Holos: The Nine Limbed Torus

getPartIn our on going explorations in embodying Sacred Geometry, we continually cycle back to the torus, and the corresponding torroidal field, one of the primary patterns of cosmic creation. It is time to add a whole new level of torroidal intelligence to our somatic journey, and to do so, we will bring in my ‘across the street in Ojai’ neighbor Brian Berman, and what he is calling a HOLOS, a symbol for one humanity.

Brian, a spiritually awakened sculptor and peace activist, had an inspirational vision in 2012. It began as the illusion of his separate self dissolving into wholeness, emptiness and deep silence. Only Being/Knowing. Then a thought arose as a spark on energy that then dissolved back into the silence. Then another. Forms coming and going. Then, an image of a torus appeared, emerging from his heart as strands of energy spiraling out from stillness, and then spiraling back into the infinite stillness at the core of his heart. He recognized at once that the torus was a symbol of unity, of many linked as one, rooted in the infinite. From his many years as a peace activist, he realized the possibility of using this image as an international unifying symbol for all engaged in bringing peace to the world. And it did not hurt that, while on a 2014 pilgrimage to Ramana Maharshi’s ashram in Tiruvannamalai, India inquiring about using art in a spiritual way, he got a clear ‘bring this into the world’ message. HOLOS-9Star-150x150

The center of the Holos represents the infinite, wholeness, stillness and silence, the Source of all creation. The nine spirals represent the emergence of any and all forms, from atoms to galaxies, and everything in between. Think of the holos as a three dimensional expression of the pranavah, the sacred syllable ‘OM’. The nine spirals can be seen as linking three equilateral triangles, each of the 9 apices being 40 degrees apart on the circle. Nine is composed of a trinity of trinities. According to Michael Schneider in ‘The Beginners’ Guide to Constructing the Universe” “nine is considered thrice sacred and most holy, representing perfection, balance and order, the supreme superlative.”

HOLOS-5-270x180We are going to take this unique torus and use it to help clear out the chakras and invite it to provide an organizing intelligence for the water and collagen molecules in the Living Matrix of the body. Finding and differentiating the nine strands may take a while, but we are all in this for the long haul, so be patient. Consider this like the Vajrayana Buddhist practice of mandala visualization meditation. Much to be revealed in the future as we play with this!

In any comfortable sitting pose, align yourself with heaven and earth and bring your attention to your heart center. Feel the spherical volume, above/below, front/back, right/left, alive, fluid, spacious. Now convert the sphere to a torus, opening the center like in a bagel, so now the center is emptiness. Stay open to heaven and earth and stillness BKS padmasanaand begin to notice how the tissue in the heart region is responding. In the holos, ascending energies move clockwise and descending energies move counterclockwise. Let the field and your imagination do the work. Try not to help muscularly. Find where your energy field is weak or distorted, or overworking. (My right posterior quadrant is challenged). Now imagine the limbs differentiating, lengthening or spiraling to help create space. Visualize the empty space between the solid limbs of the holos. Feel it from above and below as in the very top picture. Try moving it around; up and down, right and left, forward and backward. What does this do to your feeling?

If we combine the holos with a hoberman sphere, we can expand and condense both the empty center space, as well as the nine spiraling lines, in a gyroscope like action. This action really awakens new Unknownpossibilities in the holos. Feel how the centrifugal expansion increase space between the lines as they rotate outward. Feel the spirals rippling through the fluids and tissues as the chakra line stabilizes. Same with condensing centripetal action. For most of us, the heart space (prana vayu) needs more expanding and the belly space (apana) needs more condensing.

The well known sacred geometer extraordinaire, B.K.S. Iyengar, (how many different triangles can you find in this trikonasana?) describes this phenomenon in “Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali”, in his commentary to sutra II-46: “Conative action is the exertion of the organs of action. Cognitive action is the perception of the results of that action. When the two are fused together, the discriminative faculty ofiyengaintrikonasansa_000 the mind acts to guide the organs of action and perception to perform the asans more correctly; the rhythmic flow of energy and awareness is experienced evenly and without interruption, both centripetally and centrifugally throughout the channels of the body. A pure state of joy is felt in the cells and the mind. (For a deeper discussion of this, seeĀ  Samyama in Asana.)

The holos field is a fractal, so it can be found all over the body. Imagine it to help to open any place that feels restricted.IMG_8006 Take it into your limbs, head and tail until it finds its place. The center is always stillness and the energies emerge and dissolve again and again, moment to moment, day by day. Take time to help the larger field and the mini fields also, stabilize. Find the patterns in any pose, at any time. Let them settle and stabilize. No hurry, no worries.

Grounding: Lessons from the Muladhara

photo 2Now that we have landed in Ojai and are starting to grow some permanent (?) roots here, the muladhara, source of all rooting, has begun to reveal many new layers and levels of meaning to me.

There is something about mountains that is very grounding. They announce ‘stable presence’ quietly and elegantly. This view looking north from our front yard shows the Nordoff Ridge, an extension of the Topatopa Mountains, the range that gives the Ojai valley such a powerful spiritual energy. The region provides a habitat for thousands of species of living beings, including us newcomers, the humans. The Topatopas may be 15 -20 million years old, as they were formed as a result of the Pacific Plate first colliding with the North American Plate 20 – 25 million years ago. The collision is still taking place, of course, so even here, stability is relative. Tadasana, mountain pose, is the yogic expression of rootsimages and rooting, and the foundation for all standing asanas. Here the legs, an extension of the muladhara, are trained to channel energy from the body to the core of Mother Earth and back again, like the two prongs of an electrical plug. How, in our lives, can we be a stable presence, as life passes through us in waves of change and transformation?

Trees are masters of grounding. Quercus agrifolia, the California Coastal Oak, is the dominant tree hear in the ‘Arbolada’ section of Ojai. This beauty, just by our front door, is but one of aphoto 4 dozen on the land, and is easily over 100 years old. Because of the Mediterranean climate here in California, the coastal oaks need a deep root system that often mirrors the canopy. I am surrounded by my teachers as I sit here typing away and I feel their presence. They are very patient, stable and mature, and also provide homes for the local birds and tree squirrels. They inhabit the land with grace and elegance, and invite others to join. The oak trees told Kate that this was to be our habitat when she first saw the property several years ago. How can we allow this precious gift of a human body become a safe haven and place of nurturance for the other beings who share our space?

Now, we have have only been here a few weeks, so our roots are not quite as deep as the Topatopas or the oaks, but the sage plants you see above have been in place for only a few months themselves. Like us, they are new to the neighborhood, and also need a lot of nurturing while their roots are getting established. Once settled in they will be quite self sufficient, but for now they need to be watched and watered. What aspects of ourselves need special treatment these days, to help their roots to become strong?

imgres-1In our asana practice, what does it mean to ‘ground’ this human body we have inherited? What does it mean to inhabit it, to invite in new forms of aliveness, to help it thrive? We can answer this from the three levels of embodiment we have been exploring, structure, energy and fields.

Structure

The structure is simple on the surface. Can we allow the weight of the body to be carried effortlessly by the legs, from pelvis to toes? Every bone, every joint, every muscle and collagen fiber has a role to play. Standing poses are the teachers. They request and teach strength and flexibility, power and elasticity.

As we have inherited our feet from our imgres-2mammalian and reptilian ancestors, the use of the tarsal bones, especially the talus, navicular and cuboid to transfer weight and integrate movement is crucial. (Remember, the heel bones are secondary when it comes to grounding the energy flow. Quadriped’s heels never touch the ground.) Can we fully inhabit our feet so we can feel and move every bone and joint? Can we open the energy channels of the heel bones without jamming the ankle joints, or losing the grounding through the tarsals – metatarsals – phalanges? Grounding is not necessarily weight bearing. Old injuries of course inhibit free flow, but life finds ways around the injuries if we can only slow down and explore the subtleties. Hands on help, self administered, or from a friend or somatic practitioner can nurture the bony pathways into more life and flow. Nurturing the roots is always a good thing.

image01On the structural plane, we also have our old friend, the Deep Front Line, from Tom Myers’ Anatomy Trains, as a fascial highway of perception and action, of monitoring and modulating the energy and information flow. As best possible, feel the DFL as a continuous elastic band that can shorten and lengthen as the demands of posture and movement change. When we explore the ‘drop and glide’ in a few minutes, this is the highway we want to travel.

Energy

From the energetic perspective, can our legs channel energy like a river flows into the sea. Can we find flow from core to feet and back again? Can our legs become one with the whole body, including head and hands, and not just appendages that hang out or hold on in unnecessary tension? iyengaintrikonasansa_000How would your cells ‘feel’ if your trikonasana looked like this? Can the leg energy liberate the spinal column, so it regains the freedom of a fish in water?

Here, imagining a new tail can be very liberating. There are three energy channels emanating downward from the muladhara: leg, leg and tail. Humans have long legsimages-10 and tiny tails and that is very confusing to them. The tail energy disappears early on in development, when the anal rooting reflex is no longer being utilized for stability. But infants and toddlers are really good at using the tail energy for staying connected to Mother Earth while being engaged in activity. Adults can use the leg energy, as well as imagination, to awaken the tail aspect of the muladhara. We will use this simple movement exploration to help find this, and also open up the fields.

Fields

“Drop and Glide, or “Load and Lengthen”

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To work from the field level, we will add the chakras in the ‘drop and glide, load and lengthen’ movements we have worked on before. One foot/leg grounds with weight as the other lengthens down and out, like a skaters action. Complete the action through the inner back heel, which has a direct link to the tail energy, through the floor, and on to infinity. Do not stop or block the flow when it meets the floor. Follow the energy through the DFL. Because this is a bi-lateral action, we will be feeling the side dimensions of the chakras, and also the posterior, as there is a slight backwards components also. There is a lot of tension and resistance in the structural components here, so awakening the field energy will eliminate a lot of unnecessary strain.

By chakra field, I am referring to all of the energies emanating from that particular chakra. They all overlap, of course, but like colors in the rainbow or notes in a chord of music, each chakra can be differentiated, as can the layers of energy associated with each 299x299xroot-chakra.jpg.pagespeed.ic.kzsncA0sKmchakra. As somanauts, we utilize movement to awaken the fields, but we also have to open our lens to resonate with the other possible dimensions. As well as grounded movement, the muladhara is associated with the color red, the sense of smell, the element earth, the physiological function of defecation, survival at the most primal, organismic level. The four petals surrounding the square at the center represent the four cardinal directions. The downward pointing triangle shows the direction of the energy flow. According to tantra, the muladhara’s associated animal is the elephant, the deity, Ganesh. Lots going on here! Have some fun with this.

From tadasana, shift your weight onto one foot (load) and bend the opposite knee to the chest. Lengthen from the 1st chakra field/space as you extend down, back and slightly sideways, in a curving path of grounding energy. Open the tail, legs, pelvis and sacrum. Find space and flow. Imagine the chakra energies are like cars waiting at a traffic light. The ground is across the intersection. When the light turns green, make sure the intersection is clear of tension (relax!) and release the 1st chakra energy down the DFL. The 2nd chakra is the second car, etc. Each car has to wait for the one in front to move. A healthy car length between is good. Make sure they all travel at the same relative speed so there are no fender benders inside. If there are obstructions, slow down, work more subtley. The habit is to fight from the knots at the structural level. Resist this patiently and calmly. Stay in the field level and melt the tension.

Return to tadasana and repeat from 2nd chakra, and then from each subsequent one up through 7. images-10ChangeĀ  legs and repeat. Or, as an alternative, do 1st chakra both legs, then 2nd chakra both legs, etc. Clear out the channels as best possible. Every chakra needs grounding, just as every part of a plant needs connections to Mother Earth through its root system.

You can also recreate this in ardha chandrasana or one legged dog pose. In the classical standing poses, you do this energetically, once you are in the posture; back leg, front leg, and then both, grounding each chakra as best possible. Many of our chakras have weak root systems and need lots of nurturing. The chakras fields are loaded with memories, emotions and stored traumas, as well as light and healing energies. Grounding is an important part of their healing and the integration of the whole.

This is an open ended mystery that we are just beginning to awaken to. And for some more fun, check out ‘our new friend from Ojai’ Meredith’s short video on sacred geometry and sciatica. She is a delightful person with a visionary sense of somatics.

http://neuralresonance.kajabi.com/funnel_events/36288-sciatica-segment?pt=z19cFmvGmEJEt9vl253J&art=http://www.kajabi.com/admin/funnels/23963

Krishnamurti on ‘Understanding’

imgresSpiritual teachers have the delightful challenge of trying to articulate the ‘(already I’m in trouble here!) inarticulable. There is general agreement on the two points of view available to the human consciousness, although the words used to point to these two vary. For the overwhelming majority of humanity, the dominant, and perhaps only point of view is that of limitation and impermanence. This is the world of forms. All forms are inherently limited and impermanent, whether we are referring to a thought or a galaxy. In this ‘world’, our self sense is composed of pieces: ideas, beliefs, memories, likes and dislikes. There is never stability or peace of mind for me as everything that is ‘me’ is constantly shifting. We can struggle and fight to hold on to something, trying to keep this ‘self’ intact. We build grand edifices out of beliefs and philosophies, we align ourselves with religions, political parties or cults, trying to find our ‘self’. But in the end, these edifices are castles of sand. Finding our ‘self’ here a hopeless proposition, but one we cling to lifetime after lifetime.

On the other hand, it is possible to ‘see’ the world from the eyes of wholeness, where absolute silence and stillness echo through eternity as all forms arise and dissolve in their own time. This is the Absolute, Buddha Nature, Brahman. Here, the “I am” rests in its own wholeness, with no separation, no division, no other. “Tada drashtuh svarupe avasthanam” says Patanjali. There is no struggle to become, or to self-improve. The Self is already whole and complete. This does not mean that life, in the world of form is without challenges and struggles. To embody this teaching in the world of form with death and disease, is difficult. But we do not have to make the innate difficulties ‘personal’. They are not about ‘me’. They are just as aspect of being alive, in this body, on this planet, in this moment. We feel, we act, we learn, and we keep moving along. Or more accurately, life just keeps flowing through us, as the forms come and go.

In the following quote from “The World Within” , reprinted from the current edition of the Krishnamurti Foundation of America newsletter, Krishnamurti uses “Understanding’ to point to the realization of “Unbounded Wholeness” and describes the human struggle to ‘recognize’ this.

“Understanding is not to be gained eventually, in the distant end. That which is not understood continues, and that which is understood ceases to be. Understanding is not accumulative; there is no experiencer who understands. What is incomplete remains as a 1987memory, giving continuance to identity, to the ‘me’ and the ‘mine’. That which is understood and completed ceases to be, as it does not leave traces, memory. Understanding can exist only where there is freedom, not where there is bondage, not when the mind is crowded with memory. The end, the goal makes for and strengthens memory, and memory or accumulated experience does not bring about understanding. Accumulation creates a self-enclosing centre, separative, exclusive, and what is enclosed is never free, and so the experiencer can never understand. The experiencer is ever experiencing, and so the experiencer is ever incomplete. He can never understand, for understanding lies in freedom.

How can there be surety, certainty in freedom? That which is free, immeasurable, is beyond all comparison; it is beyond and above all opposites. He who is uncertain craves for certainty, but is not all existence uncertain, insecure? Death, disease, old age is upon us, which creates impermanency; yet we seek certainty in the impermanent. In death, in decay, in the transient we seek surety. How blind we are!

IMG_8867“But we must surely live in this world. Who will give us our daily bread?”

In seeking the Real, bread will be supplied; but if we seek only bread, then even that will be destroyed. Bread is not the ultimate value; when we make it into the ultimate, there is disaster, there is murder, there is starvation.

Through the transient seek the eternal. There is no path to it, for it is ever-present.”