The Breath/Consciousness Relationship
by Sri Goswami Kriyananda, from Pathway to God-Consciousness
Through the diverse practices of Yoga, you will soon learn to take your consciousness into the sleep state and then into the hypnagogic state. Many truths are obtained by remaining conscious while sleeping. The greatest truths, however, are obtained by remaining conscious while passing though the hypnagogic state.
Twice each day you pass through this point; once while moving from an awakened state to the sleep state; once while moving from the sleep to the awakened state.
Once each month it is easier to remain conscious and thus perceive this hypnagogic zone; once each year it is extremely easy to take your self-conscious awareness into this state. At these monthly and yearly cycles, the breath is very quiet. Therefore, the Yogi concludes that it’s the quietness of the breath that makes that difference between entering the dream state or the hypnagogic state. It’s the quietness of the breath that gives greater awareness, greater self-conscious awareness. Once each year you can readily reach the hypnagogic state because, at this time, the Kriya energies are naturally very strong. This period differs with each person. However, there is a strong period common to all. It’s the spring equinox. An equinox is when the day and night are of equal length. Now, if you can get the energy to flow strongly at a different time of the year, it will be easier for you to enter the hypnagogic state consciously. This is vital, for it is through this state that you can enter the all meaningful Sushumna state. Thus, you could reach the balanced state easily. Through certain Pranayamas you can increase this energy. A study of the breath and its relation to this energy shows this is a natural method. Kriya Pranayama is one such method. It’s called the Breath of God.
Consciousness fluctuates with each breath. Consciousness pulsates with each breath. The Yogi, therefore, watches this breath/consciousness relationship. He finds that as the breathing pattern extends and comes to rest, so do symbols and forms in his consciousness. Breath and consciousness are directly proportional. The Yogi works at breath-control in order to gain control of his consciousness, reaching that hypnagogic state of real experience, consciously.
Through experience, introspection, and meditation the Yogi experiences a bubbling effect around his spine. This bubbling effect starts at the base of the spine and moves upwards. When the greater self-awareness was developed, he discovered that this bubbling effect flooded downward when he was active in the physical world; the energy flowed downward through the right side, the Pingala, when he was in the physical awakened state.
With more introspection, he found that this bubbling energy (called Kriya Kundalini) flowed upward through the left side, the Ida path, when he was in the sleep state of consciousness.
Each time he passed through the hypnagogic state, the bubbling energy flowed through the center of the spine, called the Sushumna.
Now, this Kriya Kudalini energy is connected to the breath, and when it flows around the spine, the spine lights up like a small Xmas tree, or a Hanukkah bush.
Whenever a great deal of Pranayama is practiced, the bubbling energy can be readily felt. There is something in the air that activates the spinal nervous system. This activating material is called Prana. Science thinks that it is oxygen, but oxygen and Prana are two different things.
Kriya breathing stimulates the nervous system because all bodily tissues are electrically negative, except the nervous system (including the brain), which remains electrically positive because it takes up oxygen at a more rapid rate. The perception of the edio-retinal light is an extension of this electro-chemical energy. This edio-retinal light can be seen by stilling the mind. It’s called the Third Eye. This energy, which is created through the change in polarity of the body tissues, can be given direction to the astral world.
When the energy flows up the spine, remembrance of dreams is remarkable. Visional states are easier to attain. When the energy flows down very strongly, things happen in the world around you. The greatest truths are obtained when the energy slips from the Ida and/or the Pingala into the Sushumna: the point just beyond the hypnagogic state. This brings greater inner awareness. This inner awareness reveals your body to be a series of glowing lights, called Chakras. The Chakras appear as lights on a tree. Thus, the astral patterning is known as the Tree of Life; thus, the idea of the Xmas tree or the Hanukkah bush.
Another thing the Yogi perceives as he observes the stream of Kriya energy is that as it flows upward, it is cool; as it flows downward, it is warm. The Kriya currents are the bridge to the other levels of the mind, the other planes of consciousness, and the other worlds.
Copyright © 2011 Goswami Kriyananda