One of the traditional practices, it is to sit in the meditation posture. If you can, sit on the ground. If not, sit in a balanced position on a chair. Then touch the point just below the navel and touch or pinch the point just between the eyebrows. Now, shut or half close the eyes, and use the after sensation of the touch just below the navel, and the touch between the eyebrows to bring the attention to those two points, as if there was a line joining those two points.
Now, let’s try for two or three minutes. Sit up in a balanced position, touch just below the navel where the finger can just press in, the muscles can be slightly tense. Then touch between the eyebrows, press the fingernail in, or just pinch, and use the after sensation. Now, hold those two points and the line between them. Feel there is a line of light between those two points, and practise every morning for ten minutes until the attention can be brought there.
After a practice of quite a long time, the attention can be brought there, at will. We feel, “Oh, well – supposing it can. Then what?” Then the attention is drawn from elsewhere. You would think, “Oh, no. You would have this sensation, but you would also have the awareness and all the other sensations.” Not so. This is a phenomenon that most of us have experienced, and it used to be called the cocktail party phenomenon.
You are sitting talking to your friends, and at the next table there are some strangers, but they suddenly begin talking about you. Now, you hear what they are saying and you actually don’t hear what is being said here. Not that you hear both, but you lock onto that. You don’t hear this. It is coming into the ear but it is not heard. Then somebody pushes you and says, “Well…” and you realise somebody has said something but you don’t know what it is.
Now, a number of us have had this at school when we have been there playing – well, noughts and crosses or something like that – and, suddenly, there is a terrible silence, isn’t there? You know that you have been asked a question, the master has asked you a question, but you haven’t heard it. And somebody says, “Say yes.” “Yes.” – and then, of course, the roof descends.
It is possible to detach by attention. The International Chess Master, Maróczy (and those of you who have had a moustache or a beard will know) in concentration on the game, he pulled out, one by one, the hairs on one side of his moustache. He took an hour or so and it is terribly painful, if you try it. One by one, he pulled them out and at the end of the game – which he won, I am glad to say – only one side of his moustache remained. So, the sacrifice wasn’t quite for nothing. He was rather proud of his moustache, but he had to shave it all off and grow it all again. It has to be practised. He could do it in a chess game, but this has to be practised, consciously.
This is part of the Yoga technique, and I give this very simple exercise. It is entirely up to people whether they practise or not. It is a little bit like learning to swim. There is no water here, you know, but you can just go down to the baths and learn to swim. But, sometime in your life, you might be in the water and then to know how to swim would be very useful. It might save your life. In the same way, with a practice like this, the mind says, “Oh, you are wasting your time.” People can just make up their own mind. It has to be persisted with and it has to be done every day at the same time. Then, the attention can be focused.
It is a most useful practise in everyday life if you have to wait – especially to wait in suspense for some decision. If you have to wait before undergoing a test, generally, people get nervous. It all runs away into the hands, and the feet, and the lips. So, the attention can be brought to the middle. It is no use saying to oneself, “Don’t be nervous.” Do you remember the hatter in ‘Alice in Wonderland’? He comes before the king and he is terribly nervous, and the king says, “Don’t be nervous. I will have your head off if you are nervous.”
Well, in a crisis, we know to be nervous will make us jerky. But if we have to wait for some time and then go into action, that tension (builds) and when we go into action, we’re jerky and out of control – but if we have learnt to bring it in, then we can wait in relaxation.
Then to practise detaching oneself from the food sheath to the energy sheath – this is pranic, prana energy. We had externally, the view of the world, and the experience of the universe, as matter, blind matter. And then that the world has energy, which physics now brings much closer to us. The fundamental basis is not what used to be called solid matter – it is energy. And we are now knowing (or we think we know, at least) that space itself is energy. I read the extract about the vacuum in the light bulb and about zero point energy, which, if it could be harnessed would blow up the earth, or boil all the oceans, or whatever particular figure they want to use.
So, we must practise then finding in oneself the pranic energy. There is a way of awakening the life energy, and this practice is one of the basic methods to detach oneself from the food body and to begin to enter the energy pranic body.
© Trevor Leggett
Titles in this series are
Part 4: A system of training the mind
Part 5: Overcoming pain of body and mind
Part 6: Independence of outer things