Portal to Consciousness (4)

The final part of the second series on the Vigyana Bhairava Tantra, given online to the Sheffield School of Yoga.

Swamiji begins by noting that we seem to have ‘deified’ thinking; The practices of Yoga and Tantra, certainly as laid out in the Vigyana Bhairava Tantra, may cause us to question the certainty of our thoughts and perceptions.

‘We get hooked onto this particular perspective, namely, what we perceive through the five senses, and our thinking. These practices are trying to widen our perspective and to get an indisputable insight into the reality behind our embodied personality.’
Swami Nishchalananda

As before in these sessions, Swamiji goes through some of the ‘Dharanas’, or practices, from the Vigyana Bhairava Tantra. As we have seen in previous posts on this text, a concept of great importance is that of ‘Spaciousness’. For now, we can just say that the experience (rather than the concept) of spaciousness is a stepping stone to recognising and identifying with Awareness as the reality of existence.(for more information on the concept of Spaciousness you can read about it in Swamiji’s book ‘Insight into Reality’ ….see below.*) We start with Dharana no. 21 which explores spaciousness in a particular way:

‘Contemplate simultaneously on the spaciousness above and below the body.
Aided by the energy which underlies, and yet is independent of, the body, become free of thought patterns.’

From spaciousness …
we are just hanging out….
available….
available to what Is

There follows a meditation based on this dharana; listen to the video recording below to enjoy this meditation. Then this naturally leads on to Dharana no. 22 where the practitioner gets in touch with the Hridayakasha, the spaciousness within the chest area or ‘Heart Space’. Here a state of no-thought can arise which Swamiji describes as a ‘stepping stone to awareness of that which underlies thought’. Not only that, we may find other attributes there , when thought stops, such as joy, meaning, exhilaration, and relaxation.

This of course is very similar to the paradigms within Patanjali’s eightfold path in Yoga, where thought stops at the boundary between Pratyahara and Dharana / Dhyana. Indeed Swami Nishchalananda goes on to say that there is spaciousness in the meditative state, which is the launchpad to realisation of our identity as Awareness.

As usual questions and answers follows the practices, including observations on how the intensity and sheer volume of information in the world can be moderated in it’s influence on us, through Yogic practice.

Please enjoy the video:

*Swami Nishchalananda’s book ‘Insight into Reality’, his translation and commentary on the Vigyana Bhairava Tantra can by bought here:
https://shop.mandalayogaashram.co.uk/collections/ashram-books