I recently sent out a newsletter discussing the value of strengthening your energetic field to remain healthy amidst the bombardment of EMFs in our world. (I’m including a copy of this newsletter at the bottom of this blog.) This was inspired by a video of Dr. Thomas Cowan, M.D. correlating pandemics with the worldwide deployment of new forms of EMF. (The case of our current COVID-19 pandemic correlates with the recent deployment of 5G.) That newsletter generated lots of positive feedback and requests for more information. So here is a more in-depth discussion on yogic technology that will allow you to strengthen your energetic field.
There is a great deal of concern with the effects of EMF on our health. I have not personally researched this, nor am I an expert on this topic. Intuitively, I absolutely agree that we need to be concerned, and should do what we can to mitigate the effects of EMF in our lives.
That said, I think there’s a great deal we can do personally, in addition to turning off modems while we sleep and bringing the issue to the attention of our law makers. Namely, you can proactively strengthen your energetic field.
While I’m far from an expert in EMFs, I do know from personal experience about meditation and associated practices, and the cumulative effects these can have on our personal energetic fields. Here are a few fundamental points that I think are important in that they indicate what we can do to not only stay healthy, but to thrive despite the potential detrimental side-effects of new technologies on health:
- We are energetic beings. You can, for instance in meditation, directly experience the energy level of your being as tangibly as you experience the physical level of your being right now.
- Over the centuries, various traditions (from Tantra and Yoga to martial arts, and others) have developed techniques to awaken and direct subtle energies through the “pranamaya kosha” or pranic/energetic body. These practices, including meditation, directly strengthen your energetic field. In fact, correct and regular practice of these hold the potential to expand your spiritual/energetic power immensely. (Like the difference between being a 60-watt bulb and a 1000-watt bulb.)
- Whatever effects EMFs may have on a compromised, weakened energetic body (the condition of all of us until we learn to strengthen the energetic body) may be vastly mitigated by regularly practicing these techniques. These practices create what is known in Sanskrit as kavacha—a shield against negative influences. There is no greater kavacha than the power of consciousness—shakti—fully integrated into your energetic body.
So, let’s take a quick look at some of these practices. As I mentioned above, around the world in different cultures, various approaches have evolved that allow you to effectively strengthen your energetic field. I have only superficial knowledge of many of these, for instance certain martial arts, acupuncture, even some dance (e.g., whirling), chanting, and so on, so I’m not really qualified to discuss them. I will limit this article to those practices that have evolved in India’s rich spiritual traditions with which I am familiar. Many of these I have practiced daily over the last 50 years and taught to others. And of course this is only a brief overview discussion even of these.
Please note that any evaluation I give of a particular technique is only an estimate of sorts that supposes an “average” or “typical” practitioner. There will be many exceptions. Particularly if you find yourself drawn to a specific practice, I encourage you to pursue that practice. Your enthusiasm and commitment will itself generate a great deal of spiritual power and bring results more quickly. In this regard, Patanjali points out that yogis with intense ardor will achieve results quickly. However, he also points out that on account of various methods being slow, medium, and speedy, even among yogis who have intense ardor, there will be differences in how quickly results are experienced. (Yoga Sutras 1:21-22)
Finally, in this article, I am only explaining the efficacy of various techniques (slow, medium, and speedy) in terms of their potential for quickly strengthening the energetic body. Particularly with regards to the various forms of meditation, there are many wonderful benefits to be gained from these practices that I’m not discussing here. These benefits may be felt even from the first sitting.
Meditate to strengthen your energetic field
There are so many forms of meditation that to lump all in one bucket cannot be meaningful. So let’s break them down into a few categories. But first let me raise an important general principal: Energy or prana does not exist separately from consciousness. In fact, prana is nothing other than the inherent power of consciousness. Ultimately all energy, life-force, prana, shakti, whatever name you put to it, arises from consciousness.
This means that unbounded consciousness, which is your own innermost Self, is the source of all energy, all prana. Your innermost Self is an infinite, unbounded reservoir of energy from which you can draw to empower your energetic body. That implies immense potential for meditation as a means to strengthen your energetic field, as all forms of meditation are essentially exercises in consciousness. In practice, the ability of a particular technique of meditation to activate and infuse prana into your energetic body (pranamaya kosha) will depend upon two things:
- The clarity of experience of pure awareness and the subtlest layers of consciousness.
- The capability provided by that technique to stir the inherent power of consciousness to flow into the energetic body.
With this in mind, let’s take a quick look at a few different forms of meditation.
Overall, you could say that mindfulness generally creates more calm and coherence—in your mind, your brain, your personality, your presence. This will have many invaluable benefits and is a vital practice to improving the quality of your life, to gradually overcome negative, default patterns of thinking and inculcate their opposite positive qualities–empathy, compassion, loving kindness, and so on. Awakening subtle energies and strengthening your energetic body, however, is not the specific focus of mindfulness. That said, coherence always generates more power than incoherence. Consider, for instance, the difference in power between coherent light—a laser—and incoherent ordinary light. So there can be no doubt that strength of attention and energy will naturally grow with mindfulness practices, which will definitely strengthen your energetic field, but gradually, imperceptibly.
The reason for this is that in mindfulness you are primarily working with the conscious layers of mind, which are the more diffused and less potent levels of awareness. Think of it this way. You see the objects of the world around you as essentially inert: a table, a chair, etc. There is not much happening on that superficial level of the material world. But at the atomic level of that table and chair, physics reveals there is immense energy and dynamism. If you could perceive and function at that atomic level, you could interact with untold energy.
Indeed, this is more relevant to my previous laser analogy. Coherence at the atomic level holds the potential to generate incredible power; whereas at the apparent, gross level of existence, not so much. Mindfulness is mindful of what the senses and mind deliver in this moment, and neither the mind nor senses have been trained and attuned to the subtle, immensely powerful levels of mind and existence. Yet mindfulness does gradually refine the awareness, open you to subtler, more powerful levels of your being, and so empower the energetic body. It simply takes years, which is why traditionally, when a practitioner is deemed ready, the teacher instructs with additional techniques of meditation.
So let’s look at forms of meditation that specifically refine awareness and perception and/or target the energetic body.
When I speak of mantra meditation, I am referring to such forms as the TM program, the basic Effortless Mind technique, and others that use a mantra as a vehicle for transcending from the conscious thinking level of the mind to deeper layers of consciousness. (This can also apply to yantra meditation.) These forms of meditation bring the conscious attention to deeper layers of mind towards transcending thought altogether and abiding in pure consciousness.
Any technique of meditation that guides your conscious, diffused awareness within, to a point of a concentrated experience of awareness dwelling within itself, clearly has the potential to awaken immense power of awareness and flood the energetic body with shakti (spiritual power). In the process of this deep dive into subtler layers of consciousness, mantra meditation offers a couple of additional advantages:
- Daily experience of a mantra at subtler levels of awareness specifically helps develop clear perception of those subtle levels.
- Mantras are pure vibrations. When experienced clearly at subtle levels, they are immensely powerful, pure vibrations of divinity that will raise the vibratory quality of the meditator’s whole being—and strengthen your energetic body.
Practically, however, even with these advantages, it will normally take some years of daily practice for mantra meditation to substantially strengthen your energetic body. (When I say “substantially,” I mean really substantially, that is perceptibly in each and every sitting.) Certainly, there will be a gradual empowering of the energetic body right from the start, but this will be almost imperceptible. Why? The reason is two-fold:
- Even with mantra meditation it requires years to gain clarity at the subtle layers of consciousness, and it is especially with such clarity that shakti is substantially awakened.
- Mantra meditation is a mental technique. Mind and the layers of body (energetic and physical) are closely interrelated, so with clear, subtle mental experience, the power of consciousness (shakti) is infused into the energetic and physical layers, but again, gradually, because there is not specific attention given to opening the channels of coordination between consciousness and the layers of the body. Thus, shakti as if “seeps” into those physical layers; there is no dynamic exchange as with certain other techniques (described below).
So though mantra meditation holds more promise of strengthening the energetic body than mindfulness practices, taken alone, it is still gradual in accomplishing this. It will bring profound relaxation, relief from stress, anxiety, depression, etc. It will improve health and all the rest, but the clear and tangible infusion of energy into the energetic body with each sitting will likely take some years of practice. The exception to this is if you dedicate a great deal of time to your meditation, say at least several hours each day. Such a dedicated practice could bring clarity to subtle layers of awareness, awaken prana, and strengthen your energetic body significantly much more quickly.
I should note that even the initial instruction in Effortless Mind meditation does include mula bandha (see below), which does specifically activate the the energetic body by beginning to open the channels of coordination between consciousness and the energetic and physical layers of the body. This is primarily what sets Effortless Mind apart from, say, the TM technique, which is purely mental. Intermediate and advanced levels of Effortless Mind include additional techniques (see below) that further accelerate this process of opening the channels of coordination between consciousness and the energetic and physical layers of the body.
Because chakra meditation has an aspect of the energetic body (the chakras) as its primary focus, it would appear to offer great promise of awakening subtle energies to strengthen your energetic field. This is true to a degree; chakra meditation does awaken shakti and strengthen the energetic body more directly than mindfulness or a typical mantra meditation. However, again, if your practice is purely mental and restricted to the more diffused conscious layers of mind, it won’t deliver on its full promise. Like other forms of meditation, chakra meditation becomes far more effective as clarity is gained at subtle, powerful levels of mind. Then it becomes indescribably empowering to the energetic body.
This is why traditional chakra meditation practices are supplemented with other techniques, such as pranayama, bandhas, and mudras (see below). Not only do these other techniques awaken and direct shakti to open and clear the chakras, but taken together with meditation, they greatly accelerate the process of purification that brings clear experience of subtle, immensely powerful levels of awareness. This is also why these other techniques are integrated into the various levels of instruction in Effortless Mind meditation: they make deep, effortless, empowering meditation much more accessible more quickly. Note that because of the effectiveness of these practices, you should be sure to receive proper instruction. (To learn more, I give intermediate instruction online and advanced instruction on my retreats in the US and in the Himalayas.)
Meditation on emptiness
The practice of meditating on emptiness can be profound. Emptiness, like the quantum field vacuum state, holds infinite potential energy. It is the infinite unmanifest potential of the essential nature of mind, luminous awareness. But again, access to the actual realization of emptiness demands a mind made extremely subtle by years of practice. Then the experience of emptiness creates an intense coherence in brain activity, generating powerful awareness that floods the energetic body with shakti.
Initially, however, meditating on emptiness, for most people is a slow go. Most of us start our meditation career with a very gross mind, incapable of realizing emptiness. Thus meditating on emptiness is an advanced practice, at least to do so effectively such that you will realize emptiness, achieve full brain coherence, and tangibly flood your energetic body with shakti. In fact, the full realization of emptiness is the basis of enlightenment itself, so it is indeed advanced.
Generally, this principal holds true for any type of meditation: If your mind is on the gross level of conscious thought, the meditation won’t activate the subtle energies, and you won’t gain deep, blissful, empowering experience. But if you gain clarity at subtle levels of thought, and even the subtlest, then miracles start to happen. You will start to feel the immensity of the power of consciousness—shakti—radiating from your whole being, and you will start to live higher consciousness as well. Definitely it will profoundly strengthen your energetic field.
So given that, let’s move on, even though I know there are many other styles of meditation. These principles will apply to all. It’s just the nature of the relationship between the mind, subtle body, and prana, and holds true regardless of the particular technique.
Yogic practices designed to strengthen your energetic field
Over the ages, many yogis in India have dedicated their lives to spiritual practice. When you renounce all to realize the Divine, you don’t do so lightly. It’s a big deal leaving family, friends, and everything the rest of humanity values to take to the mountains and forests for the rest of your life. Such yogis, highly dedicated to their spiritual Goal, were motivated to explore and research and discover ways to accelerate their spiritual progress. And many of these yogis found such means.
In this way, various tantric and yogic lineages arose over the centuries, the natural outgrowth of yogis discovering practices that really delivered the goods experientially–practices that, in combination with meditation:
- Awakened the unbounded power of consciousness, shakti, to dramatically strengthen your energetic field.
- Homogenized and balanced that shakti to be integrated in the mind/body complex, including all the koshas (layers of your being, from the physical body to the subtlest layers of your being).
- Greatly accelerated purification to bring clarity at the subtle, indescribably powerful layers of consciousness.
- Even allowed adepts to harness that unlimited shakti as they wished (siddhis).
- Helped aspirants realize Liberation.
When the following practices are combined with any form of meditation, such as those mentioned above, the fruitfulness of those meditation techniques will be multiplied. By the yogis who practice them, who know their benefits intimately, these techniques are treasures, and so are usually only imparted to the initiated after years of practice. However, these practices will lead nowhere fast unless combined with proper meditation; they are not intended to be practiced standalone for extended periods. They also need to be properly taught and applied.
Prana – life-force or spiritual energy; ayama – expansion of. Pranayama is yogic breathing for the purpose of awakening and expanding prana throughout the entire energetic body, to fill all of the subtle channels (nadis) to the utmost. Of pranayama, the Yoga Vasishtha (an important ancient yogic scripture) says:
Right from sovereignty over the earth to total liberation—everything is dependent upon the movement of the life-force. Hence all such achievements are possible through the practice of pranayama.
In order to bring about quiescence of the mind, the yogi practices pranayama (restraint of the movement of the life-force), meditation and such other proper and appropriate methods. Great yogis regard this pranayama itself as the most appropriate method for the achievement of tranquility of the mind, peace, etc.
By the practice of puraka or inhalation, if the kundalini at the base of the spine is ‘filled’ and made to rest in a state of equilibrium, the body remains firm. When through the retention of the breath all the nadis are warmed up, the kundalini rises up like a stick and its energies flood all the nadis of the body. On account of this, the nadis are purified and made light. Then the yogi is able to travel in space. (These quotes taken from Vasistha’s Yoga, Trans. Swami Venkatesananda, SUNY, 1993)
When the nadis are full of prana, because of the intimate nature between consciousness and prana, the level of coordination between mind and body may become so profound that it is said such siddhis (yogic powers) as levitation become possible. But I’m jumping way ahead…
There are many forms of pranayama. Some very mild, some more intense. Some are soothing, others highly effective at awakening the prana. These two general types of pranayama practices work together to powerfully awaken energy on the one hand and to homogenize and balance the energy in the system on the other hand. Both of these processes are needed for the full effect and integration of prana into the mind/body complex. Striking the right balance between these two general process is just one reason why it is important to be properly instructed.
In sum, even at a beginning and intermediate level of practice, pranayama will infuse and balance prana in the mind/body complex, purify the subtle and gross layers of your being, and clarify perception of subtle levels of awareness to deepen and accelerate the benefits of meditation.
Bandhas are “locks”; for instance mulabandha—a basic practice I teach even those beginning meditation. There are three main bandhas and the combination of two or more of these to form additional, more powerful bandhas.
I think of bandhas as the earthmovers of yogic practices (powerful machinery that moves the land in preparation for construction). They are extremely effective at awakening prana and directing prana to open, clear, and fill the nadis.
Bandhas are one of the most important tools in the yogi’s toolkit. Once prana is awakened through pranayama, bandhas can leverage that prana, multiply it, and push it through the nadis, as well as refine prana so as to increase its penetrating power. (Pranayama can also do these.) In this way, the bandhas, when properly applied in conjunction with pranayama and meditation, will greatly deepen and amplify the subjective experience and development of the meditator. When learned and applied properly, in conjunction with meditation, they certainly are a powerful means to strengthen your energetic field.
Mudras are gestures or positioning of a part of the body to awaken and a particular quality or flow of awareness/prana. For instance, people often think of mudras in terms of hasta mudras (positioning of the hands/fingers) that you see in statues of the Buddha or other spiritual figures. These gestures convey a quality of energy and feeling, such as chin mudra (tip of forefinger to tip of thumb, other three fingers extended) representing the individual awareness merged in universal consciousness. In addition, there are other mudras that have nothing to do with the hands. All mudras have a subtle effect on consciousness/prana that can deepen meditation and accelerate its benefits.
If bandhas are the earthmovers of yogic practices, mudras are more like the cabinetry finishing work. They are subtle, but their effects can be felt powerfully if you are ready for them. I have had many students with a background of some years of meditation and yoga who were surprised at the potent effect of specific mudras in enhancing meditation.
Samyama is described by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras as combining dharana (fixity of awareness), dhyana (meditation or flow of awareness), and samadhi (absorption in the object of meditation so complete that even thought of self is absent). By mastering samyama, it is said the light of knowledge dawns, as well as mastery of nature, of the mind, body, and elements. That is, samyama is the meditative means of manifesting any desire, right from the unlimited creative power of your innermost Self.
Allow me to repeat here a point I said earlier: The ability of a particular technique of meditation to activate and infuse prana into your energetic body (pranamaya kosha) will depend upon clear access to unbounded pure awareness and the ability to stir the inherent power of consciousness to flow into the energetic body.
This could actually serve as a definition of samyama. Samyama is precisely the delicate process of consciousness stirring within itself to direct the power of consciousness (prana) to any desired effect. In the process of that stirring of prana, channels of coordination between consciousness and the mind/body complex are opened and prana fills the subtle body, resulting in the siddhis, or yogic powers—and an immense infusion of prana into the energetic body.
Though samyama is the topic of fully one-forth of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, it is so rarely understood that it is nearly a lost, esoteric art. Yet it is the crowning achievement and gift of the yogic tradition shy of enlightenment itself, for it is the art of manifesting the infinite possibilities of your own higher Self. As far as practices to strengthen your energetic field go, samyama is incomparable—provided you have properly prepared yourself through a regular practice, including meditation and preferably the above accelerating techniques. This is not to say you have to be an “expert” meditator to benefit from the practice of samyama–anymore than you need to be an expert meditator to benefit from meditation. Through daily practice you grow into it, and at every level of practice, samyama is a powerful technique that accelerates all the benefits of meditation.
As you do gain a clear experience of pure consciousness, you will find that subjectively samyama transforms the physical body into a body of light/energy. This is incredibly purifying and empowering to the energetic body and aura. If bandhas are the earthmovers preparing your building site, and mudras are the finishing carpentry, then we might say pranayama is bringing in the utilities, meditation by itself is owning the house (but perhaps living and working in one room), and samyama is moving into the whole house and enjoying all the rooms and capacities of the house with mastery over it.
Daily care and feeding of your energetic body
Regular, daily practice of whatever technique(s) speak to you is essential to keep your energetic body strong and healthy. Once you are on a spiritual path and some measure of spiritual energy has awakened, almost any practice that focuses your attention on your spiritual goal can further awaken shakti and strengthen your energetic body. For instance:
Mentally repeating your mantra throughout your day definitely has a strengthening effect. Mantras are names of the Divine—high vibrations that will clear and empower you. If you have a mantra for japa, use it regularly to keep your energetic body toned and strong throughout your day.
Chanting with devotion, whether bhajans or sacred names, especially in a large group, can be incredibly powerful, awaken blissful prana, clear the nadis, and open the chakras.
When performed consciously, with your spiritual goal in mind (not merely as a form of exercise) and especially when combined with mental repetition of a mantra and proper breathing, yoga can be quite strengthening.
Other forms of movement
Tai Chi, Chi kung, and other martial arts, again, especially when combined with meditation, can become a powerful means to tone your energetic body. Even something as simple as walking or hiking while thinking a mantra can have an significant effect in strengthening the energetic body when used in tandem with a regular practice of dedicated daily meditation.
Ordinarily, the quality and effectiveness of your meditation is a given, based on the state of your mind and nervous system when you sit down. Tiredness, agitation, distraction, for instance, will all greatly condition your inner experience. The accelerating practices I’ve talked about above, however, give you leverage to get the most from your meditation each sitting. With these gifts, the quality of your meditation need not be predetermined. As one of my students recently put it, meditation is like floating along in a hot air balloon, blown by the wind here and there, but these techniques allow you to fill the balloon with more heat to go higher and higher at will.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this quick look at the yogic landscape from the perspective of strengthening the energetic body. If you want to learn more, join me on a retreat (in person or remotely) or check out my membership site where I have lots of video and audio courses on all of these practices (except for samyama, which I teach exclusively on retreats at this time).
Here is the original newsletter I sent out:
Most effective Corona virus prevention?
I want to share with you an interesting talk on the corona virus by Dr. Thomas Cowan, M.D. that my wife, (Dr. Keesha Ewers) shared with me and others.
The reason I want to share this is because it happens to express a view that I believe is relevant. Not because I heard it somewhere, but because of my daily experience in meditation over the last 50 years. (Note that though I believe this, it has yet to be scientifically proven, and it’s easy to find dissenting views.)
If you don’t have time to watch the 10-minute video, here’s the bottom line: every pandemic we’ve experienced since early 20th century has been preceded by flooding of the earth’s atmosphere with a new form of EMF. In our current case, 5G.
Why are new levels of EMF so particularly weakening? Because we are fundamentally energetic beings, and new EMFs disrupt our personal energetic fields forcing us to adapt.
So what is Dr. Cowan’s advice? “Increase your spiritual capacities.” This is the essence of the belief I’ve come to. Spiritual practice, especially deep meditation and practices that awaken subtle energies and clear the nadis, greatly strengthen your personal energetic field (aura). In other words, spiritual practice strengthens your immunity from the energetic field outwards.
You can feel this in meditation. Experienced meditators may especially feel their whole being radiating powerful energy. This powerful energy field generated in meditation strengthens not only your aura, but your whole physiology, giving you what I believe to be the most effective protection from external EMFs.
So, every day take at least 5000 IU of Vitamin D, 1000 mg of buffered C, and anything else you may have read about and believe in, but above all, “increase your spiritual capacities” through daily meditation and spiritual practice.
If you don’t know where to start, try my free guided meditation. Just go to ajayan.com and opt to get the free guided meditation, which includes instruction in mula bandha, considered by yogis to be the most basic exercise to awaken subtle energies in the energetic body.
And here’s Dr. Thomas Cowan’s video.
Thanks for your discussions of the various aspects of yoga. I especially enjoyed your comments about Sanyama filling the subtle body with prana. I experienced this only once with the Siddhis. I was doing sanyama with patanjali’s “Strength of an Elephant” when I felt a burst of energy from my lower stomach up to the top of my head. My lower abdomen remained constricted or tightened. My physical body seemed to expand up to the ceiling of the room. I felt like a balloon expanding with air and energy into space. That was my one and only experience with prana filling the subtle body. The experience happened only once, but it led me to believe, as you have pointed out, that sanyama is a means for flooding the physical body with energy which, I believe, at some point turns to light, transforming the body into a body of light.
Hi Jim. Thanks for your comment. Wonderful experience. That is it! Yes, samyama, to effect the siddhis, very specifically stirs Prana (actually Pranadi or primordial prana, i.e., Shakti as in Shiva/Shakti) inherent in consciousness into all layers of the body. This is a profound practice that allows you to realize the “all-possibilities” aspect of your consciousness in a way that would likely never happen with ordinary meditation. Please consider attending one of my siddhi retreats where I teach samyama in a way that will allow you to experience this much more regularly, even daily. Thanks again.