Cheshire Cat

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About Cheshire Cat

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  1. No more right-wing bullshit.

    I'm not a US citizen, how do I know if I'm leftist enough according to this new rule?
  2. Question about breath retention

    I don't resonate with Ramana Maharishi and I don't practice his teachings, but I think that the logic of this instruction is to avoid a state of passive repetition, a condition that it's very frequent in which the practitioner uses a portion of his mind to repeat a mantra, while the rest of the brain ponder its own things. Under those conditions, the rhythm empowers distracting thoughts. I don' think that to adopt a melody could fix that. Also, I believe that to reach a platform of fullfilment in compassion and love (which partially correspond to a peculiar inner activity of some nerves in the chest region) doesn't require the adoption of a specific philosophy that theorizes about the self. Although, it may surely help to believe not to be a material body and thus achieve a degree of detachment. The idea is to practice long enough calming thoughts with rhythms and eventually things will develop by themselves. For example, think about novice bushmen healers who have distinct feeling of "power"to fight the disease... and elder healers who talk about compassion from the gods and the ancestors, not really about fighting, but love. Refinement takes time. I believe that some "winds" that travels the spine play a role in all of this and they're influenced by sexual energy. I can't say very much about the "practical" differences between using faster rhythms and slower rhythms because I don t know. I think that, in the long run anything will do to quiet the mind, but ideally samadhi should help the practitioner to "forget" about his physical body and I've found fast rhythms to promote lucid dreaming, oobes and the kind of things in which one starts to lightly detach from a material self. Also, the sudden appearances of "whirling sensations" during meditation lead to the direction of going beyond the body. I believe that the perception of a physical self is a kind of big, unquietable energy-consuming composite thought that requires specific sleep-wake rhythms to be pacified temporarily (and don't kill us) ... Basically, I try to go in the direction of quieting all of the subtle thoughts that tend to persist in quietude and detach from the idea of having a body... unless someday I find some secrets of immortality and rejuvenation in quietude, then I'll be ok with having subtle thoughts
  3. Question about breath retention

    I agree that rhythm and melody are not strictly the same, but still the repetition of the same melody over and over constitutes a rhythm. You can think for example, of the popular mantra Hare Krishna: devotees are often fascinated by how easily this mantra can be held within the mind and they attribute some supernatural power to it. This mantra has rhythmic qualities of simmetry that the human brain respond to... and - this is more esoteric- it confers a certain power to human thought: India is full of stories of sadhus, gods and demigods who achieved supernatural power with the repetition of secret mantras. As for melody itself, I believe that - in some inexplicable way- it comes directly from some basic rhythm. It's born with simmetry and it has repetitive components. It just appears in consciousness. When I run in the forest, I meditate on the rhythm produced by the regularity of my steps: at first I have the disappearance of extraneous thoughts, but later some mysterious spontaneous melody comes to my hears and it substitutes the raw rhythm I was focusing on. There are no intentions of changing a rhythm for a melody: it happens spontaneously and it retains the repetitive quality of a sublimated rhythm. I believe that Beethoven received a lot of melodies with a similar exercise of meditation on rhythm while walking. When a melody is born out of a mental rhythm, the human brain loves it immediately: think again about the popular Beethoven melodies "Fur Elise" or "Moonlight sonata". You love them from the first time. But I think that elaborate Rhythms can be applied to any sequence of sounds to transform them into melodies in the brain on the listener. Can skip the first 3 minutes I'm not talking about how reality works according to some model. This is just how the brain works in meditation: it responds to rhythms (mantras, breath, visualizations, etc...), it produces rhythms (circadian rhythm, sleep cycles, etc...) and when the rhythm is fast enough, there's the perception of emptiness. The stability of one-pointedness is a fast rhythm: there's a tantric visualization trick to achieve stability and that is to imagine a point of light pulsating, flickering at a very fast rhythm.
  4. Question about breath retention

    It's possible that according to your philosophy reality is everfresh, evernew and that there's no repetition ... but your brain couldn't care less. The fact that you can tap the tempo of a metronome almost spontaneously... while a monkey could do that only after extensive trainings, is a clue. Also, consider how shamans use rhythm to alter their consciousness... Or think about the rhythmic shaking of bushmen healers. Human brains react very peculiarly to rhythms: try to Google "rhythm neuroscience" and you may find very interesting articles. This is a very interesting exercise
  5. Question about breath retention

    I'm glad that your meditation is going in a positive direction and although I'm not sure to understand completely your terminology, I feel that this might actually be an improvement of the actual anapanasati. It just doesn't work that good for me because I'm used to faster rhytms than breathing to get samadhi, but I feel that it's an excellent method. I would be interested to know about its effects on health and longevity. Also, I'm not sure about what a thoughtform is because when I experience thoughts in meditation, I can't locate them in my body. This seems to be quite an exercise in visualization. The rhytmic component is the repetition of the same visualizations over and over.
  6. Question about breath retention

    My main excuse is that I literally can't understand the descriptions of the method that you're using for your meditations. Apart from a general idea on focus awareness on various respiratory muscles and functions to make breathing "deeper" (which - in my personal case and subjective experience- is one of the lesser effective meditation method I've ever tried), I've no idea of what it is, but I guess there's a rhythmic component to it. Have you heard of the I AM HEART meditation method of Puran and Suzanne Bair? They teach to combine heartbeat with breathing in different ways. I quote from Wikipedia When one strains to increase the flow of urine, it stimulates the vagus nerve(usually more pronounced in elderly men with large prostates). The vagus nerve stimulus causes slowing down of the heart (bradycardia) and a drop in blood pressure. The heart cannot perform effectively as a pump because insufficient blood comes to it.
  7. Question about breath retention

    There is a number of vagal maneuvers which activate the parasympathetic nervous system and slow down the heart and promote relaxation with other things. For example, even the act of urination can provoke sudden collapse in certain subjects because it activates the vagus nerve. Regarding the feats of breath retention, they can be achieved with greater efficacy by breathing pure O2 as a preparation for diving (record is about 20 minutes, if I remember correctly) . The deep fast breathing produce a similar effect, but with more modest results. I don't think that those things hold any particular importance in meditation solely for the fact that they can be combined to achieve some states of relaxation. I believe that meditation isn't strictly based on cardio-respiratory synchronization, but on brain rhythmic functions. Therefore, one can - for example--meditate with a mantra without paying attention to the breath.
  8. Question about breath retention

    I don't think that we can consider duration as an indicator of the relative importance of single steps to the efficacy of the entire method. By actually trying the WHM breathing pattern, you could understand that "something" happens during this brief retention after the inhale that doesn't occur otherwise. I can't say what it is because I don't know, but it feels good and sort of spiritual. The video that I posted have Master Nan teaching to hold after inhalation, but basically to focus attention on every pauses in the breathing process. He taught not to use force, but to use a little force at the beginning. One doesn't need some special skill. Play the video, activate English subtitles and go to minute 2,23 and pause when needed. "Don't force it. [...] In between the IN and OUT breath. OUT, IN, CEASE. As soon as you fix your awareness on that moment, your CHI will feel like that it flows freely [...[ I'm not that good at implying things. In my personal experience of the practice of breathing meditation with breath retention, I noticed that at times it was very easy to get angry for insignificant matters.
  9. Question about breath retention

    The proper practice of the Wim Hof method requires to hold the breath with empty lungs at first and then to inhale deeply and hold the breath for about 10 seconds with the lungs full of air... only under those conditions, some "feel good" chemicals are released in the brain. Therefore, I wrote that Wim Hof teaches to hold the breath after inhalation AND exhalation. As for Master Nan, I have the impression that he said to hold after exhalation AND inhalation, but giving - in private circles--more emphasis to holding the breath after the exhalation. Also, in the video that I posted he actually said OUT, IN, HOLD (giving emphasis to retention after inhalation). Those are the points that I made. The fact that Anapanasati doesn't describe kumbhakas was just for developing the discussion a little bit further. I should also point out that the practice of certain forms of breathing meditation (especially with retention) may cause at times some "internal frictions" with consequent outbursts of excessive anger for futile reasons ...
  10. Question about breath retention

    I find it not surprising that Master Nan contradicts himself on certain points (sleep deprivation) , but apparently - and entirely based on the blogpost that drew quoted- it may be that he placed a special emphasis on practicing brief unforced breath retention after the exhalation. I'm pretty sure that this method isn't described in the anapanasati Sutta.
  11. Question about breath retention

    No, he doesn't. He says in minute 2:23 "Don't force it. [...] In between the IN and OUT breath. OUT, IN, CEASE. As soon as you fix your awareness on that moment, your CHI will feel like that it flows freely [...[
  12. Question about breath retention

    This is how I read it to focus on the inhalation and to try to hold on to it (the inhalation) .The truth is just the opposite( NOT to focus on the inhalation and to don't hold on to it) (OR to focus on the exhalation). You point to a quote, I point to another. Why he contradicts himself? Is Master Nan hiding a secret breathing technique for enlightenment? Maybe the idea of the practice isn't to hold on a secret moment when the breathing ceases, but to observe the mind ceasing.
  13. Question about breath retention

    And this Master Nan teaching to hold after inhale Minute 2:15, activate English subtitles Your quotes refers respectively to 1-sound of breathing 2-focus on exhale 3-a mind state No actual anapana methods
  14. If that were the case, a person with an open mind should be able to spontaneously know everything about his environment, since everything has a form of consciousness. But knowing the medicinal properties of plants by talking with the plants themselves and gain knowledge of what's going on far away by listening to the wind are no ordinary wisdom at all. I don't think that we're in communication with different forms of consciousness, that's why tribesmen need a shaman to talk with the spirits for healing.
  15. It's called wisdom eye for a reason. People believe that with an open third eye, a practitioner can see spirits, gods and demons and talk with them. Once a person start to communicate with non-human forms of consciousness, he gradually obtains guidance in life and actual knowledge: for example, the indigenous tribes of the Amazonian rainforest have shamans/elders who claim to have knowledge of the therapeutic use of hundreds of medicinal plants and they say that they received this actual medicinal wisdom by communicating with the plants themselves. A real third eye opening allows you to gather knowledge beyond the human realm of existence and - most importantly-- to apply this knowledge in our world for practical and tangible results: this is wisdom. This means that an "opening" that allows you to describe heavenly realms, but doesn't bring real meaningful wisdom... is just an opening of the imagination.