You may have noticed, especially in the most difficult or anxious moments, a persistent contraction, or tension of the whole lower trunk of the body, from the heart to the abdomen. This tension often feels like a fist or a stone, or a knot. Especially in the areas of the navel or the solar plexus. It makes you chronically anxious. Not only physically tense, but emotionally, mentally, and psychically uneasy. This tangible disturbance is evidence of a severe and profound reaction to life……
Bubba Free John – 1975
Adi Da Samraj Gives the Talk “Vital Shock”, in which He “Considers” with His early devotees the cramp in the vital region that is the fundamental response of every born being to bodily existence, and how true Spiritual life deals directly with the activity of the “self”-contraction itself, not the strategies that it manifests.
[Melrose Ashram, Los Angeles, November 9, 1972]
See all of this essay in Method of the Siddhas book on the Beezone
AVATAR ADI DA SAMRAJ: The usual person lives in the state that I call “vital shock”. Ultimately, this shock includes more than the vital. Indeed, this shock operates even on a very subtle level. But its most obvious (and directly motivating) form is the sense of shock in the vital being.
Ordinarily, the vital – at its chief center in the middle of the body – is contracted. You constantly feel that contraction, even physically. You may feel a kind of cramp, a tension in the middle of the body. And everyone constantly tries to relieve that tension through various experiences, various pleasures.
The vital center is like the shutter of a camera. It curls in on itself in order to close, and unfurls in order to open. It is like your hand. If you clench your fist as tightly as you can, it eventually becomes painful. Like your hand, the vital center is alive, sentient – and, like your hand, the vital, when it contracts, causes a painful sensation. Indeed, it causes not only a physical sensation, but also many other repercussions in life and conscious awareness.
Therefore, when this contraction occurs in the vital, you not only get a cramp in the stomach – you have an entire life of suffering.
Every aspect of vital existence is controlled by this state, this vital shock. The patterns to which people become addicted are simply extensions of this contraction in the vital. For instance, in the course of your life in My Avataric Divine Company, you may experience periods of great difficulty, when you are continually obsessed with various kinds of desires, various feelings.
At the beginning of such a period, something occurred. Something in life, somewhere, assaulted (or seemed to assault) the vital. All of the patterns, the rituals, the strategies that began to arise in you were reactions to that assault on the vital. The sensation (or perception) of that assault, that “blow” to the vital, is the form of vital shock that currently obsesses you.
But, even before you began the present episode, vital shock was already your condition. There is a continuous vital contraction. In fact, what people are suffering is not their distinctive life-patterns (or strategies) in and of themselves, but this original shock, in the form of a primal reaction—the “self”-contraction.
The “self”-contraction may be experienced as intense stimulation of life-energy (or life-force) in the vital, felt as all of the various forms of desire. The fundamental forms of this intense cramp of energy – felt as the fire of desire in the vital – are the dramas of money, food, and sex. If the cramp of obstruction is severe, there is loss of vitality, desire, and function in these same areas of life. No vitality – no survival.
One who indulges in the exploitation of desire is no longer conducting the force of life. In that case, there is only the misuse of the life-force, the reversing of it, the emptying of it. People do this because the self-contraction is painful. You discover that, if the life-force itself is diminished, the pain goes away. If the hand goes to sleep, there is no pain from the clenching of the fist. If you empty the vital of its force, the cramp is not felt—even though the contraction remains.
One who is self-indulgent empties the vital constantly—and thereby feels relief, feels open, feels satisfied. But, as soon as strength returns, the pain is felt again—unless the person has exhausted and contracted the vital to the point of impotence.
A person who is self-indulgent tries, by every possible means, to get satisfied, to be free of pain. But all such efforts are made from the point of view of the “self”-contraction, the avoidance of relationship. In that disposition, you will simply continue your efforts—until the entire process of the search fails, and you feel its failure. When you begin to really feel that failure, then Satsang with Me becomes possible, the life of “Radical” self-Understanding becomes possible.
[from “Vital Shock”, in My “Bright” Word.]
“I was considering this crap in the solar plexus with you the other evening. We were having a conversation about the yoga of the frontal line. Perhaps the most common experience people have of contraction in this frontal line is a cramp over the solar plexus, the “knot in the stomach” that people refer to. If you become aware that you are suffering this knot and this anxiety over the solar plexus, your first resort, by tendency at any rate, will be to try to relax it. You will take deep breaths and so forth. That may work if the contraction is rather superficial and your attention is relatively free, but you may also discover that you cannot do it, that you cannot relax it. In that case, you will begin to think some more and work on your trouble, whereas the most direct way of dealing with it is to divert attention from this knot, rather, than keep attention in, the knot and try to undo it. I suggest to you, as a practical matter, that instead of keeping your attention in this knot over the solar plexus and trying to relax it you should simply remember that attention goes wherever the knot is. Attention gravitates toward the contracted states and becomes fretful suffers the pain of these contractions gets stuck in these contractions and then tries to work its way out of them, you see.
Well, this knot over the solar plexus is occurring a little more than halfway down the frontal line of the body. The Current of Life is not descending below that point. The knot over the solar plexus is a little bit like nausea, the urge to vomit, weeping, and anger. This contraction is a revulsion, a reversal of the Current in the frontal line of the body, and in effect it prevents this line of force from going to its lower terminal in the bodily base.
One way of naturally relieving this contraction, in addition to the basic resort that is your devotional practice, is to place your attention lower down in the body, below the point where you feel that cramp. If you place your attention above the point of disturbance, the revulsion will continue. The most intelligent approach, therefore, is to place your attention below that point, where there already is no contraction, you see. Place your attention below the navel in the vital battery region in the genital region or at the perineum. Do nothing other than that. Simply place your attention there, and then practice the meditative disposition, the devotional disposition, the breathing and relaxing that are your daily practice. You will very likely notice that in those moments when you otherwise would not be able to release such a contraction, it will naturally relax, and you will enjoy the capacity to breathe and feel and submit the total bodymind to this Fullness. Indeed, this is how conductivity must be practiced, by submitting yourself to the native disposition of the body rather than fastening your attention to some point in the circuit of the body-mind.
The way, then, to submit whole bodily when the body-mind is in a contracted state is to place your attention lower down in the line of the frontal Current, place it in the lower abdomen, in the genital region, in the perineum. In these regions there is in general a residual sense of pleasure, because there is a portion of this Current always descending – it does leak through this knot, you see. Thus if you place attention in this pleasurable expression of the Current, the knot, which is being reinforced by holding attention in this anxious place will tend to relax. Then resort to the devotional disposition and, the practice of conductivity will be found to be fruitful”.
The Art of Spiritual Life – Da Free John 1983