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Thank you for checking out the site! This door will soon be open, offering insider access to everything from travel pics and info, thought provoking discourse, to useful resources like; links, tips and practices, reading lists, playlists, exclusive merch and special opportunities!
For now, check out a few of the sample offerings below and stay tuned for the inaguration of the Members Portal! -Jon Osiris
Dharana: 7 Steps to Improve Concentration
Dharana, one of Patanjali’s eight limbs of Yoga, is a Sanskrit word meaning one-pointed concentration. This is often taught much later in terms of yogic practice, though, with some effort, anyone can obtain some experience of the fruit of this practice.
A Simple Dharana (concentration) Practice:
Begin by finding a safe and somewhat quiet place to sit down and begin observing your natural breath.
Sit with a candle or imagine one in front of you, burning brightly.
Focus your mind on the flame itself, envisioning it in detail until it is all you can see in your mind’s eye.
Continue the imagining/envisioning process until all of your senses are engaged – i.e. the heat can be felt as warm, the brilliance of the light seen, the smell of the burning wick and wax, and hear the sound of the flame as it continues burning. You may even taste a bit of carbon monoxide in the air.
Continue focusing on the flame and the above sensations for a few more breath cycles, until all else fades from your awareness. Make the concentration complete.
With seven more breaths, imagine becoming one with that flame. You are it & it is you. There is nothing else but a burning flame in your awareness.
When you have fully become the flame, Hold it for as long as you are able. When you feel finished, slowly relax your focus and awareness back to your body. Thank your body and the elements for being such a useful and supportive vehicle.
The practice of concentration (Dharana) can be applied to many things, thus making seemingly ordinary events extraordinary.
Delving into Dharana, one becomes aware of the myth of "multi-tasking". Doing a lot of things at once may seem helpful for some tasks, but it rarely leads to any quality of action. Multi-tasking is really just focusing on one thing for a minute amount of time and then switching to another. These mental gymnastics aren't very helpful in the long run if we train our brain to be a hopping frog or manic monkey. If you want nerves of steel and unflappable confidence, start here.
The teachings of the Tantrik masters of old, the Siddhas or “Attained Ones” , are remarkable precisely because their beginnings are so very ordinary. The cobbler, the hunter, the thief, the stonemason, the gambler; these were laypersons leading very mundane lives and quite ensconced in the 5 sense world before they met their teachers. Quite unexpectedly however, they were shown how to use their particular station in life as grist for the mill of practice, thereby transmuting their mundane consciousness into the most rare states of realization in embodied human existence. This is not to imply that they quit what they were doing after this auspicious encounter with divine providence – Not hardly. This new teaching, empowered and enlivened by the Guru’s grace and the passing of the spiritual seed of power, or Shakti, allowed them to see with new eyes the work that was before them. This new clarity gave many a renewed vigor and focus in their duty and mission (Rita or later, Dharma) becoming a useful tool by which to enact an alchemical process. Without Dharana, such things are not possible.
How much would we benefit from bettering our ability to focus more deeply? You may in fact, be the next living siddha!
Discourse: Tattooing & Tapasya
Tapas(ya) in Sanskrit; can mean heating, penance and austerity. In tantrik and yogic usage, it refers to the heat created by austerity. Fire and heat can heal, cook food, and purify water. It can also destroy. Penance in this context is not the typical western definition: (Self-inflicted punishment by the pious to atone for sin or wrongdoing)… It is a heating up of the inner “hearth” with acutely applied focus to bring the practitioner into alignment with spirit and their divine nature.
For those unfamiliar with South Asian societies, picture if you will, a sadhu or monk lying on a bed of nails, or those that take a vow of silence or raisng one arm until it withers to complete uselessness. These austere rituals (always difficult and often painful to flesh and body) are used as a catalyst to bring the mind in control of the body and, as a matter of course, bringing about a more complete unfolding of spirit and alignment within the Cosmic Spirit, the mystery that moves through all things.
For many thousands of years these types of practices have led some aspirants to the ultimate goal, and others into the depths of insanity, neurosis, psychosis or simply anchoring them deeper and ever more fixedly to the world of Nama and Rupa (name and form), where the five senses are continually fed and allowed to run roughshod over the higher faculties, leaving them dormant, unexpressed and unrealized.
Present day; tattooing has become a much more visible and acceptable practice and occupation, as is the wearing of permanent marks in the skin. This is a practice that can be found farther back than written record on nearly all continents of the earth. Some form of scarring or marking the body has been practiced everywhere by our collective ancestors and while many now see it as simply a new signpost or accessory, there are some who have found a deeper wellspring within, while undergoing such physical rigors – the Tapasya of Tattoo.
For myself, I have come to understand the fire that tattooing puts in your flesh and the mental and physical fortitude that this process requires as Tapasya. Instead of attachment to my physical body, I sense this peeling back of layers to be a process that engages non-attachment and a reality check on the fleeting and fantastic nature of the senses; as well as life itself.
The mental focus one needs to employ when sitting for several hours of tattooing is substantial. The body-mind matrix response to this type of pain can be overwhelming and indeed, does cause some people to hyperventilate, go into shock, tense the body and fight against the work being done. For my clients, I am happy to report that often, a very different effect is observed. The needles hit, endorphins rush into the system and the body can be controlledwith proper breathwork. Peacefulness, levity, and even euphoria are common. Here one opens a door into deeper level work.
I often tell my clients that the tattoo experience is 90 percent mental. Mindset is damn near everything! This is true of most things, but it bears itself out in process of being tattooed in the most primal of ways. We are in phase of society where many of us have forgotten that we are still human animals. The human organism’s ability to engineer technology has not changed and very likely worsened the state of our mental, emotional and spiritual dis-ease and disconnectedness.
For most, the common response to pain is that it must be mitigated quickly and medicated away. Still less do we make the time to stop in our daily grind to appreciate the amazing interconnectedness of the body, it’s capacity to heal, the dermis’ magical capacity to hold ink for our lifespan, and the mind’s gymnastics and methods of coping when we willfully put ourselves through a painful yet potentially enriching ordeal. This "ordeal" becomes a Rite of Passage with the proper mindset. It is attained by Presence. Being present in an everyday situation is one thing.. quite another when you have needles tickling your ribs!
So this is my invitation to anyone getting tattooed after reading this, to explore these concepts in practice. What do you notice about your overall experience? What changed or did not change? Did you really invest yourself in being present with all the sensations? The minute to massive differences in intensity of the sensations from one square centimeter of skin to another? What about your approach and mindset from beginning to end? Email me, I want to hear from you!
– Jon Osiris