Saturday, February 9, 2013

An anchoring condition

 In order to sit firmly within my life — speaking metaphorically, that is — I have to understand this question of a center of gravity, of breathing, and of a force within the lower part of the body. This understanding has to be sensed organically, not thought about in a framework or within a structure. An organic understanding of this question is dynamic; an intellectual one is static. I must understand the difference.

Nonetheless, perhaps it helps to speak about an exact investigation of some of the physical sensation, which is not quite on the order of technique, but provides a departure point for investigation through the sensing of the body.

It's often said that energy comes in through the top of the head, or — conversely — through the breath, and flows downward into the body, towards the abdomen. Various yogic descriptions suggest that this energy comes through the spine, but in fact it can also move through the entire torso, or be localized in several different groups of sensory experiences. The energy itself is in fact diverse and ubiquitous; that is, it has the capacity to enter, inform (form inwardly) and concentrate in a flexible and intelligent way, but only if I don't interfere with it.

Most yogic exercises involve directing inner energy; yet Jeanne de Salzmann actually (and correctly) informs us that we are to observe and follow; the energy knows what it needs to do. So my role is as a participant and observer, not an actor. Take note that this is generally different than the conception of this action offered by Hatha Yoga; and perhaps indicates one of the chief distinctions between Gurdjieff's method and the methods of the Siddhas.

The breath is definitely connected to the collection and concentration of energy, and most particularly it helps to collect the energy supporting the arising of organic sensation, that is, living sensation that enters and participates on its own, not sensation that is invoked by a work of attention. These are two different things, and the question of organic sensation — which I have often referred to as the organic sense of Being in this space — needs to be investigated and understood as distinct from ordinary sensation exercises, which are many, and represent a different order of effort.

The concentration of energy may revolve around the area in the solar plexus, or abdomen, but the breath must be rooted in order for it to function properly. This rooting takes place at the base of the spine, in a small area that is smaller than a clenched fist, probably not much larger than a golf ball, at the very base of the spine.

If you put your thumb and three of your other four fingers together (leaving out the pinky finger) gently, so that there is a precise relationship formed between the thumb and the other three fingers, you will sense how the thumb creates a unity with the three fingers that gently holds the structural forefingers together; and perhaps the sensation can be used to conceptualize both the size and the sensation of the area at the base of the spine which ought to be attended to. Take careful note, I say attended to — one must not force attention into this area, one must bring it gently and then sense.

  Sense the hand.  The sensation informs by itself: there is a symbolism here. The pinky is left out. It represents the fact that there is always something missing; so we are always searching. That quality is inherent in the question I am discussing. Notice that the small part that is left out has a life and an intelligence of its own, which also exists and needs to be respected.

 So there is this place within me that must be rooted, and the root has a certain definite kind of tension in it. This doesn't quite mean that it's tense, in the ordinary sense; it means that there is a physical presence that has a capacity to attract, magnetically, and hold energy at a point. If there is nothing but relaxation, there is no attraction; and if there is too much tension, any force at all, then it blocks the action. So there is an intelligent balance that takes place when the breath is rooted at the base of the spine. This intelligent action is intentional — that is, one senses it intentionally, one doesn't make it happen. We don't use the word voluntary, because I am not offering myself to it; it already offers itself in general, and not to me, but rather, to the organic condition itself. So it is an offering; but it isn't my offering, and is isn't offered to me. I'm not volunteering anything. I intend towards it — and this means to inwardly tend. That is, to take care of, in an inward manner.

The force within the abdomen, which has many capacities and can in fact — as has been reported by others — render me "invulnerable," is a different question. Here, I'm discussing only the question of the rooting of the breath at the base of the spine, which is a fundamental action related to all of the other organic actions related to breathing.

In the next post, I'll discuss the nature of attention in regard to breathing itself within this point of work.

May your soul be filled with light.

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