Taken from online satsang on January 26, 2011
Welcome everybody, from my heart, all my love to everybody. Pranams.
Today I’m going to talk about the practical aspect of Self-inquiry. After all, Self- inquiry is all about practice. That’s what I am going to talk about – practice. What are the techniques, the method which is used? After all, what good is Self- inquiry if it is just about reading other peoples’ experiences, if you don’t have your own things to work around with Self-inquiry? So, practice is most important. Theory has its place, but practice should come number one in Self- inquiry. So, I’m going to talk something about practice.
First of all, let me just give you a little example. Let us presume that you find that there is a possible oil well in your backyard. There’s a piece of land that you have, and in that piece of land, you get information that there is a possible oil well, or oil field. So, what are you going to do? You’re going to take the shovel and start digging, right? To get that oil out of it – isn’t it?
That’s what Self-inquiry is. You start digging – into yourself. Start drilling inside yourself, and you take a shovel and start digging inside the oil field. What happens is after a few weeks or months of drilling and digging, you find that there is some oil which is coming out of that land.
So, what do you do after that? Do you sit, thinking that the oil is going to come out on its own? Or do you start digging more? Of course, you start digging more. Isn’t it? A normal, sensible person would do that. If he’s commercially intelligent, he would do this, isn’t it? That’s what you have to do.
You have to start diving deeper. That’s what I’m trying to say. Dive deeper. Don’t just remain in that sense of beingness – dive.
Close your eyes, look deeply within and bring the Void here into the heart and start diving downwards. That’s what sinking is. Sinking means you’re diving. Deliberate sinking has to take place. You have to deliberately bring your mind to the heart area or to the navel, whichever it is, and you start to sink downwards.
See, remaining in the sense of “I am-ness” is also a method where you bring the mind back again to the sense of “I am-ness,” again and again, but it’s a slightly slower process. But when you’re sinking deliberately, then you will see your progress. You will see how fast you’re going to make the progress. It is a rapid force of going into your sense of beingness. It’s a rapid process.
So the method is that you bring the Void here, which is the Void ahead of you (closing your eyes), and you bring it to your heart, or to your navel, and you start sinking from there. You don’t just remain.
Just remaining in the sense of “I am-ness” has a few other problems also in practical meditation. When you actually sit for meditation, you will realize that the mind is going into various kinds of thoughts. You know, it is not going to just remain in one place, which is your beingness, for long. It will want to do something – run here and there. You will of course keep bringing the mind again and again to that sense.
So what happens is after some time, you’ll find it very boring. You’ll say, “All I’m doing is just bringing the mind back again to the sense of beingness, again and again, again and again.” It’s going to get very boring. And then what happens is, the mind needs to do something. All it can think about is going into various kinds of thoughts.
But when you do deliberate sinking, you give the mind some work to do. You tell it, “Okay, this is the direction. You have to go and do this.” Thereby you don’t let it indulge into thoughts. You actually force the mind to do something which you want to do, rather than allow it to do whatever it wants.
That is why you must practice this deliberate sinking which I’m talking about. Most meditators would prefer to remain in the sense of “I am-ness,” because it gives them a sense of comfort. They’re very comfortable being there. But that comfort is too soon. You are not here to be comfortable – at least not with me and Edji around! We can’t make you comfortable so soon (chuckling). We are supposed to make you uncomfortable, for your own good. A teacher who tries to make you comfortable too soon is not a good teacher.
See, you have to bring the mind downwards and deliberately sink. You give it work to do. I know it is mental effort. I know it is deliberate mental effort. It is not so natural. I know all that. I’ve been through all this, also. It just doesn’t seem too right, I know. But then you have to work hard for it.
You will realize its importance one day. So, don’t just remain there. Even advanced students should not just remain in their attained sense of beingness, but they should dive deeper. Go more; sink more downwards from this area of the heart into the navel and downwards.
How do you do this sinking business? How do you do this technique, which I say is one of the most important, one of the most effective methods in the process of Self-inquiry?
First, you must try and make it more natural, so that you don’t keep fighting with your mind all the time. To achieve that you can do some visualization, which will keep the mind interested. Try and visualize that from the area of the heart or from the navel, you’re actually descending down, either by a staircase or by elevator. You’re coming down. You’re going downwards – slowly and slowly. You have to visualize that. You will see that it will not be such a difficult task.
You can also visualize that you are like that kind of feather, which is going downwards – slowly, slowly – floating in the air and going downwards. When you close your eyes, you can visualize that. See? It’s not going to be very difficult if you do that, either. Or visualize floating downwards like a helium balloon, returning back from the sky to the earth.
This visualization will keep the mind centered on the object and it can facilitate sinking much better, rather than fighting and using too much effort. So try these visualizing exercises which I have told you. Any of them you can choose. You can modify the visualizations or experiment with various visualizations according to what suits you. You can visualize anything that you want. But the only idea is try and sink, that’s all. It is best not to synchronize breath along with these visualizations. Breath will slow down on its own. No need to pay any attention to breath at all. It only hinders further progress.
There are some people, or some seekers, who are more centered here on the ajna chakra (“third eye” energy center.) They still cannot bring the mind to the heart or to the navel – downwards, and for them, sinking is a huge effort because all these years they have practiced remaining centered on this particular point. For them also, there’s another technique which is as good and as effective, as potent as the sinking, which is called the “falling backwards” method.
One can visualize that there is a Void behind of you, and you’re falling into it. You can imagine layers of Voids – layers and layers of Voids behind you. And you keep falling backwards.
Do not center it only to this point (the medulla oblongata, where the ajna chakra is situated.) Imagine or visualize the whole body going backwards. Remember this. Slowly you have to visualize that – that the entire body is going backwards, and you are falling backwards. The body is remaining there, what I mean to say is, you are going or falling backwards. The entirety.
You can start falling backwards from the medulla (point opposite the third eye at the base of the neck,) but slowly you bring the entire body to go backwards. Experiment with what seems best for you. Your best companion is your own intuition – use it and be a scientist of your own inner world.
So these two techniques can be used as a very potent force in the process of Self- inquiry. Some key pointers I have to tell you to use these as a technique – First thing is before you do the sinking, or the falling backwards method, the first important thing is, you have to relax first.
I’m trying to make any of these techniques to be more natural, easy for you. Right? So relax. What you can do is before you sit for your formal meditation, you can tense your entire body a few times. Take a deep breath, tense the entire body, and let loose.
Then, tense… relax. Tense… relax. Tense… relax.
That way, you center yourself. The body, the energies, the cells, just TENSE IT, completely tense all, and then let go. RELAX. And then, you do the sinking and the falling backwards method – either of them.
You have to understand the second point I am trying to make in these pointers is one-pointedness. If you choose one technique over the other, you stick to one only. Don’t try and mix the two, “Okay, today I’ll do a sinking down, then tomorrow I’m going to go backwards.” Don’t do that. One-pointedness is the key to dive deeper. Use only one method – only one.
Give it a try for say two months, three months. See how it goes. But it’s important to be just one-pointed.
Do you remember that as small children we used to play a game of bringing the sun’s rays into one magnifying glass, do you remember? Bringing the sun rays into one magnifying glass and burning the paper beneath? By holding a piece of paper below the magnifying glass and by centering the sun rays through the glass, you would see the paper below has burned. How did that happen?
Because the sun rays which were scattered into various directions, you gave them a center and brought them into one point. And from that point tremendous energy is developed, is generated, which burns that paper.
The same thing we have to do in our meditation. We bring the entire energy of the mind, entire energies inside of us – center it! – by diving deeper. Either going downwards by sinking, or falling backwards. You center it! And just see how much energy is generated through this one-pointedness.
For many years people are remaining in the sense of “I am-ness” only, and not much great progress is made. They say, “We are staying in the ‘I am-ness’, ‘I am- ness’… I am feeling so relaxed, so relaxed, so relaxed.” Very good, but that relaxation is leading you to sleep only after that. It’s no good. Sleep is a hindrance to deep meditation.
So preparation is very important first. You have to prepare. This one-pointedness of doing some work will prepare the mind, it will make your mind subtle, will make it powerful. Thereby you generate tremendous power to penetrate deeper. It gives you the dharana power, samadhi power. And then you try and focus with that entire power downwards, and you will see the results.
Do you remember I had given another example, of the block of ice? That ice turns into water, and the water becomes steam, and then it disappears? That’s how it happens.
Due to the power of one-pointedness, power is generated and then the mind becomes subtle, subtler – and then it finally disappears! That’s what happens. It is scientific, what I am telling you. It is not belief. Try it, and you will see the results soon.
After you have done this process of sinking or falling backwards, then it is time to remain. Then it is the time to remain. You have worked really hard. Now it is time for you to rest. You then remain in the sense of “I am-ness.” At that moment, you are not willing anything. At that moment, you are not expecting anything. You are not centering to any point – nothing. You are just relaxing and just letting go of everything that is there.
You’re not even sinking. Everything is forgotten. You’re doing nothing at all here. You are simply being. Just being. This is where the real work of transcendence actually takes place. This is where real Dhyan (meditation) happens. Transcendence is never achieved by your effort (the use of the above technique,) as the egoic mind remains in any form of effort. Yet effort helps in the abidance of deep resting. It facilitates it. It is a means to an end, not an end in itself. That is why after practicing the technique, one must remain still.
Hence, after you’ve done the sinking, you remain. So first sinking is going to tense you, and then you’re going to relax… tense, and relax. Unless you have tensed yourself completely, you cannot completely relax either. So first you tense, and then you relax.
One word of caution is this: you have to know the difference between tensing yourself and straining yourself. That, you have to find out yourself. Don’t overdo anything. If you feel that in 10 minutes sinking is achieved easily, then go for 15 minutes, and then 20 minutes. Slowly build it up to 30 minutes and more. Do not overdo it, with that excitement that “Oh, I’m going to get better results faster with this!” It’s not going to help that way.
You must find your own comfort zone of doing sinking. The techniques are completely harmless, though. There is no problem in these techniques. These techniques are not my techniques of course, you know that.
It’s completely safe. I have just modified it slightly here according to the need of the seeker, giving the person a direction so that the pathway is laid out for the effort to be made, and my students have got fabulous results very soon.
In three months – if you practice this religiously – you will attain states. Good states you’ll attain, good levels of consciousness you’ll attain in a relatively short time.
One of my students has attained great stillness of the mind in just three days, just three days! So, if you are one-pointed, and if you are perseverant and dedicated, then I’m sure that within three to four months you’ll attain very good progress in this technique, using this method or technique – either of the two ones.
As I said, they are completely safe. The technique is not a problem at all. They do not have to deal with pranayamas and those khumbaks (which come in the Yoga system.) It transcends all those.
(P.S.: It is true that with the help of pranayamas [yogic regulation of inner energies through breath control] and kumbhaks [yogic breath retention exercises] the breath becomes very subtle, and indirectly the mind and life-force are brought into control through the use of these techniques, but prayanamas and kumbhaks are potentially dangerous and must be practiced under the direct supervision of a realized Master.
Many advanced meditators who practice pranayamas get so used to performing breath control techniques that it is difficult for them to drop them later, when stillness and poise are achieved. These Yoga techniques and the habit of remaining focused on the breath keep the body-mind alive, so to say.
Many Yoga practitioners keep performing higher techniques and intense khumbhaks but never really connect deeper to their sense of beingness, as the practice involves complete attention to the techniques, but not to the sense of beingness. In fact, many practitioners run after acquiring different forms of techniques, “advanced” or “super-advanced,” setting those as the goals and unfortunately completely forgetting to abide in the background sense of beingness which is prior to breath, prana, chakras, mind and intellect.
That is why, even though Sri Ramana acknowledged pranayama as a natural sedative to calm the mind, he never advocated this or any form of breath control. Rather he asked advanced seekers to dive deeper into the sense of “I” and control the mind directly.)
The sinking or falling backwards methods aim at achieving the desired results without the limitations of pranayama techniques. The goal is to dive straight into the deeper layers of Consciousness, and then to remain there. This is exactly what sinking and falling backwards achieve without the need to modify or tamper with one’s breath. As the mind gets more and more purified due to the deliberate sinking, breath automatically slows down. The mind settles inwards in deep intoxication.
When the deepest layer of Consciousness is exposed or penetrated, tremendous joy and bliss are experienced. This bliss which remains all the time, never to leave you, is the pure “I am-ness,” the true nature of the Self (Turiya.) The mind when turned outwards is the ego, while the mind turned within is the Self; and these two techniques are aimed at turning the mind within naturally, easily, and with faster results.
You have to only watch your own over-excitement. Don’t get too over-anxious and over-zealous about the practice. Remain equanimous.
Like one of my students, she achieved stillness of the breath; she realized that her breath has actually calmed down so much that it has actually stopped inbetween. That has happened because she practiced the sinking, and she just got tremendous joy, and then she got up and she said, “Wow! I achieved this, I achieved this!” And then she called me and said, “Rajivji, it was wonderful! My breath completely stopped. I didn’t feel any need to take breath in or throw breath out!” I said, “Yeah, that’s going to happen.” I said, “Very good. Keep it up.”
After a few days of practice, she called again and said, “Rajivji, I’m feeling miserable.” I said “Now what happened?” (chuckling). She said, “Because the breath doesn’t stop now.” (Laughing) That’s the problem.
Don’t do this mistake!
The idea is not to stop your breath. You watch over this over-exuberance. What I mean to say is the technique itself is safe, but you don’t try to get results by trying too much or by forcing it yourself. It is going to happen on its own. All these things are going to happen. Whatever that stage, that attainment that I talk about and where everything disappears, is all going to happen. But you’re not going to make anything happen. You cannot drop that. It will automatically drop. You (I- ness) will go entirely missing in the dropping.
So, watch out for all this. Be cautious on this. And in case you feel that you’re having issues or problems, if some energies which are having some major pressure are coming here or on the chest, or anywhere, then in that case, you can contact me, and I will tell you what you have to do.
But the best is to avoid the tendency to want quicker results. SURRENDER! Remember this! Even though this is very fast, still watch over your own excitement. Right?
So, that’s all. I have spoken about the technique. Now, it’s upon you all to practice. So use this for your progress.
I wish you all the best! Pranams.
~ Rajiv Kapur