Thinking about what I might teach at the half day workshop we’re planning in Encinitas, I considered my expertise which is 4-fold: Physics, Yoga, Spiritualism, and Meditation. I always felt one should not rely on one part of their life for confidence alone and ended up relying largely on these 4. That way if there were a crisis in one school or with one relationship, I could continue confidently with a sense of self from the others. Anyway, thinking about how to combine these 4 into one workshop reminded me of the crazy names you come across these days and I came up with my own humorous twist as a joke: ‘the quantum yoga of enlightened ghosts: is yoga quantized? can a ghost reach enlightenment? do ghosts practice yoga? is enlightenment quantized?’. You know, the word quantum gets a lot of misuse because people don’t know what it means. It means that things come inn specific sizes or quantities: like apples. Generally trees produce integer numbers of apples, and rarely 3.183 apples on a branch. So you could say apples are quantized. The big breakthrough last century was when we considered maybe electrons can only be in specific energy levels around atoms and when they go between them they emit specific frequencies of light. This dramatically explained the color spectrum that ionized gasses produce such as the Aurora Borealis or a fluorescent light. Well, when we think about our mind, consciousness and meditation it turns out that we are not quantized. Typically we say I, you, them and count the number of persons present as integers. But inside your mind are competing processes for a sense of self, so we are more than 1. Plus we overlap with each other in a number of ways. It’s really quite complicated and no one can do the math yet for a fully non-local field theory of identity. But we can experience it even if we don’t understand it. When we experience jhana we are being the whole instead of being the part we normally identify with. Let’s do it!


Meditation is a specific practice and practice is a part of your life, just as jhana is temporary enlightenment and enlightenment precedes pari-nirvana (merging with the Universe in final cessation). So just as we explore ourselves and learn how we are holding ourselves back from jhana in meditation, we discover how we are creating our suffering in our life. There will always be pain, imperfection, and disharmony in life because life is in motion and these are symptoms of motion. But our personal experience of life can be very different depending on our perspective and motivation. To that end it’s good to see yourself clearly and find your balance. Personally I work full time analyzing data, which is heavy on the concentration and weak on the emotions. So after work I can easily find myself weeping at the silliest telenovela video. My body-mind seeks balance and learns toward emoting. It’s nothing personal, just cause and effect. Here on Mondays I’ve been pretty serious so tonight in the spirit of balance, I’ll share my collected meditation jokes for fun. Here are a couple of my favorites:


I was surprised when I learned that Yoga philosophy came after Buddhism, since I thought it was part of the Vedas from <1000BC. In fact Patanjali wrote the Yoga Sutras around 200AD which was 700 years after Buddha. He knew Buddhism and Hinduism and combined them into yoga philosophy. I was also surprised that the Bhagavad Gita was written up through 400AD as well. So it makes sense that we talk about meditation within Yoga practice as well as within Buddhist practice. I shared some short excerpts from Kino MacGregor’s 30-day Yogi program (p120, p63, p104, p118), each relating to a different Kosha (sheath of your being). Remember Patanjali talked about quelling the fluctuations in your mind… in your koshas: which would be 1) disharmonious and illness in your physical body, 2) emotional upset in your energy kosha, 3) disturbed thinking in your mental kosha, 4) questioning your values and beliefs in your kosha of knowing, and 5) doubting your identity and contentedness in your bliss kosha.


Yesterday there was a nice article on NPR about Buddhists and the “mindfulness industrial complex” that noted mindfulness is only one step of the 8-fold path. These days everyone teaches “mindfulness”, the common translation of the Pali word Sati (Smrti in Sanskrit) which Sensei and I prefer to translate as wholeheartedness. The 8-fold path has some familiar Sanskrit words in it, and I recommend the translation website for spoken Sanskrit. Each of the 8 starts with samyak (Sanskrit. or samma in Pali) meaning right or correct. If you see “sam” that’s usually what it means.
1) …drsti = gaze, view, as in understanding, which we recognize from asana practice (where is your dristi?)
2)…samkalpa = determination or intention
3) …vac = speech. In Pali it’s vaca <pronounced vacha> is like voice.
4) ..karmata = action. you know karma = action.
5) …ajiva = livelihood. This is an odd one like an idiom. a-jiva literally is not-alive, but the meaning is livelihood.
6) …vyayama = effort, exercise as in what you do at the gym.
7) … = mindfulness/wholeheartedness. Be present; know what you are doing while you do it.
8)…samadhi = literally concentration/unification, epitomized by jhana.

The question came up this week, can a person can get jhana seated in a chair or is full lotus required? I mentioned on 6/12 the story of Buddha’s final moments (see part 6 section 9). Here we have his disciples watching him in jhana as he lay on his deathbed. So certainly you can get jhana without full lotus posture if you are enlightened. So I gave it a try this last week and succeeded without too much difficulty. My mind simply stops caring where my limbs are as it moves toward jhana. If you have never experienced jhana or if you only experience it now and then in your meditation, then you really need to express your body-mind’s “effort” toward jhana. And wrapping your body up tight is excellent for that. (remember your mind will settle if you stop stirring it and allow it to come to rest, but there’s a little more needed to go deeper than your common resting point. That little more is the nudge of effort I’m referring to here).


These long meditations of 30-60min differ from the short 5min ones like at Chapel because we are trying to confront the obstacles that keep us from perfect stillness or jhana. And here we see the parallel between meditation and life in general. The same obstacles keep us from being happy, free and spontaneous and lead us into various painful suffering experiences. So let’s consider obstacles. You might say life is about relationships. With people, objects, circumstances. An example is your car. Typically you identify part of yourself as the person who drives that car, so when you get a new car you feel a little changed, a little like a new person. Same with clothing, homes, jobs, degrees, relationships, etc. You find that the specifics change while the theme persists, because you still have the same relationship to mature, grow, learn from. They often say this when you find yourself dating the same kind of wrong person, but it’s true in all parts of life. So what are your limits? Yoga is about facing your limits not extending them. It’s more important to develop a better relationship with dropbacks like not being afraid of them, than it is to be able to do dropbacks. The same is true of most asanas. How do you feel about a deep twisting pose like Marichiasana D? Each time you practice you can feel in more harmony with it, regardless of increased flexibility, strength, balance, etc. If you’re lucky enough that your limits don’t have the upper hand, then you’re not lost in panic or despair. In a sense you gain confidence by facing your limits. Real confidence, not the fake confidence you can get by pretending. Then once you are confident you can question the sources of confidence which include more than just the limits you’ve learned to be comfortable with. It’s like considering your attachments. For me I gained confidence from affection, money, college degrees, ordinations, appearance, life-skills and traveling, other specific skills, my parents, mentors, friends. Then when I ask why, I delve deeper into how I get confidence from each. That’s part of knowing myself which just by knowing, generates more confidence. Then of course sitting in jhana permeates me with confidence.