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Balance vs. Harmony Point

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This series of articles combines many different approaches to meditation into a single framework for attaining mindfulness and transcendence. Last time we covered a simple yoga meditation that anyone can do to experience the differences between poses, balance, and Harmony Point. It showed how increasing awareness changes your place of balance.

It is this progression of balance to Harmony Point that is the common essence of meditation. It’s about increasing awareness to find a better place of balance. Harmony Point is the idealized state of balance that results from perfect awareness:

Harmony Point = Balance, plus Awareness

Increasing Awareness

Increasing awareness is a common goal among meditative traditions. In prior meditations, we accomplished it by using scanning. In the yoga meditation, we used sequential scanning (which is better for discovering unknowns), and in the hearing meditation, we used intensity based scanning (which is better for exploring knowns).

Today we’ll combine these two approaches to rapidly scan our entire physical body.

Advanced Scanning

Just like every yoga pose has an idealized place of balance, every place of balance has an idealized Harmony Point. To find it, we’ll add movement to our prior yoga meditation, targeting interim poses that are 2-3 inches apart. Then for each of these interim poses, we’ll increase awareness and find a new, better place of balance …

Advanced Scanning Meditation

  1. Complete the prior Yoga Meditation
  2. Choose a targeted yoga pose, transition, or stretch.  (i.e. seated side stretch)
  3. Move your current pose 2-3 inches closer to your targeted pose
  4. Using Single Point Awareness, shift your focus up and down and across your body.
  5. Whenever you encounter a point of discomfort, focus on the discomfort, and explore how that point is affected by physical micro-movements (twist and rotate, stretch and compress, rock front to back/side to side, etc.)
  6. If these movements create discomfort in other parts of your body, move your focus there, and repeat step 5
  7. Once you have explored all points of discomfort, return to wherever you left off in your scanning.
  8. Repeat steps 3-7 until your transition to the targeted pose is complete.
  9. Return to your meditative yoga pose, and find your balance using the string through the top of your head.
  10. Anchor your state using expanded breathing.

At this point, you have combined sequential and intensity based scanning to increase awareness of your entire body. As part of a regular routine, varying these poses and stretches/transitions will help you to quickly attain total body awareness. It’s also a great way to prepare for the mental, emotional, and spiritual scanning that comes next.

Until next time …

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Yoga Based Meditation

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In this series of articles, we have covered connections between the many different approaches to meditation, and higher states of consciousness.  As previously described, most traditions do *not* teach their followers how to attain transcendence.  Instead, they target interim destinations that can lead to transcendence.

One tradition that highlights this spectrum is yoga.  Historically, yoga has included physical, mental, and spiritual practices.  Today in the west, we often find yoga that primarily focuses on poses and postures (asanas).  Some of the more meditative versions include a focus on breathing and/or balance.  What’s missing, however, is a comprehensive approach to the state known as “samadhi” (aka The Harmony Point)

What follows is a simple yoga meditation that highlights these differences.  From poses and posture, to balance, and beyond …

A Yoga Meditation

  1. Enter a seated meditative position (like siddhasana).
  2. Close your eyes, and focus on attaining your targeted posture.
  3. Reset your breathing using the breathing meditation.
    ==
    —-> This is pose-focused yoga
    ==
  4. Imagine a string is attached to the very top of your head, and is pulling your head upward.
  5. Remembering the string’s pull on your head, rock forward and backward, then side to side.
  6. Focusing on your targeted posture, find that place of balance.
  7. Repeat steps 5 & 6 until your targeted posture stabilizes.
  8. Anchor your state using expanded breathing.
    ==
    —-> This is balance-focused yoga
    ==
  9. Focus where your skull meets your first vertebrae, and wobble your head.
    Wobbling entails movement through all Six Degrees of Body Movement
  10. Stop wobbling, and allow your head to find its new place of balance.
  11. Remembering the string’s pull on your head, move your focus to the next vertebrae.
  12. Wobble this vertebrae, moving other parts of your body as required to target the correct location.
    If your attention is drawn to other sensations, for today’s meditation, fully observe and acknowledge the sensation, then return to the vertebrae last visited and continue.
  13. Stop wobbling, and allow the vertebrae to find balance with its immediate neighbors.
  14. Continue steps 11 through 13, until you’ve reached the base of your spine.
  15. Remembering the string’s pull on your head, wobble your entire spine.
  16. Allow each vertebrae to find balance with its immediate neighbors.
  17. Focusing on your targeted posture, find that place of balance.
  18. Repeat steps 15-17 until your targeted posture stabilizes.
  19. Anchor your state using expanded breathing.
    ==
    —->  This is a Harmony Point
    ==

At this point, you have just used Single Point Awareness and sequential scanning to reset your spine, and become more aware of your physical attention seekers.  In future meditations, you can use different yoga poses, transitions, and/or scanning sequences to become more aware of hidden attention seekers (see HarmonyPointYoga.com).

Then, just like in traditional yoga, once the Physical Harmony Point is attained, you’ll be ready to move into the mental and spiritual realms.  Until next time …

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The Physical Harmony Point

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So far in this series, we’ve covered two meditations that can “reset” your breathing and hearing awareness-es.  Today, we’ll learn more about resets in general, and the two types of scanning that can be useful.  This will prepare us for next time, when we’ll learn a new meditation that can reset your remaining bodily sensations.

The Physical Harmony Point

The Physical Harmony Point is that place where you are scanning all of your bodily sensations, but perceiving nothing.  Think of it as minor version of The Harmony Point, one that only applies to the physical realm.  As this highlights, every realm has its own Harmony Point, all subsets of “The Harmony Point.”

And each realm has subsets of its own.  For example, the result of our breathing meditation is a Breathing Harmony Point, the result of our hearing meditation is a Hearing Harmony Point, and the result of using the MindVizor is a Seeing Harmony Point.

Sequential Scanning

Our hearing meditation uses a scanning approach that’s “based on the intensity of the distraction.”  While this works great for hearing, sometimes it can be helpful to use the “sequential order” scanning approach instead.  This is especially true for things that have fallen out of awareness, and are now accepted as normal.

These are the attention-seekers we ignore because they’ve been there for so long.  In the physical realm, they show up as chronic pain, limited mobility, and distorted posture.  In the mental and emotional realms, they show up as emotional pain, confusion, irrational thoughts and reactive behavior.  Either way, these are typically the result of scars and disease.

In our next meditation, we’ll use sequential scanning to find these hidden attention-seekers in the physical realm, bring them into awareness, then reset them.  And because these techniques work across realms, in future editions, we’ll learn how to apply these same techniques to the mental and emotional realms.

Resetting Physical Attention Seekers

To reset our breathing, we expanded and contracted our breath beyond everyday experience, then let it return to its natural state.  To reset our physical attention-seekers, we’re going to do the same thing to individual points on our body, in a sequential progression.  Instead of simple expansion and contraction, however, we will move our body across 3 axis:

6 Degrees of Body Movement
6 Degrees of Body Movement

Scar Tissue and Disease

Inevitably, as you progress through certain body movements, you will encounter some pain and distress.  These are usually signs of scar tissue or disease.  When targeting the Physical Harmony Point, you’ll just want to become aware of those pains, and how they are affected through movements around that point of awareness.  (in future editions, we’ll cover pain specific meditations)

Yoga and Meditation

Historically, yoga has been used to attain the meditative state know as “Samadhi.”  We call it The Harmony Point.  Newer flavors of yoga have lost this connection, and instead stress other things like heat, or hanging, etc.  Next time, we’ll bring these trends together, as we cover a yoga-based meditation that can help you attain the Physical Harmony Point …

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The Silence, The Quiet, and The Harmony Point

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Many meditative traditions use terms like “The Silence” or “The Quiet” to describe that special brain state that can lead to transcendent experiences.  Because these terms can have inconsistent meanings and applications, we prefer the term “The Harmony Point,” and use it exclusively in our map of consciousness.

Today, we’ll explore this in more detail, and illustrate why this is important.

The Silence vs. The Quiet

By common definition, silence is the complete absence of sound.  While this may be desirable for meditative purposes, it’s somewhat hard to achieve in practice.  You don’t always have a cave, cathedral, or floatation tank around when you need one.  And even when you find yourself in the quietest place, you’ll suddenly notice sounds you simply can’t avoid:  the sound of your breathing, the beating of your heart, the subtlest of background noises.

The Silence as it is typically described, however, matches another state that’s more accurately known as The Quiet.  That is the state of consciousness where, when listening as hard as you can, you aren’t hearing anything new.  It can be achieved through this simple hearing meditation:

A Hearing Meditation

  • Enter a meditative posture
  • Complete a short breathing meditation
  • With eyes closed, listen for something occurring in your surroundings.
  • Acknowledge the sound, then listen for something else occurring in your surroundings.
  • Repeat this process, until all sounds in your environment have been heard and acknowledged.
  • Keep focused on listening, even when you aren’t hearing anything new.

You have just entered The Quiet.  It is that place where all hearing attention-seekers have been quieted, and you are at peace, listening but hearing nothing.

The Harmony Point

What The Quiet is to sound, The Harmony Point is to everything in your awareness.  Instead of just listening for sounds, you scan every sense in your body, every thought in your head, and every emotion in your heart.  It is that place where all attention-seekers –across all realms– have been stilled.  You are at peace, scanning everything but perceiving nothing.

While it may seem overwhelming to attain, we have already covered everything needed to get there.  The breathing and hearing meditations have taught you how to use Single Point Awareness (SPA) and Scanning to find and silence attention seekers.  All that remains is to apply these concepts in a systematic way, and you’ll be on your way to attaining The Harmony Point.

Until next time …

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Meditation Made Easy

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After comparing many world traditions, we now have a simple map of consciousness with just two targeted brain states.  While each tradition has its own terminology, these states can generically be called a “focused” state, and the “silence” state.  In our map, we call them Single Point Awareness (SPA) and The Harmony Point (THP) respectively.

Last time, we covered a simple breathing technique that anyone can use to easily reach SPA.  Today, we’ll put it all together into a simple approach to meditation that is easy to do, and produces fast and noticeable results.

Before we do, let’s define meditation:

Meditation is a practice that helps you become more aware of your body, mind and spirit.  It is also a practice that helps you attain “the silence,” the place where higher states of consciousness become more accessible.

Meditation Made Easy

Think of meditation as a series of mental workouts that allow you to take control of your mind.  Harmony Point Meditation is a systematic approach that uses Single Point Awareness (SPA) to gain control over the distractions that are competing for your attention.  We call these distractions “attention seekers,” and we call this systematic approach “scanning.”

Scanning

Scanning is simply the process of moving your Single Point Awareness (SPA) from one attention seeker to the next in an orderly way, and resetting each of them as you go.  The two main ways of scanning are 1) in a sequential order, or 2) based on the intensity of the distraction.

This process of scanning and resetting attention seekers is consistent across all realms.  In other words, once you learn how to use SPA to reset your breathing, it can be used to reset the rest of your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual distractions as well.

Harmony Point Meditation

  1. Enter into SPA with your breathing, and reset it.
  2. Scan for bodily attention seekers, and reset them using SPA.
  3. Scan for mental attention seekers, and reset them using SPA.
  4. Scan for emotional attention seekers, and reset them using SPA.
  5. Scan for spiritual attention seekers, and reset them using SPA.
  6. Enter The Harmony Point (THP).

Now, there are too many attention seekers to go through them all every time you meditate.  Instead, spend a fixed amount of time within each realm.  For example, start with breathing, then spend 5 minutes per realm, ending your session attempting to achieve the “silence” (THP).  Then, every time you meditate, you can pursue a different set of attention seekers within each realm.

Using this approach, you’ll quickly gain control over all of your thoughts, feelings, emotions and actions.  And with practice, you’ll gain access to THP as well.

Harmony Point Yoga

Just like our simple breathing meditation is an easy way to learn SPA, Harmony Point Yoga is an easy way to learn scanning.  In this case, we use standard yoga poses and special transitions to focus in on a series of body parts, and reset them along the way.

Next time, we’ll explore these concepts in more detail, and explain how they are related to mindfulness.