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Jyotish and Yoga


Hindu Yoga, Daoism, Tibetan Buddhism and the Jyotish Star Map

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Jyotish and Yoga


Hindu Yoga, Daoism, Tibetan Buddhism and the Jyotish Star Map

 

the problem

Lord Ganesha, the elephant-headed remover of obstacles, holds a special place in the Hindu pantheon of gods and goddesses. With a pot-belly, multiple arms and adoring mouse for an attendant, he presides over all beginnings and so oversees endless waves of invocations each day from people across India and throughout the world. This day, Ajay, a dignified elderly devotee clambered his way across the temple steps to take his seat in front of Ganesha’s statue. As usual, he began by calling on the lord for protection and then proceeded to meditate. The rich subtropical colors and wafts of sandalwood incense provided a comforting backdrop for practice.

“Focus on his image, focus on his image,” he reminded himself. And as usual, Ajay soon was adrift in his reveries: “His tusks look like curved pencils. Did I make a list for the laundry? Ah, our visit to the zoo. What a time! The lions roared so and I spilled tea on my shirt. But the monkeys—oh my—how they played with us.” From Ganesha to monkey to endless mindscapes across the firmaments: Ajay sat in fine form but his mind did not.

Himalayan river — Care to cross?

Everyone wants to succeed. In yoga, the outer boroughs of ultimate success—enlightenment—first sway into sight once meditators garner highly focused and stable mental concentration into their everyday experience. However, such a harbinger of real success comes only to a few even though many wish to tread this spiritual path to its heights. Sophisticated meditative approaches such as the yogic traditions of India, China and Tibet clearly map the terrain at the heights of spiritual ascent. But they are recipes that miss the heart of effective complementary medicine, namely feedback. The situation resembles having a doctor across the river shouting instructions to travelers about what to do once they ford the swirling currents. Not much help getting them started and even less help in keeping them on course if they brave the waters with such rickety advice in the first place. 

 

the fix

In contrast, the tools of modern integrative energy medicine provide much better leverage for the battle with monkey mind. These web pages explain how to harness qigong using acupuncture meridians and microsystems for instantaneous feedback and control of the meditative process. Instead of endlessly wrestling with your mind while trying to control it by willpower, you can learn to adjust the flow of biological energy along meridians and microsystem meridians to achieve a better result in novel time and with ease. The micromeridian meditation detailed here knits together three great streams of yogic practice—Indian, Daoist and Tibetan—and unveils an easier way to link their chakra-, meridian- and space-oriented approaches to higher consciousness.


why the fix works

Advanced yogic practices simply cover more ground than any other technology or human endeavor to date. The chart below contrasts the span of these three yogic paths with Vedic astrology (a traditional Hindu map of higher-level energy systems), traditional eastern medicines (Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine) and modern western medicines. The left axis increases from matter to energy to information. A higher level (more towards the top of the graph) implies a more complex pattern that can transform or control lower level processes. You are likely familiar with the terms "matter" and "energy" from physics and the popular press. The term "information" is used by mathematicians as an abstraction of these physical ideas. Information represents a more fundamental property of nature. Loosely, it corresponds to the consciousness achieved by very advanced yogis and mystics—a state commonly called enlightenment. 

In broad brush, each yogic tradition focuses more on one spatial—and hence neural—aspect (midline – Indian, meridian – Chinese, space – Tibetan). This means that different areas of the brain will light up for different spiritual practices. Modern neuroscience suggests that whole-brain processes (those that integrate activity in multiple areas of the brain) generally relate to higher-level function. Advanced yogic practices aim to cultivate just this state by linking left-brain processes (sequential; referential) with right-brain processes (spatial; physiological; emotional) to garner whole-brain functioning. The result? Emergent—and quite extraordinary—capabilities such as clairvoyance, psychic healing and a raft of other exceptional abilities as documented in the spiritual literature and now being validated with rigorous scientific research.

This just means that successful yogic practice leads one to foundational levels of energy (information; consciousness) where true healing and happiness can occur. Thus, the best medicine for healing the whole person should make use of all the world's wisdom—modern approaches such as western medicine (for acute conditions), traditional eastern medicines (for most chronic conditions) and body-mind-heart-spirit approaches such as traditional yoga.



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Qigong


The essential first step: an outer practice that balances and charges the body's energy.

Qigong has been around for thousands of years. The first recorded evidence to show that the practice was alive and part of Chinese culture dates from the Zhou dynasty in the fourth century B.C.E. Qigong is a form of gentle exercise that can be used for self-health, medical treatment and even spiritual development.

Qigong


The essential first step: an outer practice that balances and charges the body's energy.

Qigong has been around for thousands of years. The first recorded evidence to show that the practice was alive and part of Chinese culture dates from the Zhou dynasty in the fourth century B.C.E. Qigong is a form of gentle exercise that can be used for self-health, medical treatment and even spiritual development.

SELF-HEALTH

 

Flexibility and Vitality

Qigong consists of two words: qi (energy) and gong (skill). Taken together these words suggest a practice oriented towards regulating physiology. And, in fact, qigong is just such an exercise. It consists of gentle movements alternating with some periods of stillness. There are hundreds of styles but they all aim to integrate body movement, breath and thought leading to improved health.

MEDICAL TREATMENT

Adjunct/Primary Treatment

The roots of qigong reach back five thousand years to ancient China. This form originated primarily from early attempts to preserve health and prevent illness. Over the centuries, it evolved as part of Traditional Chinese Medicine. In modern times, western research has validated many of its medical benefits. So much so that this approach is now called Chinese Medical Qigong, a branch of medicine that receives government sponsorship and much research.

SPIRITUAL DEVELOPMENT

Personal/Spiritual Growth

Although qigong had some relation to ancient shamanism, it was first clearly applied for spiritual pursuits in the form of Daoist Qigong which can be traced back to the Qin dynasty (about 220 B.C.E.). The Dao De Jing written during this period laid the foundation for this form of qigong. The aim of Daoist Qigong is the cultivation of health, longevity and spirituality. The most famous exercise from this approach is known in the west as the microcosmic orbit and is a circulation of qi along the midline of both the front and back of the body.



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Jyotish Astrology


The vital second step: the bridge from the astral (lower) to the causal (higher) energy realms is dotted with powerful archetypal patterns that need to be navigated gingerly. Jyotish astrology (from the Hindu tradition) provides the best model for understanding what this path from lower to higher energies looks like and what needs to be done. Once you understand what you are dealing with you can start to apply qigong and other more advanced practices to harmonize these archetypal patterns.

Jyotish Astrology


The vital second step: the bridge from the astral (lower) to the causal (higher) energy realms is dotted with powerful archetypal patterns that need to be navigated gingerly. Jyotish astrology (from the Hindu tradition) provides the best model for understanding what this path from lower to higher energies looks like and what needs to be done. Once you understand what you are dealing with you can start to apply qigong and other more advanced practices to harmonize these archetypal patterns.

What's in a name? Or a chart, for that matter? Here are two charts for a fellow named Ramana Maharshi. Ring a bell? If you recognize the name, then it says heaps and heaps. If you don't recognize the name, then it is likely just some funny foreign sounding name. Just the same way, these two charts provide key vantages in Jyotish for grasping the essential character of a person. If you know some Jyotish and recognize what the circled items stand for then, again, the "name" says a lot. Otherwise, the charts just look like some variant of a skewed tic-tac-toe game.

The goal here is not to get inundated by endless symbols and minutia that can have no practical relevance to anyone outside of an astrologer. Instead, tease out the essential few facts that make all the difference. And run with that.  

So what are the few facts here? The chart on the left indicates that this person has a strong inclination toward spiritual experience and not much else. One-sided drive, for whatever, may not be a good thing for most folks. In this case, though, the chart on the right gives two thumbs up to spiritual quests in any shape or form. And bingo, you have Ramana Maharshi, a great spiritual master from India who lived up through the middle of last century.

Would the outcome be the same if another person were born with the same chart details? Maybe but maybe not. A chart acts as a template for experience. It does not completely determine the details. Here’s where you come in. Free will factors into the equation. 



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Neigong


Inner energy work for the Jyotish archetypes.

Neigong


Inner energy work for the Jyotish archetypes.

neidan yoga — Levels 2 and 3

Daoist practice consists of three stages: weigong ("outer" qigong), neigong ("inner" qigong) and neidan (meditation which amplifies the results of weigong and neigong and takes them one step further by integrating the individual with the cosmic field). The second and third levels of neidan yoga focus primarily on developing neigong skills and then integrating them with Jyotish archetypes of higher energy patterns. So, these two levels of the work lay a foundation for integrating neigong and weigong skills with higher energy patterns. Neidan then picks up the ball and threads these outer and inner qi flows into the cosmic matrix that surrounds and supports us all. In terms of the Daoist model, these levels of neidan yoga include advanced weigong, neigong and the preliminary stages of neidan.



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Neidan


Advanced inner energy work incorporating qigong and neigong along with visualization, devotional practices, pranayama and meditation.

Neidan


Advanced inner energy work incorporating qigong and neigong along with visualization, devotional practices, pranayama and meditation.

The next stage along the spiritual path broaches the waters between self and Self. An example from Tibetan Buddhist practice is vajra breathing, which entails sending prana up the midline and out of the body to greater and greater spheres; in turn, such energy is culled back to the individual so that a rhythmic flow ensues. Progressively, a resonance between little self and Big Self develops which eventually pulls individual consciousness to a higher plane of existence. In terms of the Jyotish star map, the focus now tracks through the astral and mental lokas (levels) (D-9 chart) to the causal loka (heavens of the devas such as Indra; this loka correlates to the galactic center in Sagittarius) (D-27 chart).

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More advanced work (level 5 of neidan yoga) raises the stakes and aims for larger and larger pieces of the cosmic turf (super-galaxies, galaxy filaments, superclusters and quasar groups all the way up to the Hercules-Corona Borealis Great Wall (currently the largest known cosmic structure within the universe). This work covers insurmountably amazing levels of experience and in the Hindu model relates to the higher lokas of the rishis (advanced sages) and purest devas. The related Jyotish varga charts include D-40, D-45 and D-60.



The next step, if you want even more, takes a spiritual seeker to the doorstep of Devi, Herself. That is, the universe itself stands as the final ordinary (physical) metaphor for spiritual progress. And, although many spiritual masters posit that "all One" is the end of the road, most likely it is not. That is, we all are simply part of a much greater universal dynamic system. So, becoming part of the One makes sense and has richness beyond compare. However, to think that our little vantage on Devi captures Her whole being and grace is slightly near-sighted, to say the least.

Throughout all history, humans have modeled nature and judged their model sufficient and complete. It doesn't matter whether the model comes from space ships, savants or simply inspired folks, the best bet would be to take a model—ANY MODEL—with a grain of salt and then just go with the flow. The Daoists say it well, "The Dao that can be named is not the Dao ... Knowing enough to stop when one does not know is perfection."