Asana, as most of you know, is only 1/8 of the yoga practice as outlined by Master Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras. Yet is it the aspect most people call 'yoga'. The ancient teachings are very clear on this: if you are not meditating, you are not practicing yoga. In fact, the asanas themselves were designed to allow the practitioner to sit comfortably in meditation and not be distracted by pain in their bodies. But most people avoid meditation like bad breath; why is that?
If you learned along the way that to meditate was to sit in agony for an hour, wasting time, watching your breath, getting bored and slowly going bananas, who wouldn't run for the hills? Prepare to be re-educated. This meditation was taught by the Buddha Himself and protected in the monasteries of Tibet from cultural defilement for centuries, with nothing added or taken away: all of the original instructions are here. Thousands upon thousands of meditators have used these very steps to reach enlightenment, which is a fancy word for HAPPINESS.
Meditation, the way its taught in this lineage, is one of the most exciting, gratifying and blissful things you can do. Let Kelly guide you through The Preliminaries, which are the first steps every meditator takes to prepare their mind and heart to perceive the nature of reality directly. (This recording provided here is not meant to take the place of a live teacher. The Three Jewels in NYC is a great place to learn live.)
Ideally, use this recording a few times, memorize the steps and then do them on your own, at your own pace. Some days might be 20 minutes, other days an hour. You may find in the beginning that you spend a lot of time in the 'confession/purification' part. That's normal. Most of us have a lot of negative karma to confront, clarify and clear.
But most importantly, you need to do these steps with an understanding of karma and emptiness...a.k.a. Where Your World Is Coming From...FROM you, not AT you. Everything you experience, you made someone else experience first, in the past. You planted a seed, a karmic seed in your mindstream, with every thought, word and action you took. Those seeds bore fruit and you call said fruit "My Current Life". Everything you think, say and do NOW is planting seeds that will create "Your Future Life". Everything you make another experience NOW, you will be forced to experience later. That's how it all works. Knowing this, it's crucial to get control of the mind, which is reckless in it's endless stupidity, every moment creating problems for us.
The Tuscany Retreat in October will go much more deeply into The Preliminaries: where they come from, their internal logic, what each step means and how to do it perfectly, how to clean up past karma, how to exponentiate good karma, how to find your teacher, how to develop The Wish and more. If this meditation makes a light go off in your mind, think about joining us. Please email Kelly any questions or concerns (see below for full details).
Use this meditation to deepen your relationship with your teacher, broaden your love of humanity, clean up past karma, create new positive karma and to experience your life in a whole new way.
1) If you are sitting in the morning, do not check your email or phone first. Wake up, splash water on your face, have a cup of tea if you need to and sit down. Try not to talk to anyone. Go to bed earlier and wake-up a 1/2 hour earlier.
2) Make sure the phone is off and your computer's mail system is off, so there are no sounds (Kelly should be on your iPod and coming to you quietly through your ear buds). The room should be the quietest room in your home. If sounds do come in, just let them become a part of your meditation, don't get upset.
3) It's nice to have a little area set aside, with a small altar (this can mean just a picture of a holy being, a flower and a candle. Altars can be very simple or crazy elaborate. Up to you.) It should be a place where you WANT to sit, because the space feels special and holy.
4) You are totally comfortable in your seat. Your spine should be straight. If this means sitting on MANY blankets, with pillows under your knees, that's fine. If it means you sit with your back against a wall, that's fine. The most important thing is that once you are settled in, you don't move, not at all. No scratching, itching, shifting, nose-picking, etc.
5) If you start to cry, just let the tears roll down. If you really get into the preliminaries, there will be tears. This is a good thing, it means you are purifying. Just remember that once you purify, the negative karma is gone and can't hurt you anymore in the future (unless you have other similar seeds or continue doing the behavior that you are purifying).
6) Try to sit every day, no matter what. It's difficult to change who you are when you are busy being yourself, after all.
7) Actually do all the things the lineage suggests, as listed above. If you find that meditation just isn't 'for you', make sure you are really doing all the things advised FOR REAL. Or, just suffer some more and when you're ready, come back. We'll be waiting....:)
Please email Kelly with any questions at all or to share any experiences! Most of all, practice! Take the steps necessary to remove the causes for your suffering and get happy!
PLease also take the time to pass this along to anyone who might benefit, even though it's time-consuming.