Navi kriya is a good technique to practice before meditation. It involves concentrating on the chakra opposite the navel and trying to stimulate that chakra to draw the energy of the lower chakras upward. Energy in any of the three lowest chakras focuses the mind on worldly desires. Stimulation of the uppermost of these chakras, the lumbar or manipur opposite the navel, can magnetize and uplift energy from the chakras below it. To stimulate that chakra, one can forcibly draw the stomach in.

To raise the energy above the manipur, one must concentrate simultaneously at the spiritual eye. It is helpful while practicing this technique to chant AUM mentally at the point between the eyebrows. Thus, the lower energies will be raised and spiritualized.

This is the practice, often ridiculed in the West, of “contemplating one’s navel.” In fact, one’s concentration should be on the chakra in the spine behind the navel, not on the navel itself. The gaze should be directed toward the point between the eyebrows, the spiritual eye, to uplift the energy toward spiritual awareness.

Focus on the third chakra has a special virtue. It stimulates the consciousness of self-control. When the energy of this center is directed up toward the brain, it generates great power of self-control. Lahiri Mahasaya taught concentration on this center at the start of the meditation period, so as to ground the mind and establish it in attitudes of firmness and resolution.

Excerpted from The Promise of Immortality and Awaken to Superconsciousness (Crystal Clarity), and a June 17, 2007 talk at Ananda Village.

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