I have practiced the TM technique for many years now and it is very easy, enjoyable and relaxing. My question is whether those easy techniques can or cannot trigger safe Kundalini experiences, which I believe are milestones on one’s spiritual way. Or does one have to practice more rigid types of meditations, like concentrating on the third eye and so forth?

First, intense Kundalini experiences may be a sign of something good happening, but they shouldn’t be seen as necessary milestones on the path. Dramatic Kundalini experience can happen in beginners, and is actually as much an indication of blockages and resistance to the smooth and balanced flow of subtle energies, as it is a sign of energy awakening.

Through gentle techniques like the TM Program, the blockages are slowly melted while the subtle energies invisibly build and flow in a balanced way. Consciousness expands naturally, without a lot of intensity and drama.

This doesn’t mean I’m not for accelerating this gradual growth through more powerful techniques. If your desire for the goal is intense, why meander?  Yet even with the most powerful techniques, someone with a pure, strong system may not experience a lot of obvious Kundalini. They will, however, feel intense bliss and a clear awareness of the Self growing.

So to answer your question: You don’t have to practice more powerful techniques, but with the proper instruction, more powerful techniques could be just what you’re looking for. The more powerful the technique, though, the more important it is to have expert instruction. effortless mind® meditation combines ease and comfort of practice with the most powerful and effective practices you’re likely to find. I highly recommend it…

Sometimes during meditation I’m in a very peaceful, pleasant state; it seems I can keep my mind more or less free from thoughts. Should I just sit in that state, or continue meditating?

Imagine for a moment that meditation is like climbing a ladder to the sun. When we reach the sun and merge with the sun, become the sun, then that is Self-realization. So we begin to climb the ladder, and we get above the first layer of clouds. We begin to feel a wonderful expansion, light, and peace. We stand on the ladder and with eyes closed, bask in that peaceful light and expansion. It is so silent above all the hubbub of worldly activity, so nice—but we still have a long way to go. Should we just sit in that state, or continue climbing? That is the question being asked. We should continue climbing.

Let’s say we continue to climb, and soon we rise above the atmosphere. Now the sun is brilliant, and the vast expanse of space in all directions indescribably beautiful. Again, we bask in that state. It is so wonderful, we might even wonder if we are perhaps actually realized. But again, we have a long way to go. So we continue climbing.

Finally, we get within a few thousand miles of the sun. The light is blinding in its resplendence and sublime beyond description. Our mind is shorn of all thoughts by the sheer beauty and power of the divine light of the sun. Yet if we stop even here, we will not have reached our Goal. Only if we continue, can we actually become one with the sun.

Our focus of meditation is the ladder to the Self. It is the medium of experience that allows our mind to come to subtler and subtler states and finally transcend the subtlest and merge with the ocean of pure consciousness, the Self. Without this medium of experience, we may have a pleasant experience of floating at some level. This may be relaxing and peaceful, even blissful, but it will not bring us to the Infinite. Meditation on subtler and subtler states of the medium of meditation (say, a mantra), purifies our inner faculties of cognition. This not only results in the mind becoming quieter, but also more brilliant, clear, intelligent, powerful, and discriminating. Sitting and letting the mind be silent, if practiced for long periods, may even dull and weaken the mind. So as long as we have a choice, we should gently return to the focus of our meditation—but innocently, easily, without agitating the mind to a more superficial level.

I get many wonderful insights in meditation. I am tempted to write them down during meditation. What should I do?

First, keep in mind the real goal of meditation. That goal is not just to know things, or to gain new insights into things, but to realize the infinite Self of all. The Self is beyond all knowledge, problems, solutions. It is pure intelligence that orders the functioning of the entire universe. This is the Source and Goal of all solutions. Direct our meditation towards union with this, and all solutions will be ours. As Christ said, “Seek first the Kingdom of Heaven and all else will be given to you.”

If this is our focus in meditation, then after meditation our course of action will be clear, for our heart and mind is starting to function in greater harmony with Cosmic Law. Knowledge and insight are still in the realm of the gunas (nature)—sattva guna. We want to transcend all the gunas and be established in the Infinite.

That said, if an insight in meditation begs to be remembered, and you can’t continue meditating for fear of forgetting it, then write it down and get back to your meditation. That’s not ideal, but it’s practical.

It’s not surprising that many people get their best ideas in meditation. The subtle levels of thought experienced during meditation are suffused with creativity and intelligence. By comparison, the ordinary conscious thinking level is dull and lifeless. Artists and scientists often receive their most creative inspirations in moments of silence or rest. Their mind settles just a little bit into these more creative, subtle levels, where thought is vital, fresh, and holistic, and wonderful new insights come. Meditation brings the mind far beyond these levels to the ocean of infinite pure intelligence that is the source of the entire universe. Thus the creativity and intelligence available during meditation can be indescribable. But when you begin to be established in the Self, you will realize that even all possible knowledge is insignificant compared to the Infinite. As Maharishi Patanjali says in his Yoga Sutras:

“On account of the infinitude of knowledge, which has been free from the cover of all impurities, the knowables appear as few.”

What is the role of vairagya in meditation?

That’s a great question, because vairagya (detachment) is one of the keys to effective meditation. For instance vairagya is the answer to the previous question about the excitement of creative ideas that might come in meditation. Practicing vairagya can gracefully return our attention from the streams of thoughts back to our focus. Again, this is based on the understanding of our purpose in meditation. We’re not there to savor thoughts; we’re on the path leading beyond thought.

This applies to any thinking in meditation. Rather than engage in our thoughts as we usually do, know that we’re simply not interested in them now. This is detachment. We’re getting free from the mind by the power of vairagya.

Now let’s look at it a little closer. Let’s say we’re having angry thoughts. Or maybe we’re daydreaming of success in a business venture. Underlying these thoughts is some vasana—attachment, aversion, insecurity, whatever. The vasana is like the faucet from which the thoughts flow. Simply by noticing this, we can become less gripped by the vasana. We can, for instance, think, “Ah, there is that vasana of attachment to knowledge again, I’m not going to get caught in that one this time.” Discarding the vasana in this way, without straining, our mind will gradually free itself; the thoughts related to that vasana will cease, and the mind will become silent, expansive, and peaceful. We will find the mind innocently returning to the proper focus of meditation. This is the power of detachment, combined with discrimination (viveka).

If the inner faculties of cognition have been made subtle through years of meditation, the meditator will find that as a vasana is gently but firmly rejected in this way, the mind seems to literally disappear, and the Self shines brighter. As this experience first develops, however, more ripples of thought waves may suddenly appear—a natural excitement over the seeming pending Realization. Thus we need at this point to practice vairagya even towards the vasana of attachment towards Self-realization. Firmly but gently rejecting even this attachment, and each and every attachment, aversion, fear, etc., that may arise, the mind finally disappears, and the Self abides in Itself. This is how paravairagya (supreme detachment) leads to nirvija or seedless samadhi.

For several months, whenever I meditated, I felt a pain in my chest. That has gone away, but now when I meditate, my head begins to lean back, and then move around, all by itself. It’s embarrassing. What is going on?

Meditation generates shakti, spiritual power, which flows through the nadis, subtle pathways of pranic energy in the body. This flow of shakti purifies the body and subtle bodies of the residual effects and impressions of past experience. This allows the body to absorb more shakti. It expands the consciousness, purifying the heart and mind. Occasionally this purification process results in physical sensations—burning, tingling, pressures, or even pain (though that’s unusual). Sometimes it may also create physical movements. This is perfectly normal. If water begins to run through a hose that has a kink in it, the hose may flop back and forth for a while until the kink is free. Similarly, movements in meditation are caused by impurities blocking the free flow of prana.

Just continue meditating, without minding these sensations or movements; neither encourage them, nor forcibly resist them (though it is best to assume they are unnecessary, lest we unconsciously encourage them). If a pain or movement becomes too intense, you can open your eyes, and it should diminish. Simple asanas and gentle pranayama will also help. These experiences may come and go for weeks or even months, but there is no need for concern. They will pass, and mark an expansion of consciousness and shakti.

I have become interested in the tantric approach of life and way to enlightenment while i read Osho’s book of secrets, and I thought about finding a real tantric master, but it seems like finding a needle in a
haystack. It is easy to find a yogi but a tantric master is quite difficult, and in the west is the tantric way mostly associated with sex, so searching google, will do me no good. Do you know anything that could help me in my search.

Good to hear from you. I appreciate your sincere desire.

Well, as you have already discovered, you can go crazy seeking a Trantric master, and when you find someone, you still won’t know for sure if he/she is a true master. It will be a matter of faith, unless you are extremely perceptive. As you say, it is like seeing a needle in a haystack, and only grace will bring you success.

However, there is an interesting point to note: All Tantric teachings have arisen naturally from the inner experience of advanced practitioners. Exploring their own consciousness and subtle physiology on the path to enlightenment, they discovered in depth the various facets of human evolution, and systematized practices and teachings for the sake of others. But that knowledge, being part and parcel of human life, is already structured in your physiology and consciousness. It is in you. It is in the nature of life. (If it wasn’t, what good would it be?) You only have to open to it. Then you rely on no outer guru, but rather on the inner guru.

Now granted, you need instruction to open the door to that knowledge that lies latent within. This is essential, and will save you years of wasted time. But you don’t need to seek a “Tantric master”; that is, you don’t need a master of a particular system. Any system is limited. A master of a system is limited. A master of the Self is unlimited. Leave the system to God; you need to find someone who has opened life’s secrets within themselves through their years of devoted practice. Such a person can open the door to inner knowledge for you; then it is only your own sincere practice that counts, with of course some guidance–a good deal at first, but later only from time to time.

An innocent, sincere, pure heart will meet with success on the spiritual path in this way. You do not need the romantic search for a Tantric master to become one yourself. But it will take years of sincere practice (and it would if you ever were to find a master as well).

If you have an interest and are able to take one of my courses, I think you would find it will open the door to inner discovery. In any case, I wish you the very best on your journey.