Monday December 21, 2009: Today I meditated in the early evening using the bija mantra. For anyone unfamiliar with the bija mantra, it involves chanting a mantra or sound for each of the chakras and the sounds are Lam, Vam, Ram, Yam, Ham, Om . The sounds, when chanted, create a vibration at their corresponding chakra which helps guide your awareness to the chakra. I started from the muladhara chakra at the base of the spine and worked upward to the sahasrara chakra at the crown of the head. I paused at the crown and then moved the energy back down my spine. But, I was struggling a bit both mentally and physically. I couldn’t quite settle in fully and my concentration wasn’t great. For the first time in these 16 days, my mid-back actually became sore and the pain was distracting. I fidgeted a bit and almost gave up on the meditation. But, then I decided to start again at the muladhara chakra and try to move the energy back up my spine, this time with greater focus. I figured that if I really concentrated my whole being on the chanting, it might help me forget the sensation in my back. As I started to chant again, beginning with Lam, I was able to shift my awareness away from the pain in my back. I tried to really dive into the physical vibration produced by each sound. When I reached the the crown of my head, I actually experienced something new. For the first time, I could feel the energy ascending and descending, simultaneously! It is often said that the goal of chakra meditation is to unite the cosmic energy that lies coiled at the base of the spine (Shakti) with the energy of pure consciousness that resides above the crown of the head (Shiva). Once these are united, it is said, we can achieve true bliss. In my present state, I experience pure bliss as ripe tomatoes in the summer picked when they are still warm from the sun, the final surge of energy at the end of a long run that carries you up the last hill, or the kind of laughter that shakes you down to your toes. But, those waves of energy I felt rising and falling in my own body were pretty cool too!