Thursday, January 17, 2013

Chakra power

The last lecture in Joseph Campbell’s ‘Mythos’ series was about yoga. I had read Patanjali’s yoga sutras before and I vaguely remember the passages on the general benefits of meditation, at least on the sections I had understood. Campbell focused on the concept of chakras, the different levels that really connote the development of the person. Yoga is supposed to help one progress to a higher level with chakras as mystical levels of transformation. But from my understanding of the concept, I still belong to the lower or gross level, still entrapped by beautiful forms and mental stimulation. I am aware of my shortcomings and I had planned to seriously pursue yoga but I do not have the time or at least reluctant to apportion the right period; instead prefer to stay at the vulgar level of self-indulgence. Hence, I am stuck in too much stimulation via books, DVDs and all sorts of activity as I try to be a writer (what a contradiction!), an objective that is not feasible in my actions, as my attention is not in the goal. In other words, I am back in the ‘monkey mind’ that both prevent me from rising above to the higher chakras or in being a writer. Could it be that I could combine est and yoga to achieve breakthrough?

In a sense, yoga is a physical activity that tries to center you and focus the mind. The Chinese Tai Chi Qi Gong which I try to practice is similar to the concepts of chakra via its own concept of meridians. In essence, both speak of energy centers or channels in the body which one should utilize to achieve a certain transformation. The physical nature of the exercise maybe easier to achieve than the mental ‘aha’ moment of est if one is physically healthy. Erhard has acknowledge the lessons he learned from Zen Buddhism which focuses on the ‘now’ by focusing the mind on the present moment. But this is difficult to achieve as may require a mental exertion, especially by those ill-informed of the methodology when the secret is just to ‘BE’. On the other hand, yoga is a physical practice that one must regularly engage in to realize the benefits. Am I trying to say that one could be a writer by practicing yoga? But I am a writer but the proper distinction must be ‘blogger’; nevertheless yoga I can foresee as a way to focus and still the mind which I am unable to do with my current practice of Tai Chi Qi Gong. I had read somewhere about a Chinese sculptor that practices Tai Chi before he starts sculpturing in order to still the mind which show the link between mental practice of ‘silencing’ the mind and creativity.

Last night I attended a talk by Dot Jackson a local author and former news reporter. Last week it was a talk by a poetess, part of the literary upcountry series staged by the library. Jackson is a wonderful old woman, full of stories with a charm and frankness that is disarming. She did not seem to be someone who indulges in theories such as est, yoga or Zen Buddhism. Instead, her primary focus is writing, first as a reporter and finally as a creative writer. Her mind seems to be focused on writing unlike someone like me who is all over the place, jumping from one idea or another or from one activity to another or from one theory to another. Clearly mental discipline will help, and even yoga if this type of physical endeavor does focus the mind and open up the needed chakras. Placed in this condition of mental agitation, my urge is to enroll in writing classes again – at least one is learning the writing craft in the absence of a good work ethic; a substitute to the lack of concentration. Some sections I copy below on chakras that seem relevant:

•    When awareness is focused on memories of past experiences and mental verbalization, the energy flow to the head chakra increases and the energy flow to the heart chakra lessen. Without nurturing feelings of the heart a subtle form of anxiety arise which results in the self-reaching out for experience.

•    The practice aims to liberate from negative conditioning and leads to control over perception and cognition.

If the combined learning from Werner Erhard’s est, Joseph Campbell’s ‘follow your bliss’ and world mythology, yoga and the opening of chakras don’t help me then nothing else will!

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