Jennifer’s Body: Pratyahara

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Meditation

Since nadis are channels, those caught in a cul-de-sac find themselves in a rut that’s virtually impossible to escape. For nadis are like rivers that slowly carve a path into the earth, becoming more and more entrenched with the passage of time. Due to the accumulation of force, redirecting the river requires tremendous effort, something that’s possible only when life itself is threatened, like when a river swells in the wake of a hurricane.

However impossible it may have seemed, this is exactly what Needy accomplished: reclaiming what had once been lost. In killing her Other (the girl whose name began with J but who was really closer to K), she was able to reroute the force that had been stuck. This is also how Needy came to be transformed into someone else.

But where did she find the strength to redirect a river?
And how did she manage to calm Kicker’s force?

Renovation & Restoration

After reaching Makara Point, she’ll notice that the energy previously used to ascend begins to shift. It’ll feel less like a struggle. Instead, it turns into what one teacher calls the process of Renovation & Restoration. From this point on, there’s no turning back, as the subtle body begins to clean itself of the toxins (“dirty water”) behind the deflected rising and which made it so difficult to correct.

This “pollution” consists of mental traces (samskaras) and karmic residues (vasanas). During Renovation & Restoration, each is returned to consciousness. This produces some discomfort, although not as great as the pain that came before. The trick is learning how to act as a witness, to watch them dispassionately – without attraction or repulsion – and simply allow them to float by and unload. According to some, this is when the spiritual life truly begins.

The Witness

This tale – retold from the confines of a prison – provides a portrait of this experience for a girl no longer called Needy and no longer Jennifer’s closest friend. With both merged into a single body, she revisits the haunts of her youth, but this time with a different set of eyes, trying to tread the fine line between being drawn into former passions and being repelled by unwanted reminders of the past.

This is purgatory, not so much due to the fire of suffering than the opportunity to purge. Such is the challenge of detoxification. But that’s not all that’s being accomplished. She’s also rerouting energy from one nadi to another. For in creating a dispassionate relation to ancient triggers and charms, a new path is being created and enforced, one free of the patterns that characterized her former life.

Ancient History

She’ll also find that her work is aided by a digestive fire (tejas) not available to her before. So, while ancient history repeats itself – while old lures and repulsions return to the fore – they’ll no longer exercise the same kind of power. Tejas fortifies her capacity for discernment; it’s also what enables her to declare when the old life has come to an end.

Until now, certain things could only elicit horror, precisely because they were unthinkable. But the increased power of digestion allows her to withstand the unimaginable and, like the rest of the toxins floating by, let it pass without attachment or disgust. This is the way in which the journey  is made from one sheath to another, how the noisiness of mind (manas) comes to be replaced by insight (buddhi), instead.

A Different Source of Light

She’ll also catch glimpses of the light she’d already seen but which is no longer tied to a specific face or form: no longer does it lie behind an unhappy feeling, no longer is it linked to a memory or an absence. Such sightings provide respite from the work of detoxification, offering the kind of comfort and assurance that were never available to her before.

This is how horror comes to be replaced with tranquility. By virtue of reaching Makara Point, she’ll have regular access to what had been elusive or had only came in fits and spurts, tied as it was to the remembrance of another. This “light” is what some traditions call heaven, what others describe as the nectar of the gods (ojas, amrita).

Murder

Transitory sightings of the light are one of the main features of a deflecting rising which comes in one of three forms. Each is usually triggered by an dramatic event, one that generates both agitation and heat. But if the subtle body hasn’t been sufficiently developed, the route that would normally lead to Her goal is bypassed, forcing Her to find another instead.

Saraswati nadi connects the mind (thoughts) at the brain (Sahasrara) with the mind stuff (desires) at Muladhara. … To get relief from the burning sensations and discomfort of this rising, people sometimes resort to alcohol or drugs (making addiction a great risk) or to sexual practices that stimulate Sankhini nadi (e.g., same sex relations), thereby weakening the important link between Muladhara and Sahasrara.
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A rising through Saraswati nadi strains and drains the subtle body system, especially over time. Energetic problems may eventually affect the physical system also. A rising through Saraswati nadi can make the person sensitive to energetic, emotional, and physical difficulties. They may develop environmental or food allergies, atypical immune system difficulties, fatigue, transient pains, eating disorders, and other uncommon and intermittent difficulties that confound standard treatments. Their symptoms are sometimes so odd that they may be accused of attention getting or hypochondriasis.

These difficulties should not be surprising, especially since a rising through Saraswati follows a life trauma or shock. The kind of protection normally provided by apana vayu is corrupted. Instead, it is overwhelmed by the fear brought upon by danger, pain or abuse. In technical terms: samana vayu (at manipura) gets mixed with apana vayu (at muladhara). Which would explain the severe difficulties they are prone to face.

Lead Singer

Also non-culminating is the Vajra nadi, which is used by apana vayu during sexual arousal. But under certain conditions of strong excitement or desire, Prana mixes with Apana in the root rather than the heart. And because Vajra nadi has no linga cap, no granthis or knots, the energy zooms unimpeded without any openings. But because of the brain stimulation that results, special abilities are gained, making those with this experience quite compelling.

In a rising through Vajra nadi, many brain centers are opened, especially in men … This yields some very special talents and possible charisma and paranormal abilities, usually making the person remarkable in some way. The skills may be useful but the rising is not comfortable because it stimulates both ends of Vajra nadi, the brain and the genital. Intelligence and talent with a strong sex drive are the usual result. … Vajra rising people can be marvelously creative and insightful and tragically afflicted with egoism and insatiable desires.
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To assuage the discomfort of the more difficult experiences, the person may turn to substance abuse, sexual indulgence, and other forms of acting out and driven behavior. These behaviors may become habitual coping strategies leading to obsessive-compulsive behaviors and addictions. … Adherence to an ethical code thereby becomes more difficult. They may also become greatly attached to their talent and fall into despair when the muse mysteriously leaves.

The talents and benefits that result from this kind of (deflected) rising are often amazing, even intoxicating, making it easy to become addicted to behaviors that stimulate and inspire. Which is probably why people with Vajra risings have such difficulty changing course, diverting the rising to a different nadi that’s ultimately able to reach Her goal.

Death

A rising through Lakshmi nadi results from a near death experience. Like other deflected risings, it has nothing to do with spiritual practice. Instead, it follows from intense grieving by the spiritually unprepared and the emotionally and mentally unstable. Very little is said or written about this nadi since it’s considered quite dangerous, especially since it’s associated with spontaneous combustion and death. When an out-of-body experience follows a brush with death, the task of re-entering the body is fraught with danger, especially for those who haven’t been taught.

If the person is not spiritually focused and the subtle body is not vitalized, then Kundalini Shakti descends past Vishuddha and leaves the corporal through one of the lower chakras, resulting in death. If, on the other hand, a person undergoing a possible death situation is sufficiently vitalized and their mind is intently focused on the Divine, then Kundalini Shakti will descend no lower than Vishuddha. Thus, the person not only survives but gains a rising to the Throat.

This might be why the idea of resurrection is found the world over, speaking of the possibility of returning from the dead. And while a broken heart might serve as its catalyst, spiritual practice is what ensures reentry and reanimation of the corpse. For only then can the elements be reassembled; only then can the body be remade as a vessel for a life renewed.

Dragon Slayer

Three deflections. Three archetypes. Each with their own set of challenges. If any of them seek to gain a sense of stability, they’ll need to find a way to redirect the deflected rising. Only by finding a nadi that reaches the place She wants to be will everlasting peace be found. In classical texts, She’s described as a coiled serpent “asleep” in her earthly abode; after a deflected rising, She’s said to resemble a fiery dragon, constantly restless, striving for a pathway that will reach Her goal.

Diversion requires strengthening the subtle body and the vayus (pranas) that animate the body’s sheaths. Each vayu serves a vital function, each associated with an element and the vortex of energy with which it’s paired. Once She’s diverted, each aids in Her ascension until She reaches the Makara Point at which point the agitated oscillating finally comes to an end.

Three locks (bandhas) must be engaged to facilitate this upward movement, much like the locks used to move boats and ships through a canal or waterway. The first is located at the root, the second at the diaphragm, the third at the neck. When properly engaged, a sort of hydraulic pressure is created, directing Her toward the crown of the head.

On the Cusp

The diversion point for those caught in Saraswati is just below Manipura. But before this can be achieved, three knots (granthis) in Saraswati need to be broken. The first is the Brahma Granthi, already broken by virtue of Her deflected rising, leaving the second (Vishnu Granthi) and the third (Rudra Granthi) still to be breached. Until then, each will restrict her movement and frustrate progress toward Her goal. There may be a toxic plug at the throat that needs to be cleared, as well.

Those caught in Vajra should be diverted to Sushumna at Muladhara which will present its own set of challenges. Whereas Vajra was free of blocks and obstacles, allowing energy to oscillate freely and with great speed, in Sushumna three caps (lingas) must be pierced. These are located at the root, the heart, and the brow. As with any other rising, care must be taken against the lure of special talents and abilities, as these deplete the subtle body of the energy needed to ascend.

Strictly speaking, those caught in Lakshmi do not require a diversion since they’re faced with the task of re-entering and re-animating a corpse that was left for dead. And while the (broken) heart was the place of residence prior to entering the astral plane, great care must be taken when returning, descending no lower than the throat. If there was no rising prior to the traumatic experience, the phase of Restoration & Renovation will be extended, since more time will be needed to remove accumulated toxins that had not been cleared.

Learning to Rise

To assist with these redirected risings, each of the (five) vayus confronts a polarity that needs to be balanced, usually evident in the kind of obstacles and challenges that we face.

At the level of the root, the prevailing theme is survival. Imbalances are often seen in the bully/predator and the feeble victim, tendencies that may be found in human relationships and within oneself. The sacred warrior, grounded and assured, provides a resolution to this split. The next level, concerned with passion and desire, is defined by the poles of repression and permissiveness, where the puritan and the hedonist present exaggerated relations to pleasure. Resolution at this level is often represented in the form of an androgynous deity.

At the level of the navel, the prevailing theme is control and power. Polar extremes manifest as Type A workaholics, on the one hand, and hapless underachievers, on the other. Each represents an unresolved relation to power. Diaphragmatic breathing is said to assist both types since beneath their relation to power lie repressed (and armored) emotions that have calcified over time. At the level of the heart, the extreme positions are represented by the “helper” who over-identifies with the pain of others and the person who’s so self-involved that others’ needs are unrecognized and ignored. Resolution at this level is represented by compassion, evident in healers able to recognize their own limitations while caring for those who are wounded and lost.

The level of the throat deals with issues of creativity and receptivity, inspiration and joy. One kind of imbalance is evident in those who indulge in fantasy and superstition, often projecting their ideal of perfection onto another; at the other end are cynics and skeptics who are creatively blocked, unable to concede that the literal view of the world may also be their prison. Those who are able to find balance at this level gain their first taste of mystical experience, surrounded by a newfound abundance, nourished by silence and the sacred word.

And above the throat?
There lies the great gateway to liberation.

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~ by mistified on May 17, 2012.

3 Responses to “Jennifer’s Body: Pratyahara”

  1. Tell me about vajra rising

  2. i am not amazed. i have had gone through such an experience. thanks for sharing.

  3. Your descriptions were amazingly well put. Too many describe these processes in too much detailed terminology or too vaguely.

    Thank you!

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