Welcome to day 4 of our Cookbook for a Sacred Life virtual course!
Today our topic is Transmuting Energy.
As we engage our new or old practice, we may find ourselves becoming more sensitive to the world around us and we may even experience more energy in our system. This is, in part, because practice helps us become more and more aware of subtleties.
When we sit and simply listen to the sounds around us, at first we hear what is loudest, but eventually, we start hearing quieter and quieter sounds, until we become aware of the sound of our own breath or our own heart beating. Similarly, as we engage in spiritual practice we begin to move from the obvious to the more and more subtle.
The yogis called this subtle realm ‘pran’ - “the smallest element that moves”. The Taoists call it ‘Qi’. Quantum physicists try to study it. When we move away from the habits that we identify with, we begin to experience and re-orient to this more subtle force. And as we focus on these forces, we may experience them moving us in new ways and with more power.
QUESTION: How can you connect to ‘pran’ in your own life?
I’ve found that a very noticeable energy for me is that which arises when I’m bored and begin to seek distraction. For example, when meditating, my mind goes to ‘i’m bored, let’s get up and do something etc. etc.’ There is quite a strong sense of energetic restlessness there.
But if I can recognise those moments of restless energy, of urgency, of doing, then I can sit with it and feel the potency of that energy, and turn it towards awareness and awakening to the moment. Listening to that restless energy can be a great way for me to get into the now if I don’t get swept away by it!
Namaste Charlie; I will sit and meditate now and see what arises… I usually don’t get bored however distractions, thoughts of what needs to be done… the laundry…plans I have set for myself for that day intrude on my meditation and an urgency wells up to ‘get it done’ so now I will set a timer for 1/2 hour and allow this meditation to be my wonderful task. See what happens and Be Here Now. much love from Carole
While listening to this day’s audiopiece by Ram Dass, I was actually wondering where ‘ego’ comes from and why it exists.
I can relate to the feeling of “wanting to get things done” while meditating or being outside in nature or with friends. And this feeling actually gets stronger the more I AM doing “things”.
One way to trick myself is taking yoga classes. Bcs then I am active and also get better in sth, while actually practicing a form of ‘pran’.
Good Morning! Wow" These lessons are blowing up my brain in such a fabulous way. Thank you thank you thank you!
I feel I am always connected to Pran, it is whether I am conscious of it, that is the key. I am realizing that conciousness is what its all about…well duh!
One time that I become very conscious of this connection is when I am in my Asana practice, and feel myself very focused on the practice. The rest of the world falls away, and the voices of the ego generally get quieter. I feel very centered and peaceful afterwards. Then the fire trucks start making noise!!!
Todays lessons really lit a fire for me. Thanks again!
I love this path
Namaste Charlie; I set my timer for 1/2 hour and sat down on my meditation stool … follow my breath… allowed the energy of spaciousness to fill my body… when mind wandered kept coming back to my breath. Behind my closed eyes I sensed the sunshine in the room… let golden light wash over, through and around me… disolved into the Unified Field. Heard the timer go off and felt this was the quickest 1/2 hour - opened my eyes in appreciation. Filed my paperwork while laundry on; still in peace & calm contentment.
Namaste Nina; I teach Yoga on Zoom and at the beginning of each class connect with each participant to ask what they feel they need that day (have 10 or less in each group) then tailor the poses to address each persons requests. Let Pran energy flow through me as I teach. Feedback is usually it was just what each person needed. Love the flow state. Find when I direct class to follow their slow calm deep breath in every pose they feel calm energy loosening tightness and stress. Keep practicing yoga Nina it is a moving meditation with Prana (energy of the breath) YES
So, an interesting experience today and hopefully I’m not the only one who thinks it ties in with the idea of using the energy (pran) of something that is usually difficult and frustrating to help yourself along the path.
Last evening, I developed a minor cough and thought little of it. However, I was awoken very early this morning to a fever that left me shivering and a much more significant cough, body aches, etc. A home test confirmed I have COVID for the second time.
Traditionally, I’ve stopped my meditation practice while sick with congestion like I have today. I’d make the excuse that if it’s too tough to breathe I won’t be able to meditate effectively. But while I gathered all my needed possessions to take to isolate in a small bedroom, I grabbed my meditation mat and cushion. I reflected upon Ram Dass’ story of the fire alarms and thought perhaps I can bring the energy of illness into my practice.
I’ve sat in meditation once so far today and while it was challenging on a certain level, it was also powerful on other levels. I could feel that the heat and energy of my fever was building into a certain type of power and focus. This was tremendous and felt like a breakthrough into a different place in my practice.
I also viewed today’s experience through the lens of Atisha’s Mind-training Slogans which I have been studying lately. For any unfamiliar, this is a Tibetan practice of memorizing and using 59 slogans as they are appropriate to any experience. One is: “Whatever you meet unexpectedly, join with meditation.” What could be more more unexpected than waking up to COVID?
I intend to continue to meditate through this illness and use its energy. I am also grateful for its timing as not only did it work with today’s teaching, this course has also given me this community with whom to talk and share while I go through it in isolation. I am pleased that despite feeling awful I can experience such gratitude as I do. I bow to each of you and to this experience.
Bravo! It looks to me that you have definitely risen to the occasion to continue on, to transmute the energy of the “Fire Trucks” of Covid, and to maintain your practice with awareness and attention as well. May the sickness pass swiftly.
The question is interesting -" how can I connect to pran in my own life" - I think its a trick question! Like how to get the goose out of the bottle - that old zen koan - it was never in the bottle… pran is here as my life - it is in every cell or molecule - energy is everything and everywhere - to “connect” to it implies I am not it I am separated from. it… and “in my own life” - what is that exactly? because everything iso energy there’s no me and you … or me and my life separate from anything. It is Thich Nhat Hanh Interbeing - I can’t breathe without the trees… perhaps a more accurate way of asking would be to consider how aware am I of Pran in this moment? Is there anything I could do to Be Here Now… any concepts I need to release - beliefs that I am holding. Am I not imagining myself always to be a somebody as Ram Dass said in the recording… and thus limiting my sense of myself and the vastness of this isness that I truly am? Of course I am being a bit absolute - and I realize the question might suggest to me things like - paying attention as I take a walk - noticing the sounds of birds the wind across my face… the trees… My dog seems well aware of his interbeingness as we walk and he sniffs the trees and snow… digging in to get a better sniff… his heightened sense of smell. reminds me of how I set a boundary around who I am and what I know to be true. Personally I have not engaged in deep yogic practices or some method of cultivating pran… I once had a very deep meditation experience at the end of a ten day retreat when I was sick (and I did read Jeremy’s comment so this has relevance to that too) - I had a drippy nose and maybe a fever (all of us breathing together in the meditation hall for ten days… I guess the sickness spread pre covid days not masked!) - anyway I went into meditation where we had been learning to sit very very still regardless of any discomfort or thoughts… so me with drippy nose and fever — I just felt as if the boundaries of my face in particular were dissolving… into the void… it was amazing… truly… I am not sure if this relates to pran but he did say something in the talk about surrender and being pure consciousness in the enlightened state…so this was a moment for me and there have been other sorts of experiences like that which for me I gather up to remember that I do know this even if I dont experience it a lot - that these seeming boundaries that my skin seems to provide to this particular set of organisms that I label me - aren’t real at all… I would like to have those deeper experiences more often. and I think there is something to be said for ten day retreats with a guru who assists us in raising our pran. That particular teacher had a “fall” from grace tho he still teaches so I am also aware that teachers can transmit energies even if they are still being run on some level by ego… but that is a bit of a diversion however the point I was making that when we come together I think we are like tuning forks - and this could be towards so called positive or higher vibes or the lower ones — we affect one another. Doing it alone or on zoom during these covid days I think it is harder to receive those transmissions and it is more for me in nature I feel that deep oneness. In fact it haas become my practice to hug some very large boulders near me whenever I can… not just trees. I have found the rocks transmit a very strong pran that is grounding… very real. And yesterday I visited a stone circle an earth clock… that was built by a druid near the lake in Burlington Vermont for an equinox ceremony and those stones were each carefully chosen and placed just so… and they have a powerful energy. The simple truth is this pran is everywhere all around us as he said in the sun… I think looking into my fire in my wood stove or the sunset… are powerful connectors. wow this was a long response I think I will start copying and pasting these to a log. So I will have it to go back to. Thanks to anyone who read this far!
I feel like a 4th grader reading some kind of advanced mathematical thesis after todays lesson. I’m so stumped. Like I don’t have the smarts to “Get this.” Truly I hadn’t run into these feelings in my studies to date…
So I’ll just answer the question from that place of feeling inadequate. Connecting with the pran daily, for me for right now, happens in nature. I drink it in and feel alive and happy. That’s the best answer I have at this moment.