THE PRACTICE WHICH EDJI SHARED WITH ME A FEW YEARS AGO... since it came up in Satsang today via the chat window.
Edward Muzika taught me this practice when I visited him a few years ago.
(Spoiler alert: It's nothing different from what he usually teaches in general terms. However, it is the "gift that keeps on giving," and I do it every day.)
a) Sit in meditation posture (straight back, eyes semi-closed, in a chair or semi-lotus or whatever posture you can manage. Actually, I prefer to close my eyes all the way.)
b) Observe the sensations around you--sounds in the room, feelings of your clothes on your skin, smells, breezes, etc.
c) Observe the sensations inside you--heartbeat, breathing, sounds of stomach, etc.
d) Feel your sense of being a person--of being present--the conviction that you exist. ("I am.") Locate it in your body.
e) Move your presence into that feeling. Watch it, be in it.
f) Follow that presence down to where it started... let your awareness sink down
that path. (Same as recommended by Nisargadatta, Ramana and Robert.)
g) Remain present in whatever comes up.
My own notes on this practice:
1. On days when I've had a good sleep and some caffeine, if I do this practice earlier in the day I don't sink down quite as far, and remain aware of mental chatter, images, emotions, ideas, and tracers of all sorts of fleeting images and sounds like a TV or radio scanning through the stations. But the usual sense of "me" is not there. I am just the awareness of these things. (These sessions can go really long... from 45-60 min.) And often I do drop down further after a while of this.
2. On days when I practice at the end of the day and didn't get enough sleep, the practice starts and I pop out when I'm nodding off into sleep (could be as short as 5-10 minutes.)
3. Every time I do this the initial phase of closing eyes, observing sensations and so on lasts maybe 1 minute. Then there is a feeling of pleasure and relief as the consciousness sinks down toward Ramana's "heart center" on the right side of the chest (could be different for different people, I suppose. Edji was recommending sinking to the "hara" or Japanese gut center of Zen, but I didn't get much out of trying it this way.)
4. After sinking down to the heart center which seems to be made of light and love and entering it, there is nothing. No impressions, no sounds, no images, no feelings, no consciousness, no me, no world, no bliss. It follows what Edji describes--seems to be the absolute ground of consciousness. I set a timer of 30 minutes for these sessions, but usually, if I've had a reasonable amount of sleep but had a full day, I'll pop out just before the timer goes off. The feeling of time completely evaporates between entering the heart center and popping out again. As I re-emerge I have no idea who I am, where I am, or what time of day it is. Then as Edji described in waking after sleep, the memories of who I am and where I am, what time of day it is etc. emerge as if I was awaking from a very deep sleep. But I know I haven't been asleep--something somehow has been measuring this whole process, and knows I'm back awake as an individual again.
5. After this I feel calm, relieved, tired, and reassured on a basic level that all the anxieties of the waking world and daily struggle to survive, provide for my loved ones, maintain health, job, art, chores, etc. are relative. It is also obvious that simply existing, being part of God's expression in the field of consciousness, is laudable and worthwhile... it's quite different from my usual feeling that I have to justify my existence by doing something. After a few years of practicing this way, subtle sensitivities develop more and more, but they're hard to describe because they're, well... subtle. However, I could say that I'm more aware of the fleeting nature of consciousness, more aware of what other people are thinking and how they are feeling, what their anxieties and beliefs about the world are, and I trust my own gut more and more. Finally, the gratitude to God that Edji mentioned is there, but I won't talk about it too much. It's best to experience this directly.
I hope that was helpful! Thanks for asking, Angela. Cheers, Max T. Powers, Enrique Umana, Andrew Hargrove, Syndria Mecham, Dinesh, Arvydas, Sergey, Keith, Michael Kujawa and please forgive me if I've left anyone out but I look forward to our continued conversations!
Matthew Brown, Toronto
November 20, 2016