Friday, October 12, 2012

The Lighter Side of Death Wobble

Picture this:  You are driving down a straight road.  Once you hit 50 MPH the front end starts shaking. By 52 MPH, it is shaking so bad you can barely hold the wheel.  You break and pull over to the side, and once you are back to 45 MPH the shaking mysteriously disappears.

That, friends, is called Death Wobble.  If you have driven a Wrangler for any amount of time you know what I am talking about.  Why does this happen only at specific speeds, at random times? I have yet to find an answer to that.  Suffice it to say that some times, under some circumstances, things vibrate just right, and the harmonic vibration becomes so powerful that it changes the normal pattern of the machine.

And here’s where the topic relates to a wider audience…

Scary as this can be—think about it—wouldn’t it be amazing if the power of harmonic vibration could be harnessed and used for good?  OK conspiracy theorists, I’m not talking about that thing know as HARP (I said “used for good!”), but I am talking about yoga.

By focusing on the body and the breath in Hatha yoga, we are changing the vibrations within the body.  Call it energy, prana, kundalini, the Force ( ™ Lucas films.  Please don’t sue) or what have you.  We consciously alter the vibrations in the physical body, then those vibrations effect the mind and soon (well, in yogic terms ‘soon’ means multiple thousands of lifetimes) the whole system is vibrating differently.   I have read this (cannot remember where) effect likened to having a bunch of grandfather clocks set against the same wall. Eventually all the pendulums will begin swinging at the same time, in harmony. 

Controlled death wobble used for good.

Hatha is not the only way to do this.  The main drawback with Hatha practice, and even meditation practice (keep in mind it is impossible to ‘practice’ meditation. Meditation is a state where there is no distinction between the observer and the observed.  We can practice placing ourselves in situations conducive to this state, but the state occurs on its own) is that we EXPECT something to happen.  Come on, I know you do. So do I. 

Unfortunately this is completely counterproductive.

I have found that by incorporating sound into my practice (I won’t say ‘singing’—more on that in a  post to come) by reciting mantra has a more immediate effect than practicing asana, pranayama, and meditation. 

The effect, of course, is shutting up the noise in my mind by replacing it with a different vibration: The Hanuman Chalisa, Sri Ram, Sitaram, Rama Bolo, The Mahamantra, The Gayatri Mantra, Mantra for Purification, etc.

As part of my regular practice, I set a timer and recite softly, under my breath, the mantra or song. This has largely replaced seated meditation. 

The main reason I know it works is because, more often than not, I am surprised when the timer goes off; meaning that I forgot I was sitting about on the floor muttering under my breath for a set period of time and I was so concentrated that I forgot my surroundings.

And, I discovered, I actually enjoy this recitation.  I feel better when doing it. Seated meditation, for me, can be a bit of a chore. Which would I rather do?  The choice is obvious.

Recitation is much easier to do throughout the day than other forms of practice. I’m not breaking into asana at work (never mind the picture from last post…).  I’m not pulling out my mala to do japa while waiting in line.  But I will hum mantra.  I will sing it out driving to and from work (and scream it when death wobble occurs).

Does not matter what the song is or what it means—I do know enough of the English translation of The Chalisa to narrate it in general terms, but feel no need to get the translation down.  I was given the Mantra for Purification and was told that I am not to know the meaning.  Doesn’t matter.  I like the sound of it.

Controlled harmonic vibration it truly the basis of everything.  The significance of Gen. 1.3 is not “Let there be light,” it is “God said.”

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