Inverted pendulum – Standing Meditation and the Void
Inverted pendulum – Standing Meditation and the Void
1. As children we all played with balancing a stick on our finger . We move to keep the stick vertical – balance it- so that it doesn’t fall off.
Its a classic example of the inverted pendulum. Normal Pendulum is one which we see in the wall clocks.
Similarly when Man stands , there is dynamism inside to keep him erect and not fall off.
Just like the inverted pendulum , the weight of man is above and is balanced on a narrow base (feet)...
Like the stick on the finger.
2. Consciousness can be divided into two types of consciousness. ( for the sake of study- and specifically for the purpose of this post to get through....)
One is the mind and the other is the body. We can ( in fact should ) call it the mind consciousness and the body consciousness.
When we say body consciousness we don’t mean consciousness of the body but rather the consciousness which the body has!
This is critical. Remember.
Now similarly mind consciousness is the consciousness that the mind has.
Let me elaborate a bit more.
What is the consciousness that the mind has ( OR WHAT DO I MEAN BY CONSCIOUSNESS THAT THE MIND HAS?)......
That i am !, that i am so and so , that right now this is happening , that right then that has happened and that and this is now set to happen.
That this is a chair , that this is me, that i am now happy and that i was born in the year so and so ...and that today will be a hectic day , what a beautiful scenery etc etc etc .
Now what is the consciousness that the body has?
This is what constitutes the standing meditation and the Void.
------------------------Zhan Zhuang and the Void--------------
Standing Meditation is called as Zhan ZHuang in Chineese. Kayotsarga in India. Similar Techniques exist in the west and also reportedly in ancient civilizations all over.
We stand with weight balanced equally on both feet , body including the head straight , hands hanging to the sides. Knees neither locked backwards or over bent. Just slightly bent...to get a feeling of neither bent nor locked back. Some masters prescribe bending the knees even more but the rule of the thumb is they must not overreach the toes of the feet.
also ensure THE CORRECT comfort level in standing in this posture. You must not be overburdened...it must not be as though as if you are using immense and rigid strength to stand but rather you are feeling a comfortable strength in standing. From the toes up towards the calves and legs , pelvic and genital region , abs, lower back and the middle , the upper back , shoulders chest , neck and the head etc .... in short from the toes to the head ..
At the same time you must also not be slack! comfortable strength , relaxed and yet not slack!
all the chineese variants insist that we relax starting from top to bottom..starting from the head to the toes ...this too, is important. One other variation is first relaxing from top to bottom on the back side of the body and doing it again from top to bottom on the front side.
Feet are not more than shoulder width apart and generally kept either parallel to each other or are turned outward in the Chinese figure for 8 which is “/ \ “. The shoulders and the chest must be relaxed. By chest relaxed I mean it must not be sticking out like someone is taking out a tape to measure how big your chest is...you will know once you start standing!
The arms while hanging do not press on the ribs and the upper body and for this purpose the armpits are slightly open...slight gap between the hands hanging to the side and the ribs and the chest and the upper body.( to facilitate full breathing).While some master says that the hands can touch the thighs on the out side while hanging to the side , in Jain iconography slight gap between the hands hanging to the side and the entire body persists. The idea is , that arms exert some pressure on the upper body which we are not aware of.
to test it you can lift one hand up breathe , drop it down and breathe and see the difference. Just to release this pressure. I hope you get it , by what i mean that the armpits are slightly open.
If you ae not able to hit on how slightly they must open etc etc , dont worry ,just stand and allow the body to adjust itslef. Dont unnecessarily tighten your shoulders etc etc in order to slightly open them.....just allow the body adjust and allign itselfand even forget if they are open or not! Breath naturally.If there is a correction required allow the body to do it over time...if required.
Dont be slack thats all! this is important.
The entire Body must relax but not slack!! a feeling of comfortable strength through out!.
Stand and then observe.....what is the consciousness that the body has?
For the philosophically elite this may prove a bit difficult -----body itself is consciousness –just like the mind............. how can it be conscious? etc etc etc etc.
But just like standing which comes so naturally despite the unbelievable adjustments that must be automatically taking place owing to the intelligence of the body ( balancing the inverted pendulum ) ...one must have a child’s heart to question what is the consciousness that the body has?
But when one stands and observes and questions ..what is the consciousness that the body has....( Is it the sense of gravity beneath my feet into the earth , is it the tingling sensation in my fingers when standing still? Mmmmmmm?) the first thing one notices is all the consciousness that the mind has( as classified in this post) is nowhere to be seen!
In an instant, just in an instant , of standing it is seen beyond any doubt that the consciousness which the mind has is far far away from the present (reality).
Now what is something which is nowehere to be seen , or to be more clear seen sometimes and not seen the other times?
it is to ones surprise seen, that what we belittle , and call as the body and what it senses is more closer to the present than the mind (as classified in this post).
Kayotsarga, the term ( standing meditation) has been wrongly understood to imply renouncing the body...
But the void in standing( OR STANDING IN VOID) meditation is better summed up by the great master Buddha...
His disciple asks him ..in what sense is this world said to be empty my lord?
Buddha : “in as much so as the world is empty of a self “
That the mind consciousness or simply the mind including the sense of being , is never now and never ever in reality ... is the first step..to the VoiD , beyond that I am not qualified and only can say this much... theres atleast one more....but you will know! Stand( IN VOID) and observe.