotic role: the "inner activity" happens no more by the thinking process but by the effortless development of the intuition. Coupled with Kriya it is a substantial aid in clarify one's complicated psychological structures.

A more elusive claim is the experience of the elixir of life, "Amrita," the "Nectar." This is a fluid with sweet taste perceived by the kriyaban when the tip of his tongue touches either the uvula or the bone protrusion in the roof of the palate under the hypophysis. The Yoga tradition explains that there is a Nadi going through the center of the tongue; energy radiates through its tip and when it touches that bone protrusion, this radiation reaches and stimulates the Ajna Chakra in the center of the brain.

Below, Ennio describes his own experience with Kechari Mudra.

After three months of serious practice I achieved Kechari Mudra and realized that my exhaustive search for the original Kriya had come to an end. I followed this teacher for six years. Hereafter I summarize the reasons for my enthusiasm and why I later broke off with him.

Returning home after the seminar of initiation, unexpected internal changes created a very positive period for me, even if it could not be defined as calm. Kechari Mudra brought me a feeling of "dizziness" that lasted some days; my mental faculties seemed to be fogged up, but when all that ceased, my Kriya flew high.

Inspired by this new condition, comparing it to that of the mystics, I realized how difficult it is to live, carrying out daily worldly duties, without being paralyzed by such bliss! Some days I was so happy that when I went out for a walk, if I met someone and stopped to listen to him, no matter what he said, a sudden joy would expand in my chest to the point that I could barely hold back my tears. Looking at the distant mountains or at other details of the landscape, I would try to direct my feeling toward them in order to turn my paralyzing joy into aesthetic rapture; only this could keep back the joy clutching my being, only this could hide it.

I believe it is legitimate to ask why do Kriya organizations not teach such a simple technique as Talabya Kriya, preferring to perpetuate endless political arguments and speculations that continue up to the present day?

Below is my own video of Talabya Kriya and Kechari Mudra.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Kriya Yoga: Synthesis of a Personal Experience

Ennio Nimis has been studying and practicing yoga since the age of 15 and after becoming an adult has focused exclusively on Kriya Yoga. He has now written an excellent book on the subject with all of the details provided. The book is available to download for free from his web site: Kriya Yoga Info. Below is the inspiration that led him to writing this book.

It was winter. One day I went skiing in the nearby mountains with a couple of friends. All went magnificently. During a break in the afternoon, I managed to find time alone. I found myself looking at the mountains that marked the boundaries of the distant horizon in all directions. In less than half an hour the sun would paint them pink – with an intense hue on their eastern side and tinged with blue on the western side. I imagined India to be right behind them, the Himalayas being their continuation. My thought went to all the Kriya enthusiasts who found, as I did, insurmountable obstacles to the understanding of that beloved discipline. All those obstacles seemed to me an absurdity that wore the clothes of a nightmare – I felt an infinite rebellion.

I visualized a book on Kriya explaining every technique in great detail. How often had I wondered what would have happened if Lahiri Mahasaya or one of his disciples had written it! My imagination led me to fantasize about its cover, to skim its few pages – sober, yet rich in content. If this book existed, we would have a reliable manual of Kriya that restrained the many small or large variations made up by various teachers. Perhaps some annotator would try to force its meaning into his own theories. Nay, I was positive that some pseudo-guru would say that the techniques described in it were for beginners only, while there were much more complicated techniques that could only be passed on by an authorized teacher to chosen disciples. Some would swallow the bait, contact the author, and pay good money to be introduced to rubbish that he had assembled either through fancy or borrowed from some esoteric book...

This happens; it’s part of our human nature. However, sincere researchers would surely be able to recognize the strength and self-sufficient intrinsic evidence of the original text.

It is a shame that no one had written that book! For the first time I dared to let my thoughts stray toward what could happen if I wrote it. It would be hard, yet possible, to summarize the totality of my knowledge of Kriya into a book – welding together techniques and theories through a clean, rational vision. The intention was definitely not to celebrate myself or lay the foundations for yet another new school of Kriya. If I were to describe my experiences, it would only be for the purpose of clarifying theoretic and technical explanations. There would be no more rhetorical claims of legitimacy and riddle-like sentences to confuse readers or have them guess at technical details or create further doubts in them! How beautiful it was to dream of a book which would prove its validity by reproducing Lahiri Mahasaya's thought in the simplest and most logical way, in a complete, harmonious set of techniques!

I will be examining Ennio's teachings in greater detail in future posts.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Creating a Life Together

The book "Creating a Life Together: Practical Tools to Grow Ecovillages and Intentional Communities" is an excellent resource for anyone interested in joining or starting an ecovillage or intentional community. It provides step-by-step practical information on how to create a successful ecovillage. Here is an excerpt from the Introduction.

The Successful Ten Percent

I’ve since learned that EarthDance Farm’s experience is fairly common. Most aspiring ecovillages and community groups — probably 90 percent — never get off the ground; their envisioned communities never get built. They can’t find the right land, don’t have enough money, or get mired in conflict. Often they simply don’t understand how much time, money, and organizational skill they’ll need to pull off a project of this scope.

I wanted to know about the successful ten percent, those groups that actually created their communities. What did they do right?

I’ve sought the answer to this question ever since, in my years as editor of Communities magazine, and by visiting dozens of communities and interviewing scores of community founders. And I’ve seen a definite pattern. Generally, founders used the same kinds of skills, knowledge, and step-by-step processes to create widely different kinds of communities, from urban group households or rural ecovillages.

Creating a Life Together is an overview of that process, gleaned from some of the most innovative and successful community founders in North America. This is what they did, and what you can do, to create your community dream.

To give you an idea of the level of detail that the books goes into, here is the Table of Contents.


Part One: - Planting the Seeds of Healthy Community

Chapter 1 - The Successful Ten Percent — and Why Ninety Percent Fail
  • Lost Valley — How One Group Did It
  • What Works, What Doesn’t Work?
  • The Successful Ten Percent
  • Why Ninety Percent Fail
  • “Structural Conflict” — And Six Ways to Reduce It
  • What Will it Cost?
  • How Long Does it Take?
  • How Many People do You Need?
Chapter 2 - Your Role as Founder
  • What Kind of Person Founds a Community?
  • What Else You’ll Need
  • “If Only I Had Known!”
Chapter 3 - Getting Off to a Good Start
  • Don’t Run Out and Buy Land — Yet
  • When You Already Own the Property
  • Organizing Your Group
  • Getting Real about Finances
  • Collecting Funds
  • Raising Money from Supporters
  • Attracting and Integrating New Members
  • Creating “Community Glue”
  • Pioneers, Settlers, and the Flow of Members
Chapter 4 - Community Vision — What It Is, Why You Need It
  • Sound a Clear Note
  • Elements of a Community’s Vision
  • Your Vision Documents and Vision Statement
  • Do It First
Chapter 5 - Creating Vision Documents
  • More Than One Vision?
  • A Sacred Time
  • “That’s Not Community!” — Hidden Expectations and Structural Conflict
  • Exploring the Territory
  • Sharing from the Heart
  • Writing it Down
Chapter 6 - Power, Decision-making, and Governance
  • Power — The Ability to Influence
  • Focused Power, Widespread Power
  • How Consensus Works
  • What You Need to Make Consensus Work
  • “Pseudoconsensus” and Structural Conflict
  • Agreement-Seeking — When You Don’t Want to use Full Consensus
  • Multi-winner Voting
  • Community Governance — Spreading Power Widely
  • More than One Form of Decision Making?
  • What Decision-making Method Should You Use?
Part Two: - Sprouting New Community: Techniques & Tools

Chapter 7 - Agreements & Policies: “Good Documents Make Good Friends”
  • Remembering Things Differently
  • Giving Yourselves Every Chance of Success
  • Your Community’s Agreements and Policies
Chapter 8 - Making It Real: Establishing Your Legal Entity
  • Why You Need a Legal Entity — Before Buying Your Property
  • Using a Lawyer
  • Finding the Right Lawyer
Chapter 9 - The Great Land-Buying Adventure
  • Legal Barriers to Sustainable Development
  • Shopping for Counties — Zoning Regulations, Building Codes, Sustainable Homesteads, and Jobs
  • The Proactive Land Search
  • Friendly Loans from Friends and Family
  • Onerous Owner-financing (Better than None at All)
  • Do-it-Yourself Refinancing with a “Shoe Box Bank”
  • When One Person Buys the Property
  • Acquiring Fully Developed “Turn-Key” Property — Confidence, Persistence, and Negotiation
  • If at First You Don’t Succeed …
Chapter 10 - Finding the Right Property
  • Choosing Your Site Criteria
  • How Much Land Do You Want?
  • Raw Land — Lower Initial Cost, Years of Effort
  • Developed Land — Electricity, Toilets, and Showers
  • Fully Developed Turn-key Property — Move Right In (With a Big Financial Bite)
  • Buying Property like the Professionals Do
  • Conducting the Search — On Your Own or with a Real Estate Agent
  • Investigating Likely Properties
  • Taking Property Off the Market While You Do Further Research
Chapter 11 - Neighbors and Zoning
  • How Zoning Issues can Impact Community Plans
  • Zoning Issues and Your Property
  • Gambling with Former Use Permits
  • Seeking a Zoning Exception
  • Negotiating for What You Want
  • Zoning Exceptions, Neighbors, and Public Hearings
Chapter 12 - Financing Your Property (Loans You Can Live With)
  • About “Renting Money” — What You Should Know
  • Private Financing
  • When One Member Buys the Property
  • Protecting Your Sole Owner with a Triple Net Lease
  • Owner Financing
  • Bank Financing
  • Drawing on the Cohousing Model
  • What about Grants and Donations?
  • Refinancing Your Property
Chapter 13 - Developing Sustainable Human Settlements
  • Earthaven’s Development Process
  • Listening to your Land
  • Creating your Site Plan Yourselves
  • Avoiding “Urban Refugee Syndrome”
  • Creating Privacy in the Midst of Community
  • Designing for Conviviality
Chapter 14 - Internal Community Finances (Can We Afford to Live There?)
  • Rural Communities — How will your Members Make a Living?
  • The Risks of Community Businesses
  • Keeping Member Assessments Affordable
  • Joining Fees
  • Housing Arrangements
  • Site Lease Fees and the Debt Load
  • Labor Requirements
  • Building Equity
  • Can People Afford to Join You?
Chapter 15 - Legal Entities for Owning Property
  • Checklist for Choosing a Legal Entity
  • How You’ll Hold Title and Arrange Members’ Use Rights
  • Organizational Flexibility
  • How You’ll be Taxed
  • Overview: Corporations and Non-profit Corporations
  • Limited Liability Companies (LLCs)
  • Homeowners Associations — Tax Advantages (and Disadvantages)
  • Condominium Associations
  • Housing Co-ops — Separate Ownership and Use Rights
  • Non-exempt Non-profit Corporations
Chapter 16 - If You’re Using a Tax-exempt Non-profit
  • Advantages of a 501(c)3 — Donations, Tax Breaks, Limited Liability
  • Disadvantages of a 501(c)3 — Onerous Requirements, Irrecoverable Assets
  • Land-Owning Entities and 501(c)3 Corporations — The Best of Both Worlds
  • How One Group Retained Control of its Board
  • Title-holding Corporations — Collecting Income from “Passive” Sources
  • Private Land Trusts — Protecting the Land
  • Community Land Trusts — An Irrevocable Decision
  • For “Common Treasury” Communities — 501(d) Non-profit Corporations
Part Three: - Thriving in Community

Chapter 17 - Communication, Process, and Dealing with Conflict: The Heart of Healthy Community
  • The “Rock Polisher” Effect
  • Nourishing Sustainable Relationships
  • The Roots of Conflict: Emotionally-charged Needs
  • High Woundedness, High Willingness
  • Seven Kinds of Community Conflict We Wish We’d Left Behind
  • Twenty-four Common Sources of Community Conflict
  • The Fine Art of Offering Feedback
  • Receiving Feedback — Listening for Kernels of Truth
  • Threshing Meetings
  • Creating Specific Conflict Resolution Agreements
  • Helping Each Other Stay Accountable to the Group
  • A Graduated Series of Consequences
Chapter 18 - Selecting People to Join You
  • Select for Emotional Maturity — the “Narrow Door”
  • But is it Community?
  • Passive Victims, Outraged Victims
  • Membership Screening and the Law
  • Dealing Well with Saying “No”
  • How Can You Tell?
  • Questions, References, “Long Engagements”
Appendix 1 - Sample Community Vision Documents
Appendix 2 - Sample Community Agreements
Appendix 3 - Setting Up and Maintaining a 501(c)3 Non-profit