There are many meditation practices and many reasons to meditate. Meditation comes in many variations because there many originations, many starting points, and many different phases of our spiritual journey — all of which can help us to reach peace and clarity. If we can reach our peaceful center, we can find more of it for longer periods, and this can lead to all sorts of profundity; to the destination of clarity, of unity expansion.
The processes of mindful meditations, including body scans, are no different than simple meditations. While meditation instruction as described by Osho ca be simply “just be, and drop all doing”, the processes of mindful meditations — which may be considered a form of “doing” — can be utilized to enhance clarity by providing a pathway for our mind, which is beneficial in innumerable ways, including initiating healing. Many different thought systems elaborate on the relationship between clearing and healing, because clarity is so essential to experience the meditative mind state, and because clearing imbalance and blockages is essential to resonate with entirety and unity expansion.
The following two similar body scan meditations are healing practices from Daoist and Buddhist traditions.
From my experience with Daoist and Tibetan Buddhist meditations specifically, as well as similar but less established ideas, there is a systematic approach to this kind of clearing. The ability to have a moment of clarity, of just being, can require a process, a trip. Clarity is likely not achieved by forcing away thoughts, but rather by a thought process itself.
Meditation in total, and body scans in particular, assist us in moving beyond embodied limitations and attachments, and in initiating healing. Meditation helps us to experience insubstantial and intangible energy as being more substantial than what we mostly perceive as substantial and tangible. Feeling subtle energy increases our sensitivity to stagnation and enables the power of our attention to move the energy of stagnation, or inflammation.
Some considerations before you begin the process…
The flow of energy
One of the main commonalities of any body scan processes for clarity is the flow of energy downward, beginning from the crown. When we imagine energy flowing from the crown of our head downward and out of the feet, we release energy, such as tension and stagnation. Alternatively if we practice a flow upward from the feet to the head, we obtain energy. I realized this fact through the process of practicing Tai Chi meditative movement, in which we warm up and cool down: when we begin with our crowns and proceed downwards we release energy, when we begin with our feet and proceed upwards we obtain energy. This is helpful to know, but don’t bother your mind with this too much, as it happens on its own due to the flow of the process itself.
The main difference between the Daoist and the Tibetan Buddhist body scan processes is that the Daoist process clears energy at specific physical locations such as the muscles, bones, organs, nerves and even cells whereas the Tibetan Buddhist process focuses on clearing the chakra systems or chakra layers through the regions of the body. The flow of both the process is of a clearing light moving through the system. The light is sparked in our imagination, intention and attention. Our imagination is the best way to engage with the spiritual world, the world of Emanation and creativity. Imagine the clearing light moves stagnancy and inflammation on physical, emotional and energetic levels.
Consciousness supersedes all else
Sacred geometry concepts, meditation practice, quantum physics, and even the Kabbalah and The Tarot all utilize and empower the idea that our consciousness supersedes space time limitations; that the spiritual realms of consciousness, nothingness and timelessness are not limited by the constraints and conditions of space and time. Sacred geometry concepts and meditation practices enable us to surpass the imposed limitations of space time, as revealed through quantum physics experiments.
As one conceptualizes the energetics of the body scan meditation process, keep in mind that the potential of the infinite universe is also within the finite individual, that the cosmic is found within the atomic.
As above, so below
Imagine that the life giving energy of the Sun, or your inner light, clears and enlightens each area of your body as you move the energy via your attention and imagination. Astrological influences, the Hermetic Principle of the micro reflecting the macro (or “as above so below”), as well as the feeling of unity expansion all point to the power of unity — of individual connection with the universal. Meditation enables the removal of the barriers between ego and unity consciousness.
We can see and sense some of the influence of the celestial bodies; the Moon’s influence on the oceanic tides for instance. This visible result of physical positioning changing situations is detectable with the basic senses and orientation, and the more subtle influences on situations require more subtle senses and orientation. So, just because astrology seems like energy that can be easily ruled out, it is more accurately energy which is highly difficult to determine. The effect of such subtle energy must be remembered and imagined as we clear our bodies with these processes.
Body Scan Meditations for Clarity and Clearing
Both the following Daoist and Tibetan Buddhist practises begin with simply breathing for a time to steady the system before beginning the process. These meditations operate on being thoughtful, mindful, but relaxed. In being thoughtful of the process we become less susceptible to be called like a monkey to swinging on vines of circling thoughts; thoughts that go back and forth, and do not have a process of progress. Mindful meditation processes keep the mind steadily directed toward the meditative state, creating opportunities for moments of just being.
The Daoist Body Scan Meditation
The Daoist healing process is normally done lying down as flat as possible on your back. Settle and relax and then begin to bring your attention to the golden starlight at the top of your head, concentrated into a single point.
The more one knows about biology the more one can apply the specifics of moving the light through the various parts of the body, stopping to enlighten the glands, organs, sinews, muscles, bones, nerves and cells, and especially wherever there might be a stagnation of chi, so to speak, or an injury or inflammation of some sort. But the process can also be as simple as imagining the warming, healing light, the inner smile, moving along through the areas of the body beginning with the crown of the head and unfolding opening simply in a downward and clearing manner. Imagining the simplest biological parts; head, neck, shoulders chest, heart, stomach, waist, etcetera is wonderful and anyone is capable of doing so, regardless of their knowledge of the body.
From there, refining our attention toward inner contemplation is simply like applying more mindfulness into the process. The more specific one’s attention is to the individual parts of the body, the more clearing can potentially take place.
After imagining enlightened awareness through the entirety of your body, bring the point of light to your center, your dantien. Imagine that point of light enlightens your entire body. To close this process, settle into the feeling of being and flowing in unity with entirety.
Tibetan Buddhist Body Scan Meditation
The Tibetan Buddhist practice is normally done sitting in a comfortable cross legged position, perhaps sitting on a pillow, though any meditative posture can be utilized if sitting is a strain. Settle and begin the process by imagining a lotus flower above one’s head and then a pure clear tigle of light above it; a single point of energy, that spark of life, a speck of the Sun, or your inner sun. The tigle (a Tibetan word, meaning “seminal point”) enlightens five main chakra wheels or layers in this process; the Crown, Throat, Heart, Sacrum and Root chakras.
You can perform this meditation for as much time as you are comfortable, and be as deeply contemplative are you are comfortable. The essential aspect is to forgive and let go, and in doing open up yourself to clear more energetic blockages with the light and regain harmony and smoothness. This analytical healing meditation offers an effect opposite to the mind-state of those who take issue with, and purposefully do not think about, certain subjects. Therefore, proceed with caution, as this process may bring up deeply embedded blockages and stagnation.
As this process relates to the Crown, Throat, Heart, Sacrum and Root chakras, it unfolds in this five-fold manner.
First we bring light to our head region and we forgive and thereby clear the thoughts we had which were not compassionate in order to clear stagnation around the crown chakra. You can spend as much time considering each chakra as is comfortable.
Secondly, we bring light to our throat region and clear the Throat chakra when we forgive the words we spoke and clear the words which were not compassionate. Problems with the physical area of the throat are generally associated with the throat chakra. If one has inflammation, or injury, in an area near a certain chakra spend a moment or two longer there.
Thirdly we bring light to the heart and chest region and clear the emotions we felt which were not compassionate to clear the heart chakra.
Next we bring light the lower gut and clear the actions we took which were not compassionate to clear the sacral chakra.
Lastly, we bring light to the bottom of the spine and clear the energy which is not compassionate and the karma of the root chakra. Clearing this energy we bring attention to attachments from outside of ourselves, this can mean our families and ancestors, and those in our area presently, and who came before us and built what is now the status quo, or any energy being outside oneself that you conceive.
To close this meditation process, a healing mantra might be utilized, or your own personal affirmation, perhaps spoken or held internally. Then, conceptualize the entirety of the chakra energies coming together in one concentrated spark of light, representing our unified core self. Our concentrated individual point of light then dissolves and becomes one with the flow of the entirety of the universe, and thereby creates a seamless integration of entirety and the sensation of unity expansion. In this closing aspect of the practice, your point of concentration is the unification of the individual and universal.
Both of these healing meditations can be called versions of a ‘body scan’ meditation, and perhaps, more specifically, are actually the origins of the concept of body scan meditations.
When it comes to energy work, imagination and intention are everything; and these practices involve imagining enlightenment. That is to say, we imagine light coming in from head shining and moving down to our toes clearing us of blockages and obstructions to wellness and enlightenment. Being mindful of ourselves while practicing meditative movement, or when in still meditation, enhances mindfulness as well as offering us the benefits of meditation. We observe any energetic stagnation and move through it, or otherwise address it, to create flow.
“Geometry, coeternal with God and shining in the divine mind, gave God the pattern… by which he laid out the world so that it might be best and most beautiful and finally most like the Creator.” — Johannes Kepler
Some meditation processes might seem complicated initially, but like any practice that at first seems abstract and complicated, it soon becomes sensible and simple. While meditation can offer us endless potential, to help us refine our reality and become more thoughtful, it is not the point of meditation to strain ourselves toward complexity, but rather to create a mindful path of thought so that the mind does not wonder off into some negative constructs.
Wherever there is a meditation practice with initially perplexing concepts, remember, the idea behind the initial complexity is to offer a positive path of thinking which prevents being caught up in mundane or negative cycles of thinking. A path or process actually quiets the chatter, whereas no process provides space for the chatter to come and go. Mindful meditation processes offer a pathway to more moments of simply being. Thoughtful processes enable clarity, especially when attention to clarity is part of the process itself, so that moments of simply being, totally unfettered, are attained, prolonged, and maintained.
About the author:
Ethan Indigo Smith
Activist, author and Tai Chi teacher Ethan Indigo Smith was born on a farm in Maine and lived in Manhattan for a number of years before migrating west to Mendocino, California. Ethan’s work is both deeply connected and extremely insightful, blending philosophy, politics, activism, spirituality, meditation and a unique sense of humor.
You can connect with Ethan on Facebook, check out his author page on Amazon, or visit his websites, Geometry Of Energy and Meditation 108, where Ethan offers ideas on individuation, meditation, the conceptualization of energy, and the metaphysical significance of 108.