Conscious Exercise and the Transcendental Sun
The principle of love applied to exercise and the method of common physical action.
A science of whole body wisdom, or true emotion, intended especially for those engaged in religious or spiritual life.
Prepared in collaboration with Da Free John and based on his written and verbal instructions.
The Internal “Locks” of the Whole Body,
by Bubba Free John
The living human body is a system or structure for the conduction of life. The physical body is contacted by or unified with mind, or attention, via the pervading medium of life-force. The present capacity of the complex of attention, feeling, and bodily form to conduct the life-power is its general state of responsibility, or “conductivity.”
The same life-force pervades both the physical body and its environment. The physical body does not “contain,” or grasp and hold, the life-force, but simply communes or communicates with the all pervading life-force, or manifest light, and intensifies the sense and effect of the life-force through feeling, or psycho-physical emotion. Attention (including intention and controlled thought) and the control of posture and activity are the outer limbs or extremities, the opposite poles of the process of living. The center, root, and living core of the process is the life-force or universal energy, apparently cycled through the phases of the breath, but constantly and priorly communicated in, as, and through us via the process of feeling.
Feeling is either obstructed and reactive or unobstructed and non-reactive. Reactive emotions, such as fear, sorrow, and anger, are forms of recoil. They contract the mechanisms of the whole body, and obstruct or attenuate the conductivity, and thus the responsibility, of the whole being. When there is simple, direct, and native participation in the state of life, there is no reactivity, but a pleasurable, relational force and radiance. This is love, or unobstructed conductivity. In that case, the responsibility of the whole body-being is optimum, and Communion with the Real Condition or Truth of all conditions is possible, and even native to that instant.
The cycle of breathing is a reflection of the present state of conductivity, and thus responsibility, of the individual. Indeed, the cycle of breathing, or conductivity of life, is senior to all subjectivity, all reactivity. Breath and emotion are identical. We feel and breathe simultaneously, as a single event. Unobstructed feeling, or love, is senior to the physiological action of the breath, but simultaneous with it. Love is creative or causative relative to breath and life.
Reactive feeling, or negative and caused emotions, are secondary to the physiological action of the breath. Shocks of life modify the breath-life pattern directly, and create contracted emotional patterns, as well as the sense that love and good feelings depend on reasons or circumstantial stimulation. Thus, by experience and reaction, our native responsibility for love in every moment is weakened. Shocks of life and breath are creative or causative relative to reactive or obstructed emotions.
The creative task of the living being is to remain responsible for its native disposition and conductivity, even through and in the midst of the shocks and impositions of experience. It is the Law of Sacrifice or Love that is hidden in every breath. If we abide as love, with free attention in all action, then we remain in the creative or responsible position relative to life. breath, action, and Realization. But if we abide in our subjectivity, self-possessed, distracted – by the obsessive sound of thinking-from feeling in the infinite pattern of relations, then we are irresponsible, subject to random experience, unable to conduct life, or to breathe openly, or to act sanely and humanly, or to Realize Truth.
The feeling cycle of the breath is thus the center of life and all our relations. The conscious feeling of the bodily and relational cycle of breath and life, under conditions of action and repose, is central to our well – being, our good relations, and to the whole affair of conscious exercise. Therefore, it is essential to realize the critical factors and events in the feeling cycle of breathing.
The physical body is always already fully permeated by all-pervading energy, or life force. It never becomes empty or filled, but it is only either more or less directly and presently in a condition of communication or communion with the universal life. We fluctuate or “phase” in our state of feeling moment to moment. We also chronically feel reactive or contracted and negative emotional conditions, from fear and sorrow and anger to relatively modest anxiety and sadness and despair to depression and dullness and boredom. Therefore, we are also chronically tending toward a condition of non-communication of life or energy on the basis of the effects of experience or reactions to experience in every moment.
The only way to realize a present degree of maximum intensity, communicated in, as, and through the whole body-being, is to feel without obstruction or contraction. Then we abide in the native intensity of the universally present energy, life, or light. That feeling is named “love ” and “sacrifice, ” or “surrender. “ It is the unqualified feeling and the native intensity of the whole body-being that characterizes us when we simply look and feel and are and act completely happy. In our chronic condition, we tend to manifest such happiness or love-in other words, we tend to communicate or commune with the native force of existence-only when events cause us to react with complete, unobstructed feeling. Thus, only in the rare moments of good fortune or fulfillment, the moments equivalent to suddenly getting a gift of a million dollars, do we consent to feel and to exist as our native intensity.
This is the chronic problem of man -that he does not consent to feel as he is but only as he is caused to feel. We feel according to our present circumstances s rather than our prior or native intensity. The spiritual obligation of every man or woman is to realize the prior intensity of life in every moment. And this is possible only if there is true, present, and radical “hearing” of the argument of Truth and of life itself. Only then will we consent or even be able to look and feel and be and act completely happy under all conditions.
The discipline of “conscious exercise” is a part of the whole spiritual discipline that obliges devotees in the Way of Divine Ignorance. All others may also apply at least this part of the wisdom of the whole body, and so benefit all of us by becoming more stable, healthy, and responsible for life and feeling.
And feeling, as you see, is the key to the functional wisdom of the whole body. Feeling unlocks the contractions of the reactive body life, and permits a free communication between attention and action. Once we enjoy such self-control, which moves us positively into the pattern of relations, other so-called “locks” may usefully be added to the feeling control of the body.
In the simplest terms, the living body is an expression of two tendencies, uses, or currents of life. And, again in the simplest or most basic terms, these tendencies are the two motions of contraction and expansion, or reception and release. There is a negative or exclusive and unbalanced expression of each of these tendencies. When reactivity, or reaction to experience, becomes stronger than the force of life and unobstructed or free feeling-attention that we commonly bring to experience, then reception and contraction disable us. We become self-possessed, confined to subjectivity, negatively emotional, vitally weak, and self-defeating in action. Then expansion or release is confined to patterns of mere self-indulgence, so that we are constantly emptied until death.
But there is a positive or true functional development of each of these motions, when they are in balance, and when attention and bodily form and action are controlled by full central communion or feeling into the universal environment of the life-force. In that case, even each breath becomes a balanced cycle of reception-release, contraction expansion, in the constant field of fully felt intensity or life.
It has already been considered how the inhalation of breath, or life, is associated with reception, infilling, and natural conductivity or movement toward the whole body. Likewise, the exhalation is associated with release of the wastes, the accumulated contents or old circumstances and adaptations of life (not the release or emptying of life itself), and natural expansion, which is conductivity or movement from the whole body outward. This dual cycle is generated from the heart (the feeling center), and enacted between the apparent entrance of breath at the nose and the vital or abdominal center below. The cycle of breathing moves to and from the vital abdominal center. The vital center is not filled and emptied in the process, but it is rhythmically active as the bodily center wherein the felt intensity of the universal life is constantly and priorly communicated with and expressed.
When we breathe, we should breathe with the sense that the whole body rests or abides always and already in the universal, all-pervading life field. Thus, the vital center and the head are both, equally and always, in perfect and constant contact with the light of life. When the cycle of breathing is generated, it should not be felt that life only enters the nose and then goes down to the vital center, but that the whole body breathes or communes with the universal life. The nose, throat, vital center, and heart are simply mechanisms or parts of the conversation between the whole body and the all-pervading life.
On inhalation, the breath or life is to be felt as if drawn or intensified via the whole surface of the body. Secondarily, it tends also to be felt as if passing down from the nose to the vital center. Therefore, there is a tendency toward the secondary feeling that life is passing down and out through the lower body on inhalation. There is also the sense, at the full point of inhalation, that the breath-force is tending not to be retained at the vital center but, rather, to escape by recoiling upward, through the chest, throat, and nose.
Likewise, on exhalation, the breath or life is to be felt as if expanding as intensity throughout the whole body and through the whole surface of the body to infinity. Secondarily, it tends also to be felt as if it is passing up and out, leaving the vital center and passing out through the nose. Therefore, there is a tendency toward the secondary feeling that life is being taken out from the vital center and dispersed via the upper body on exhalation.
Thus, on both inhalation and exhalation there is a similar and chronic sensation, secondary to the primary process of whole body reception-release. (The primary process is without loss of energy, since energy is all-pervading, and the body does not take it in or out, but simply participates in it with either more or less direct, unobstructed, and full feeling.) The sensation awakened relative to the secondary process is, in each case, the sensation that the life-force is entering and/or leaving the vital center.
If the life-energy can enter or leave the vital center, then the vital center exists, and the whole body feels, as if it were always already empty, dependent on a process that fills it, and subject to a process that empties it.
The conviction of emptiness is demonstrated at the heart, in inhibition of feeling. Fear is the logic of independent or separate and priorly empty existence. And fear is the chronic “feeling” that controls the breath of life.
Therefore, our living and spiritual obligation is to enter fully into the primary process of life. This means we must abide constantly in the sense that the whole body, from the feeling heart, from and to and through the whole surface or skin of the body, and via the vital center, is always already existing in an all-pervading, unqualified, and universal field of energy, life, or light. It is only because the life-force is associated with the incoming and outgoing cycle of the breath that we feel life itself comes and goes, whereas in fact life is constant, and the cycle of breath is only a play of feeling-attention on the universal energy that always already pervades the whole body, the vital center, the heart, and the mind. If feeling can be full and constant, then it is no longer subject to the apparent cycle or “phasing” of the breath. Then our immortal position begins to become clear, at the heart, prior to mind and body. Therefore, we are constantly obliged by the Law of Sacrifice, Love, or Radiance.
The sense of the prior fullness and eternal conservation of life or light may be presumed to be simply or factually true on the basis of consideration of science and experience. Thus, anyone may practice “conscious exercise” who has at least minimal sympathy with the higher evidence of science and life. But the full or optimum practice depends on prior Realization of the Truth of the whole body, and such Realization depends on true hearing of the radical argument of Truth, as communicated by one who is alive in its Realization. Just so, the practice itself is a whole life of full devotional practice in the spiritual Company of such a one and in cooperation with other devotees.
To continue with this discussion of the secondary sense of prior emptiness or functional loss of life energy, it is because of these secondary tendencies, or the habitual association with the feeling that the whole body is empty and emptying, at the vital center as it breathes, that certain “locks” or contractions of the feeling body are appropriate to add to formal exercise and even to random moments of our ordinary living.
During formal exercise, whenever the inhaled breath becomes full, or the exhaled breath is complete, it is often appropriate to lock the breath into or out of the body. (Remember, the secondary process is the breath cycle in itself, and the primary process is the direct participation in the universally and priorly communicated life field. The “locks” are activities relative to the secondary process, or the breath cycle, and are only intended to reduce the experiential effects or presumptions of energy loss and emptiness.) The first of these, the throat lock, is generally only to be done briefly, and only when the physical activity permits it. It may be done by pressing the chin lightly or moderately into the jugular knot at the base of the throat. If physical movement is intense, then the lock may be performed as a feeling-intention only, or simply a light constriction at the lower throat.
The principal lock of the body, however, is the anus-perineum-genital lock, at the crest of inhalation and in the initiation of exhalation. As the sense of bodily infilling increases during inhalation, the tendency to feel energy passing out through the lower body begins. Thus, as the sense of fullness begins, the anus-perineum-genital area should be lightly or moderately tensed, inwards and upwards. At the point of fullness of inhalation, the throat lock may also be used, when felt to be natural and appropriate. Likewise, particularly in Hatha Yoga routines, the anus-perineum-genital lock may be supplemented by a lock at the navel, performed by lightly or moderately tensing or drawing in at the navel and the upper crown of the abdomen.
As exhalation begins, the throat locks should be released, and the locks of the anus-perineum-genital area and the navel may be lightly or moderately increased, as exhalation continues and the region of the abdomen and solar plexus tends to become concave. And, at the end of exhalation, the exhaled breath may be “held out” briefly by one or the other form of the throat lock.
The anus-perineum-genital lock may be used at random during ordinary activity. It is particularly useful because of the chronic sense and tendency we have of being empty and of emptying the body of its life via the cycle of breathing and through the lower mechanisms or vital functions of the gross life.
Contraction of the anus-perineum-genital area (with or without the other two locks) should not become chronic, as in the case of anxiety, but it should be exercised at random, in association with the inhalation-exhalation cycle, as just described.
At random times, the anus-perineum-genital area may be rhythmically contracted upward and then released, for several moments, slowly or relatively quickly. This tends to counter the downward-outward muscular and nervous system pattern chronically generated via the organs of elimination and generation.
These locks are natural forms of control of the physical body and the nervous system in association with breathing, or the sense of relative emptiness or fullness of bodily energy. You should adapt them yourself to the inhalation-exhalation pattern of formal conscious exercise, including sedentary “pranayama,” and to random moments of ordinary life. The locks are a secondary practice, to be used when and if you will. The primary practice is the simple one of reception-release in whole body feeling. The locks only serve to counter some of the secondary side effects or accompaniments of the feeling cycle of the breath, wherein it is felt that energy is being channeled and lost through a single area of the body, rather than expressed constantly and radiantly via the whole body. The primary practice is the present and radical return to unobstructed and full feeling, which is love, or Radiance, and breathing from the prior position of unqualified Life or Fullness. (Prior to initiation or true Realization of this Fullness as Divine Presence or Reality, you should simply exercise and breathe with full, whole body feeling rather than merely mental intention.)