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Every day we have an opportunity to do something healthy ……….

Instructions to 9 Meditations to Change Your Life

2. MEDITATION: Reverse Meditative Breathing

Working with the breath is known as the Great Circle Meditation, along with another form of meditative breathing, together make up what is referred to as Reverse Meditative Breathing.  I recommend that this type of breathing be practiced as a preliminary to all other meditations, for it quiets the mind.  There is also a form in a moving meditation, Tai Chi Chih, known as the Joyous Breath, or the Standing Horse and this can be practiced while standing as a preliminary to other forms.  The Reverse Meditative Breathing, while an excellent preliminary, is in itself the meditation of the highest efficiency and can lead to a state of deep immersion.  It is energizing and generally should not be done just before bedtime, as it may prevent restful sleep.  The healing effects will be obvious to the one practicing it regularly.  There are deep spiritual effects also, as the first part of the Reverse Meditative Breathing is almost synonymous with the developing of the Golden Flower, (the immortal spirit body spoken of in such esoteric works as The Secret of the Golden Flower - only the movement of the eyes is different).  In particular, these meditative breathing practices make an excellent preliminary to mantra meditation.  Those who do not now obtain good results with their regular attempts at meditation should discover that Reverse Breathing techniques will greatly increase the efficiency of their own form of meditation.

In this busy world, perhaps a typical example might be the following:
Arriving home in the late afternoon or early evening from the stress of surviving rush hour, fresh off the crowded freeway, the meditator finds he has about 45 minutes before he is to dress for dinner and decides to use his time for a sitting of meditation.  His mind is full of the activities of the day and his face shows the tension of driving through heavy traffic, yet he immediately sits down, closes his eyes ...... begins to repeat his mantra or whatever form of meditation practice he is doing.  The mind does not turn off that easily and soon memories of the day, plans for tomorrow and idle daydreaming intervene.  If he is tired, the sudden relaxation may put him to sleep.  In most cases, it will be difficult for the mind to be clear and still, not active but aware, so that he can meditate properly.  It is difficult to have good meditations when the mind is fuzzy and dull, and this is particularly true of mantra meditation.

In these circumstances, if he will do Reverse Meditative Breathing for 5 or 10 minutes, he will be invigorated, the mind will probably cease its endless “monkey chatter.” Then if he drops the mantra into the ensuing silence, he should obtain quick and effortless results.  The effortless part is important, as effort in meditation has the opposite effect from that intended.  “It is the asset of no effort that gets results!”  I am always amazed at how quickly newcomers attain the state of pure consciousness when working with a mantra for the first time if they preceded their meditation with two reverse meditative breaths.  Often in just eight minutes of silent practice, three quarters of the beginning meditators have entered this pure state of consciousness called transcending. “This is a remarkable result!”

From the Asian point of view, the importance of the Reverse Meditative Breath can be surmised when we know that the ultimate in meditation is to mix the essence, vitality and spirit so as to attain immortality.  This is exactly what we are doing in the orbits of the two Reverse Meditative Breaths.

These two circulating breaths have great power on their own.  Finishing the nine orbits, one is usually in a state of great quietude, so it is obvious that these breaths prior to meditation are really powerful.  In some ways they resemble the backward flowing method of the Tibetans and Chinese, transmuting the sexual energy into something higher.  For this reason, let me remind you, Reverse Meditative Breathing is greatly energizing and will interfere with sound sleep, therefore should not be performed just before bedtime.  (There is one exception to this, nocturnal emissions or nocturnal incontinence; one should awaken at 1 am and perform 9 macrocosmic orbits of Reverse Meditative Breathing ........ nightly ejaculations and incontinence should stop and one should awaken with a tremendous amount of energy each morning).

Part I

We will begin with a visualization, first, close your eyes.  Now imagine that you are seated on a fleecy white cloud, which comes up over your hips.  It is soft and buoyant and gradually it lifts you off the ground as it begins to soar aloft.  Up and up goes the cloud, with you seated comfortably on it.  Now high above, you see a great waterfall in the sky, a waterfall of “warm golden light” cascading down.  Gradually your cloud approaches the base of the waterfall and now as you reach it, the moist “warm golden light” pours down over your head.  You are engulfed by the golden light.

The warm feeling breaks through the top of your skull, down past the eyes, nose, the mouth and chin.  Bathing you internally with “warm golden light,” it goes down past the shoulders, the chest and the abdomen coming to rest at the Dan Tien, two inches below your navel.

After resting there a minute, the “warm golden light” rises to the belt and splits in two, one part going to the right and one to the left. Reaching the sides, the two rays start down again, past the two hips, to the thighs, the knees, the calves and the ankles, finally reaching the soles of your feet.  And there you sit, with the soles of your feet bathed in the “warm golden light,” all of this should be vividly visualized.

After a moment’s pause, we bring the light up the inside of the leg, passing the ankles, the calves, the knees and the thighs ...... then reaching the pelvis and coming together at the Dan Tien below the navel. 

Now the light goes between the legs to the base of the spine and begins a slow ascent, reaching each cell of the back as it works its way up towards your head.  From the base of the spine of the moist warm light .proceeds to the small of the back, the middle of the back, the shoulder blades, the shoulders and the base of the skull, where there is often the greatest blockage.  From the neck where the skull begins, it rises slowly until it reaches the top of the head, where it rests ....... splashing down like a golden shower over and through the head.  We have now returned to where we began, having made a “grand orbit.”  This is the best way for you to start each day, having the waterfall splash down over the skull and then the warm golden light working its way down to the soles of your feet, then back up to the top of your head.  This should be performed once and then the smaller macro cosmic work should follow.  Generally we perform these circles nine times, but in the event of a lack for time, three times can be effective as well.

If the truest thought can now be easily experienced, you should begin the smaller macro cosmic orbit, which will make up the bulk of your practice with Reverse Meditation Breathing. The trip to the soles of the feet is valuable and many choose to begin by breathing in through the soles of the feet or even a sexual organ, beginning the ascent from there.  However, the small orbit in our main practice will start at the Dan Tien.  After our first trip, utilizing the waterfall and the descent to the feet, we will be content with a circle that goes from the small of the back to the top of the head and then down to the Dan Tien.

We began the smaller orbit by starting at the Dan Tien, taking the light between the legs, then slowly up the back.  Rest at the top of the head for a moment or two, and then come back down the front to the spot two inches below the navel, Dan Tien.  Continue this orbit eight more times, adding the proper action of the breath, the eyes and the anus, as described below.

The Breath: as the lights start up the back, touching every cell, we begin to breathe in, expanding our chests in the abdomen as we do so.  By the time the light reaches the top of the head (where we rest), we have breathed in as much as possible and expanded greatly.  At the top of the head we hold our breath.  This is an excellent time to insert a mental affirmation.

Then start down by exhaling through the nose, with mouth closed, separated in four sections.  That is, as we breathe out a little; 1) the light comes down to the chin, then we breathe out some more 2) the light reaches the chest, breathe out some more, contracting as we do so 3) the light reaches the diaphragm, and finally, 4) as all the breath is being expelled, the light reaches the Dan Tien.  We rest there with the stomach contracted tightly against our spine.

The Eyes: now that we have mastered the expanding-inhaling breath going up and the contracting-exhaling breath coming down in four levels, we can learn the correct eye movements.  These movements of the eyes take place even though the eyes are closed. 

As we take the light up the spine, and breathed in, we raise the eyes, using them as a lever to bring the light up.  We begin with the eyes, which are closed, focused on the Dan Tien below.  Then, as the light comes up the back, we breathe in, the eyes are gradually raised until they turned to the top of the head, as the light reaches the top and the breath is full and held.  In effect, we feel as though the action of the eyes is bringing the light up the back.

Starting down the front, as we breathe out in four levels, the eyes gradually are lowered, until, by the time the light is back in the Dan Tien, the eyes are once more focused in that direction.

The Anus: there is one more action to learn in making the small orbit.  When the light, having come through the legs to the backbone, starts slowly up the spine and we breathe in and raise our eyes, we contract the muscles of the anus and hold them tight until the light reaches the top of the head.  Then, after the pause, as the light starts down with the breath being exhaled in four sections and the eyes are being lowered, we relax the muscles of the anus gradually, until they are again normal, as the lights again reaches the Dan Tien.

All this takes time to learn, but it is not really complicated.  We begin by visualizing the waterfall and taking the light to the feet, and then back up the spine to the head, but with each circle thereafter, we start from the Dan Tien, taking the light thru our legs and start up the back, taking proper action with the breath, the eyes and the anus. “We must come back down to the Dan Tien in the four sections.”

This is a very powerful meditation as it does have the power of arousing the Kundalini, thus causing sexual excitement.  However, it is balanced by the fact that it transmutes the sexual excitement into a higher form of energy.

Part II   Instruction

We are now going to learn the second part of the Reverse Meditative Breaths.  This part is much simpler, but first, I think it would be most helpful to discuss the meaning behind the movement.

It is believed in India that there are two channels, known as Nadis, that reach from the left and right eye down to the spot between the legs, below the sexual organs.  They are called ida and pingala, they are said to crisscross in figure eights on the way down to the terminus between the legs.  However, for our purposes we will visualize them as being straight.

The instrinsic energy known as Prana or Qi is said to descend and ascend through these channels corresponding with the breath.  However, in the case of an enlightened saint or sage, the Prana is said to at times to come up through a hair thin central channel known as the Sushumna.  Such Saint-poets as the Tibetan Milarepa have written of the great ecstasy of sexual climax and for the enlightened one, it frequently last for longer periods of time, especially in the Tibetan practice known as the left-hand Tantra, utilizing a backward flowing method. This bliss is deliberately cultivated through an unusual sexual contact without discharge.

I find it necessary for you to know this, because we are going to take the breath down through the outside channels and then “shoot it” up to the center, visualizing it entering the Sushumna or better known as the central channel.

We begin by imagining the warm golden light starting on our right side and our left side, at the heart level, working its way down the outside channels, as we breathe in and expand.  The light is visualized as going down, though the breath is being taken in.  When the light reaches the spot below the sexual organ (the two sides emerge there), we rest a moment and then contracting the anus tightly, we shoot the light up the middle channel as we breathe out and contract the stomach and chest.  Going down the sides (at this point it appears to be two lights), we breathe in and expand; shooting up the center, we breathe out and four sections (as we did in the previous breath) and raise the light to the heart level (not beyond) as we contract.  There is no eye motion with this breath, but the eyes are closed so that we may vividly visualize what we are doing.

This is an intensely powerful breath and it is suggested that it is not to be performed more than nine times.  It does stimulate sexual energy (which the other breath can transmute, if so desired), and may even cause psychic experiences at first.  However, this is not our main focus at this time, so please ignore them.

The two breaths together are greatly revitalizing and should heighten your energy level considerably.  Nine times doing each breath, followed by a period of serene rest and the emptiness one usually feels, is not only revitalizing, but tends to stimulate creativity and intuition.

It is suggested that you start all your meditations and sessions with these breaths or with the chanting of a Mantra followed by these breaths, and then perform your own form of meditation.  Remember, it is best not to do these breaths before going to sleep at night.

Please do not worry about any of the references made to visions, sexual stimulus, psychic abilities or arousing of the Kundalini.  These were made with the idea of educating you to all the possibilities, but for most meditators, doing the Reverse Meditative Breathing will be a happy and profound experience.  “Our thoughts and breath are two sides of the same coin; when the breath is stilled, the mind is usually stilled.” In fact you may notice that as you follow the breaths or a Mantra, which harmonizes the breath, you may find it difficult in detecting the natural breath.  This is a good sign, as immersion in meditation usually occurs when the breath has become almost nonexistent.  In Samadhi, the super conscious state, there is no visible breathing at all, and this state is usually associated with great bliss.

Whether your two breaths be treated as ends in themselves, or used as preliminary to other meditations, they have great validity and contribute to a state of equanimity that is very salutary for the well being of your health.


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