The Internal Trip
Where there is journeying within,
the restless mind grown calm;
Introversion always frees a man
from doubt and error;
With consciousness roving inside,
innate nature manifests itself;
If it continues for long,
all conditioning stands dissloved!
Q.The sadhak wants to undertake sadhana. One important part of sadhana is meditation. To sit in an appropriate posture for meditation and to make the body go lax through kayotsarg is not so difficult, as to stop the mind from wandering all over the universe. What method do you recommend to bring the mind back from its wanderings?
Ans. Dhyana means to turn the mind inwards. Spirituality means to be introversive. In view of this, not to do anything to make the mind integrated, is to be led astray in the path of sadhana. Because without a pure and integrated mind, no progress in sadhana is possible.
Man’s functions are of two kinds–outer and inner. It may be put differently by saying that on the basis of their instincts, men may be divided into two kinds—extroversive and introversive. Extraversion comes naturally, but introversion has to be cultivated through practice. To be an extravert, one does not have to do a thing, whereas to be an introvert, one is required to put in a good deal of effort. It is necessary for every spiritually minded person to be introversive, but it is also very difficult. A man’s sense-faculties and his mind are forever turned outwards. These are so much taken up with the outer phenomena, as to have little leisure to turn back and look within. The more one tries to turn them inwards, the more fickle they grow. As long as fickleness subsists, there can be no introversion. And without introversion, a man can never know what is inherent in him. In the absence of such knowledge, he does not even realize that because of, extraversion, his inner powers remain unawakened.
Q.It is important that a man should experience peace and joy in his life. But this philosophy of introversion and extraversion is so very complex that a man finds himself bewildered and loses his peace of mind. How does it harm a man if his consciousness is turned outwards?
Ans. Extraversion, looking outwards, is the mother of all illusions. To a man caught in illusion, truth appears to be untruth, and falsehood appears to be truth. He experiences pleasure in the material world and for him only this world has any significance. He accepts sensual gratification as his goal. He is wholly engrossed by outer phenomena. And this condition lasts till his illusions are shattered. There is only one way to shatter his illusions and that is the undertaking of an internal trip. Through it the mind turns inwards, becomes quiet and is freed from conflict. Just as a tired man relaxes himself on reaching home, similiarly a mind caught in confusion and error, having become integrated, gains clarity. As long as it is involved in misunderstandings, even the feeling of pleasure and peace which it experiences at times, is illusory. Only the light emanating from an inner journey can remove the thick gloom of the valley of illusion.
Q.What precisely do you mean by an internal trip?
Ans The inner journey is related to our spinal cord. The spinal cord is a part of our central nervous system. On each side of it are the two nerves known as ida (parasympathetic nervous system) and pingla (syrnpathetic nervous system). Ida is on the left, Pingla on the right. The central nervous system is known as sushumna. When the vital current passes out of sushumna, the central nervous system and flows through ida and pingla, extraversion takes place, because our consciousness is then diffused. If the vital current flows along the sushumna, a path becomes available for consciousness to turn inwards. When consciousness turns inwards, and the sadhak is able to experience it, that moment becomes the moment of self-realization. What one feels at that moment is something to be experienced; it cannot be described. With a view to integrating one’s consciousness before going into meditation the process of inner voyage is unique and infallible.
Q.If a sadhak knows nothing about ida, pingla and sushumna, how can he go on this inner voyage?What exactly is the process of inner journeying? What is involved in it?
Ans. It is necessary for a dhyana-sadhak to have full knowledge about the bodily system, because it is through the body that one can reach the soul. The outer form of the body is apparent enough, but inside there are innumerable parts of which even the doctors have no complete knowledge. Meditation is the means of discovering not only the soul, but also the unknown secrets of the body. But it is possible only in the higher stages of meditation. To begin with, one can gather information about the principal inner parts of the body with the help of special charts and body-specialists. This knowledge will be found helpful in undertaking the journey within.
For the internal trip, one must withdraw one’s attention from all external objects and concentrate it on Shakti-Kendra (the Center of Energy) situated at the base of the backbone. Consciousness then moves from the base, through the sushumna (the spinal cord), to JnanKendra (the Center of Knowledge) situated near the crown. The object of this pilgrimage is to initiate the upward movement of vital power. Then the mind is made to move from Jnan-Kendra (the Center of Knowledge) to Shakti-Kendra (the Center of Energy, and again from Shakti-Kendra (the Center of Energy) to Jnan-Kendra (the Center of Knowledge), for accomplishing the ascent of the vital current. Shakti-Kendra is the source of inexhaustible energy. The vital energy required for the brain, ascends to it by way of sushumna. This process can be better understood through an example.
There is water in the well. A man needs water. He cannot directly get to the water down below. So he makes use of bucket with a rope. The bucket is lowered down, and is drawn up after being filled with water. The bucket is emptied and again it goes into the well to fetch water. The trips of the bucket up and down produce sufficient water for man. Similarly, consciousness serves like a bucket for carrying vital energy to the brain.
It may be asked, how does consciousness move up and down and down and up? Now, how does the instrument for measuring blood pressure work? The column of mercury moves up from down below and it also moves down from above. This process continues as long as the mercury remains in place. Like the mercury,our vital energy, too, moves upward through sushumna i.e., the central nervous system, to the brain. But until it is withdrawn from the external world, consciousness is not centered in the spinal cord and cannot become the carrier of energy.
The internal trip is a unique movement for awakening supernatural energy. It is a movement for the internalization of consciousness. Prolonged practice directs a sadhak to his inward nature, turns him away from outer phenomena. As long as fascination with the external does not come to an end, the direction of life cannot be changed. It is very necessary to be free from concern with the external. The moment this attachment is gone, the flow of energy becomes continuous, without any obstruction anywhere. The cessation of interruption means progress towards spirituality, joy and spontaneity. That is what the human mind thirsts for. A simple way of fulfilling this desire is the internal trip.